Thanks so much, DigniTea! Excited to try a couple Mandala teas! I tried to follow Mandala’s instructions as closely as possible (1-2 teaspoons, 208 degrees, rinse, 1 min steep increasing to 3-5 min steep). The leaves look like a golden Yunnan.
Steep #1 // 4 min after boiling // rinse & 1 1/2 – 2 min steep
I tried to split the sample I had, so I went with 1 1/2 teaspoons of leaves. Someone at Mandala was kind enough to experiment with waiting for water to cool after boiling and taking temperatures. It definitely gave me a better idea with water temps, even if the conditions (kettle, air temp, etc) isn’t exactly the same. Either way, I was letting the water cool way too long for EVERY tea. To get to 208 degrees, I really should have waited only two minutes after boiling, but somehow it went to four. I’m not fast enough! So the temp was probably really around 205. ANYWAY: The flavor is lovely! I feel like these types of teas embody three distinct flavors: honey, squash/sweet potato and dark chocolate. It depends on the leaves what represents itself more. This one is pure squash and hints of honey. It reminds me of one of my favorites: cutting an acorn squash in half and roasting it in the oven with brown sugar & butter. The body of the tea itself is lighter (though the steep color reminded me of root beer), so the chocolate notes are not as easy to detect… they are present in the background. But sometimes it’s nice just to have the squash notes. I’m very impressed that all three flavors are in this cup, since sometimes it can just be honey flavored if the leaves are mostly yellow, or just dark chocolate.
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 4 min steep
Mandala also suggests that one of the steeps is 3-5 minutes long. This results in a darker, deeper cup – yet not at all astringent. It’s closer to chocolate but not quite. The squashiness is less, but honey remains. It’s a completely different cup altogether. A nice cup, but I think the first is better. I should have had another steep in between these two with a three minute steep. I think that’s why Mandala suggests a one minute steep and then a 3-5 minute steep at the end… the lovely differences the leaves present.