This is hands down my favorite Shu! Its smooth and full of flavor. I detect notes of raisin and smooth creaminess. I judge all other Shu’s against this. The liquor is bold and full of creamy flavor. Deep red in color. I will always have this as long as its offered.
Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)
Popular Teas from Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)See All 7
My first whole pu’er cake! Woot woot!
This cake is gorgeous! Dark reddish brown in color, nice and tightly pressed. There is a nice, not overly powerful dirt/woodsy smell coming from the cake. Yum.
Carefully broke off a bit of the leaves with my pick; this one flakes apart pretty easily and is nice and dry. The sound the pick makes as it goes into the cake is so relaxing (maybe that’s an odd thing to say, but I couldn’t help thinking it). Love that sound.
Once I brewed this one up, it produced a dark red-brown liqour. It smells sweet, cedar-y, and woodsy with hints of a rich soil. I think I’m really going to love this one (good thing, too, since I have a whole cake!).
Yum. This one is sweet (not fruit sweet, but the kind of sweet you get from chewing on a popsicle stick – if that makes sense to anyone), with wood notes (again, I want to say cedar) and a nice mellow “dirt” taste. This has a thicker mouthfeel than some other pu’er I’ve had recently – it’s nice and smooth. There’s a bit of a zing at the end of the sip, slightly spicy on the back of the tongue. Don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a nice effect.
Glad I took the plunge and bought a cake of this one. I’m really enjoying it! Can’t wait to share with my twin sister when she comes home. She’s really into pu’er…it seems to be the only tea I can get her excited for! She’ll totally love this one. Thanks for providing this cake Mandala Teas!
I want to try this one in the gaiwan next time around.
Off to resteep. I’ll update in a few.
UPDATE: Second steep at about 6 min. A little thinner (not by much, though) than the first steep. Still has a wonderfully woody/sweet flavor with the added bonus of a slightly leathery flavor! The zing at the end of the sip is dialed down a bit, but still present. I’m loving this pu’er!
This is so nice tonight. Really mellow and slightly haylike, but there’s a bit of sweetness here too. This almost smells like honey and wood to me.
I’ve debated posting anything about my day yesterday, but it feels good to air it out. While crossing the street yesterday morning, I got hit by a car. Some crazy lady just plowed into me when I was halfway through the crosswalk; she did not stop at the stop sign. Good news: I am okay. After she initially hit me I put out an arm against her hood, thinking she would see me, and when she continued to push me forward I threw myself backwards out of the way of her car. She drove away, never even looked at me or the various people that were honking at her, and she never stopped. I pulled a number of things in my shoulder and around my scapula, bruised my tailbone falling, and have bruises on my legs. Very thankfully, I am alive and not broken. The whole thing still feels really surreal and kind of like a far away movie.
It feels really wonderful right now to just rest and drink some tea.
I want to thank Bonnie over and over again for saying she puts her puerh leaves in the fridge to cold steep after she has had some hot steeps of it. I did that two days ago and just let it sit in a big pitcher. I am finally drinking it today and I have to say it is one of the most refreshing things you could possibly imagine.
I posted a link to the recipe for Ent Draught last week, but to me, THIS is what Ent Draught would taste like. It is so perfectly light, refreshing, and clean, clean, clean, while at the same time tasting of purest earth. I think I could actually gulp down the whole pitcher in a very short time, and it is so cooling and uplifting. There is not even a tad of sugar in it. It doesn’t need it.
Ent Draught is supposed to be clear, thus the distilling process, but this is the taste it should have! The color of the cold brew puerh is gorgeous – so orange and clear. It looks like really good Southern sweet tea. I would much rather have this, though.
I am almost looking forward to our sticky summer weather just so I can drink gallons of this!
I drank one steep of my Southern Season puerh and then put the leaves in the fridge to cold brew a pitcher of iced tea. I was feeling unsatisfied, puerh-wise, so I decided to treat myself to several steeps of Purple Rhyme.
I love the box it came in, the careful wrapping of the paper with such beautiful, uniform folds, the stamp that holds the paper tight. I love the care used to present this product to me.
The tea is really dark, because I love strong, smooth puerh and I let it steep longer than most people do. The taste is fresh and so clean.
Appearance: woody black pu-erh chips off a larger brick
Aroma when Dry: sweet, nutty cocoa earthy, floral notes
After water is first poured: tart, sour, earthy,
At end of first steep: sour, peaty
At end of steep: hints of clay red
Preferred time of day: unsure
At first?: bitter, metallic tang, earthy notes
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, metallic notes
100 Grams is really not a very big tea cake, however at 5 G per session, it will make tea 20 times, & of course each session will make many cups of tea to savor. I weighed it, & it actually weighed in at 92G, but my guess is that it was originally 100, & lost weight as it aged.
I started with a rinse, which admittedly, I drank, savoring the gentle essence of semolina & vanilla cake. The wet leaves smell of Kugle. What’s Kugle? It’s a dish made with buttery noodles & custard, which can be made either sweet or savory. I used to make it for my kids when they were young, everyone loved it so. In this case, I’m thinking of the sweet kind, with vanilla.
Here’s my impression of the steepings:
1. 10 sec: It’s so creamy & sweet, & it’s Kugle!
2. 15 sec: Even creamier & sweeter!
3 – 5 at 20, 25, & 30 sec were combined into a pitcher, to enjoy while I was teaching a student, & the flavors continued.
6. 45 sec: the butteriness is replaced by a golden sensation, as if my tongue were covered in a sleeve of pure thin gold. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the only way I can describe it. Still sweet.
7. 1 minute: It feels like I’m drinking cream. The flavor is of a brown crust of WW bread.
I had to leave for awhile, but when I got home, I ran through several more steepings, & could probably continue, but I have somewhere to be, so maybe tomorrow? This is a very nice tea!
Another Christmas tea! Yay!
I started this one last night. I used Granny Stella’s tomato knife to work a chunk about the size of a teaspoon off of the brick. I notice this is called an iron cake. I haven’t heard that term before, so perhaps Garret and/or mrmopar will enlighten us?
My husband and son joined me drinking this one. They would have bailed on me if there had been any fishy odor. This tea has none.
I steeped this for forty seconds at first, increasing to sixty seconds for the fourth and fifth steeps, which is where I am right now.
The color was deep at first but not inky black. This is a medium strength flavor, not knock you down powerful but not subtle either. It has the horsey profile I like.
I am such a newbie at puerh that I have trouble distinguishing between the good ones. I can tell a bad one easily enough! I am trying very hard to learn to distinguish between cedar, mushroom, earth, leaves, and wood.
The main thing that came to my mind as I drank this was “nature.” Not wilderness nature but perhaps a large farm bordered by woods with fields of grazing horses. There is the horse farm scent to this, but added to it are leaves crunching underfoot as you walk, breathing in fresh, clean air. Sometimes I get a hint of caramel in this one. Steep four had a little cedar oil richness coating my mouth. Steep number five is still going strong so I will probably continue working with this teaspoon of leaves, and soon I will try it with more leaf and shorter steeps.
Of the three teas I have tried from the Mandala order, they are all very good and I would not be able at this point in my puerh education to tell them apart if I were drinking them “blind.” But I can say with certainty that I enjoy drinking every one of them and look forward to sharing many cups of these teas with family and friends.
just had this one after drinking the 2009 version last night. this tea has really added a depth of flavor with another year under its belt. this cake is drier than the 2009 cake. much easier to break apart. not really much of an odor. no off smells on the dry cake. almost a dusty dirt road aroma. gave a 15 second wash. poured the first cup after a 15 second steep in the yixing. the color went from light to very dark at the end of the pour. the whole cup ended up looking like a strong cup of black coffee. rich and woody in the mouth with a sweetness at the end. very enjoyable on a cold windy winter night. very warming. second brew as dark as the first,yummy. now excuse me please i am off to enjoy the second cup and it looks like this will give at least 6 infusions as the 2009 did. gotta go tea awaits.
Thank you mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample
With Steepster down, I had time to reflect on some things that have been on my mind.
My writing has been slushy. You know…when I try to write and for whatever reason I just don’t sound like myself. I haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong.
Sunday, I was invited to be in a Google+ live video tea group with people in various parts of the World. I was the least tea educated person, the dumb one in the group but ready to learn. Most of the others spoke Chinese, owned tea companies etc. As we discussed the tea of the week, I became sicker and sicker and almost had to sign off early. Something was wrong with me.
The rest of that day I had a terrible migraine that felt like the flu.
Monday came and Steepster was down. I had the flu-like symptoms still hanging on, coming and going with body aches and nausea.
What had caused my illness?
When I was on the chat Sunday I was sitting by a window with the curtains closed. However, there was still enough bright light outside that even though I was wearing my dark glasses, the light made me sick! Isn’t that crazy?
Why am I telling this story?
I was thinking last night about this time of year and writing about tea. I remembered that in the Winter when the barometer changes setting off my migraines almost every few days, I write more from the heart.
I see clearly, listen better, appreciate my time with tea in a deeper way. Life is more precious.
Could this be why I haven’t been myself? Did I need this malady to write better?
Embracing what is ahead with all it’s difficulties far outweighs the pain. My experience in the quiet places where there is true beauty, is why I began my journey with tea in the first place.
There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters.
I’m glad to return to the place of struggle even though I’m sure to complain now and then.
Timing and prep.
Gaiwan 4oz. 30 sec. rinse and 30 sec. steeps.
Wet leaf scent changes! Here’s what I like to do.
First, I put my nose over the rising steam and breathe it in and out, deeply.
Next, I put my nose closer and almost hyper-ventilate, then back away and come closer again.
Finally, I pass the leaves side to side at a distance of about
7 inches to catch a lighter scent.
I smell the leaf aroma hot, warm and cold.
These particular leaves smelled like Nilla Vanilla Wafers and Camphor then later like light Leather, Bread and Earth, then Light Leather and a Sweetness which is where it remained.
The first steeping was salty and tasted like a Trisket Crackers, not sweet but smooth. The finish had a little sour black current flavor.
The second steeping was strong, dark like coffee and tasted like cedar, rasins and velvety 90% chocolate. I was so intrigued by the idea of the chocolate that I sweetened the end of the tasting which didn’t mask the flavors but removed the bitterness almost entirely.
Steeping three was lighter with a salty/savory cedar flavor becoming peppery at the end and astringent. I was distracted by my own awareness of well-being. My nausea was gone and I was feeling such a great sense of gratitude for what this Pu-erh was giving to me.
Ah the forth steeping and beyond. This is where I believe the Pu-erh was at home. Lighter, sweeter with a cinnamon spicy taste and less cedar. There was so much light and smoothness here without having lost body.
At one point I added sweetening to see what would happen for those who sweeten Pu-erh and found that the flavor didn’t change
(some Pu-erh’s take on a floral or caramel taste with sweetening) but remained spicy.
A solid, recommended Pu-erh!
Personal Notes about Pu-erh:
I’ve found Pu-erh to be a faithful friend. Since my Migraines and Fibromyalgia both have chosen to attack my core more than anywhere else on my body, my stomach area is often twisted with nausea and pain. My back hurts and bones ache.
When I drink Pu-erh, the nausea and pain are greatly reduced without an upset stomach. Pretty wonderful benefit for me wouldn’t you agree!
Thanks mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample!
A day at home with rain expected in the afternoon was the perfect setting for Pu-erh sipping with steeping multiple times.
As I made my preparations, I was suspended in a timeless space with the thrill, the drama of what was to happen next?
Steeping times: After a 30 second rinse, the steeping for the first 3 sessions was 30 seconds, the 4th was 1 minute.
The wet leaves smelled like sweet dark chocolate, then light leather with raisen and chocolate, then faint leather and sweet.
The color of the leaves changed at the end to dark Jade Green!
The color of the liquor was light brown on the first steeping becoming dark red brown on steeping 2 and 3, dark golden brown on steep 4.
The process of discovery was like a first date. The tea flirted a little, let me get just a hint of flavor to see if I’d respond. A bit of cedar, sweetness and some slight dryness on the tongue. Nothing to write home about but not scary either. Pretty smooth.
(The tea was obviously, holding back and waiting for the right moment to reveal it’s true personality.)
The second encounter was way more flirtatious, even sexy with a baked cedar plank dryness up front becoming smooth on the finish. There was another flavor lurking in the shadows, a secret.
Peach or Cocoa? I needed more time to inquire, to explore again.
The third encounter was not revealing. I sensed that something wasn’t right. The flavor was so much lighter. Wasn’t the water hot enough? Was the steeping too short? (I always blame myself, never the tea first!)
I decided to become bolder, demanding more now that we had spent considerable time together. I felt that we knew each other well enough. My instincts told me that if I pushed a little bit, there was great strength of character just under the surface.
I challenged the timing increasing it 3 fold.
The Pu-erh held steady without a flinch but it looked different.
The liquor had changed to golden brown and the leaves to jade green.
The flavor was supprisingly very mild, dry cedar, sweet, juicy and easy to drink.
Even with the mild dryness this was a smooth tea with no harshness.
I was expecting some sort of aggressive punch with the longer steep, but that’s not what this Pu-erh was about.
It was kind and mellow, sure to keep me happy for a long time.
(For any off-the-wall people who add sugar on occasion to pu-erh, well after the 4th steeping I checked it out and the caramel flavor that appears with sweetening is very nice!)
Sipping my first brew from my first pu’erh cake. No classes this afternoon, so I’m settling down with a good book and a kettle of water on the stove :)
This pu’erh was bolder in flavor and darker in color than the other samples. It also had considerably more of that pu’erh sweetness to it, and despite being bold it was still mellow. It had strong wood notes of cedar and oak, and also had a distinct “wild mushroom” flavor to it.
Overall I think seemed to be the finest and highest quality of the pu’erhs Mr. Mopar sent me
Deep burgundy color. The flavor is smooth and earthy with a medium body and has slight cedar, cocoa, and coffee flavors upfront, and ends with lighter citrus and hay notes, followed by a run-on sentence. :)
Thank you mrmopar for this sample Pu-erh!
My education in Pu-erh has come from the generous people here on Steepster who share with me from their personal supplies of Pu-erh (like mrmopar, Roughage in the U.K. and others) and samples put in with my orders from so many vendors. Thank you all!
It’s funny to look back and remember my first experience with
They were so heavily flavored that I could barely detect the underlying earthiness…but it was there, and I developed a hunger for it.
This is where I began this morning. Thinking about the ignorance of the newcomer to Pu-erh. My ignorance, which I still have.
Recently on a discussion thread, someone took a shot at one of our vendors, then at me (for knowing nothing about Pu-erh).
When I read their linked blog comments they were also critical of ‘all’ of us on Steepster.
I was offended not so much for myself but everyone else.
The potshots at me were correct though. I ‘am’ a learner and I ’don’t’ know very much about tea yet.
My lack of humility suckered me into a dialog that I should have stayed out of. The people who made the comments don’t write reviews on Steepster. They just appeared out of the blue.
I’m learning about Pu-erh because of you wonderfully kind Steepster people.
One thing I swear I never want to be is a TEA SNOB! I’d rather stay right here and review tea than gain the respect of those who despise Steepsterites!
The Pu-erh for this morning:
The aroma of the wet leaves for every pour was mild shoe leather.
On all but the first steep the liquor was dark red-brown and clear.
1. After a 30 second rinse, the liquor was light brown. It was tight, compact bark waiting to open. The flavor was light cedar, a little rough and furry with a slight pepper on the tip of my tongue.
2. The flavor was much smoother but with an almost bitter chicory cedar taste. The other comparison was the thick bitter taste of dark rye bread. There was little saltiness or sweetness but lots of juice.
3. This steep produced a softer, milder cedar flavor and thickness. There was an alfalfa sprout scent and sweetness with the taste of water crackers. The earlier bitter edge was gone but the chicory was still there in a palatable mild form with a rich mouth-feel.
4. Up front there was pepper and juiciness. The flavor was similar to steeping #3 and smooth.
I thought about this Pu-erh, and even though this has been rated as ready to drink…it seems to me that it still hasn’t developed full depth. Maybe this is where it will remain though. If it were a wine I would liken it to a mild Merlot (and Merlot is NOT a dirty word, it just was overproduced in horrid amounts by every closet winemaker on earth!).
So much of what I love about Pu-erh comes from my Winery background and from living in Morgan Hill where we grew mushrooms, and were surrounded by farms and wineries. Living next to Gilroy, Salinas, Watsonville and Monterey with all the fruit, vegetables, mountains and Sea gave me a sense of what I look for in Pu-erh.
I may be wrong some of the time, or maybe all of the time but I’m certainly enjoying myself!
I have found what I really love to drink and I think the love shows.
got this with a sample from garret at mandala. went to purchase after tasting it has blown me away i think this will put me on a quest to have at least two of these cakes one for now and one for later! the complexities are hard to describe, it has put me to find more! i am very pleased with this cake. smooth mellow rich aromas with no young shu odor,one of the best i have had a chance to try! i think this one gets a 100 rating for me. be sure to steep multiple times.
bought this to compare with my 2009 mengai red rhyme. great flavor notes all of the fermented taste is gone leaving a great rich flavor from the tip of your tongue to the back. very rich flavor hard to describe not earthy like many pu-erhs almost like a mellowed out keemun. i have a 2009 and if it ages like this one i will like it even more. i think this ranks up there with the 2009 menghai dayi red rhyme and i think there will be another one of these cakes to serve as a backup stash soon. i have not tried secondary infusions but i am sure they will be just as good.
purchased this tea as a splurge reward to myself. i almost stalled at the price but wow. i see why. a very good premium tea i have already infused it 5 times and it still maintains its strength and flavor. dark earthy and tasty. heading to get another cup now. 30 second steeps increasing about 10 seconds between cups.