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Recent Tasting Notes
This is by far my favorite oolong tea. Its very floral and refreshing. Its like taking a sip from the fountain of youth and savoring every moment. This has to be one of top oolong tea from Mandala and best oolong I have had. The only reason why I do not give it a 99 is because I get about 7 flavorful cups from the gaiwan out of this, but well worth the money.
This is a sample I got from Mandala a while back. I’ve been drinking more of my shus lately, they definitely seem to be a wintertime tea for me.
As others mentioned this still has a bit of the fermentation flavor left but it doesn’t bother me much. Also I think the tea has a slight aroma of roasted grain and coffee. It’s a very dark shu as well. As far as flavors go, I am getting cocoa with a slight bitter taste like buckwheat. It’s smooth but a little rough around the edges still, could benefit from a bit of aging I think but overall this is a nice tuocha. If you steep it for very short period of time, like 5 seconds, you don’t get much bitterness. I don’t find many mini tuos I am overly fond of drinking but I would consider getting some of these once I can support my tea habit again :)
a nice and mellow tea! :D
when I smell the leaves dry, it smells floral.
when I smell the leaves wet, it smells like spinach.
when I smell the brewed tea, it smells lightly like spinach then after it has sit a little while it smells like flowers
when I taste the brewed tea, it tastes like honey with just a tad hint of flowers.
many thanks to mrmopar for this amazing tea!
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Honey, Spinach
Backlog: I got a small amount of this tea on my last Mandala order. Some of the older raw Pu-erh’s have a good energy buzz and yesterday I needed that.
Dry it smelled really mushroomy . I had to let my cat Amber smell the bag to see if she would like it like Chairman does. No deal. She was not interested. Darn!
I used 10 grams with 8 oz. Two quick rinses. First brewing was really strong. Only 15 sec at 200F but it had a strong woodsy, mushroomy flavour. A bit of smoke. I could detect the stone fruit in there as well. A very robust cup. Not my favourite but okay.
2nd infusion was for 20 sec. Already the smoke was becoming less as well as the mushroom.
By the fourth infusion it was much more to my taste. The stone fruit coming through much stronger with only light mushroom notes and hardly any smoke left.
I had a cup this morning too and it keeps getting better.
This tea does have good Cha Qui. Yesterday it helped pick me up and keep me focused. I am finding the hearty shengs seem have the better Cha Qui although for each sheng the energy is different. I prefer not to stick a rating on this one right now as my tastes change over time and it could become a favourite. For now I am finding it a bit strong but next time I have it will use less tea.
Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms, Smoke, Stonefruits
This was a sample that I received with one of my Mandala orders.
This is obviously a high quality tea, but it’s not to my tastes. This is too green for me. I preferred the earlier steeps to the later ones. I also preferred it at a lower temp – about 85C. The later steeps became sort of floral/vegital definitely reminded me of a green tea or a light oolong. I’m way more of a dark kind of girl.
This is really smooth, not bitter, not rough, not astringent. For those who like the lighter teas this is one to check out. Its just not my style.
Thanks Garret for the experience.
Its not a first time try. I wonder why i didnt log it. I thought i did.
Anyways, since its not a new tea i made it in my Yixing. i decided to use more than usual because i think my Yixing “steals” some flavors.
its great tasting shou and its really hit the spot.
Okay, so once again I’m trying to match wrappers of the mini tuochas from the variety pack with those online and…there are some similar to this, listed as 2011, but the wrappers I have include the same markings, but are different in color and have a 2007 date on them. Hmmm. So, I made a new tea page for it. Anyway, this is a solid ripe mini tuo. Nice and earthy and smooth. Nothing too remarkable, but easy to drink. :)
This is a tale of two teas, or at least two different approaches to the same tea. As an experiment, I tried Morning Sun twice on the same day, both times following Mandala’s recommendations, but once in a gaiwan and once Western style. The dry leaves, BTW are just lovely – an attractive mix of gold and dark curls and with a smokier tang than I expected. The gaiwan version (1 tsp, 208°, rinse/1’/2’/4’) was smoky but not too much with a slight sweetness at the back. Predictably, it faded by the third steep. The Western version (~2 tsp, 208°, 3½’) was the same but more so. I found this brew richer, softer, and with the smoke perfectly balanced with the sweet undertone. When I have the leisure to do so, I usually prefer gaiwan drinking. This one is a solid mugful.
Flavors: Honey, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet
time for a full review:
when i smell the leaves dry, it smells musty with a hint of jasmine
when i smell the leaves wet, it smells like strong jasmine.
when i smell the brewed tea, it smells like strong jasmine too
when i taste the brewed tea, it tastes very good with honey and jasmine flavor
many thanks once again to mrmopar for this tea :)
Flavors: Honey, Jasmine, Musty
I had to use cheese cloth and some plastic to tie it up to steep the tea as I lost the strainer to the pitcher. I don’t know if it altered the taste or not but grandma says it doesn’t.
time for a full review:
when I smell the leaves dry, it smells musty and nice
when I smell the leaves wet, it smells smoky
when I smell the brewed tea, it smells smoky and spicy.
when I taste the brewed tea, it tastes quite smoky and very spicy.
this tea has a peachy after taste
many thanks to mrmopar for this awesome tea :)
Flavors: Musty, Peach, Smoke, Spicy
This sample is part of the Ripe Puer sampler I got from Mandala teas a while back. I drank it prior to writing this review (I usually drink tea while writing the review), so I can’t say too much about it in specific detail.
Shu Puer is a strange category to me in that I find most of them to be mediocre. They rarely have really distinguishing qualities and often taste rather similar to me. Further, they have never really “wowed” me yet, but this is what I like about them. They are easy to drink without giving too much attention to them. They are gentle and comforting, mild.
I will say this one didn’t have any real mustiness or leatheriness to the flavor. It was mild and easygoing all around and rather enjoyable. However it lacked any notes that really stood out. It got a little sweet in later infusions.
This is an all around good Puer to have if you want to drink tea casually and relaxed, perhaps with some conversation.
After drinking water for most of the day, I made a cup of this, western-style. The first oddity was that I drank water for most of the day. The second oddity was that I made this western-style, steeping for four minutes instead.
It was pleasant, but not big on flavor. Perhaps I did not use enough leaf, or perhaps this would be better with a gong-fu brewing.
Ohhhhhhh wow. This is freaking amazing. SO sweet (I could smell the sweetness while it was brewing!), light, malty, a bit of chocolate, but SO MUCH sweet. But that perfect sort of delicious sweet that’s not cloying or anything, just really decadent. And the tea is so smooth, too. A serious treat. Agh. I envision a solid Mandala order in the future, because so far, I’ve been very impressed. I believe I’ve had varying teas from golden tips/buds before, but nothing like this. And I even oversteeped this, based on my typical parameters.
Thanks for sharing all these absolute gems with me, Sil!
There are a few of these in the variety pack and I enjoyed my first today as an afternoon session. The little tuo is tightly compressed and more acorn-shaped, which I think caused the first steep to be too light in flavor. In the second steep, however, the leaf broke up and produced a dark liquor. This one might benefit from some time to open up between the rinse and the first steep.
The taste was very earthy, with some leather, some whole grain toast and in later steeps, some wood notes. The aroma was amazing, sweet, and caramel-like. The only thing I didn’t like was that the tea left this sediment quality sticking to my tongue. I wish it had been smoother. Overall though, I’ll be enjoying the rest of these. :)
This is the last of the sample that Dexter sent my way, and I’ll probably order more soon, ‘cos it’s just so good.
So far I’ve done three solid steeps, and I’m gonna go for another in a minute. Nutty, creamy, and a bit of chocolate. Steep two, I’ll admit, I added a bit of creamer, just to see and it turned into delicious sweet milk chocolate.
Thanks Dexter for sharing!
I received a few of these in the mini tuocha sampler from Mandala and am having this one as my first cup of the day (or few cups). Yes, it is 1:30 here, but I have been having a slow, relaxing morning of Christmas shopping on Etsy haha, and finally decided to make some tea to continue shopping with, start some laundry, and continue watching the football semi finals.
To be honest I didn’t really smell the tuocha dry, but the whole bag has an earthy, slightly barnyard like scent, so I imagine this one would have had that too, they all meld together in terms of smell in the bag! I also cannot get over how darn cute the mini tuochas are :) haha, I did a 25s rinse and then steeped for 15s, the directions recommend steeping a minute with an even shorter rinse, but the tea is coffee black after only 15s! Mmm it smells caramelly and sweet and cozy. I believe I have had temple stairs in loose form as it was a free sample in my first Mandala order, but I didn’t review it on here I don’t think.
As for the flavor, ahhh this is so good. For how dark the tea is, this has not translated to the flavor in that it is not strong. It is so smooth and mellow, a bit more caramelly than Noble Mark, but a similar flavor. I do recall the loose version tasting different than this one, although I don’t remember in which ways. There is a light kind of grainy earthy flavor in there as well, adding a slight almost savory note. The caramel is more on the brown sugar side too. Not much cocoa yet to me, but the sweetness with the earthy smoothness is just wonderful.
I feel a calm sense of warmth coming over me as well :) as it cools the earthy grain notes (slightly barnyard like in flavor, but in a really good way) come out a bit stronger, making this a warm, comforting cup. It’s lightly snowing outside, and this is just what I need to hibernate inside and enjoy the day.
Later steepings were energizing and just as delicious. The smooth brown sugar notes continued, and I might have one more cup tonight :) Overall, another delicious pu’erh from Mandala!
Flavors: Barnyard, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Grain, Smooth
This is an excellent tea, very tasty. The steepster write up says leather and stonefruits as to notes. I won’t substantially disagree although the note they mean as leather I might have described differently. I suppose leather is as good a description as any though. I brewed this tea western style because I don’t have time for gongfu sessions before work in the morning. It is still quite good.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 6.4g leaf and boiling water for 30 sec.
Flavors: Leather, Stonefruits
The flavor profile of this tea is quite good, sweet and fragrant. The aroma of the dry leaves is positively enticing, it is incredible. Sometimes Jasmine Tea smells far better than it tastes. This one tastes nearly as good as it aroma suggests. I bought a one ounce sample of this and may buy more with my next order, or at least the next time Mandala has a sale.
I brewed this once in an 18 oz teapot with 2.25 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 1 min.
Garret included this as a free sample in my last order. Thank you! I enjoyed a nice long session with them. Notes I could detect included leather, earth, and bread. This is truely an everlasting gobstopper tea. The nuggets still looked held-together even though I was tired of steeping them! That is, assuming they’re supposed to come apart…not sure as this was my first nugget tea. Very cool.