Imperial Dark - Bu Lang Gong Ting 2009

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Baked Bread, Berry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Mushrooms, Autumn Leaf Pile, Creamy, Nutty, Pastries, Wet Earth
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 7 g 9 oz / 274 ml

Available from 1 seller.

From Our Community

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41 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I haven’t been drinking much puerh lately, but I think that will be changing especially now that the rainy season appears to be upon us here in San Francisco. I don’t tend to drink much...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2661 tasting notes
  • “Somehow, I drank green & white teas almost all day. A couple of Dragonwells, some white, & before I knew it the day was nearly gone. I realized around 6:00 that I really wanted something...” Read full tasting note
    terri-harplady 3100 tasting notes
  • “My first time using my yixing pot (after a seasoning). I sat with my Zojurishi (sp?) and enjoyed multiple steepings which were seamless with that wonderful machine from Mandala!...” Read full tasting note
    azzrian 807 tasting notes
  • “I still love this one. It’s just easy to drink, not fussy, not finicky – let it steep for 6 minutes on your desk and it just gets deeper with out anything nasty happening. Honestly...” Read full tasting note
    Dexter 802 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

We totally scored with this find! We have sampled so many different ripe teas over the years both in China and here at our shop. Samples are continuously sent here from various tea merchants and most of the time, we find them ok at best. But when we tasted this gong ting (imperial court quality, smallest leaf) tea, we immediately had every last bit of it shipped to us so we could share it with our customers not to mention drink it ourselves!

Hailing from Bu Lang mountain in Menghai, this is an expertly crafted tea. Rich and sweet, hints of dark chocolate and slight nuttiness with a creamy aroma becoming more pronounced as the post-fermentation smell quickly becomes a memory. We are sure that this gong ting, given a bit more age, will easily rival our favorite Golden Gong Ting from 2005. We are extremely pleased when all the conditions come together to create a memorable tea and this, my friend, is one of those teas.

Brewing Recommendations: Gong Fu Cha Method

About Mandala Tea View company

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41 Tasting Notes

31 tasting notes

Rich and dark, not too earthy, smooth with a sweet finish. This is one of my favorites from Mandala Tea. My only criticism would be it does not seem to steep as many times as some other ripe pu-erh’s, perhaps only 5-7 steepings but the first 4 are delicious!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 185 ML

Hi, pal! The gong ting grade
Is the smallest grade leaf so it will definitely give it up in fewer infusions than larger leaf or blends that have a combo of different size leaves. But this gong ting packs some great flavor in those few infusions, just like you said. Glad you dig it!!

With gratitude,

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1740 tasting notes

Sipdown! 166
Thank you Sil! This is so good! It really reminds me of Special Dark, but that just might be because it’s a nice puerh with lots of chocolate notes, and it doesn’t make me think of dirt. I can’t remember what makes the other one different, but I do know that I am enjoying this one. Yay for good puerh!


Nice, I’m glad you’re finding time to explore them…I’m hoping I can do that a little tomorrow…


I’m enjoying the chance. I just wish I could differentiate them better.


i still struggle with that. mostly i have “stuff i like” and “stuff don’t” but don’t ask me to tell you why lol


There’s where ranking tea can get really difficult. :P That’s why I like having a repurchase (Y/M/N) column on my spreadsheet! Sums it up nice and easy!


I have one of those too, Cavo. And then the Y’s also get letter grades reflecting how much I liked them at the time, as well as notes describing the flavour. I still wish I could DL Steepster infos into a CSV file…


Yes to that omg lol

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587 tasting notes

Another pu-erh sample from the very kind MzPriss!

After drinking flavored teas all day yesterday, I knew I wanted to start today with something bold. Perfect time for pu-erh tasting!

I will tell you what happened with this one, I forgot to rinse it (because I’m not used to having to do that), and let the first steep sit for about a minute, looked at it and it was BLACK. Said to myself “aw crap I forgot to rinse” then took a sip anyway, decided I was nowhere near ready for that, and dumped it….consider that a very long rinse.

Next, I let it steep about 30-45 seconds, it was much milder. No mushrooms! Just earthy, and a vague dark chocolate note. It was still dark enough that I decided to add milk…. Wow!

What a creamy and smooth tea! Right now I prefer this to the Special Dark but I know I kinda messed that one up so I will try again. I’m going to be resteeping this several more times this afternoon!

Thanks, MzPriss!


They are darker when they aren’t rinsed? Interesting.


You are very welcome! I’m glad you like it, and as someone mentioned the other day, it’s really interesting how different everyone’s taste is. Special Dark is like crack for me, and this one – not so much. I should have warned you to rinse this one. I don’t bother with a rinse for Special Dark. I just drink it. A lot of it. Like a junkie. The note from Garret in my last order was something like, “Say, you don’t like Special Dark much do you???”


Hahahaha too funny!

I’m going to drink special dark your way next…that is to say, the way where I don’t stress out too much over steeping times, I might just go western since that’s how I roll mostly anyway :)


Courtney, I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but my “rinse” this time was like a one minute steep so it makes sense it was lighter after

I don’t know if it’s lighter after a normal pu’erh drinker’s rinse :P


I rinse special dark (quick rinse 5 second swish) and then steep something crazy like 7-8 minutes. That’s how I like it, but you should play with it and find your favorite times. :))


Good to know :)
I think I’m going to try a nice long steep and see how it goes!


Dexter – I have been known to steep it for 7 minutes too

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148 tasting notes

Very smooth, earthy and shu-y. A really easy to drink shu. Deep, dark and slighty cocoa-y. This is good. It will never replace Special Dark for me but it is nice to have on hand. A very mellow and laid back start to my morning. I’m glad I have this.

Flavors: Cocoa

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374 tasting notes

Casey made vegan ribs (they were amazing) and mashed potatoes for my birthday dinner, and Allie and Andy came over and brought a vegan chocolate cake and raw cheesecake (also, Casey had baked a pumpkin pie, so had a lot of desserts). I’m holding back rating this one, because my mouth was too full of cake and pie to really give the flavor of the tea proper attention. It was yummy, though. :-)

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

Happy Birthday! Sounds like an amazing b-day dinner!


Happy birthday!


Thank you both!

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5775 tasting notes

Dexter inspired me. I’m sure i’ve had this before but i guess i forgot to log it? I’m too lazy to deal with a gaiwan today so i just made this up as a western brew and let it steep. for ages. sooo good! i’m almost tempted to add a splash of milk or maple syrup to this but i’ll opt for passing on that this time,. Instead i’m just enjoying this bold cup of delicious.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

Glad to inspire you. The question is: Am I nuts, or is this similar – in a toned down version sort of way – to Special Dark when western steeped for quite awhile?


in some ways..this one tastes better than the western brew of special dark…though i like western brew of special dark after a few steepings..if that makes sense.. they’re similar and yet different as you mentioned :)


I need to try this one western

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1792 tasting notes

Oh this is good! Thanks so much, Dexter3657!

I rinsed for about 20 seconds, and did a first steep of 2 minutes or so. It’s nice and earthy and mushroomy. Mmm.

No, it’s not super complex or fancy, but it’s delicious and I could see enjoying it any time of day. I’ll probably have a couple more steeps tonight, and I have enough left for a couple more rounds. Definitely something to consider purchasing, as I wouldn’t be scared to waste the tea, yet is is something I can sit and enjoy.

(1.5 tsp, 12 oz)

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

And then I made scones to go along with this tea because I’m hangry.

230g mixed gluten free flours, 2 tbsp coconut flour. Worked quite well, yay!


Those look amazing! Were they as tasted as they seemed in the pictures?


Well, they’re white chocolate and berry scones… they were pretty good! Mine weren’t as pretty as I used a flour mix with a lot of buckwheat flour in it.


Appearance doesn’t matter as long as they’re tasty! They sound delicious! :-)


Hi!!! Thanks for posting this! I was going to add that your rinses, especially with such a small leaf (gong ting) don’t need to be so long. With the loose leaf gong tings, I typically do just a 5 second rinse one or two times. If the pot is already heated up, just once. Gong ting will give up alot of its essence/flavor pretty quickly because it is the smallest leaf. Just a tip from my experiences. But I want you happy happy happy so if a 20 sec rinse works for you, ROCK ON!!

Also, I don’t know if you deliver the GF scones of not but they sound tea-lishus! That really was a good choice of a tea to enjoy those scones with. Good food-pairing, my friend!!


Good to know! Thanks, Garret.

I don’t think the scones would survive shipping… not only might people be tempted by them, but they’re quite wet because of the fruit. Definitely something to eat asap (or freeze). :)

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25 tasting notes

I’m really enjoying this one. I got it as a sample with my order from Mandala, thank you for that. It has a lovely balance to it and a nice silky mouthfeel, that was probably the first thing I noticed. It is smooth and savory not too strong and very pleasant. I was actually drinking it quite fast, I gulped 5 cups in like and hour… lol. Nutty, creamy, mushroomy and earthy, with a fantastic mouthfeel.

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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