243 Tasting Notes

96
drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
243 tasting notes
I only did one brew with 8 grams in the yixing and only one 30 second steep so far. This is a very rich an velvety tea. It has notes of cocoa and slight hints of bittersweet chocolate also. It left me wanting another cup and I think it will eventually morph into a sweet caramel note in the later steeps. I wish I had done another cup last night while writing these notes but I will continue later today. This one has a certain “richness” that I have found only in the highest grade shous. It is a very impressive shou.

Flavors: Cocoa

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Stephanie

I love this one :)

mrmopar

It’s a keeper for sure. I may buy some of this and put it up for a decade and see how it is then.

TheTeaFairy

I also thought it was impressive, and i’m so happy to have a decent supply of it. For now…nice to know you consider it special enough to want to age it :-)

mrmopar

Yeah when I can afford it and also the Green sheng I drank the other night. I just put 4 other orders in and I think I am going to be in real trouble for doing it….

TheTeaFairy

(just make sure to intercept the mailman first…to avoid the kind of troubles I think you are referring to…just saying)

mrmopar

I better “bribe” the mailman you mean!

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Now I know the extend of your troubles! Yes then, a bribe might be the only way out…(hmm, does he like good pu’erh by any chance??)

boychik

I shower my mailwoman in chocolate. And I love Special Dark.

mrmopar

I may have to pay out cash this time!

looseTman

Any SD updates?

mrmopar

I think I need to pull it out again soon.

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96

Having a Mandala Tea’s ’Wild Mountain" green sheng from 2011. I started this out with 11 grams that I broke off the chunk of tea I have. I separated it into smaller pieces. There are lots of whole leaf in this one with whole stems with the leaves attached. I brewed this in the yixing after a 10 second rinse. It started a golden color on the first brew after a 10 second steep.. This is nice and sweet on the first brew with hints of camphor, flowers and white grapes. I started the second infusion with a 10 second steep it comes out with more depth to it. The color is the same with the camphor touch and a slight pleasant bitternes that will coat and numb the tip of the tongue. I usually will only have one cup of sheng this late at night but this is the second cup and it leaves me wanting more. This is a very nice sheng, leaves appear to be a smaller “gongting” size about half the size of my smallest finger. The depth and complexity are nice and I may have to get a whole cake of this to age. Very enjoyable. Garret, Garret where do you find these great teas at

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
mrmopar

Almost forgot This tea is from the Ai Lao mountain.

Garret

That’s right, John! That’s where I got it from :)

So very happy that you are enjoying this one. I was only able to have 120 cakes of it pressed as that was all of this mao cha that they had for me. But it’s a winner. Not many of them left. All of the sudden, they have been getting really popular and Jamie and I are going to have to buy a tong or two for our personal stashes before they are gone!

I love hearing your thoughts on this tea, John! Thank you so much. I am grateful.

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90

Wow 3 years in the cupboard and I haven’t reviewed this one yet. I must be slipping. Since this is a loose or ‘maocha’ shou I am going with a little less leaf and short steeps as I think it will yield quicker. Ten grams in the yixing with a 5 second rinse to it. It brew pretty light in color and an almost mix of apricots or white peaches. It has a slight buttery cocoa like finish to it. Hints of apple also. Apple! I think that is really the closest fruit to it. This one is a complex one. It is also one of the few loose puerhs I have tried. maybe I should explore more. It is really smooth with no “off’” notes and very nice drinking. Nice easy drinking. Nice complexity.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
__Morgana__

What do you recommend in general in terms of leaf to water ratio for pu-erh? I am just now getting brave enough to try some of the ones I have had in my tea cabinet for a while.

mrmopar

Morgana if I use my yixing it holds about 10 oz of water I usually go 12 to 15 grams by weight of compressed tea. If I use loose leaf I usually try 8 to 10 grams. If I go totally gongfu with the gaiwan usually the same measurements but the water ratio is probably about 4 oz when I do this. This is just a personal preference for me. I would just experiment as my parameters may be too strong or weak based on your tastes. I tried varying ways before i hit the “sweet” spot.

__Morgana__

Thanks—sounds like a general rule of thumb might be 1 oz water to 1 gram tea to start and adjust from there.

Tea Pet

Where did you purchase your yixing? Also, this tea sounds AMAZING.

mrmopar

The yixing I used last night was from teh Tea Merchant. It was the mosaic pot they had on sale a while back.

Tea Pet

I remember that pot! So unique!

Terri HarpLady

I like that pot, it reminds me of Alladin’s Lamp :)
My yixings are all tiny 4-5oz size, although there are a few I’ve been drooling over that are 10oz.

JC

That sounds like a nice ripe to try!

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88

Looking over this tea when breaking it. The cake seems to have some “white” tips in it. the first brew was very pale considering the age of the maocha the tea was made with. It brews clean and bright with a pale yellow color. The notes I get right away are musky and floral with a touch of smoke and bitter. it causes a slight numbing on the tongue that stimulates the saliva glands. A little “piney” note also shows up. it is deep and complex with the darker “aged” color coming after the second steep. This is a really nice tea with a mix of heavy hitting and soft notes rolled into one. The dryer and fruity notes seem to come after the first infusion. I would suggest a “double” rinse to allow this one to show its true nature. a real deal for what I paid and i can’t wait to see how it matures down the road. Very hot gongfu method short steeps on this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 11 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
mrmopar

This one turns nice and sweet on the later infusions.

Stephanie

You are so good at describing these!

mrmopar

I am still learning! Thank you, I hope I can “truly” describe these. So many complex flavors in some of these shengs.

Sammerz314

Sounds interesting!

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81

This is a nice loose compressed cake that broke apart easily. It has a slight mineral taste with a touch of bitterness on the tongue. It has a very thick mouthfeel to it that is followed by tongue tingling after drinking it. I have done 9 infusions so far and it is carrying on well. A pretty nice young sheng with a nice floral aroma.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sammerz314

Perhaps I will sample this tea =)

NofarS

Sounds like it’s a good candidate for aging :)

mrmopar

Yeah I got a sample size used about half of it. I may get some more of this and stick it away a year or two/

Sammerz314

How do you think it will age? Bulangs are among my favourite to drink and stash!

mrmopar

Not sure since this sheng thing is kind of new to me. If it has already lost some of that bitterness people associate with it. Should age well if that is any indication.

mrmopar

For got this has some nice leaf in it. Not chopped up.

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85
Been drinking lots of sheng lately time for a shou. First infusion very light and mellow no flavor really stood out. Second steep noticeably darker brew. Got semi sweet chocolate and vanilla. I think this is a lighter fermented shou as the flavor is much milder than a comparable 7572 or 7752. Very nice easy to drink.
Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 12 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
mrmopar

Forgot, I would recommend.

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75

I have found these “tribute” tuochas to be fairly nice. They seem to be made from good raw materials. Of the ones I have tried from Xiaguan they carry very little of the “smokiness” that they are usually known for. This brews a light amber in the cup. It has a little bitter bite with some citrus thrown in. It has a very good mouthfeel that you can feel all over. It gives up some sweetness on the end. It is not a terribly strong sheng as I had hoped for a little more punch from it. At least it has stayed true brewing for three days now so it does have some lasting power to it. It is a warming sheng to drink on these cold winter days. I would recommend it if you want a smooth non astringent or smoky offering from Xiaguan.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 15 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Terri HarpLady

So…did you get in trouble yet? :)

mrmopar

Not yet as the box is still in transit!

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90

This is a very nice young sheng. It brews a light golden color and has a almost no astringency and none of the “smokiness” Xiaguans are noted for. It has a very floral aroma after the first “wash” that transfers to the cup when drinking. It has a sweetness to it that most younger shengs do not have. It is very soft on the tongue and drinks very smooth and nice. The floral and sweetness are the two most upfront flavors of this tea. Very nice and soft for a young sheng. Not recommended for an upfront punchy tea but for those who want a soft calming one to drink this is one to try. The mouth feel and easy drinking have me rating this pretty good fo a young sheng.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sammerz314

Might have to pick up a sample of this tea to try!

TeaExplorer

Added to my list :)

boychik

Did they send you invite for membership, mrmopar? They ask me now I have to shop thru their site and they give some discounts sometimes 5% more or less. Still nice

mrmopar

Oh yes, I have that membership and its on speed tab on my computer.

Terri HarpLady

You guys are gonna get me in trouble…

mrmopar

I will be in trouble in about 3 days I think. There is a ..ahem “UNNEEDED” order on the way from Yunnan Sourcing….

looseTman

mrmopar, It’s been 3 days. “Are you still among the living?” Are you in proverbial doghouse?

mrmopar

Not yet but a new box will be here soon!

looseTman

It’s good to know your still with us! Can you “soften the blow” with a thoughtful idea for Valentine’s Day?

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71

Had this one late last night. It has some age on it and the tuocha reflects this in the color of the leaf. It brews an amber golden color. Darker than I thought for its age. It still has that smoky “bite” of the Xiaguan teas and comes across with a woody leather taste. I have only done 2 steeps so far and hopefully this will evolve away from the smokiness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g

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