Mandala Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

86

-Dry leaves: Medium sized leaves, warm brown with a spicy-sweet aroma. They’re covered in little silver hairs that give them an almost holographic look

-1st steep: Soft yellow infusion with a sweet and savory tastes that lingers in the mouth long after drinking. Unique taste that reminds me of green pepper, accompanied by mineral, molasses, and wet moss notes. Slight bitterness, but still pretty mild.

-2nd and 3rd steeps reveal more sweetness. Notes of muscadine grapes, rich soil, and something reminiscent of white cake.

-Around the sixth steep a menthol/cooling effect becomes noticeable, and a slight mushroomy flavor. Unfortunately the leaves are beginning to loose some of their strength already. I squeezed out ten infusions, but the last few were pretty weak.

-Spent leaves are slender and olive green. Plump stems with less defined veins. A good number of the leaves have browning/damaged edges

-Overall a nice sheng with a good amount of flavor and power, but burns through it’s stamina quickly. Like the other sheng that I’ve tried from Mandala it is fairly mild and has nice a nice cha qi.

Flavors: Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100
reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
444 tasting notes

Today, I finally got around to using this. It works so well. I got tea stains off of two mugs, and two travel mugs. In fact, the only stains left were those where the smart soak didn’t reach. Very glad this works so well.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sweet. Creamy. Really good.

I was distracted by work this morning and let an early infusion go longer than planned. Then all other infusions had to be long, too. I had a couple of really long ones at the end. The last was maybe half an hour…possibly longer…and it was just sweet. So delicious.

KiwiDelight

Woah, this tea is sure endurable.

Sarsonator

Wow, that’s kind of amazing!

Cheri

It was delicious. Not really hot by that point, but it tasted tasty.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I had this one today at work. It’s been a bad week or three so far, crazy busy. I guess it’s not a horrible thing that Steepster has been having issues, because I haven’t been tempted to spend too much time on here.

Anywho, this tea.

I was busy, so I don’t remember a lot. The first few infusions were strong, but kinda sweet. Then it got a lot mellowed, but still delicious. I went from 20s all the way up to 8m before deciding this one was pretty much done.

I liked it a lot. It kept me company. I don’t remember details, because I was too distracted by all the rest of the crud going on here in the office, but I know I really liked it.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

91

This is an excellent sheng puerh with almost no bitterness and notes of honey and apricots. I added a very small amount of sugar to this tea which may have helped bring out these notes. This is extremely good tea. The good news is I called Mandala Tea, they are not near to running out. It will still be there when I get around to another Mandala order. This tea had a nice golden yellow color. The spent leaves have the aroma of apricots.

I steeped this tea 7 times in a 150ml gaiwan with 200 degree water and 6g leaf. I steeped it for 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, and 2 min. There is still more left in these leaves but I have had enough sheng for today.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML
AllanK

Thank You Sarsonator for this sample. It was good.

Sarsonator

Glad you liked it, A! This is actually one of the first shengs I tried. I’m glad to hear that there’s some stock of these cakes because I definitely need more! :)

AllanK

I want one too but it is expensive, I don’t yet know if I will buy one. In any case I plan to wait.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

Got my sampler today! I greatly enjoyed the 2012 Wild Monk maocha that I tried a while back (the leaves in my profile pic came from it) and I’m excited to try the new batch as well as the other offerings.

Dry leaves: Medium-small leaves have a peppery aroma, light brown-green color.

The first steep is very pale and clear. Mild taste with a nice round mouthfeel. Bready rye flavor balanced out by tastes of olive oil, fresh camphor, and a slight nectarine sweetness. Little astringency, bitterness is nearly non-existent.

Second and third steeps reveal more sweetness and tastes of glutinous rice, honeysuckle, and minerals. Cha qi becomes evident in later steeps, and I would consider this tea pretty strong in it. The tea provided me with eleven infusions, and I might have been able to squeeze out one more.

The spent leaves are very attractive. Medium-small size with a few budsets, but mostly single leaves. The leaves are delicate but have nice thick veins and a rounded tip.

Overall this is a nice clean tea with good stamina, but a bit too mild for my tastes. Very similar to Yunnan Sourcings Ailao shengs.

Flavors: Camphor, Honeysuckle, Olive Oil, Rice, Rye, Stonefruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Kirkoneill1988

What does honeysuckle taste like?

tperez

Sort of like honey but lighter and more floral. Hummingbirds love it lol

Kirkoneill1988

interesting :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
77 tasting notes

It has been a while since I’ve had an unflavored black tea and this is a tasty one to come back to. Although I probably shouldn’t be drinking this right before going to bed..

It smells like any other black tea but it’s flavors are much deeper. It has an underlying sweetness and chocolate to it with a nice mouth feel. Not too bitter. I highly enjoyed this and I’m going to resteep those leaves in the morning for my commute.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

This really is a lovely tea :)

Megan

Had it again this morning! Soo good.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I had a nice session this afternoon with this tea. I’m trying to enjoy some good stuff before I travel tomorrow. I’ve got my little travel bag of tea to take with me…all sample sachets that I keep around for such an occasion, but it’s going to be hard to be away from the good stuff!

This tea was very nice. I did one 10-second rinse and then 10/10/15/15/25/25/35/35/45/1:15/1:45/2:30 steeps. Overall, this is a nice and sweet, juicy tea, with some tobacco in early steeps, and later, some sweet grape notes. The tea became a bit bitter in a couple of the early steeps, but the bitterness didn’t stay long…it wasn’t terrible either…reminds me of that pungency you sometimes get when eating artichoke leaves. I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to try the others in the sampler!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

91

A great Shou featured by Mandala in a limited time sampler, very balanced, smooth and mellow, easy to drink from first steep to fourth. Chocolate and malt notes, along with leather and wood in early steeps. I would recommend this to people (like me) that are new to Pu-erh.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Leather, Malt, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

93

My plans for today have been dashed because I’ve been feeling sick all day, though finally feeling better after sleeping too much this afternoon. I thought a nice cuppa would be good and I haven’t reviewed this yet. :)

Lovely tea from Mandala! The leaves are long and lightly colored, and they smell like spicy cinnamon in the bag. I decided to steep this for 60 seconds according to package directions and it is soo yummy. I may have overleafed this slightly but it’s good this way… I got a mild, sweet infusion that is devoid of astringency and perfect to sip on plain. Truly does taste like caramel and I am picking up that cinnamon note in the brewed tea. This is terrific plain but was also good with the addition of some unsweetened soymilk. I’m hoping I feel better tomorrow and a little more energetic. This is yummy, though I haven’t had a bad tea yet from Mandala!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Golden Turtle by Mandala Tea
122 tasting notes

Got this from a while back but only had it a few times. Lovely, buttery texture. Lightly floral and slightly vegetal with a hint of savouriness.

To be honest, since I got this I discovered that I’m not a huge fan of floral notes in my teas (which is why I’m choosing to not rate it). Otherwise, this is an excellent tea for lovers of Anxi tieguanyin. Personally, I find it a bit too green for my taste, but I’m glad to have tried it. I do like the texture.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
556 tasting notes

I got this as a sample in my last Mandala order. I don’t remember when that was, but it’s been a while. 5 pearls. I put them all in my larger mug and steeped it for 2 minutes. Took the steeper out. Then forgot about the tea. So I’m drinking it now luke-warm and I cannot say that I like it at all. I added milk and sugar and it did not improve. There is just something that’s triggering the face scrunch when I drink it. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

Avast!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

78

This tea was not bad and not great either. It had strong notes of camphor but they were not overpowering or unpleasant. It also had strong sour notes as well. These persisted throughout all four steepings and were quite prevalent. If you like camphor and don’t mind sour notes this tea might be for you. The next time I brew this I will try 190 degree water and see if the sour notes are less strong. Perhaps the tea will lose the sour notes as it ages.

I brewed this four times in a 207 ml Taiwan Clay Teapot with boiling water and 8g leaf. I steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, and 15 sec.

Flavors: Camphor, Sour

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 207 OZ / 6121 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

97

Brewed Western-style. 15 second rinse. Steeping times: 30 sec, 45, 60, 120, 300.

The wet aroma smells sweetly of fresh leather, and then of creamy chocolate mousse as the leaf cools. The liquor is consistently full-bodied, thick, and sweet. The first infusion is very sugary, tasting of maple syrup. Underneath, mushrooms. A peppery finish. The second infusion – my favorite – has a wonderfully creamy texture. Sweet again, but with dark bitterness like hot cocoa. I shared this cup with my non-tea drinking dad, who liked it (seems he like shou in general).

The creaminess disappears in the third infusion, which has a distinctive leathery note. In the fourth infusion the mushrooms and pepper return, and there is also a musty note. I can’t say anything about the fifth infusion because I drank it after I ate, like, 15 handfuls of chocolate Lucky Charms. But at that point I think the leaf was overworked anyway.

This was from the shou sampler. Man, I wish I got some of this when I made my larger order a couple weeks back. I like it so much more than the 2011 blend.

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

Yay someone else who likes shou western :)

I still need to try this one!

KiwiDelight

So far I’ve been drinking all of Mandala’s shou with Western. My gut says Special Dark is best that way but I’ll experiment with the others I have.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

97

From the Lewis and Clark TTB.

Brewed Western-style. Steeping times: 30 sec, 45, 60, 90, 120.

The wet leaf aroma of has notes of earth, portobello mushrooms, and bread. The first infusion yields a reddish brown broth with a light earth note. In the subsequent infusions, the color changes to that of coffee, the earth is stronger (though not as strong as in other shu I’ve had), and a woody taste comes forth. Creamy and full-bodied in each cup.

Rich in spite of the lightness. Eat something substantial and not just an English muffin before you drink this, folks – it might briefly give you nausea.

I wish I could go beyond tasting earth and wood…at least I know I like it!

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sipdown of the 2012 batch.

Tastes different from the cake form. Some notes seem stronger, in some way, but other notes (like the light smokiness) seem to have disappeared. Still pleasantly sweet and crisp. I think I prefer the cakes, but this is still very good!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

81

I got this in my Ripe Pu-erh sampler from Mandala. It has a wonderful complex earthiness, hints of leather, cream and oak. I did a 15 second rinse followed by a 15 second steep, 30 seconds and so on. I liked this sample, but Phatty cake is still my favorite – that may simply be by virtue of being my “first”. I would like to try this again, I started it late in the day and only got 2 steeps. :-(

Flavors: Cream, Earth, Leather, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89

Nice big golden leaves that fill your mouth up with caramelie goodness. Leaves a slightly but not unpleasant dry mouth feel afterwards. This tea is not woodsy or grassy at all, but is instead more like dark honey, sour cherry, or a smooth liquor. It tastes as if it should be drunk while wearing a silk robe while sitting in a red leather chair with mahogany wood floors. I’ve always imagined it as a suave, luxury tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

I bought an ounce of this not expecting much because it was a cheaper tea ($4.50 an ounce) but I really enjoy this tea! I am a big fan of Keemun black tea and this is very similar. I believe the Chinese have the best black tea. This one does not disappoint, I trust this source being that it comes from Yunnan. All high quality Yunnan black tea have a honey/sweet potato taste, this one has this plus a very light smokiness.

Flavors: Honey, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

Very relaxing green tea. Its very light and high quality. An everyday type of green tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

98
drank GABA Oolong by Mandala Tea
30 tasting notes

I was very impressed with this tea, its a very complicated tea in that it produces many different floral notes using the gaiwan. It was a medium oxidized tea which I found it was a nice balance. Very high Quality and relaxing beverage. I haven’t tried every sing oolong tea but this one is my favorite.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

From the unflavored TTB.

I was using this oolong to test out my new gaiwans and wasn’t sure what to expect. The floral is light – jasmine/honeysuckle – but a bit of almost savory and spice element to it with a sweet vibe in the background. I’m more partial to a more floral or heavier oxidized oolong, but I found colored species to be a fun sip.

BTW, the leaves are intact and HUGE. Just like Mandala’s milk oolong. My gaiwan was quickly an explosion of giant leaves.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp

Login or sign up to leave a comment.