Mandala Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

88

Okay. I’m bad. Got more Mandala Milk Oolong ‘cause nothing has really beaten it so far. And since I’ve had the Tie Guan Yin and regular Jin Xuan three times already, I wanted to try something different. Thank you for the samples!

Anyway, the tasting notes already on the page accurately describe it. I followed Mandala’s Gong Fu guide- 15 second rinse, then a 30 sec steep adding 15 sec consecutively, then 30 in the last two.

Like Liquid Proust, I’ve had the roasted version of this oolong variety with mixed feelings. Now that it is green, I really enjoy the natural light florals it possesses. Lilac and maybe gardenia are the flowers I’m thinking of, especially like a Tie Guan Yin. But the taste tones down those florals with a creamy texture and buttery vegetal quality. As in, fresh butter and fresh greens and spinach-not the vegetables or cooked vegetables. It is borderline brothy, but too thin for me to really label it that way. Like a lot of other tasting notes, it does have a vanilla quality that is unambiguously vanilla albeit a light vanilla. Marshmallow is also pretty accurate to the sugary smell that emanates from the cuo. As for texture, it is more like marshmallow root than marshmallow candy. Every once in a while, caramel and buttercotch pucker out as it is first poured and as it cools down. I even got a caramel cheesecake taste for where my unsoaked leaves were sitting. Yum.

I knew that I would enjoy this one, but I didn’t realize how much I would like it. This tea is creamy and vegetal the way I like it to be. If you want a crispy, fresh example of a green oolong, I highly recommend this. You might be bored because this is a very subtle tea, but the subtlety of the tea makes it all the better. I also recommend Mandala’s Tie Guan Yin, but I also like this one because it s more toned down on the florals and a little bit creamier in my opinion.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Dry leaf smells spicy, fruity. 195F 1T 8oz
20s steep spice, fruity, and earthy. I should have continued with the flash steeps and not tried to do longer steeps. With short steeps, the tea was yummy, spicy, fruity. I liked it, but you have to watch the time closely. It’s a little finicky.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Spicy

Rasseru

Sometimes my favourite dan cong is heaven with flash steeps but a second or so too long and it messes up. Small window but a great one when you know the tea

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84
drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
115 tasting notes

Thanks to Nicole for the sample!

This is a beautiful tea. The gold and black curled leafs are absolutely gorgeous both dry and wet/unfurled. I didn’t get my smell in the way of the dry leaf (possibly because it was just a sample size as opposed to a bag full) but the wet leaf smelled deliciously malty.

I brewed this first sample taste Western and did 3 steeps of 1,2, and 5. All three steeps were dark and flavorful. Malty and sweet, this tea was close to exactly what I wanted it to be. I would strongly consider buying an ounce or two of this tea.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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99
reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

You need this! 10 minute soak in warm water and my clear glass pitchers, cups, and travel mugs look brand new! Works great with stainless steel, glass, and ceramic products.

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98

2015 batch was my preference over 2014. Depth to the green tea. I love brewing in my 14 oz cast iron tea pot and sipping for hours.

Flavors: Green, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

Such joy to watch these small cones expand. A meditation in itself. Sweet black tea that is likely very to sip.

Flavors: Caramel, Dates, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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94

Floral light tea, perfect for a spring morning or summer evening. Complex floral flavors with each sip.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Slightly sweet black tea that’s great alone or with milk and sugar for those tea sippers. Great base for homemade chai.

Flavors: Sugar, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Dark roasted oolong. I didn’t get the cinnamon notes, felt more toasty and charcoal.

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93
drank Green Gold by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Great green for drinking in the morning or throughout the day. Fun to watch the leaves expand with brewing.

Flavors: Pear, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92
drank Golden Turtle by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Crisp oolong. Great for everyday drinking

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85

Slight bitter yellow tea

Flavors: Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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94
drank Cloud and Mist by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Crisp, bright, light tasting

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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100

Lovely green Puerh. I like a stronger green brew. This gives me an aged bold flavor.

Flavors: Green

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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97

I’m not a big Puerh fan but I’m hooked on this! For those new to this type of tea, there is the right amount of smooth earth flavor and a hint of black tea darkness.

Flavors: Dirt, Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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96

Bright green with depth of flavor. These small snail leaves brew to thick green leaves. A meditation to watch.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Green, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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96
drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Toasty tea with long leaves that impress as they brew.

Flavors: Mineral, Musty, Toasty

Preparation
2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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100
drank Nine Lotus by Mandala Tea
21 tasting notes

Green tea at its finest. One or two leaves and a bud are visible on every leaf. Picked by munis who pray for those who will drink this tea. Smooth, mellow taste. Not grassy nor vegetal. A classic green tea that is sure to wow new and seasoned green tea drinkers.

Flavors: Green

Preparation
3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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50

This is another tea with two listings so I just picked one.

Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. Or, to be perfectly honest, any of the Mandala oolongs I’ve tried. This one is just a bit thin. In taste and mouthfeel. Overleafing/steeping gives a bit more mineral in the brew. There’s a bit of spice and bark but nothing noteworthy. Just a bland brew overall. Tried gong-fu and mug brewing, and both were insipid. Perhaps this was just a poor harvest.

Flavors: Bark, Mineral

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

If i’m ever going to get to 50 teas, i need to get my drink on with my puerh more often. I had been trying to get to at least ONE session a week but that sort of fell by the way side. So today i figured i should try. Pulled this one out because i am a mandala fan and can’t bring myself to use up my special dark. heh. This should make for a very enjoyable morning.

Garret

Too funny to see this just now, Sil! I started my day by climbing the Temple Stairs, too! I make wishes that it made for a good start of your day. Enjoy!

Sil

yay! thanks Garret!

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Going from the Bang Wei to this… utter disapointment. This tea is mouth damaging as it leaves a lingering astringency. Now 2012 Wild Monk was the best stuff as many of us know and I strongly believe that this isn’t the same material being pressed from a different year. Unless a few years changes a cake that much… I feel tricking into expecting a similar product. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have found a cake that I believe is much closer. This just wasn’t pleasant and I used a small amount at lower temperature. Its strong if you want that, but the taste is an undesired one.

tea123

Try more leaf?

Liquid Proust

Absolutely not going to happen. This is not something I enjoyed at 4g and I’m confident in my assessment on it. I’ve had the 2014,2015, and loose… they are all much different than the 2012 and were not very enjoyable. I had to have two different sessions to come to the conclusion with certainty because there is always random elements that could make me have a wrong impression or experience. In this case, I know this tea is not for me.

boychik

Wasn’t my favorite. i thought its only me. i couldnt get past 3 steeps. i used off boil and 5g for 80ml

Liquid Proust

Generally I go lower for harsh sheng so I dropped my temperature a bit… still no luck :/
No worries though, this is only one of many cakes to which all vendors experience; some I hate you, eh, okay, awesome, and thisisgoingtobeadrunknight type of cakes

Cwyn

Drain cleaner sheng. Might be good in a decade though.

mrmopar

Swap you for a bit to try.

Liquid Proust

@ boychik this is why we share, so we don’t feel crazy! @ Cwyn sometimes I imagine you owning a house where each room is host to a specific decade of pottery and tea. @mrmopar I’ll weight out what I have and send it your way (I may have the loose and pressed material)

mrmopar

I have had it in a cart considering it.

Garret

Glad I saw this.

Being from the same exact source area as the 2012 Wild Monk I would expect that this tea will mellow and become closer in character to the 2012 as it packs on some age. Of course the 2012 will change as well and of course, there will be differences in vintages of mao cha. This is why Pu-erh is referred to in China as the older it gets, better the taste/aroma. Ye Sheng cha changes alot in the first few years. It is intensely bitter and astringent in the first few years and then rather suddenly mellows quite a lot but with a lot of character. It’s only somewhat comparable to assamica (traditional pu-erh) in it’s aging as it’s a completely different varietal. Young purple leaf is going to act very differently and many customers are brewing it at green tea temp and up to 195. Give it time…

I will also add that there were plenty of people who thought the same thing about the 2012 Wild Monk at first, some still do. I’m not going to spend my personal money (and a pressing ain’t cheap) to press a tea that isn’t tasted by several people in the know. This 2015 Wild Monk pu’er is one of the hottest selling teas at Cafe’ Steam, a coffeehouse in Rochester, MN.

Different strokes, especially in a young purple leaf sheng. It’s why I write Purple leaf tea is very bitter in the first 2 years. Try a sample first to see if you are tough enough." It’s a whole different animal, this purple leaf stuff. The only thing that makes me not feel poorly after reading your review is that I’ve had all the repeat buys on both the 2014 and 2015 Monk.

Wishing you joy,
Garret

boychik

Garret, I still have some left ( it was a sample, beenghole) what parameters would you recommend ?

Liquid Proust

@Garrett Understood. For me, bitterness and astringency are a massive no no. That is why I rarely drink black tea and have a hard time with sheng because I am really picky. I’ve been drinking a lot of lighter stuff the suites my personal taste preference which will make this taste even harsher. For me, the difference is like tasting a cup of water and then a cup of straight black coffee; I have sensitive taste buds.

Garret

@boychik – Hi!! I’ve been doing a fun thing with the 2014 and 2015 Wild Monk… I do 2 to 3 steeps at 195 for 20 or 30 seconds, then I do one 2 to 3 minute steep at 195 (this will be bolder flavor) after that I’m back to 30 second steeps but with water near or at a boil and the sweetness comes out. The coffeeshops and restaurants we sell to are brewing the wild monk at 195 for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes, depending on the strength desired by the customer. I’d say most customers are brewing both at 195 and digging it that way. I also really love it grandpa style at 175, 180 in my tea thermos. So many ways to skin this cat :) Enjoy!!

tea-junkie

Based on this review and comments, I am going to buy this now. I love my everything strong. Straight black coffee, espressos, single malt scotch, dry as can be red wines. So I will definitely be adding this to my cart.

Garret

tea-junkie, if you are buying, I’ll include samples from whatever vintage of the Wild Monk that you don’t, including some 2012 from my stash so you can see what a few years does to the purple leaf. Also highly recommend the “Bamboogie” and “Heart of the Old Tree” for you. I look forward to knowing your thoughts on them. Grateful,
Garret

tea-junkie

@Garret I will take you up on those samples. I will place my order by this saturday. I actually purchased the “bamboogie” for black Friday and was shipped out when you received the RLBL. I just haven’t gotten to it yet. But I will soon. As for “Heart of Old Tree”, I have a cake of it and I love it. It is an awesome sheng!

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90

This is a really nice sheng. I’m really bad with the tasting notes still, and especially with the shengs which seem very complex and different in every sip! so maybe…. Apple, sweet graham-cracker almost, grape, some autumn hay. Really good!

The Qi also triggered a very strong emotional swelling which I’ve never felt with tea before, including other strong shengs/shous (i’m assuming it’s from the tea, because i’ve eliminated most other possibilities and it seemed to rise and fall along with the energy / caffeine ride).

I will definitely be ordering a cake of this when I get some more money saved up!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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95
drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
5 tasting notes

Boom,

I found my sheng! Either that or I really figured out how to brew this one perfectly. 195 degrees 5/5, 7/7, etc. Took down the temps and steep times a bit. This tea is delicious. Lots of fruit characteristics and no bitter qualities whatsoever. Don’t think I’ll need to order any other Sheng cakes besides these ones for a while! Another great offering from Mandala!

Flavors: Apricot, Pear, Vegetal, White Grapes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
Garret

Oh yes! I’m really happy you enjoy this one. It’s a winner in my book. Thanks for writing up your impressions of our teas, Tyler! I am grateful.

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