I learned my lesson with Temple Stairs and gave this two rinses before doing my first steep. To me this smells like the other two Shu Pu-erhs I’ve tried from Mandala, like a pond. I’m starting to appreciate it, because I’m starting to associate the smell with the much more pleasant tastes of pu-erhs.
1st Steep 30 seconds: I’m assuming rinsing is to thank for the lack of pond water taste in this cup, for which I’m most thankful. First of, this and the other two puerhs I’ve had from mandala all have been so smooth and silky in the mouth feel. It’s very pleasant, and even with that first not rinsed cup of Temple Stairs, I appreciated it. I’m getting that flavor that I get from all puerhs, that sort of earthy flavor. I don’t eat mushrooms because the texture freaks me out, but that might be what this note is. There’s also a creaminess to it.
2nd Steep 1 minute: There’s a hint of spice hiding out in this cup! It was there on the first sip, but when I look for it I can’t find it. And then I let my guard down, and it pokes its head up. And I found the cocoa! If I loudly slurp this one I get it as I swallow (I like to slurp to aerate the tea so that I can pick up on more notes).
3rd Steep 90 seconds: At this point I got tired of getting up to go make more tea every 5 minutes (lazy, I know) so I made 3 steeping into 3 different cups and brought them all back to my room with me. This is much like the second, but with more cocoa.
4th Steep 2 minutes: I’m starting to get a nice nuttyness now. Mmm chocolate and nuts go so good together.
5th Steep 2.5 minutes: The texture is slightly thinner on this one. I’m getting honey this time, and the cocoa is more like milk chocolate. And it might just be the power of suggestion, but I’m feeling a little tea drunk. Considering I just drank 3 cups back to back its possible though.
6th-8th Steeps: Made three more at once, adding a minute each time. They were all much like the last cup. Cocoa and honey and yummy.