Mandala Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

81

Thanks to Mandala for the sample!
This is a very complex cup.. When it’s hotter, it tastes more buttery and creamy and as the tea cools, it transforms into a slight roasty/nutty flavor. It tastes like a nice green oolong. My only complaint is that I’m finding it heavy to drink, so it might be better savored in smaller portions.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Nuts, Roasted

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
TeaBrat

This is a yummy tea!

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86

Thanks to Mandala for the sample :)
I love jasmine green teas and this is no exception. Unlike other phoenix pearls that I have had, these are not over-scented with jasmine, creating a smooth, floral flavor. These are much better than other pearls that I’ve had!

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88

This is a fantastic tea. It has a touch of bitterness coupled with some sweet grassy notes. it is aging nicely, I’d say.

mrmopar

A year from now we will swap samples on this. I have one aging in the old pumidor.

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90
drank Green Gold by Mandala Tea
133 tasting notes

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90
drank Green Gold by Mandala Tea
133 tasting notes

This is a delicious green.. The leaves remind me of Clouds and Mist. The tea brews up to a soft yellow/green (or Green Gold? heh). The taste of the tea is sweet, buttery, slightly vegetal… and amazing :) This is definitely one to restock!

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Garret

The farm where this is grown is absolutely gorgeous! It was such a treat to hike up the mountain alongside a stream in order to get there. Once I arrived, I was invited into the Wang’s home where they made this tea, having just been processed the day before. Now when I drink it, I am transported back to the lovely day, the smell of the forest, the food, the tea. I’m so happy you are enjoying it.
With gratitude,
Garret

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Part of the box from Sil were some bits and pieces I ordered from Mandala and Butiki. I just added to her order because it was easier. :D Thank you!

So I have this new tea pot, right? And it’s precious and tiny. I let it soak all day in a bath of steeped mixed random bits of shou, and tonight I’ve made up half a not-so-mini tuocha. The pot is only 100ml, so a whole one would be too much!

I’m on my 5th steep now, and it’s pretty perfect. Nice mellow flavourful tea, even with the short steeps. The only issue I’m having is that the lid of the pot doesn’t seem as tight now that I’ve soaked it, so I’m splashing a bit when I pour the tea! But the flavours and everything are excellent. I’m getting some mineral, and I’m pretty sure that’s from the pot.

Yum. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

this was my puerh for the day – working from home i try to get at least one in. We’re coming down to crunch time for my trip so i really need to get a few more sipdowns in quickly! not that i really have many, but even a focus on puerh has been good. this is quite pleasant and very enjoyable. all that aside, i need to figure out which raw puerh i want to keep in my cupboard since i generally prefer ripe. :)

MzPriss

I like this one

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86

a raw puerh that i can get behind. I picked up a sample of this with my last order from Mandala based on some of the reviews here. I’m happy to report that this one doesn’t disappoint. While it’s a little vegetal as raw are to me, there is also very much a sweetness here as well as a stone fruit sort of taste..like apricots but not quite apricots. there’s a litle bitterness with this one, but keeping the temperatures cooler helped to even that out for me. Not something i need to keep in my cupboard because it’s not something i see myself gravitating towards BUT i’m glad i have a few more sessions with it as i’ll enjoy them quite a bit on those times i Do want a raw.

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89

I can’t believe I haven’t logged this one yet. It’s so good! I only steeped it for 30seconds in a huge 14oz cup, and the result is just sweet, and amazing just slightly earthy. I’ll have to do a better review of this later, when I didn’t drink the cup while I was playing minecraft and not note all the incredible flavours.

Also, I should restock on Mandala teas some time in the next few months! :O

Sil

before you do let me know… i’ve got to get down to my goal but i wan to place an order.

Cavocorax

I’ll try to remember! It prob won’t be in the near future as I still have a few samples of theirs to try!

Sil

and uh….maybe a few more at my place lol

Cavocorax

/0\ (thanks!)

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84
drank 2009 Yi Wu Ripe by Mandala Tea
6149 tasting notes

this was another i ran through today. YAY for a great day of actually getting to spend time with my puerh. I’m hoping to get one of these in every week if i can work from home at least one day a week and get in to a routine. This was another that i thoroughly enjoyed and didn’t come from dexter haha. I agree with allank that this was heavy on the fermentation but it was a smooth dark delicious cup every time. Sadly this was finished up earlier this afternoon so all i remember is being super glad that it went on for a while haha.

Final Count: 118

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85
drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
84 tasting notes

I judged this one incorrectly before I drank it…I read the descriptions on here and figured I wouldn’t like it, as smoky doesn’t really seem to be my thing. I was wrong, as I really enjoyed the smokiness, and I didn’t find it overwhelming at all. It’s a thick tea, with decent strength…nice for the morning, as the name indicates. Thanks for this sample, Nicole…great to broaden my horizons!

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78
drank 2013 Autumn Song Mao Cha by Mandala Tea
6149 tasting notes

A sample from Garrett in my last order. I thought that i’d had this one before but i guess not? this one is a little too much like green tea for me. It’s a much more vegetal puerh. While it’s not BAD, it’s just not for me. I much prefer mandala’s wild monk :)

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72
drank Osmanthus Oolong by Mandala Tea
648 tasting notes

Taken from the Teeny Tiny TTB!

I’m so excited bc my roommate made me take her rice out and stashed behind her rice, I FOUND MY TEA SCALE AND A BAG OF TEAS FROM ROUND TWO OF THE TTTTB AND I WAS SO EXCITED AHHHHH

I figured I’d try this tea. I heard about osmanthus before, but I’ve never actually had it. it’s interesting? I don’t think it’d be a flavour I’d really seek out though. I taste a slight butteriness to it. Osmanthus is just… so strange?? I’ll drink the rest of it, but I don’t think I’ll really reach for this tea in the future.

Flavors: Butter

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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86
drank 2014 Jingmai Raw by Mandala Tea
177 tasting notes

From the sheng and shou TTB (10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s steeps). 2 grams in 2 oz.

Lovely nose: I think floral, but can understand people calling it apple or apricot. This is a very nice tea in a light style: slightly acidic with layers of light flavors. Good cha qi. As it cools, there is a darker edge. 2nd steep: Mild, slightly grassy aroma. The taste starts woody, but an undercurrent develops that starts like citrus but quickly becomes a different kind of fruit. It’s hard to separate the taste from the qi: I think I’d enjoy just about anything when I feel this good.

4th, 5th steeps: I was just about set to buy this, but suddenly the taste just went away!. Bland. 6th(2m): Soapy.

I don’t know what happened. I was really enjoying this tea, but it just quit on me. It is probably a fair value just based on the first three steeps, but the disappointment from the later steeps kind of put me off. I gave it a fairly high rating because the first three steeps were really pleasant. You have to enjoy the lighter style of pu-erh; if you like power, look elsewhere.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
mrmopar

Jingmai can be a light alsmost “citrus” note to it sometimes. I have on locked away in the pumidor and I will be interested to see how it is a few years from now.

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82
drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
76 tasting notes

I’m tasting tobacco on the breath out. Way better than any morning cigarette I’ve ever had.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Tobacco

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89
drank Dark Beauty by Mandala Tea
152 tasting notes

Since I found Black Beauty hiding among my samples, I wanted to try MzPriss’s intriguing blend of Black Beauty and Special Dark. I have mixed feelings about SD. It’s a little too intense for me, which means I usually add cream and sugar to it—a TON of sugar by my standards, or else I’m left with a charred taste in my mouth. SD has excellent qi, though, so I drink it to keep my bones warm during the winter. I never feel cold when I leave the house with a tea buzz!

For this blend I used 13-14oz of water. I combined about 3/4 of a tablespoon of SD and 2 teaspoons of BB in my infuser basket, then rinsed for 5 seconds. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes. You guys. You guys!! This really good. It’s thick and decadent like chocolate cake. There’s an earthiness to it and the mild taste of stone fruits—presumably from the BB. The deep, resonant dark chocolate notes are backed by a syrupy honey-caramel sweetness. It’s not at all bitter, though the brew is very intense. (I mean VERY.) It leaves the taste of chocolate cake in my mouth with rich, roasted overtones. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was “…coffee?!” No, it doesn’t quite taste like coffee. It’s better than coffee. It’s the deep intensity and the roasted qualities of the tea that bring it to mind. As expected, my entire body is warm. Even my feet—and my feet are always cold. I feel like I could walk out in 40 degree weather with a t-shirt and stay warm for at least five or ten minutes. At least until the tea buzz wore off! I definitely need to brew some of this for my boyfriend. I’m desperately trying to convert him from coffee to tea, and I think this might help my case. Fingers crossed. Mua ha ha ha ha.

Flavors: Cake, Caramel, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick

Dexter

Thank you for reminding me of this amazing combination – I’m taking inspiration from this and making myself a cup (or three…)

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91
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
63 tasting notes

This is a backlog note from tea time yesterday afternoon.
I brewed this up for a friend of mine and myself, filling our two 16 oz mugs by doing many 6-8 oz steeps of a single teaspoon of this tea, starting with 30 seconds and going up 10 with each steep. She had asked for something sweet, and also buttery, so I shoved her nose in this bag and she lit up at the smell.
The compounded steeps were incredible! Intensely sweet; buttery, thick, and a touch vegetal (granted, my last steep was over 2 minutes). What a way to drink this tea! Honestly, 16 oz was a little too much, especially because thee sweetness keeps building up layers on your tongue, it was quite pungent by the end.
Deliciousness!

Flavors: Butter, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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91
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
63 tasting notes

Steep after steep. The old sweet ‘n’ creamy getting me through this Saturday of comps…

TeaBrat

you inspired me to drink this :)

Equusfell - It is happy-making!

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91
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
63 tasting notes

Wow, does the leaf has a strong scent! From far away it is cotton candy sweet and with your nose in the back it is pure buttered popcorn, maybe a little coconutty.
First infusion: 195 F, 20 seconds. Maybe I steeped a little light (only western style is available to me), but the sensation of the creaminess of chewing on unflavored coconut is filling my mouth! There is a very slight edge of toastiness, like I’m eating a coconut macaroon. Soooo good! The sweetness is not as strong as the Tea Ave magnolia oolong I reviewed last week, but still very present and lingering for a short time.
Second infusion: 195F, 20 secs. The leaves have unfurled now, and I’m smelling a few more vegetal notes, like collards in butter. Overall the whole tea is much more buttery, and the sweetness lingers a little longer. Vague astringency exists as this cools.
Third infusion: 195F, 45 secs. The butter is now balanced with the sweet and vegetal, like sweet cream butter over fresh spring peas. Very flavorful cup.
Fourth infusion: 195F, 1 min. The buttery-ness is fading a this point, but still around. The sweet is showing more of its face, but overall the flavor is simplifying. Oh, sweetness, you are my friend. This infusion is much more like my other milk oolongs. I think I like it more solely based on a familiarity bias.
I will be taking these leaves home with me to cold brew, and will report back.
Update: Cold brewed, this teas smells quite sweet. It is actually kind of strange, since the butter flavor is back, and cold butter, especially when it feels like it is coating your mouth, is not the most pleasant sensation. I don’t know if I will cold brew this regularly, it was good for a few sips, but the 12 ounces I had were too much for one sitting.

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Peas, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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87
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
152 tasting notes

This was a sample in my last Mandala order! I can’t believe it took me this long to try it.

Method:
2tsp/10oz
Preboiling
Rinse: 5sec
First steep: 1min 30sec
Second steep: 1min 45sec
Third steep: 2min

Wow, this tea is intensely sweet! I usually add a smidge of sugar to my cup but the first steep was almost too sweet to drink. It has a very soft, smooth texture. It’s silky without a hint of astringency. The tea is gently floral, medium bodied, and has the taste of both honey and dark chocolate. There is also the suggestion of fruit but it isn’t fully developed yet. It really emerges in the second steep as a thick, jammy sort of flavor that’s like stone fruit and apricot. Cocoa and roast are the notes that follow. This tea is also earthy in a way that’s herbaceous—not like wood, or leaves, or mushrooms. It leaves a mineral note on my tongue after sipping. There are similarities between this tea and a high quality Keemun, but it lacks the characteristic smoky notes and is more honey/caramel than sweet potato. In my final steep cocoa, roast, and apricot are the dominant notes. There is a delicious syrupy caramel-honey finish that makes my tongue tingle like I’m sipping something carbonated. That completely caught me off guard. I’ve only experienced it maybe once, or twice with different teas. It has an indescribable “bubbliness” to it. Mineral and stone fruits remain in the aftertaste, though my tongue is still tingling. This tea was absolutely delightful! I’ll have to pick some up in my next order.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Grain, Herbaceous, Honey, Jam, Mineral, Roasted, Smooth, Stonefruits

Terri HarpLady

I’m missing this tea from my collection, having polished off the last of it a few weeks ago. I think I feel a Mandala order coming soon, because this is a black tea to truly love!

Sil

i REALLY want another mandala order aslong with a few others but i’m REALLY trying to wait…not to mention i have my most recent mandala order waiting to be opened for when i gt get a few more teas cleared…though i’m sharing a bunch of mandala with courtney this week so that will mean an order sooner mwahahahaha

Terri HarpLady

mwahahahaha

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72
drank Dehong Mao Cha 2013 by Mandala Tea
212 tasting notes

Thanks again, Garret, for the sample!

This mao cha has a heavy smell of smoke, or smoked meat. After a rinse there are some green vegetal notes coming through in the aroma and still a good amount of smokey smell.

The taste of the first infusion is a bit light, a bit of a tart fruit like flavor, reminds me of the smell of hedge apples or the taste of an underripe pear.

By the second infusion, the leaves have released some sweet citrus aromas and a bit of floral. This cup tastes more buttery and citrusy, and smells a little smokey still. As the tea cools there are hints of anise and pepper in the flavor.

The third infusion has a sort of alcohol taste in the aftertaste. I can’t decide if it’s like having a dry white wine or more like hops in a beer, but it’s one of those. There’s still a bit of smokiness as well.

The fourth infusion is a little creamy with wood notes and smoke.

Overall, this tea has a lot of changes from one infusion to the next. It isn’t really the type of flavor spectrum that I seek out, but it’s an interesting tea nonetheless. It seems like one that might age well.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Pepper, Smoke, White Wine, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

i liked this one a lot

cookies

Ooh, sounds lovely. I love me some smoky sheng.

mrmopar

Yep +1 on the smoky. I don’t mind it when its not smacking you in the face but subtle smoke.

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I chose this as my first tea to try out of my AMAZING box from Dexter (THANK YOU!). Since she thinks so highly of this tea, I had to give it a try… and I am so very glad I did!
It’s so roasty and full bodied…so rich and decadent.
There are honey notes and almost fruity qualities, too… It really is just absolutely marvelous. Tobacco and dark roast coffee I’m also picking up… So good!!
Yup. This is getting added to my restock list. :)
I can’t thank Dexter enough for sending some my way to try!!

ETA: After my second steep in my gaiwan, I had to go fold some laundry. During this break between steeps, I really noticed the chocolate note left in my mouth… It’s really fantastic! yes… definitely purchasing this one at some point. :)
I can’t thank Dexter enough for sending some my way to try!!

Dexter

YAY!!!!! This is my favorite dark oolong and it always makes me happy when others like it too. :))

DeliriumsFrogs

OH, it’s Soooo good, Dex! I made sure to write it down on a paper list in my tea drawer with the heading “RESTOCK!” lol. It really is just absolutely delicious.

TeaExplorer

Sounds great! I added it to my wish list.

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90

Thanks, Garret, for the sample!

An initial rinse of these dark leaves reveals a very fresh, cool scent that smells like sweet dough and mineral. There’s also a nice scent of petrichor, the smell of the air when it rains. A very faint hint of vanilla whispers by.

The first infusion brings out more aromas, this time of sweet cocoa and hooka smoke. The infusion is a gorgeous dusty rose color. The flavor is very delicate and sweet. It doesn’t have the mustiness of a lot of ripe Puer teas. There’s a cooling sensation or hui-gan that stays in my mouth long after finishing the sip.

After the second infusion, not surprisingly, I’m getting rose on the nose. I felt something very “rosy” about this tea. Apparently it’s not just the color. By this infusion, the brew is a deeper color, reddish. The flavor is not as sweet this time. It’s got a bit of wood or leather quality to it now, but it is still very smooth and enjoyable. It really leaves a lasting taste in the mouth. There’s a very buttery flavor that coats the gums. You can lick it off of them and taste it very distinctly, an interesting quality I’ve never noticed in a tea before.

The third infusion is rich and again somewhat sweet. It’s mellow. This is the cleanest tasting ripe Puer I have tried.

I pushed my 4th infusion a little bit longer to see what this would taste like with a stronger brew. I’m not noticing anything different. It has consistently good flavor. In fact, I think it tasted better when brewed a bit more delicately.

This is a very enjoyable Puer tea and a milder one. Some ripe Puer tea I’ve had that was mellower tasted bland and uninteresting, but this one is truly relaxing and shines in its subtlety. This is exactly the right kind of tea I’d need to relax after a long day.

Flavors: Mineral, Pastries, petrichor, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Garret

Your pleasure is my pleasure. Thanks for writing up your thoughts on this, my friend. In regard to your gongfu question via email – you are on the exact track. There are no rules. Following ones heart and being with each sip is, in my opinion, the most important part of gongfu anything :)

You’ve got this. You always have.

with gratitude,
Garret

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drank Lapsang Souchang by Mandala Tea
629 tasting notes

This is a nice cup of tea. It is a lighter smoked Lapsang but definitely a smoked one. The smokiness was a little too strong for me so I added some unflavored non dairy creamer to it.

I brewed this once in a 20oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 1 min.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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