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Recent Tasting Notes
Green tea at its finest. One or two leaves and a bud are visible on every leaf. Picked by munis who pray for those who will drink this tea. Smooth, mellow taste. Not grassy nor vegetal. A classic green tea that is sure to wow new and seasoned green tea drinkers.
This is another tea with two listings so I just picked one.
Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. Or, to be perfectly honest, any of the Mandala oolongs I’ve tried. This one is just a bit thin. In taste and mouthfeel. Overleafing/steeping gives a bit more mineral in the brew. There’s a bit of spice and bark but nothing noteworthy. Just a bland brew overall. Tried gong-fu and mug brewing, and both were insipid. Perhaps this was just a poor harvest.
Flavors: Bark, Mineral
If i’m ever going to get to 50 teas, i need to get my drink on with my puerh more often. I had been trying to get to at least ONE session a week but that sort of fell by the way side. So today i figured i should try. Pulled this one out because i am a mandala fan and can’t bring myself to use up my special dark. heh. This should make for a very enjoyable morning.
Going from the Bang Wei to this… utter disapointment. This tea is mouth damaging as it leaves a lingering astringency. Now 2012 Wild Monk was the best stuff as many of us know and I strongly believe that this isn’t the same material being pressed from a different year. Unless a few years changes a cake that much… I feel tricking into expecting a similar product. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have found a cake that I believe is much closer. This just wasn’t pleasant and I used a small amount at lower temperature. Its strong if you want that, but the taste is an undesired one.
This is a really nice sheng. I’m really bad with the tasting notes still, and especially with the shengs which seem very complex and different in every sip! so maybe…. Apple, sweet graham-cracker almost, grape, some autumn hay. Really good!
The Qi also triggered a very strong emotional swelling which I’ve never felt with tea before, including other strong shengs/shous (i’m assuming it’s from the tea, because i’ve eliminated most other possibilities and it seemed to rise and fall along with the energy / caffeine ride).
I will definitely be ordering a cake of this when I get some more money saved up!
I found my sheng! Either that or I really figured out how to brew this one perfectly. 195 degrees 5/5, 7/7, etc. Took down the temps and steep times a bit. This tea is delicious. Lots of fruit characteristics and no bitter qualities whatsoever. Don’t think I’ll need to order any other Sheng cakes besides these ones for a while! Another great offering from Mandala!
Flavors: Apricot, Pear, Vegetal, White Grapes
It is February 18, at 9:30pm it is 69 degrees here in KC. The very first push of Spring and it is bringing with it an energy and excitement that I would imagine humans around these parts have been familiar with for centuries. The first sign that the end of the cold season is at hand. I was hoping to sit down to a tea that had a similar sort of energy and this one has lived up to that hope.
So far I have steeped it for 5s, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 seconds, and still it shows no signs of slowing. Most of the flavor I am getting out of it is a combination of apple, grapeskin, pear, and dry wood. It has a powerful astringency that combines all of the notes together and finishes sweet. This is one I would definitely consider buying.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Dry Grass, Pear, White Grapes, Wood
Trying to expand a little into the Raw Pu erh as I’m normally a Ripe guy. Certainly enjoyed this tea. The 1st time I brewed it I don’t believe I got the water/tea ratio quite right and it was a little too bitter for my liking. I dialed down the tea a bit today and it was much more enjoyable. Tastes of cedar, citrus, a little bitter, and overall kind of tropical.
Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Citrus, Tropical
Really enjoyed this tea! Gongfu, 5/5, 10/10, etc. First 2 steeps were very smooth and had some mineral and wet wood were apparent along with something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on (possibly hay or something that slightly reminded me of a barn, was tasty). Around steep 3 caramel and cocoa came to mind which was a very delicious combination. Will certainly be ordering more of this!
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Hay, Mineral, Wet Wood
The appearance of this tea reminds me a lot of Dragonwell, with its long rolled leaf, but the flavor is light and tastes slightly of sweet corn. It reminds me somewhat of cornsilk tea, which is popular in Korea and some parts of the United States. Because this tea is so lightly flavored, water quality plays a larger than normal roll in the final flavor of the tea. We’ve been having hard water issues the past few months, so my first cup tasted flat and mineral-like. If you have not-so-great tasting water then I definitely recommend using filtered or bottled water when steeping this tea, it makes all the difference in the world.
You can read the full review on my blog:
Really interesting tea. Received as a sample from Garret with my noble mark purchase. Different flavors arise with each steep. A little bitter here and there, but very enjoyable. Fits perfectly into a nice evening tea for me. Tobacco, leather, earth, and campfire are prominent in almost all of the steeps and picked up a bit of maple syrup(ish) flavor at the 7+ steep mark. Really enjoyed it and picked up a cake!
Flavors: Campfire, Earth, Leather, Maple Syrup, Tobacco
This ripe Pu erh is unbelievable. I decided to purchase a cake right off the bat as some of the reviews seem to coincide with my tastes and I am glad I did. Brewed it gongfu and got 10+ steeps out of it. The vanilla flavor is fantastic and is prominent throughout each steep. It is now my go to daily tea and will be purchasing at least a few more cakes shortly. Not going to say this particular pu erh is something particularly exotic, but it is absolutely delicious and brews smooth and dark. Was my first purchase from Mandala and they now have a lifelong customer (received 2 samples with my order which I will also review). Have already purchased the temple stairs and phatty cake II (the latter of which i received a sample of). Thanks for such a great tea!
Flavors: Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut, Wet Wood
What a day. Wife is gone for 2 days at a business conference. Both kids had the day off from school. My 4 year old son had to get an abscess on his stomach lanced at 8am. Yup. The good news is that he handled it so well and has been in good spirits and very loving/cuddly all day.
So I decide to reach for this sample that was sent to me a while back with an order. Mandala is usually a pretty good bet when you want a good ripe. I went with a full boil, a 5 second rinse, and a 5 second first steep. The first steep felt very light and airy in my mouth. But for as light as it felt, the flavors were really nice. I detected some malty chocolate as well as some light cherry notes. But, calm down all you cherry cordial fans (myself included). Those flavors weren’t together when I detected them. More like, one sip reveal one and the next sip revealed another.
Second steep, 10 seconds. Earthy smoothness. Still light and airy. There is something on the back of the throat. A coating sweetness. Underhanded, not overpowering. But there.
Third steep, 15 seconds. First off, the smell of the wet leaves is unlike any I’ve smelled in a ripe shou before. I am not sure I can even really describe it other than there is this almost floral like honeysuckle, slightly spicy, sweetness. The liquor on this one has more of a musty taste. Not un-enjoyable but not as good as the first two steeps.
Fourth steep, 15 seconds. Held back a little on this one due to the flavor of the last steep. I think it was a good decision. The flavor mellowed out. Now we are getting back to some of the enjoyable flavors from the first two steeps. Light chocolate/cocoa flavor.
Fifth steep, 20 seconds. I am starting to see the bigger picture here on this one. When steeped correctly, this is a light, airy and smooth, consistent drinker. My review will probably stop here, until/unless something else drastically different jumps out at me.
Final Thought: Though this is pretty consistent from steep to steep, it is by no means dull, bland or uninteresting. It has some really unique flavors/and smells. It certainly feels and tastes like a higher quality tea. Very solid.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Musty, Sweet
So happy to see this one included in the box. I’ve been meaning to order at least one of the yellow teas from mandala but haven’t had a chance to yet. I’ve been sipping on this over the course of the morning. I quite like this. It’s a little different from the other yellow teas that i’ve had but this is a nice one. The flavor reminds me a little of corn, slightly sweet and very buttery.
Got this amazing green as a free sample from Garret at Mandala Tea.
Let me start by saying that I’ve had a lot of trouble finding a groove with greens, and I decided to contact Garret before placing an order. He recommended several that may suit me and EVERY one of them turned out perfect, including this and a sample of Mao Feng green.
As for the tea: It brewed up with zero astringency very easily, with plenty of flavor in all of the 4 steepings I did, at various temps(155-190). Exceptionally smooth with vegetal notes on the nose, but not heavy in the taste. Became sweeter in later steepings, but had a wonderful balance of sweetness throughout, with just a bit of sweet peas or edamame.
Flavors: Peas, Smooth, Sweet
This was a really good mini tuo. It opened up completely on the second steep (5 sec) after a 20 second rinse and a 5 second first steep.
The main thing that I came away with is that it tasted very clean and silky, creamy, and smooth. A very easy drinker. I can see why they decided to put this tea into a mini tuo. It is a very easy toss, steep, drink type of tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Smooth
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.