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Recent Tasting Notes
this is a partial sipdown for me since the piece that i finished up this afternoon was from gracebtlb but i have another 2 sessions from terri to get through :) One of those will be going to Cavocorax though, so she can try this one out as part of her puerh AND mandala journey :)
I’m still working my way through this, but so far, this has started out as a woody sort of puerh with some earthiness in the background. As i’ve gone through more of the steeps it’s become more woody… so far..pretty interesting :)
This was a sample Garret sent with an order that I had placed. At first I noticed that the taste was not as bold as the Noble Mark, it was more subdued. However, after seven steepings I came to a few conclusions. First, I love this pu’er. By the fourth steeping I was so deep into pu’er bliss I forgot about my beloved Noble Mark. Second, this pu’er has an amazing consistency. Over seven steepings it was incredibly consistent, it never grew stronger nor did it grow weaker. Third, with each steeping there was a very subtle change in taste, with each steeping the new taste was just as pleasing or actually better than the last. This pu’er will be included in my next order!!
This one came from Terri HarpLady!
This one has been on my shopping list, now newly named wishlist (?), for a long time. I love flowering teas. They are definitely beautiful to watch bloom, it is almost like I have no idea how that even works. Definitely an art. But I don’t really care for the taste of flowering teas. So when I came across this one, I was super curious, it was a flowering tea but made of black tea. Right up my alley.
I only used 2 cones for a cup because I wasn’t sure how strong it would be. In hindsight, I should have used 3 or 4 cones but I have enough to try again. Definitely beautiful to watch the cones “flower”.
This one brewed up a sweet, malty black tea. I am getting honey notes, but very specifically barley honey notes. It is quite mild on the boldness scale but I think that is more to do with not using enough tea. This one is similar to some of the black pearl teas I have tried but with more sweetness.
Edit: I did a resteep with the same two cones, but for 4 minutes. Definitely a lot stronger with the 4 minute steep time. less honey flavour, it is strong but not bold. Pretty smooth taste. I think, though, I would prefer more tea with less steep time.
Casey bought me some Mandala Teas for Valentine’s Day, and he let me open them up a day early…Oh, and he’s even letting me listen to Smokey Robinson tonight while we drink it. (He’s almost exclusively into metal.)
This one is wonderful. It ‘s unique among shou puerhs I’ve tried, and I’d say I’ve had a moderate amount of experience. What a treat! It’s somehow reminiscent of a fine caramel-filled chocolate. Yum.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate
This was generously included as a sample in my Mandala order.
Today’s turning out to be a floral kind of day. I’m pleasantly surprised how heavy on the orchids this one is turning out to be. Besides flowers, there is a strong note of richly buttered grass. The finish is sour, with an increasingly sweet aftertaste. This combination of flavours creates one interesting cup.
I did a long rinse and some 30 second steeps in my tiny glass pot, using about 200F water. Puerh preparation techniques are currently a work in progress.
EDIT: After a 30 second rinse, I did a casual western mug steep for 1min and it came out incredibly rich and syrupy sweet.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Orchids
Used my Yixing for roasty Oolongs for this one. Has a very roasted flavor. This flavor is dominant. The third steeping started bringing some cream notes.
Nice wake you up in the morning tea. Coffee lovers would really enjoy this tea.
Thanks Terri H for this sample!!!!
Wow. This is a great pu’er. The first steep had a very smokey flavor to it with under tones that just keep your mouth guessing. Each additional steeping produced different flavors that were a pure joy to experience. It was really nice that toward the end, each steeping had flavors, that while different from the other steepings, were just as strong as the first. Great tea Garret.
This is my first Sheng, and I love it! It took me a while to get used to Pu’er tea, as I’m more of a fan of Oolongs and Chinese Black (Red) teas. Very lovely and I’m reaping the health benefits of Pu’er!
Flavors: Bamboo, Cinnamon, Earth, Licorice, Molasses, Nuts, Sweet Potatoes, Yams
Still my favorite tea. My current batch is from the fall harvest. There are some unique differences compared to the spring pick. I didn’t realize the time of year could affect the flavor. The fall harvest has more caramel and buttery notes compared to the spring crop. The spring crop is a little more floral.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Vanilla, Yams
I had this in the afternoon since i REALLY need to drink up some of my smaller puerh samples instead of accumulating them all. I still think that while i could live with having most of Mandala’s puerhs in my cupboard, there are a few that i MUST have…and this isnt’ one of them. it’s delicious, but not something that i’ll be wishing for often, now that it’s gone.
The first few steeps were a middle of the road brew that was smooth and delicious, while also not being out of this world. Later steeps brought out hints of woodsy vanilla. I’ll have to see if i can cold brew the rest of this over night just to see how it fares after a number of steeps hot brewed :)
OMG is this ever good!
The lovely Sil sent me this pu’erh. I won’t give you an elaborated review of it, cause really, two main notes are the superstars here: chocolate and raisin (oh, chocolate covered raisins???) It’s so obvious, I find it almost hard to believe there’s no added flavouring to it.
I also get some buckwheat feel in the background.
I did a strong brew, cause the smell told me it could handle it. Yes, don’t laugh, the tea does talk to me sometimes, haha! (yeah, I do see a shrink for that, thanks for asking!)
So it’s a little astringent, and I like that, it acts as a flavour booster.
I know not many people appreciate astringency in a tea, I feel a little like an outsider :-(
Hello? anyone else out there who’s a fan?
Anyways, this feels round in the mouth, super rich and decadent. And I have some on the way, so it will be in my cup again really soon!
Sil, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to try this beautiful tea…
I don’t think I’ll be able to drink much tea today, what with our late start, and time spent running around and then the rest of the day meeting up with people etc…. etc.. It’s going to be craziness!
So I’m really happy to be able to sit down and enjoy this. And I have the second cup steeping in my timolino for when I’m out and about! It’s so rich and dark and wonderful.
Maybe tomorrow I can find time to take tea-ventory, especially now that my swaps have been mailed out today! (ohai Roswell Strange, Heather Martin and someone else!)
I did a quick 5-10 second rinse as suggested on the Mandala website brewing instructions page,,, then steeped for 30 seconds.
The liquor looks very cinnamon color and I do detect scents of cinnamon,,,whether or not this is power of suggestion, I don’t know but it’s nice.
I like the flavor of this Oolong because it is balanced with a tiny bit of roast, a sweet note, and that something special when you breathe it out as you taste. That special element here is definitely a cinnamon note.
Very unique taste that I haven’t tried in an Oolong!! Very good!!
Thank u to Terri Harplady for this sample!!
It snowed about 5 inches here yesterday, which is a lot for Portland. I woke up this morning wanting something warm and cozy. Special dark is like a nice warm blanket that always makes you feel better, whether it be to warm you up, you’re sad, you’re sick, or cough a tad hungover. I’ve had several cups this morning while watching the kids, who are so excited by the snow, play, and the birds go crazy at our bird feeders. My favorite is the little hummingbird who has realized that i keep thawing the nectar so he pretty much just sits on the feeder and eats all day until it’s frozen. Then I bring it in and take out the thawed one. He chirps at me when I bring it out and then takes his perch again. So funny. They are such amazing little creatures.
The liquor has a juicy scent and deep auburn jewel color.
This is a very lovely Oolong. I really LOVE this and am sort of left with the word indescribable. It is close to sweetened rhubarb but not tangy. So it is like stewed rhubarb with cream and sugar.
It is like the sweet version of umami,,,I really cannot place the lovely euphoric flavor because it is changing and bringing back memories. Flavor trip that I don’t want to come home from.
Smelling the empty cup, it has a dark raw honey scent.
This tea is VERY GOOD!!!!!!! I tried a few samples today and this is the one I will be drinking all day and tried to purchase but it is sold out. I definitely see why it is sold out :(
Thank u to Terri Harplady for this life-changing sample. I have obviously only begun to touch the world of tea and this is a new direction in my favorites!!!!!!
Second and Third steepings : This tea is fun. I must emphasize that if you go longer than 30 seconds you will ruin the mesmerizing effect and lose it. In fact, once the leaves open up, you need less than 30 seconds to get that sweet spot again. It’s more like 25 seconds for the second and third steepings. Yummm, I’m loving this tea.
Flavors: Honey, Stewed Fruits