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Recent Tasting Notes
Phatty cake, phatty cake how I love saying phatty cake.
I had a sample of this from the time when Mandala was having its shou sampler set (In 2014 IIRC). Unfortunately for me this one was forgotten and neglected in its plastic baggie at the back of my tea box. After surviving through two moves and an equal number of years in a ziplock bag the flavors were slightly muted. I still get whisps of the wonderful flavours other reviewers have described but I definitely should have tried reviving it first by reintroducing some humidity. Still a good tea, but I wish I had enjoyed it sooner.
The bag was not marked with the year, so I just guessed that it was this entry considering that this is the one that is on the website (I think). So I hope this is in the right place.
This smells really earthy, and I was a little worried that it was going to taste “too” earthy for me. This was not the case, the earthy mushroom notes were there, but not overwhelming. There was also sweet, creamy notes. I found there to be a slight wood aftertaste. Delicious. It resteeps very well. The second steep was 6min, and then I forget after that.
On to the wish list it goes.
I drank this tea all day while working from home. It was a cold, rainy day, and this shu was both warming and energizing. While I like the loose version of this shu, for some reason the cake seems to be much more to my liking. Actually, this one is definitely one of my all time favorite shupus. The smoothness is just unparalleled. I must get a cake.
This went over amazingly well with both myself and my fiancee. What’s interesting is that she picked up flavors of coconut and mango (perhaps pineapple) while I got primarily butter and cream mixed with sweet asparagus. We both really enjoyed it and will be ordering this one again.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Pineapple
I didn’t think I would like this when I smelled the smokiness of the wet leaves. The roast seemed a bit strong for me. And I’m very congested from a sinus infection, so I couldn’t get anything subtle out of it like cinnamon notes. Still, I enjoyed drinking this tea with a little bit of sugar. I don’t think I’d buy it again, but I was glad to try it.
The smokiness is pretty strong — if it were even a little bit stronger, I think I’d find this undrinkable. So I’m probably never going to like dark roast oolongs. It’s a good tea, but I don’t know if I really gave it a fair shot with all the congestion. So I’ll hold off until I drink the last of it to give it a number score. I’d like to be able to detect a little cinnamon, at least.
Flavors: Roasted, Smoke
So I cold brewed this overnight. I’ve also had it hot. It is good hot, but it is great cold brew. It is amazingly refreshing. It develops a very sweet note with a hint of vegetal and honey. It brews pretty much no color cold. I was surprised to pull it out of the fridge and see no color. I expected it to have no flavor. I was very wrong. I think I will keep cold brewing this especially when summer comes around. You have to try this cold brew at least once.
Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Vegetal
After softening up the long, spindly leaves, and taming the more enzymatic aromatics, this turned into a surprisingly clean and peachy tea (the peach note pops out much more around the second steeping). The leaves are absolutely beautiful unfurled. I was given a sample of the pressed cake of this mao cha with my order from Mandala (thanks!), so I’m looking forward to comparing the two to see if there are any differences.
I didn’t write any notes while drinking this one, but this has got to have the strongest fruit taste of any sheng I’ve tried! To me the flavor like a mix of apricot, guava paste, and grape juice with some general floral, mineral and “sheng-y” notes. I don’t know how it would age, but it’s super mellow and enjoyable now
Flavors: Almond, Floral, Fruity, Mineral
Wishlist tea from dexter and my last puerh for today. I’ve been sipping on this one all afternoon – i prefer wild monk cake form, but it was nice to revisit this one over the afternoon. Steeped at cool temps for short infusions, a mild tea, with just a little sweetness to it. There’s some smokey notes, but not as strong with the cake. a slight bitterness in later steepings but overall very enjoyable. thanks dexter!
Final Count: 124 (since i doubt i’ll get more sipdowns in tonight if i have more tea.)
I wish I had rinsed this before the initial steep. Maybe that would have changed my opinion a bit. I don’t like it very much. I’d go as far as to say that it’s my least favorite of all the oolongs I’ve tried. I steeped it at 195 (as recommended) for 30 seconds, and oh my it’s bitter. Bitter and vegetal, and not even slightly sweet or buttery. This is the kind of overwhelming vegetal taste that I hate in some of the Japanese green teas. I’m surprised no one else has mentioned smokiness because it seems kinda smoky to me. It’s got the vegetal qualities of a green tea with the bitterness of a black tea, and this really does not work for me.
As oolongs go, I prefer one of two flavor profiles so far: 1. floral, peachy, sweet and sometimes buttery or 2. roasty and nutty (light or medium roast). If I want to taste raw kale or spinach, I’ll put them in a gross smoothie. Not a fan of this one. And I’m disappointed because I actually did pick up the aroma of butter when I smelled the wet leaves, but I don’t taste it at all.
Flavors: Bitter, Kale, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Vegetal
I’m a big fan of dian hong! Morning Sun brews up a strong up which I like. I used roughly 8 oz of 200 F water for 1 heaping teaspoon. I wanted to be careful about the steeping time and did 90 seconds for the first steep. It was a strong, aromatic cup without much astringency. The amber color infusion tasted like honey, dark fruits, and malt. I could taste dark cherries, chocolate, and toasted walnuts.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Walnut
From the first moment I cracked the bag, I knew I was going to like this tea. It smells sweet, floral and fruity. Tasting the first steep I got just a hint of cloves and lemon, with a buttery slightly sweet finish! The second and third steepings have more fresh, green flavors but retain their buttery goodness. There is a clean tannic finish that comes out especially in the second steeping.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fruity, Grass, Lemon
I’ve been looking forward to trying this tea for a long time. I finally ordered a batch from Mandala! It smells like flowers and pineapples. It’s got a sweet orchid flavour to it. I tasted notes of cream, caramel, and tropical fruits! This tea is a special one to be sure.
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Orchid, Pineapple
Followed Mandala’s directions for steeping-
1st steep 30 sec- leaves only started to unfurl, most still balled up. Taste- oolong with sweet chaser.
2nd 1min- some leaves still balled up, wet leaf smell much more like oolong, more creamy oolong up front sweet chaser comes out more as water cools
3rd 1 min 30 sec – lost end sweet, nice light oolong
4th 2min- sweet more in front, then creamy oolong, then sweet again
5th 2min 30sec- tea still good
I really like this tea.
I’m ready to move onto another tea, though I think I could get several more steeps out of this tea. Downside, filter of gravity steeper required thorough cleaning. I really need to get a gaiwan.
Flavors: Creamy, Sweet
Sipdown 8 of 2015. Sample. Purchased 5/2014 – Finished 12/2015.
I have had a few Ripe Pu’er. Of the few that I have tried this is my favorite, but I am not sure I am going to be a ripe pu’er fan. I can’t get over the rubber taste I get out of it. For this one I did about 4 rinses and then started drinking it. What I did like about it was that it was creamy and it made me relaxed really relaxed. The flavor was slightly spicy/mint?
This is my favorite tea to brew for people who say they don’t like green teas. Why? Because this tea is /smooth/. It has a grassy flavor, but it doesn’t come off as bitter and is accompanied by a light nuttiness. The leaves are quite intact and look lovely as they steep, so it’s also a visually pleasing tea to brew in a glass teapot.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty
This is such a lifesaver! As a frequent tea drinker, I’ve ended up staining many cups/pots/etc., and no cleaning method I had tried had been getting rid of the stains until I gave this a try. It has gotten out every tea stain I have thrown at it, and since a little goes a long way, I won’t need to replace it for a while. I can’t recommend this highly enough to the avid tea drinker.
I don’t consider myself much of a fan of “dessert” teas, but this is a tea that can easily fool you into feeling like you’re drinking something much more indulgent. The sweet notes of caramel and coconut are not cloying or overpowering, and as they wear off in later infusions, they leave behind a pleasant floral scent. The leaves are /huge/ and quite intact, so leave a little room in whatever you use to brew it! This is a great tea for the uninitiated and one of my personal favorites from Mandala Tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Floral, Milk