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

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Honey, Sweet, Green Pepper, Mineral, Peat Moss, Apricot
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 24 oz / 717 ml

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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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26 Tasting Notes

1943 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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2686 tasting notes

I decided to take this one out today and give it a whirl, I guess I still wanted sheng but something a little less aggressive than the Repave and this certainly fits the bill. This morning I am getting some flowery and clover type notes, with only a hint of bitterness in the finish. I haven’t had this in a while and it seems to be aging nicely in my closet. ;)

If anything it reminds me a bit more of a white puerh than it did in the beginning. Very nice and pleasant overall. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Don’t know why but I didn’t like it much. Everybody loves it except me. Maybe I should revisit ;)


I feel that way about the Repave ;)

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3114 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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134 tasting notes

I wish I had more time to write, but I’m in the midst of unclogging drains, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, and sundry other tasks… Ahhh!
But, at least there is tea… and there is THIS tea!
I really did not know I would love sheng so much….
And the way it changes with steeps! (fruity, to buttery and rich…) and the tiniest little bite at the end… it’s so fantastic.
Thank you, Dexter, for sending this my way… another favourite that I didn’t know was a favourite. ;)

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202 tasting notes

Second to last I tasted in the sheng sampler. Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The dry aroma has notes of dried grasses, tree bark, and a hint of spices. The wet leaf aroma smells sweet and fruity – sugarcane, grapes, plums, brown sugar, cranberries, all in the following order as the leaves cooled. A pleasure to stick my nose the gaiwan throughout the session. Nearly addictive.

The liquor is pale gold, medium-bodied, clear, and smooth. Consistently mild with a lively and bright personality. Due to my palate not being suited for sheng, I mostly discern sweet dried grass, though it is a kind of grass that is not off-putting, and the taste becomes more sweet than grassy as the session goes on. A juicy aftertaste stays with me minutes after I finish each cup. And each next cup I look forward to having. At the eighth infusion, grape and wine emerge notes. I am enlivened and comforted during this gray, cold late autumn afternoon.

I enjoyed this sheng greatly. Definitely my favorite in the sampler.

7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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262 tasting notes

a nice and smooth tea. with honey taste and little spicyness/smokyness

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell honey and sweetness

the same when i taste it :)

thankyou mrmopar for this amazing tea

Flavors: Honey, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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512 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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1052 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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121 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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566 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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