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Black Gold

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by tperez
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g 9 oz / 272 ml

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18 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I stayed up way too late, & then I woke up way too early! At 5am I kept hearing this gnawing & scratching sound. I also heard it last week one morning. I kept trying to go back to sleep, but...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 2510 tasting notes
  • “sipdown! I had this in the morning when steepster was acting up. I prefer this one to the black beauty that mandala offers. The taste here is much smoother and tasty...and sadly that's all i...” Read full tasting note
    Silaena 4046 tasting notes
  • “This was a free sample included in my Christmas order from *Mandala Tea.* Thank you, Garret! It is tea party day! We didn't have a tea party last week since it was the day after Christmas, and...” Read full tasting note
    ashmanra 1769 tasting notes
  • “This was a very generously sized sample Garret managed to throw in somehow at my request in the midst of holiday madness. Mandala's customer service is top notch! This has all those malty smooth...” Read full tasting note
    ifjuly 609 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

Black tea lovers, rejoice! This spring-picked, expertly processed black tea is sure to please! A great morning tea with a strong body and light sweetness. Amazing flavor regardless of the strength of your brew. The perfect base for any chai recipe. Many customers enjoy this with milk and sugar. Up to you!

Black tea is produced by fully oxidizing a tea leaf once it has been picked. It is a heartier tea and should be steeped with higher temperature water. You will likely enjoy doing only a few longer steepings, but black tea can be prepared Gong Fu style.

About Mandala Tea View company

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18 Tasting Notes

2510 tasting notes

I stayed up way too late, & then I woke up way too early! At 5am I kept hearing this gnawing & scratching sound. I also heard it last week one morning. I kept trying to go back to sleep, but finally just resigned myself to getting up. I located where I was hearing the sound, & at first I thought maybe a mouse was inside my wall, but it sounded too big, & I realized that maybe it’s something scratching around on my roof, because my room is an attic room, & it was in a roof corner kind of place.

So I banged on the wall, & it stopped for a second, then started up. I banged again, same thing. I banged a bunch & it made a weird noise. That’s when I realized it was probably a raccoon. My daughter has had 2 racoons dig out sections of roofing on their house to make a place to sleep, & the area on my roof that it was at is basically sheltered from 2 sides forming a corner, with an oak tree above it.

Lucky the coon moved on, and I’m really hoping it won’t try again. I love raccoons, & I love that there are lots of them in my neighborhood (along with foxes, hawks, etc), but I don’t want it to destroy my roof!

To hear the wierd sound the coon made, which turns out to be a ‘purr’:

So this tea has been a welcome addition to my way too early morning: bold, rich, a little sweet, & as it cools it gets a little grapey.


The raccoon must have wanted to get at your tea stash! Hope you’ve been sleeping like a baby since the incident :)

Terri HarpLady

cuz we all know how much raccoons love tea, right? :)


Tea: Giving raccoons the even-keeled energy that they need to carouse and plunder all night long since 3000 BC.

Terri HarpLady

You’re a genius!
Seriously, I think I figured out why the raccoon was on my roof. It looks like there is a small hole leading into the soffit there, & I’m guessing there’s a bird nest there.

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4046 tasting notes


I had this in the morning when steepster was acting up. I prefer this one to the black beauty that mandala offers. The taste here is much smoother and tasty…and sadly that’s all i can remember. Thanks for sending this my way terri! i may pick up some more eventually heh :)

Terri HarpLady

Glad you like it!

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1769 tasting notes

This was a free sample included in my Christmas order from Mandala Tea. Thank you, Garret!

It is tea party day! We didn’t have a tea party last week since it was the day after Christmas, and I wanted today to keep the holiday festivity vibe going! My middle daughter made a pan of brownies with freshly ground whole wheat, which makes really yummy fudge brownies, and we served it with homemade vanilla ice cream.

I also served Bonne Maman Fig Preserves. Ysaurella said she liked it best with goat cheese but I have none at this time so I served it with my warm homemade cheese spread that has a bit of onion in it.

I told youngest I would make this pot personally because I couldn’t believe we were going to get enough strength in a black tea in just one minute, but at one minute the color was nice and dark and the aroma was strong, so I did pull the basket.

I think this was the favorite tea of my guest today. She said it left behind a creamy feeling and had the most enduring aftertaste of our teas today. There is something rather unique about the aroma and flavor of this one that I couldn’t quite pin down and I hope someone more experienced will be able to describe accurately. This is fruity without being sharp, not a Darjeeling type of fruitiness but rather a baked fruit that has been mellowed and sweetened by the heat of baking.

It paired nicely with our food. We drank it without additions and it was sweet and smooth.
I look forward to trying further steeps of this!


Good paring…I was going to ask Garret about a puerh that might be like the 2009 Menghai Red Aura…wine like in flavor and smooth, but more ripe and jammy with sunshine in it but not a lot of cedar, redwood or pepper (I was thinking about a Paso Robles Zinfandel). So, if he’s nosing around here…ahum…let me (us) know!

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609 tasting notes

This was a very generously sized sample Garret managed to throw in somehow at my request in the midst of holiday madness. Mandala’s customer service is top notch!

This has all those malty smooth qualities good starchy Chinese black teas possess, but also aspects of legacy-style breakfast teas in that it’s strong with the merest hint of breakfast blend astringency and a woodiness that emerges at the end of the sip and builds gradually. A nice everyday-type morning tea, the sort of thing you could replace a mandatory cup of coffee first thing-type habit with. Its subtler charms come out the more you drink it. It has a sweet cleanness in the aftertaste that’s unexpected and a nice counterpoint to the upfront smooth starchiness. I enjoy these “go-between” type teas that have parts of both worlds in the basic black tea market.

ETA: Forgot to say earlier too that this is a very pretty leaf, long and unbroken, lovely both dry and steeped. I just seem to extra appreciate that quality in brisk morning teas because it feels so relatively unusual and overlooked, unnecessary in the haze of caffeinating oneself. It always makes me smile though when I encounter it.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Garret is awesome….
As for this tea, it still confuses me. Drinking it again today. More leaf, cooler water, shorter steep does not equal greater understanding….


this one, or Black Beauty? this one feels like it wouldn’t benefit from cooler temps, but that’s just a guess (and i’m no expert). i could see this one not being your cup of tea because although it has a fairly thick body it’s not roasty-satisfying the way i get the impression you like your black teas. i also get the feeling more leaf for this one wouldn’t add flavor so much as perhaps astringency or bitterness, but again, just a guess.

i wish i was more helpful about the black beauty! that sparkling wine-y note, it’s so strange it goes away as it cools and then it’s fine for you. stumps me. i still think other steepsters would probably have good ideas…i’m pretty clueless in terms of tea whispering!


Sorry, you’re right – I’m an idiot. Yes, I’m talking about Black Beauty not this one. Cold weather must be killing brain cells – at least that’s the excuse I’m using.
You are right, should write tasting note and see if others have thoughts.


no no! i had to doublecheck myself because mandala has a lot of black teas with similar names. (:

i hope you get some good advice! i’ll be watching for comments with interest.

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137 tasting notes

The hunt for my house black tea continues. First up today is Black Gold, against yesterday’s winner, Golden Needle. Gah – they’re all so good! In comparison, this one seems a bit lighter in flavor and more astringent. I do think I miss that malty sweetness, and maybe it’s that I’m drinking too many black teas these days, but the astringency is starting to bother me a bit. I suppose if a black tea makes me crave white tea, it can’t be my winner.

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37 tasting notes

So after a few months of drinking this tea daily, I’m finally giving it a review.

This is the tea that helped me kick my coffee addiction. I’ve tried other black teas from many other sources, but this is the one I keep going back to.

I love this tea. The first steeping is complex but not overbearing. There’s a malty sweetness with hints of oatmeal, honey, and molasses. Like a previous reviewer stated, there’s no brassyness. It’s very smooth.

I steep this twice in the morning before doing anything. I sit and enjoy this tea. I then spend the rest if the day drinking, Or thinking about drink Mandala’s Milk Oolong!

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293 tasting notes

Another from the sweet Dexter3657
Black gold is exactly my type of black tea : mellow mellow and mellow but malty .
It’s a real blold tea without any astringency. I detected clearly fruit notes, mostly raisin ot me and a big sweetness.
Loved it.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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596 tasting notes

Another awesome surprise from Dexter3657!

This one I may prefer over the Gaba. They are both great black teas, but this one is not quite as thick tasting. Perhaps that’s just due to the shorter steep time. This one has all the aspects of black tea I love. The subtle sweetness and smooth taste.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML

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20 tasting notes

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for the generous sample of this! I got to try it in both Western and Gong Fu styles, with some left over.

Brewed Western style (3.3g/8oz./208F/10 sec. rinse/1 min. pause, then 1/2/3/4/5 minutes), I smelled cocoa powder and tasted wonderful spice notes accompanied by a stimulating citrus essence that felt lively on the tongue in the first two steeps. The later steeps brought similar, although muted, tastes along with just a hint of Meyer lemon in the flavor.

Next I tried Gong Fu style (5g/100 ml/208F/15 sec. rinse/1 min. pause, then 15/15/20/25/30/45/60/80/105 seconds). A honey and lemon aroma coupled with a strong note of Meyer lemon dominated the first steep, which came across as being quite tasty. The middle steeps saw a shifting interplay of spices, citrus liveliness on the tongue and sweetness which were very enjoyable. The last couple of steeps saw an increase in the spice, but not to an objectionable level.

Of the two methods, I thought the Gong Fu preparation allowed this tea to show more layers of flavor, but if I were in a hurry I would not hesitate to steep it Western.

I’m just beginning my exploration of Chinese black teas so I’m not sure where this would rank in terms of other well known ones. Overall, however, it’s a very nice tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Terri HarpLady

Yay, glad you liked it!


What a nice review of this tea! Thank you for that. Funny, I see in your bio that you were a follower of the Grateful Dead as I’ve been listening to alot of live dead these last few days. I saw them alot between 86 and 93. Yes… some good seeds were planted and some good seeds were watered during that time. It’s how I got into Eastern philosophy, bodywork, meditation and TEA!! Hope it did you lots of good, too, my friend :)


It did me lots of good, but in a different way. I was in a period of stress in my life and the shows were an oasis of peace. In addition, the sense of community was overwhelming. For instance, I traveled to the show at the Richfield where Vince Welnick was playing his first gig with them. Had all sorts of travel mishaps and arrived 20 minutes after the start of the show without having had lunch or dinner. After the show my blood sugar had tanked and I was shuffling around the parking lot, having lost my traveling companions some hours earlier, when a random guy came up to see what was wrong. He got me a Gatorade and an apple, then brought me back to a dorm at Akron to crash. I woke up in the morning on the living room floor with about 20 other refugees from the show. We became friends and he sent me a T-shirt he had made (Dr. Seuss: “I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees”). Years later I’m walking down Duval in Key West wearing the shirt when a guy stops me. “My friend made that shirt” he says. Turns out he was one of the dorm mates from the floor I had crashed on years earlier, and in that moment my experience came full circle. I have a number of stories like that and they all center on the communities that would spring up around the shows. I took that spirit with me and applied it to the community around me back home. Not everyone was receptive, but the practice of opening myself to the people and the world around me was life changing. I feel a sense of that here on Steepster, where people are willing to give and share openly without judgment. It’s a rare thing on the Internet.


Oh yeah, about tea … There are a handful of companies which seem to offer the very best of what they can source such that I have no hesitation trying something from them which is new to me. Mandala is one of those, along with Verdant and Butiki (and probably others I have not discovered yet). I tend to want to get to know a tea before logging it, which could take anywhere from days to a month or more, so my logs tend to be sparse. I’ve got a dozen Mandala teas in my cupboard (not counting samples from swaps) and some of those will always remain on hand, such as the Phatty Cakes and Special Dark. You have a knack for this … keep up the good work!

Terri HarpLady

Applause to everything you said! I especially love the bit about the t-shirt. Life is awesome, & we’re all connected!


I love stories like that one, my friend. It still happens to me. Even here on Steepster :) Thanks so much for sharing that one with us. And wow, thanks for the kind words about our humble company!! That means a lot to me.

With Dead scene, I definitely got opened up to the possibility of community, for sure. And while community isn’t always perfect, not trying for community is a far less appealing option, for sure!


the dead scene, I meant.

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