1032 Tasting Notes

84
drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
1032 tasting notes

I am on my final cup of this tea and still have not logged a tasting note! Sad sad :( well now I will! Haha. This tea served me well, I had it quite often while painting, so that speaks to it’s relaxing, mood enhancing abilities quite a lot! I didn’t take detailed notes on this tea unfortunately, but I will log what I have noticed about it in this final cup.

I usually prepare my western steeped pu’erhs in a similar manner, 1 or two short rinses then a short first steep. This one I did two rinses, 25s and 20s, and then a steep of around 30s. This isn’t a pu’erh that necessarily needs a rinse, as it’s super smooth and not fishy at all, but the rinses make it a bit smoother and silkier for me! The cup smells faintly woody with a hint of chocolate.

The flavor is pretty good! This one is very much milk chocolate. It is difficult to even tell it is a pu’erh. I will admit, as tasty as milk chocolate/fine cacao is in a tea, it is not my favorite note. I like earthy, woody notes, and this one is very mellow in that department. There is a faint mushroom flavor to me, which I am enjoying :) It is very good, but in all honesty, my Noble Mark still holds my heart for favorite shu. This one is tasty, and I might re-order someday, but for now I will enjoy the ones I have in my cupboard.

Overall, super milk chocolatey, light cacao, silky smooth, and calming. Delicious, but my heart is still won over by Noble Mark for a favorite :) but will probably will meet again, Special Dark! Highly recommend if you want a pu’erh that is not very pu’erhy in taste (no fish, not much earthiness, if any, and not overly strong at all). Great for starters, and also, I could see that since this will be out of my cupboard, I will probably end up craving it haha. That tends to happen with teas like this :D very happy I ordered this!

Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Smooth

Dexter

That is a great tasting note. Personally I really like the chocolate notes in it, but I do agree that it’s not very Pu’erh ish. I do love it though. Yes Noble Mark is amazing and is also one of my favorite shou pu’erhs…. Mmmmmmm Mandala pu’erh – I don’t drink enough of it.
I’m going to take inspiration from this and drink some Noble Mark tomorrow. Thank you. :))

MissLena

Haha no prob! Enjoy that noble mark I am hoarding mine since I’m on a no-buy for a while! Yeah I am not a huge chocolate fan overall..hence why I also don’t have any laoshan black in my cupboard..I enjoy them every once in a while as a nice treat though! :)

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87

I can’t believe I haven’t tried this tea sooner! I have had it in my cupboard for quite a while, but the large ingredients list was daunting and a bit worrisome, just so many interesting sounding things haha. But I had read a note on here a while ago that this tea was helpful with stress and anxiety, and with how work has been going since the start of the new year (read:BUSY like crazy), I could use something to calm me in my life. I have been having Mother’s Little Helper nightly this week, but decided to just try this tea and enjoy it!

Haha, so I was trying to recall if I have had a tea with lemon balm in it, and yes, as a matter of fact, one of the first teas I drank all the time was full of lemon balm: Cleanse by Tetley. I almost exclusively drank that tea for a year, the year I cut caffeine. It was a good year too! Lol, back in the day before I knew about loose leaf. Anyways, I was less daunted when I realized this tea has lemon balm in it.

The dry smell is vanilla-y and minty. It smells good. I did the first steep for about 5 mins with boiling water. The steeped liquor is light yellow, and smells mainly of vanilla, mint, and a hint of apricot fruitiness.

As for the flavor, this is a pretty decent herbal! This cup is quite minty, maybe I had an influx of it, but there is a creamy vanilla sweet note to keep it from being too minty, and some mild fruitiness. I might shake up the bag to see if I can get even more fruit next time. It definitely is calming, and while I’m not overly sleepy yet, I am a lot calmer, relaxed, and warm (although any tea would have helped with warming me lol).

Overall, this is a very nice herbal. It’s mild and minty, and I love mint! It reminds me a little bit of Cocomint cream with the apple and mint, but no coconut. I also enjoy that it’s a herbal without chamomile to clog up my steeper. The only thing that I would love to be in this blend as well is some nettle for allergies :D although the mint is helping to clear my sinuses already. I might have to restock this, especially if it does make me less anxious. Happy to have finally tried!

Flavors: Apple, Mint, Vanilla

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95

I broke my (over 2 month I think?) tea buying hiatus today for a very special tea that I have yearned to try and could not resist any longer. I snagged the last cake of the 2012 Huron pu’erh from WP :D it’s an early birthday present to me. I have promised to not drink it until my birthday next month, and it is the only tea I decided to break my tea resolution for (resolution = to be under 100 teas before I am allowed to buy any more). This is mostly because it was the LAST CAKE, and I know it says there are more coming, but the first ones have such epic reviews, I wanted it. I required it. So I can’t wait until Feb to be able to try it!!

In other news, I am currently drinking this tea, my staple herbal. It is ginger pow as usual, and I added honey to the first cup. So tasty, helps me focus, no caffeine (overdid that again yesterday haha) and helps ward off the bugs going around the office. Oh and it helps with my lungs. This tea will forever be in my cupboard I hope! See previous notes :)

Kristal

I just love super ginger..but like you I need to use up a lot more of my stash before I purchase more. My goal is to be around 10-15 teas or even less

Kristal

…I’m currently at 19 teas :)

MissLena

Nice! I wish I was at 19 teas lol, Super Ginger is one I vow to always have in stock though it’s such a staple! I hope DavidsTea never discontinues it :)

M

I just finished the last of my Super Ginger, and am also waiting until I’ve finished some of my other teas to get more. It’s so tempting, though!

Kristal

Super ginger is one of my staples as well, usually. Right now I have a similar one in stock so I’ve vowed I have to use up that one before getting super ginger ;). I find that’s the best way for me to control myself when it comes to buying more tea: “I don’t need that tea, I have X which is so similar to Y!”

Also, I’m now down to 18 teas as of this morning ;)

MissLena

That’s a good way to help with controlling the number of teas you have, Kristal, I should try that..but I like comparing similar ones too :P

@ M, it is so tough holding off purchasing a favorite until you have cupboard room! You can do it! :)

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Ahh I’m having a delicious Sunday session with this tea. I decided I was craving a fruiter sheng after my vegetal matcha this morning and this one is great! I did a quick rinse and have been doing short about 6 second steepings with 200 degree water. Ahh the wet leaves smell heavenly, lots of honey and some floral notes.

The flavor is smooth, mellow, a bit woody, a fresh green wood at that. A bit of a green smoky smell from the liquor. And then some sweetness in the flavor, and yes, in the aftertaste, a definite apricot flavor!!! I was so excited to find it :D it’s exactly what I want today!

Overall, this is a sweeter, mellower sheng than I usually drink. But I am really enjoying it!! I’ll continue drinking this on this warm winter day while watching football with the bf.

TeaBrat

ha, I was watching football with my bf too ;)

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86

I haven’t had matcha in AGES, actually not since I partook in a tea ceremony last spring, and I bought this one on our trip and haven’t yet tried it. Until this morning :) my whisking skills are a bit less than great since it’s been so long, but I managed to make a fairly decent bowl of this in the morning. A bit bitter at first, but that is mostly my tastebuds not having had matcha for a long time, let alone unflavored. This is actually my first unflavored I have made at home too!

Anyways, it was quite savory with a rich mouthfeel, and nice grass/spinach flavor. Next time I will use a little less matcha to avoid the small bit that collected at the end of the bowl. It also made me feel excellent and happy this morning. I need to drink this more often again!

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95

I basically had no weekend, worked both days and still have tons to do :( ugh and I have the usual 5 day work week ahead. Le sigh. I had a few cups of tea while at work, but didn’t log. So tonight I am logging my current cup of this puerh, my before bed cup. Warm, woodsy, comforting..I love puerh. And my cat just jumped up to lay on me, so I am even warmer and happier now :) can’t wait until this week ends! See previous notes on this tea :)

Fjellrev

Noooo, hope you can have a decent makeup weekend soon!

MissLena

Thanks, it’s gotten a bit less crazy here as of today :) can’t wait for the weekend!

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87

I haven’t written a note on this yet? Haha oops! I have had this tea for quite some time, in fact, my package is labelled ‘Wild Winter White Buds’, the previous name of this tea! Ah well, luckily it is somewhat of a puerh tea, so it has been um, aging? :D

I didn’t take detailed notes on this one, but I had a nice little gongfu session with it, did 2 rinses then short steeps. I combined later steepings into my mug, and actually got inspired to paint! I did my first ocean painting of the pictures I took on our trip and I am very pleased with how it turned out! Haha, but this note is supposed to be about tea, so I will talk about the tea.

This is a very tasty Yabao, with the delicious brown sugar notes I adore in it. It was woodsy and fresh yet still sweet. I think this one is even sweeter than Verdant’s version. It was perfect for a frigidly cold day and perfect to inspire me to paint. It also may have been the cup I was drinking the tea out of that inspired me. Regardless, this was a very tasty tea, and I plan to do more gongfu sessions to use up a bit more of my bag of this. Very good tea!

Picture from the session:
http://instagram.com/p/xclCIWOsJO/

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87

Oh dear…I just read my other notes on this, and no…I have still not sipped this down haha. Having a cup this morning and it still tastes fresh, but yes a bit more stale :( booo! I love this blend and can’t get any more of it :( hey Brenden, maybe a reblend of this for me in the future? Haha, such a wonderful blend, but I am earnestly going to sip this down, it’s losing its flavor after 2 years unfortunately. See previous notes!

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83

First sipdown of 2015! I very much enjoyed the samples sent of this tuocha by Angel at Teavivre, thank you kindly! This is my second favorite of the sheng samples, but it still doesn’t quite top the Ancient Tree sheng I finished previously. However, I do like the flavor and convenience that these tuochas offer, so when I get around to placing that Teavivre order (it is growing and becoming more concrete, definitely this year, probably this winter!) I will probably add some of these in. This is a nice inoffensive sheng, light flavor with some sweetness and a little bit of cha qi going on tonight. Again helping with my allergies, which seem to be acting up again. Ugh haha. Anyways, I will continue with my gongfu session of this final tuocha (oh yeah, I did two rinses, one 20s and one 15s, and have been doing short steeps with 200 degree water) and enjoy the of my sample! See previous notes on this tea :)

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Bio

Hello all, I am an electrical engineer (read:NERD :D), who is a bit obsessed with tea! I discovered loose tea in 2011, DAVIDsTEA in 2012 and it took off from there. I really started drinking/enjoying tea because it was excellent to take to class in the morning and because I can’t handle coffee! (unless it’s a really good cappuccino or latte, or decent decaf haha)

I enjoy a variety of teas – current favorites being ripe and raw pu’erhs, chinese black teas and herbal/green rooibos blends. I also enjoy white, green, and oolong teas, although I tend to drink them more in the warmer months. I have also tried matcha and guayusa, but I don’t drink them too often as I am a bit sensitive to caffeine. As a result I don’t drink black teas as often as I used to, but in moderation I can still enjoy a wide variety of teas.

Oh, and I have a severe peanut allergy and try to avoid most other nuts, just to be safe. Limits my tea choices a bit, but that’s ok. However I have tried almonds and found out I can eat them, so I have been trying a few teas with them in them.

MissLena’s rating system
(as of 04/19/13)

95+: Absolute favorite, will try to always have it in stock, and when I don’t I pine over it!
90-94: Awesome teas, will probably purchase again a few times
80-89: Very good tea, may restock at some point
70-79: happy to have tried and will gladly finish, but not restock
60-69: not horrible, but not the best, will finish if I have some though
50-59: not a favorite, probably will have a tough time finishing the bag
-50: yuck. I don’t want to have it ever again.

Location

Canada

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