"Heart of the Old Tree" Sheng Pu'er 2012

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss, Apricot, Sweet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 30 oz / 895 ml

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22 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I have not been taking the time to sit quietly and resteep tea, focusing on the experience. Tonight I remedied that with a long and fruitful gong fu session with this tea. It looks like I am...” Read full tasting note
    ashmanra 1848 tasting notes
  • “I'm by no means a sheng expert but this is a really nice raw pu-erh, down to the lovely paper it comes in. I did a quick rinse and then ended up steeping this for around 45 seconds. I'm getting...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2488 tasting notes
  • “Final tea of the day, I reached in the sheng box, & this one came out! The initial aroma of the warmed leaf was sweet & a little fruity. It brought nectarines to mind for me, although I can't say...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 3015 tasting notes
  • “This tea is nice. I've got a nice, relaxed feeling going on. I started at 205° and the tea was a little bitter. I dropped to 195° and the bitter is gone. Smooth, sweet, not quite fruity. I like it.” Read full tasting note
    cheri0627 450 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

From high atop Nan Mei Village, hails this Mandala Tea exclusive sheng pu’er cake. We were fortunate to visit this farm and walk among the 300-400 year old trees from which this leaf was picked! In China, this is called Gu Shu Cha or “Old Tree Tea”.

This is spring 2012 material, first flush – clean growing area, ZERO sprays, very high-altitude. There is a photo included that we took while we were hiking through the old trees being guided by the grower, Mr Wei!

As we prepare this, we are transported back to our time on that mountain, drinking in the crisp, clean air and drinking the freshly processed mao cha and sipping with old (and new) friends.

In the aroma of the tea liquor, we smell thick caramel and sugar cane while a gentle breeze blows in hints of a distant campfire where the sweetness of burning birchwood is evident. But this tea is far from what we would call smoky. Get out your aroma cups and check this one for yourself. In later infusions, we find wonderful floral notes lingering.

The flavor is full on the tongue, a butteriness present while the salivary glands are treated to a subtle cleansing. Slightly vegetal, (sweeter if you are using lower water temps – we use boiling), almost no grassiness. Later steepings bring out a High Mountain Taiwanese oolong quality to the flavor. We look forward to watching the years pass for this one.

We named this tea due to the effect we feel in our body/mind. This tea is definitely one to help remove stagnancy in the meridians and we feel it most in the heart energy. The cha qi (tea energy) courses through the body and creates a feeling of “calm vibrancy”, quite noticeable in the heart center.

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22 Tasting Notes

1848 tasting notes

I have not been taking the time to sit quietly and resteep tea, focusing on the experience. Tonight I remedied that with a long and fruitful gong fu session with this tea. It looks like I am going to try it once a year until the cake is gone! I got out a knife but the cake is loosely compressed and I realized I could just break off a chunk with my hands rather easily. Yay! I plan to order a breaking tray from Garrett really soon.

For such a young sheng, this is very drinkable. My favorite steeps were the later ones, and I actually felt almost as if I were drinking warm wine. About five steeps in I heard my stomach start gurgling. Ah yes, the tea was working its magic! Puerh usually gives me the gurgles and it makes my tummy happy.

This was a fabulous way to end a nice day of shopping out of town with hubby, and technically, also a nice way to start Tuesday since technically it is after midnight now! This is tasting more like white wine with each steep and especially as the temperature is dropping.

I think I am on steep eleven and still going. There is a lot of flavor here. I will probably wait a year again to taste it and experience it!


I’ve been wanting to taste this one! :D

Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

I just got mine in the mail today, I can’t wait to try it!


Oh, I can’t wait to hear what you think of it, Awkward Soul!


Thank you for the review!! I CANNOT wait to introduce everyone to the new pressings that are being done by me right now, either. This Heart of the Old Tree is really going to begin opening up in this next year and I’ll never forget the tea farm and tasting the mao cha there. More to come! Grateful to each of you, Garret




Yesterday I made some clever comment about this name reminding me of Ents and it never posted…then again, maybe it wasn’t so clever and it’s better that it didn’t :)

Terri HarpLady

GG, I love that! Ents! Love em!


LOL! I love it! You know, someone posted a recipe online for the Ent Draught and I thought it really just needed to be a good, smooth sheng puerh!

Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

I get around to steeping Heart of the Old Tree I’m now gonna think of drinking giant walking trees, LOL

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2488 tasting notes

I’m by no means a sheng expert but this is a really nice raw pu-erh, down to the lovely paper it comes in.

I did a quick rinse and then ended up steeping this for around 45 seconds. I’m getting a very vegetal taste, kind of bold and assertive like a gunpowder tea but with a slightly effervescent or fizzy taste on the tongue. It does have the slight sourness I’ve come to associate with young shengs and also has a woodsy flavor.

My second steep, I meant to steep it for a short period of time but I ended up forgetting about it. It was a little too strong to drink!

My third steep is a little bit better, it’s now starting to get kind of mellow and sweeter but still with the vegetal quality. I think it has a hint of smokiness too. I think this will age really well but don’t know if I will be able to keep it long enough to age!

I notice Garret’s tasting note claims this tea is good for stagnancy and the heart meridian, it definitely seems to be waking me up and helping me to feel calm and entered. I am not a morning person and suffer from sleepiness a lot so this has gotten me right and chipper!

I need to go but will enjoy a few more steeps of it this afternoon. It’s a lovely sheng.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Too funny that I began my day with a session of this tea prior to meditation this morning. Yes… these pretty much just arrived and this is as young as it gets. When I prepare this tea, I begin with steepings at 15-20 for the first 2-4 steeps, then slowly increase from there.

There are times, though, that I desire for this tea to come on very strong and use full boil (as I do with the mao cha of this same leaf)… lots of leaf, full tongue watering strength. I find this quite invigorating and it opens the tastebuds to all kinds of other flavors I would otherwise miss.

I can’t wait to here more from you about this tea, if you get the chance. I’m having a ball with it and I’m already planning on buying this farms first flush next spring to do another pressing of this tea.

Also… the compression on this cake, as I’m sure you noticed is quite tight. Traditional stone pressing will do that. As this ages, that compression will loosen. Even in the next few months as the tea dries a bit more, the compression will change.

When I taste this tea or smell it, for that matter, I am transported right back to this tea farm and I just sit and smile! Just like I do when I think of you :)

Bright blessings!


I’ve really got to try mandala tea!!!


Yes Bonnie, you really DO!



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3015 tasting notes

Final tea of the day, I reached in the sheng box, & this one came out!
The initial aroma of the warmed leaf was sweet & a little fruity. It brought nectarines to mind for me, although I can’t say that it actually smelled like nectarines.
I didn’t actually document my steepings on this, but I started with 4G, rinsed, & kept it short for awhile. The primary taste I’m getting is Grape peels, with a little bitterness, but as I said before, my allergies are horrendous right now, so I can’t really tell you if it is bitter or not, & my guess is that it is not. But it does have a bright grape/citrus edge to it. Otherwise, it’s smooth & a little sweet, kind of spring like, if that makes sense.
I’m several steeps in now, & picking up on a floral quality that reminds me of Lavender, kind of. And also apricot – kind of tangy!
This is from a sample that our awesome friend Garret sent to me awhile back. I have just enough for one more session, so I’m putting it in the official sipdown cannister, where I’m collecting teas for my upcoming Sipdown Extravaganza!.

Add on: The energy of this tea is very ‘open’, as in opening of the chakras & such. I can feel my energy field clearing, something I really need today. Gratitude. Breathing deep.

Day 2: Revisiting this yixing somemore today, after a quick rinse. It’s light & fruity & I love it.


Yum! Want!


Added to my list!

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450 tasting notes

This tea is nice.

I’ve got a nice, relaxed feeling going on.

I started at 205° and the tea was a little bitter. I dropped to 195° and the bitter is gone. Smooth, sweet, not quite fruity. I like it.


I did that today too with another sheng. I think 195 is best. :)


It worked out well. Some sheng do better at the higher temp, but I think this one did best a little lower.

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945 tasting notes

YAY! I’m happy that Mandala did a raw sampler. Thanks for doing that Garret! I’ve been looking forward to trying this one in particular.

This is a bold, fruity and floral young sheng! It has plenty of qualities I love in a sheng, including a great energy. My only complaint is that it does have just a tiny bit of bitterness if brewed the way I typically like mine. Don’t let that scare you though, this has PLENTY to offer! YAY! Sheng-a-licious!


I love this one!

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112 tasting notes

-Dry leaves: Medium sized leaves, warm brown with a spicy-sweet aroma. They’re covered in little silver hairs that give them an almost holographic look

-1st steep: Soft yellow infusion with a sweet and savory tastes that lingers in the mouth long after drinking. Unique taste that reminds me of green pepper, accompanied by mineral, molasses, and wet moss notes. Slight bitterness, but still pretty mild.

-2nd and 3rd steeps reveal more sweetness. Notes of muscadine grapes, rich soil, and something reminiscent of white cake.

-Around the sixth steep a menthol/cooling effect becomes noticeable, and a slight mushroomy flavor. Unfortunately the leaves are beginning to loose some of their strength already. I squeezed out ten infusions, but the last few were pretty weak.

-Spent leaves are slender and olive green. Plump stems with less defined veins. A good number of the leaves have browning/damaged edges

-Overall a nice sheng with a good amount of flavor and power, but burns through it’s stamina quickly. Like the other sheng that I’ve tried from Mandala it is fairly mild and has nice a nice cha qi.

Flavors: Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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239 tasting notes

This is an excellent sheng puerh with almost no bitterness and notes of honey and apricots. I added a very small amount of sugar to this tea which may have helped bring out these notes. This is extremely good tea. The good news is I called Mandala Tea, they are not near to running out. It will still be there when I get around to another Mandala order. This tea had a nice golden yellow color. The spent leaves have the aroma of apricots.

I steeped this tea 7 times in a 150ml gaiwan with 200 degree water and 6g leaf. I steeped it for 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, and 2 min. There is still more left in these leaves but I have had enough sheng for today.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

Thank You Sarsonator for this sample. It was good.


Glad you liked it, A! This is actually one of the first shengs I tried. I’m glad to hear that there’s some stock of these cakes because I definitely need more! :)


I want one too but it is expensive, I don’t yet know if I will buy one. In any case I plan to wait.

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579 tasting notes

I had a nice session this afternoon with this tea. I’m trying to enjoy some good stuff before I travel tomorrow. I’ve got my little travel bag of tea to take with me…all sample sachets that I keep around for such an occasion, but it’s going to be hard to be away from the good stuff!

This tea was very nice. I did one 10-second rinse and then 10/10/15/15/25/25/35/35/45/1:15/1:45/2:30 steeps. Overall, this is a nice and sweet, juicy tea, with some tobacco in early steeps, and later, some sweet grape notes. The tea became a bit bitter in a couple of the early steeps, but the bitterness didn’t stay long…it wasn’t terrible either…reminds me of that pungency you sometimes get when eating artichoke leaves. I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to try the others in the sampler!

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26 tasting notes

Fairly loose compression on this one. The little 100g cake split clean in half with one insertion of the pu erh knife. Below boiling water temp, quick rinse and 10s for the first steep. As I was sitting down for the first cup something didn’t feel right. I took one sip, but felt compelled to dump the first steeping so I did. Second steeping around 15s. The color is very light like “did I steep this long enough” light… golden yellow. Dominant notes of grasses and straw with lighter notes of floral, perhaps lotus, and very mild bitterness. Perhaps it was expectation, perhaps it was the tea, but I definitely noticed a significant glowing, warming, expansion of the heart center more-so than from any other tea I’ve had which was pleasant. I was also dealing with some Snickers ice cream bar induced nausea which was quelled after a few cups. Remind me that ice cream is not in my best interest.

After my first steeping I noticed an aftertaste of honey while waiting for water to warm for more steepings. Subsequent steepings saw the grassy, straw notes fade while floral sweetness and honey notes came more to the forefront. Simply wonderful cha qi with the aforementioned heart center feeling as well as a calming, everything is fine in the world, sense. I’m really enjoying this one right now.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

Haven’t tried this one!

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249 tasting notes

Post hike noms

The berries this year are just awesome in PA! Check out some of our blueberry haul

I love this particular state park because you have to drive up a mountain to get there, and it all looks like random shrubberies from afar, but then you get up close and realize that the whole mountain is covered in wild blueberry and huckleberry plants. THEN you hike elsewhere in PA and realize that many PA state parks are covered with these shrubs!

And then you get home and drink this and feel your happy tea buzz!!!!

And then you realize you’ve never rated any tea 100, and if any tea is it, this is the one. So you fix it. :p


Cameron B.

Yum, I absolutely love blueberries! I need to come visit you so we can go pick some, lol. I’ve never had a huckleberry though.

This is the “hot cowboy” right? :P


Have you ever been out blueberry picking? There’s something about DIY berries that makes them better than store bought, IMO. Fresh from the shrubberies!!!!

This is the one and only hot cowboy!!!


Haha! Many things I love about this review:

1) you went hiking
2) you got beautiful berries and you shared wonderful pics with us
3) you drank hot cowboy and gave it 100…

I’d say you’ve had the perfect day :-)


It’s been a sheng day!!!! I wish I didn’t have to work tomorrow!!!! I want to wake up and drink tea all day instead! :p


Those berries are preeeeety. I need to try my Hot Cowboy.


Do it!!! We should have a little HOTOT party later

And I should have stayed in bed today….


Why stayed in bed? The morning just started – can’t be that bad yet. Can it?


People are just working my nerves, pumpkin pie. I will live! I can’t be sad for long. I have good tea to look forward to later!!!!


I always dread Mondays. I have meetings ALL day today.


Eeeeew, sorry!!!! I only have one mtg, but it’s a doozy. I’m going to need a drink stronger than tea after that one.


Ok, you two, sending you the best vibes from my good vibe purse. Hope your day can go easily so we can all have Hot cowboy tonight together…sweeeet!


You are the sweetest!!!!! I’m taking a deep breath… Only 4 hours left and then Brian is taking me out for dinner and a couple beers and then I am going to make some HOTOT and relax!!!!!


Last meeting done – home early – MIGHTY mail day! Hot Cowboy will be good this evening – I slept the other night after shenging so I’m gonna go for it. I have a bunch of new sheng y’all


Awesome!!!!! You’re in sheng city, baby YEAH!


Like Austin Powers would say: wanna sheng now or sheng later???


All shenged UP! Except it has just been pointed out to me that I need more.


(Huh??? Don’t know what you’re talking about…)


(looks at you)


I wanna sheng now!!!


me too! And I’m home and I can…


Lol, I can’t sheng on an empty stomach, go ahead, I’ll join in later :-)


We can wait for you. I should eat too or it will be bad. Also, I may have gotten some (more) WM mao cha…


I will be home in 30 or so. I’m gonna sheng and season!!!!


OK – I will go get something to eat then.


I just got a sample of this cake today in the mail. woot!


@Cwyn – join us for a Hot Cowboy date later


Hehe… Virtual tea dates are fun!


I just broke into my Hot Cowboy cake so he will be ready for our date


I have my set up ready too :-)


What are temp parameters?


I will use my wee new tray


Theres none…I do mine at 195. And yay for wee tray!


I will make a thread for our Hot Cowboy date – kind of like we did for the moon party.


I am using 3.3 g in 3 oz at 200


OK. gonna go make the thread

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