Mandala Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

93

This is the first pu er cake I bought. Once I brewed it up and tasted it, I knew I had to have it!

Dry leaf: A sweet, grassy, hay or alfalfa like scent.

Brewed cup: Golden yellow. There is a sweet lemon taste throughout all infusions. I will post a more detailed review when I next drink it, for right now this is just a placeholder.

Flavors: Grass, Lemon

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
Garret

So happy you are enjoying this. It is nearly an every day drinker for me! Thanks for writing up your review. Grateful, Garret

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72
drank Bamboogie 2015 by Mandala Tea
607 tasting notes

Trying to drink down my samples lately. Tried this one today. I didn’t do that many infusions but what I had was okay. There wasn’t much bitterness. It had a creamy mouth feel to it. Not much fruitiness/apricot which I like in my shengs. This is not one I would go and buy. Even though it was a decent cup of tea , it just wasn’t the best.

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drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
292 tasting notes

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drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
16 tasting notes

Today’s a rainy day, so I thought it’d be perfect to try out this sample.

45, 60, 90, 120, ect

This tea is interesting because it’s not as “in your face” as black tea can sometimes be. I just threw my sample into my gaiwan, so maybe with more leaf it could be, but the character in this one just seems milder. The description of baked goods is incredibly accurate. I got a lot of sweetness, especially as it cooled.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar

Preparation
Boiling
Garret

This tea brews up very nicely at temps from 195 all the way to 208. Grandpa style (leaving the leaf in water while you sip from it) also works great and you don’t even need a strainer as the leaves sink to the bottom fairly quickly. Thank you!!!

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10, 10, 20, 30, 40, ect

This is something I could definitely drink everyday. It has a bit of cinnamon spiciness. Sweet, a little grassy, fruity with a tiny bit of astringency. It’s really refreshing. I think this would be an interesting cake to age and see where those flavors go.

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Grain, Grass, Peach

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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This was a sample in my last Mandala Tea order. The dry leaf smells very smokey, like the remnants of a campfire left on your clothes. This is really different from the two other young raws I’ve had which have a more of a floral and sweet smell. Whoa! The first infusion blew me away. Sweet, citrusy, a little spice, with some background smokiness. There’s a pleasant astringency there too. Lemon lingers in the mouth. Maybe almost a little basil or mint?

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I’d love to get a cake and see how it changes.

Flavors: Astringent, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Peach, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
Garret

As I write this, there is one full cake remaining in stock. Wow, did those fly out of here! Thank you for writing this up. I’m really happy you enjoyed this one. I like it quite a lot.

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The dry leaf on this one certainly seems much more fruity and less honey like compared to the 2012 “Heart of the Old Tree”. The first few steeps were light and crisp, a little lemony. The flavor coated my mouth and lasted for a bit. The later steeps were less “in your face” and more mild and sweet. This tea gave me this really interesting feeling in my chest, something I’ve never experienced before. This tea is a really easy to drink, with not much if any bitterness (I’m not particularly sensitive to bitterness).

Overall, really nice to drink. I’m probably going to get a cake.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
Garret

I’m so happy that you are enjoying this one. It’s one of my favorites. I drink the mao cha I still have left from this pressing frequently. Me like! Thank you, Garret

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85
drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
333 tasting notes

Another sample from my recent order. GABA is not really something I’ve heard about, so I went in with no preconceptions. The dried tea leaf looks like little pellets, and the liquor brews up to be a light golden color. It’s honey-sweet, with a touch of ripe fruit, maybe plum or muscatel. On the second steep, the honey note takes over completely. This is a very light-bodied, smooth tea. As to whether it has a calming effect, it’s too early to say, but it definitely doesn’t have much of a kick as most other black teas, and is a nice cup to enjoy slowly.

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This is my first experience with young sheng! How exciting!

The smell of the dry leaf was just incredible, honey and floral. After doing a short rinse, the smell of the leaf had changed, more noticeably smoky but still retaining that floral element. The first few infusions were light, grassy and very easy to drink with no bitterness. The later infusions were interesting, like wine or cider.

Overall, this tea was incredibly refreshing after a long day. After this really positive experience with young sheng, I can’t wait to try more.

Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
292 tasting notes

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85
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
333 tasting notes

Cold steeped at caile’s suggestion, and it came out very nicely! As a cold tea it’s light in color, nice and crisp, with some of that almost “fuzzy” maltiness that I enjoy in Yunnan black teas. The malty note is not dominant, so that the honey sweetness easily comes through as well. Overall I do recommend trying this both cold/iced and hot!

caile

Yay! :))

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85
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
333 tasting notes

A sample that was kindly included with my Mandala order. This has all the makings of a a great malty black tea. Very smooth, full-bodied, with an inviting fragrance, and right along the lines of other great Yunnan black teas I’ve tried (many also with “gold/golden” in the English names). I accidentally added a bit more leaf than I intended to, but to no detriment at all.

caile

I just had this today too! :)

caile

And oddly I was sure I wrote a review but can’t find it..

Garret

I was on my way to a meeting and stopped by one of the local coffee shops that uses our Black Gold for their iced tea. What a treat. Plenty of depth, absolutely no sweetener needed. A wonderful tea that the man I was meeting with really enjoyed! Thanks for your review! Grateful, Garret

Mikumofu

caile: I hope you enjoyed it! :)

Garret: Iced tea sounds like a great idea! Thank you for bringing us delightful teas!

caile

I did enjoy it very much, Mikumofu. :))
Oh yes, I bet it would make good iced tea…. hmmm,I think these are the leftover leaves cold steeping in my fridge! Five days ago though, oh no.

caile

Ok, I just went to the fridge to check. I thought I would need to dump this brew out but I tasted it first and wow, it is delicious and perfect! No unpleasant tannin at all, just sweet honey! I can see why that shop Garret mentioned uses it for their iced tea!

Mikumofu

You were brave to taste it! I think I’ll give the cold steeping (for a shorter time) a try too, it’s looking to be a warm holiday weekend here!

caile

haha, I was thinking the same as I took the first sip. ;)

I’m actually not sure now if it was this tea or the gaba black that I was steeping, as I had both that day, but oh well, it turned out good whichever one it was.

Nice you are going to try the cold steeping – perfect timing for warm weekend weather – hope you enjoy it!

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79
drank GABA Oolong by Mandala Tea
97 tasting notes

GABA Oolong is like Milk Oolong’s older hipster brother. It has that same grassy sort of creaminess to it but it is more assertive with the bitter finish. Not unpleasant at all but a little too floral for my tastes. I think I have to be in a specific mood for this one as I prefer darker oolongs or milk oolong.

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Grass, Vegetal

Garret

Wow! That must have held up fairly well as we haven’t sold that tea in a couple of years. Nice!!!

graceatblb

Hi Garret!! It did hold up extremely well. It may even be a little bit better. It also kept me quite mellow during a long work day :)

I am also planning a very large Mandala order. I have had my eye on some of the newer ripe pu-erhs. Especially Rama Lama and Temple Stairs.

Garret

Those are both teas I drink tons of! Great to hear from you! Let me know if you have any questions. Grateful, Garret

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94
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
97 tasting notes

Black Gold is one of those teas from Mandala that I bought but never opened. Terrible. But it probably slipped through the cracks when I was on a pu’er kick.

I tried to brew this one in short steeps around a minute or so but this one was made for the morning. A good old kick in the pants before work. A long brew produced one of the best black tea experiences I have had in a long time. It’s malty. It’s chocolaty. Sort of sweet but sort of bitter at the same time. There is a molasses like sweetness to this tea. This will be my every morning tea.

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Grain, Molasses

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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I brewed this in a 140ml unglazed clay teapot
15, 30, 45, 60, 1m30, 2m, 3m

After a rinse, the scent on the gaiwan lid was really interesting. Fruity, spicy, dark and roasty, so many things going on at once. My first infusion was fruity and sweet, really reminding me of hot chocolate. It’s got a subtle spiciness. In later infusions it starts to give up the roasty/chocolate flavor for for a milder sweetness that’s really nice. This one really does live up to the reviews. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some more of this ;)

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Dates, Roasted

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Garret included this in my order as a sample. After the rinse the smell on the lid was intoxicating. Seaweed and honey comes to mind. I definitely taste a milkiness which a really nice. What I like about this tea is it’s floral but not like perfume. Drinking this doesn’t give you that Macy’s perfume section vibe which I notice from greener oolongs. It was good. Not something I’d probably buy (but that’s solely because greener oolongs aren’t really my thing and not because of the quality.)

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Seaweed, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 OZ / 170 ML
Garret

Great to see your review on this. I was drinking this tea all afternoon in the shop yesterday and serving it up for customers. I can’t remember if you also got some of the Big Red Robe from me? That was the other tea I was drinking yesterday. Thanks for writing up your thoughts. Grateful, Garret

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After a rinse, the smell on the gaiwan lid reminds me of chocolate and pomegranate. It’s really a magnificent smell. I stayed pretty close to Garret’s suggestion of tablespoon to a cup of water, adding a bit more. The first infusion was 30s and was disappointingly light. I didn’t really get much flavor. For the second infusion, I decided to drag the steep time out to about 50s. That infusion was not much better. At this point, I’m starting to doubt my brewing method or my tongue. I did a third infusion, giving it maybe 1m30s. Meh.

So, after consulting some tea forums, many people suggest a much higher leaf to water ratio than what I was doing. This time, I filled my gaiwan half way full (sorry about inaccurate measurements, I don’t own a scale)and after doing a flash rinse, infused it for 15s. MUCH BETTER. Sweet, milky, with a heavenly aroma arising from my gaiwan. Infusion two definitely brought out the cinnamon. Of course it’s subtle, and maybe I’m just imagining it, but regardless I am enjoying it.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Roasted, Stonefruits

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 OZ / 170 ML

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Vegetal, floral bitterness and some fruity earthiness; tingly astringency with lingering sweetness. Later steeps become creamy sweet throughout.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BG7mKnUDR3X/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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90
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
333 tasting notes

Another great tea from Mandala. The dry tea has a lovely cocoa-like aroma, and it brews up to be unbelievably silky and smooth, light but substantial. The cocoa notes are a major part of the charm, in addition to a fresh petrichor and mineral notes. It’s not one of those black teas that are big-bodied or particularly malty, but highly worth savoring slowly. I enjoyed this even in spite of the intense summer heat today.

(On that note, I have been at my dream job for two months today—it’s definitely worthy of a nice cup of tea to celebrate!)

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90
drank Milk Oolong Tea by Mandala Tea
333 tasting notes

My, it’s been a while since I’ve tried a new tea…fortunately, this one doesn’t disappoint! Just opening the package gives off a lovely, baked-treats aroma. The tea itself has that same quality to it, less “milk” than “cookies that have a substantial amount of butter in the recipe”, but not overwhelming. As recommended, this was good for multiple infusions, with the fragrance lingering on and becoming more subtle, bordering on floral. The gradual unfurling of the tea from tightly-rolled pellets to unbelievably large leaves is also quite impressive.

I’ve only had milk oolong once before, in a blend where some coconut pieces were added. Even though it was long ago, this tea seems identical to the base of that blend, which I loved at the time. It’s a light tea, gentle as green oolongs go, and ideal for a long afternoon.

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