Mandala Year of the Dragon Ripe Pu'er -2012

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Earth, Fig, Leather, Apple Skins, Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Mushrooms, Chocolate, Creamy, Grain, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood, Cream, Plums
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 5 oz / 147 ml

Available from 1 seller.

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26 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This is a sample that *Garret* sent with a recent order. Thanks you SO MUCH, Garret! I never drink as much Puer as I'd like to. I just don't have time to do multiple short steepings all the...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 2971 tasting notes
  • “Yes, it's Oolong Owl Black tea week, but I need some shu pu'er while I do Operation: Clean House for Thanksgiving. Good time to crack open some pu'er samples too! I found this pu'er to be similar...” Read full tasting note
    90
    awkwardsoul 1047 tasting notes
  • “I just got my new glass mug from Mandala and I figured that I should pick a sample that I haven't tried in a long time to break it in. I chose Year of the Dragon because...well, it's the first one...” Read full tasting note
    97
    graceatblb 92 tasting notes
  • “I received this a while back from Garret at Mandala with an order. This tea is the exact tea you should give a first time puerh drinker. This tea has the smoothness and creaminess noted in earlier...” Read full tasting note
    90
    mrmopar 202 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

2012, the Year of the Dragon!

We are excited to offer yet another Mandala Tea exclusive pu’er tea! When we first smelled and tasted this ripe tea in loose leaf form in early winter of 2011, we knew we wanted to buy the entire lot and that we did. This cake is the result of our excitement!

The raw material was picked on Jing Mai mountain in early spring of 2010 from 40 to 50 year old trees that are now growing wild as the plantation had been abandoned. In 2011, the leaf was fermented over a period of 46 days in Menghai town of Xishuangbanna at a small pu’er workshop.

The pressing of this Mandala Tea exclusive was done on 3/1/2012. Once steamed and pressed, the cakes were moved to a special drying room where the humidity was slowly lowered in the cakes in order to remove any moisture in them. We then had them moved to a special warehouse in Kunming for another 50 days before they were custom wrapped and shipped to us. One can tell from the photo of the partially picked beeng that the integrity of the leaf is the same on the inside and the outside of it.

The result is an incredible cake of ripe pu’er tea, one that is aging perfectly in our humidity and temperature controlled vault.

Spring-picked, wild arbor ripe tea is extremely rare and not at all easy to come by. We have been wishing to make a cake like this happen for a while and we are ecstatic over the deep, rich aroma and flavor of this offering. Our pickiness over raw material and our patience has paid off. We make wishes that you enjoy this Mandala Tea offering as much as we do. We appreciate the opportunity to make teas like this available in the West to our fine customers!

About Mandala Tea View company

Company description not available.

26 Tasting Notes

2971 tasting notes

This is a sample that Garret sent with a recent order. Thanks you SO MUCH, Garret!

I never drink as much Puer as I’d like to. I just don’t have time to do multiple short steepings all the time. My solution is to go with 7Grams steeped 3 minutes in my mug. When it comes to Shu, this almost always results in an amazing cup of tea. I resteep adding a minute, & again adding another minute, etc until the tea has nothing left to give.

So, that’s what I did. I’m on the 3rd steeping now & it is still rich & dark, sweet, & delicious!! The sample is generous enough that I’ll get to try it again using shorter steepings, & I promise I’ll give a much more detailed report then, but for now I can say that I’d like to pick up a cake of this, plus I’ve been eyeballing another yixing pot on the mandala site, & some other things, LOL. It’ll probably be another month before I can afford to buy anything (well…there is the Butiki order that I need to finalize tonight…but after that, I need to go back to the Hiatus Group, cuz I’ve been bad!).

Sil

I think I ordered this one… So yay on that!

Terri HarpLady

There you are! Where you been all day, working? ;)

DigniTea

I feel you on the being bad but frankly the good sales on high quality teas have been too good to pass up!

Terri HarpLady

yup, it’s just so hard!

Sil

Terri….13hr days yesterday…came home at 8:30 and passed out on the bed. Didn’t eat etc… working from home today but i’m still swamped so not sure how active i’ll be today :(

Dag Wedin

Thats good advice. I usually skip puer when i don´t have the time to set up gon fu brewing. will try some western brewing!

Garret

So happy that you enjoyed this one! It is really beginning to open up and develop now. I really look forward to one to two more years of aging on this one. It is not easy (or inexpensive) for me to find this wild arbor spring tea for pu’er so I bought as much as I could to have pressed into these cakes. Usually when I do a pressing I have 20 to 100 lbs left to sell as loose-leaf, but because of the small quantity I could get my hands on, I had the entire purchase pressed into these cakes.

While my preferred method for most any tea is gong fu, there are times when that isn’t gonna cut it. For instance, before a workout or a run, I’m not going to sit around and drink 1 ounce servings of tea. No sir! I’m gonna brew it up loud and proud in a 16 ounce pot so I can really hydrate and just go with longer infusions.

Tea… when I go to bed at night, I have a smile on my face already excited about the first tea of the morning. Where there’s tea, there’s hope, right?!

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90
1047 tasting notes

Yes, it’s Oolong Owl Black tea week, but I need some shu pu’er while I do Operation: Clean House for Thanksgiving. Good time to crack open some pu’er samples too!

I found this pu’er to be similar to Yunnan Sourcing’s 2012 Dragon on Jing Mai (my review http://oolongowl.com/2012-dragon-jing-mai-puer-yunnan-sourcing-oolong-owl-tea-review/ ) as it has similar abrasive clay and campy notes in the first few steepings with a gorgeous deep orange red colour. They are also jing mai tea mats, which I didn’t know until sitting down to write this, hoot!

However, I much prefer Mandala’s Year of the Dragon as it is much more mellow, no fermentation weirdness and creamy notes in mid to later steepings. The creamy notes are fantastic and this tea just gets better and better each steeping. I’d say Mandala’s pu’er is more of a cuddly mother dragon one whereas the Yunnan Sourcing one is more of a scary bite first ask questions later dragon!

Preparation
Boiling

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97
92 tasting notes

I just got my new glass mug from Mandala and I figured that I should pick a sample that I haven’t tried in a long time to break it in. I chose Year of the Dragon because…well, it’s the first one I saw.

I am going to try something a bit new. I am going to use the same brew time throughout. I’ve settled on 15 seconds.

1st Steep-
I may be a bit in love with this tea based on first impressions and I am deeply regretting not buying a cake. Very creamy and absolutely no earthiness. The only comparison I can think of is dates. Dried, dark yummy dates that I wait for at Christmas time and hoard them.

2nd Steep-
It’s getting to be more of a prune flavor. I don’t want to say that because most think of prunes as unappetizing but that’s what I’m getting with this steep—dried prunes. And it is yummy.

3rd Steep
Still tastes like a cross between dates and prunes…can’t decide which one. But it’s delicious.

4th Steep-
Still with the prunes but kind of candied because there is almost a burnt brown sugar aftertaste that you get with candied prunes.

5th Steep-
It’s starting to lighten a bit. Not much but enough that it doesn’t look so much like coffee. It’s lightened to the taste of raw figs. Oh boy.

I am now upping the steeping time to 20 seconds.

6th to 8th Steeps
Still figgy. A bit of candied fig taste with a brown sugar background.

I upped the time to 1 minute

9th to 12th Steeps
Still figgy but less so. Some vanilla notes peeking through at various levels of intensity.

13th Steep-5 minutes
Tastes like vanilla extract without the alcohol. Can’t say it’s not pleasant.

14th Steep-15 minutes
I think this tea is done. Tastes like hot water.

I love this tea. It hit every single flavor profile that I found appealing. Figs, prunes, dates…that’s like heaven to me. I’m a weird one I know. And as a bonus, I loved my new mug too. It’s adorable. It’s short and chubby and looks like it should be wearing a bow-tie. No, I am not crazy…I named it Stuart…maybe a little crazy.

P.S. This tea experience was completely different from my first time around with this tea. Just realizing that now when reading my tea note.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Sil

oh good….i’m excited to get this now :)

Dexter

LOL will just add it to the list……

Terri HarpLady

I think I ordered a sample of this one

Garret

Terri, you did :) Grace, your package shows out for delivery today on the shipping software.

As far as this YOD ripe tea you reviewed, it has already gone through some very positive changes since its pressing last year. So excited to see what 2 more years will bring out in this cake. I was only able to press 25 kgs of this tea (100 cakes)… it was all I could buy from that supplier. The wild spring picked stuff is quite rare to find for a ripe tea. I’m really happy you are liking it!

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90
202 tasting notes

I received this a while back from Garret at Mandala with an order. This tea is the exact tea you should give a first time puerh drinker. This tea has the smoothness and creaminess noted in earlier tastings and a bit of a surprise to me. This tea is made with jingmai material that usually has a citrus twang to it. This is absent of any of that. I think if you wanted a good puerh to sit back in the chair and relax this is a good one. It has a good depth of flavor with no off or earthy taste to it. It has no drying of the tongue like some shou does and leaves a light cocoa vanilla taste. A well made tea in my book.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Garret

My friend! Thank you for the review of this tea. I’m excited to hear that you enjoyed it. It has really changed since its pressing. It will open up even further in the next year, too. The Noble Mark cake is also opening up and that is amazing stuff.

I am just nailing down the supply of this years 4 leaves for the new Noble Mark blend! Though, I will likely change up the blend a bit and rename it :) Nothing stays the same in the world of tea, that’s for sure :) Though the Phatty Cake II is dang close with just the tweak of adding the larger grade 3 leaf!

Wishing you joy,
Garret

mrmopar

Garret, you always have some of the finest teas out there! I think this is due to a lot of diligence and painstaking process to get things “right”. It is this kind of attention that keeps your customers for life! Hey on day we got to have a cup and take a spin in that old mopar thing I got!

Garret

Count me in for the spin in the mopar thang! I will always have a great love for things mopar – I know I told you about the 74 Charger, but I also had a sweet 74 Duster, 318, yellow with a black vinyl top. Golly, that was fun, too! But my first love will always be the Charger. Dang, I miss that car sometimes.

And thanks for the nice words about the teas. Man, you have no idea how that makes my day come even more alive. Life is cracklin’ with possibilities!

Garret

Correction: ’72 Duster!

mrmopar

I bet if you still had the vin number it would be VL29G2B.

Garret

YOu’re gonna have to explain that one to me, sir!

mrmopar

VL=duster, 29=2 door sport coupe, G=318 engine, 2=production year(1972). B= Hamtramck assembly plant Michigan.

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92
729 tasting notes

I received this as a sample with my last Mandala order. Thank you Garrett for including it for me.

I drank a couple of steep of it last night and thought it was a bit mild for my tastes. It was a nice Pu’er, but didn’t have enough flavor. The flavor that was there was nice and smooth, no rough edges, I just wish there was more of it. This is just a little too gentle for my tastes. Sooooo I took the leaves I was using and dumped the rest of the sample in with them added cold water and put it in the fridge to cold steep.
This is my first experience with cold steeped pu’er. OMG WOW!!! Why have I not been doing this sooner. This is AMAZING. I love it. You just get a touch of the classic pu’er flavor, but it’s refreshing and oh so good. I don’t think I would want to cold steep a big bold pu’er, but this was PERFECT. I may have to order some just to have it to cold steep.

Sil

I really need to try that soon!

JustJames

this just sounds so awesome…

Dexter

I was hesitant to try this, couldn’t imagine, but now I’m a believer. Cold steeping pu’erh is fantastic.

Terri HarpLady

I think I’ll take the leaves from the Puer I was drinking earlier & steep them over night in the fridge. I know they still have plenty of oomph left in them. :)

Garret

Hey, gang! Garret here, live from Riviera Maya in Mexico. Last-minute decision to get out of dodge before the tea buying season really starts and get some r and r… So thankful that I bought loads of tea to drink on this trip for there is nothing here save for the obligatory tea bags. The locals are fascinated by the tea thermos and a gringo who knows more about tequila than them :) New tea connections here in Mexico! It is so funny that you reviewed this tea for it is one that is here in Mexico with me, along with much Noble Mark (loose-leaf version) and some new greens. I’m sure customs saw my bag go through the x-ray and did a double take – tea gear and lots of tea taking up half my bag!

thank you for writing this review and the info on the cold brew for our friends here – good stuff… This YOD ripe is still quite young and over the next little while, we are going to see much change in this cake. Sadly, I bought all of the material that was available from that producer (I’m a stickler for spring-picked, wild-arbor teas) and was only able to press 120 of these cakes. Of course, I’m saving at least one tong (7 cakes) for myself :) Joy to all!

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171 tasting notes

My first to try from the pu’er sampler I got awhile ago.

Rinse, let rest for 10 minutes, rinse, then brew for 20 to 30 seconds.

Brews a dark reddish brown color. Initially smells dark and earthy but becomes sweeter as the leaves sit and are resteeped.

Tastes very creamy and rich, and reminds me of rice pudding. Quite enjoyable.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mrmopar

The rest period really helps especially in shou I think.

caile

I learned this from reading your notes! :)

mrmopar

Yeah I think shou really responds to this well. I guess it allows the leaf to absorb the moisture. Now if I can only learn how to break a cake right… :P

caile

Haha, I haven’t actually ever had to break a cake yet.. ;)

mrmopar

Soon….Soon…..

caile

Well.. at the ‘speedy’ rate I’m getting through these samples, it may be awhile yet. :)
Although, I do have a cake of mandala’s wild monk, but I am waiting a bit before I try that.

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87
8 tasting notes

I liked my sample of this less than the Phatty Cake II, I think given a few years with proper storage it might develop more flavors/improve. That’s not to say this is a bad tea, It just wasn’t as strong or complex as I hoped. I got 3-4 infusions from it. It has a nice woodsey flavor, fig, leather, slight astringent – but not off putting. I’m more familiar with wine tasting terms than tea – but this tasted “young”. very drinkable, but I’d love to be able to store this and age it..but I don’t have a good set up for that.

I did a 15 second rinse, rested the leaves for 10-15 seconds, infused 15, 30 and 45 seconds. last steep was much longer- trying to wring every last essence from the tea leaves! :-)

Flavors: Earth, Fig, Leather

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88
229 tasting notes

Smooth, lightly earthy, but not in a bad way. I just did one rinse on this one and when I sipped it, I knew there was no need to dump more.

Check me out, boychik!!!!

This gave me a light tea buzz and was a lovely evening tea (drank last night).

Thumbs up!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
boychik

i knew you are going to love it;) i have to say this tea is very smooth

Sarsonator

It is! I was quite happy!!!

boychik

Makes me happy too:)

Sarsonator

Yay! I had several happy teas today… The latest was amazeballs!

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550 tasting notes

This is my last ripe puerh to try from the sampler. I was excited to try it because the description sounded so lovely…who wouldn’t like light cocoa, vanilla, fig, and prune? I drank it gongfu-style with my pseudo gaiwan setup. I enjoyed eight infusions and I have to say this puerh is incredibly inoffensive. There is a strong creaminess that lasted throughout my session….so good! I bet this would be a great starter puerh, but it also makes me wonder if I hadn’t tried more pungent ones first whether I would truly have enjoyed this one as much as I did. The earthiness is there, but there are no sharp notes. I also detected the light cocoa, vanilla, and dried fruit notes. I think prune is a good characterization for the fruit note. Overall, this is my second favorite from the sampler, behind special dark. It’s not quite at “my precious!” level, but definitely a comforting cup!

Cameron B.

I’m a puerh novice and I loved this one. :D

Tealizzy

So, it IS good for newbies!!! I’m pretty new too, but had tried a few before the mandala sampler and didn’t like them. There were a couple I couldn’t even drink the cup of before, so dumped the cup! The horror, I know! This sampler was such an awesome way to try a bunch of different ones. It really helped show me that puerh isn’t scary and there are a few I might like. :)

caile

Sounds good. I’m looking forward to trying mine but haven’t had a chance yet.. I’ve been thinking about which of the ones in the sampler to try first – maybe this one. :)

Tealizzy

It’s very pleasant, caile. I say, go for it!

KiwiDelight

caile It’s very gentle and not in your face like “I’M A SHUUUU”. It be a good one to start with :3

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75
696 tasting notes

Sooo, I am finally trying this – the first of my Mandala sampler. This is my first Mandala experience, but not my first puerh. I already know I prefer Shu, so this is a great opportunity. Dry, the leaf smells sweet and reminds me (as usual) of sweet hay, damp earth, wood and sweet clean animals.

I followed the instructions provided with the teas which suggested the whole serving for one session or half that for a lighter brew (or in my case for a small quantity of liquid). I gave a 15 second rinse with boiling water, then 30 second steep with boiling again. The result is not bitter or astringent, though it isn’t as sweet as expected. It has a bit of dryness and some general earthiness but not a lot else. It’s definitely earthy and mushroom-y. The beau gets a fishy smell but I don’t. He says “it’s really strong. It’s not bad though.”

2: 45 seconds, boiling. The leaves are still pretty clumped up, and the liquor is quite dark with an earthy, mushroom aroma. The flavour matches the first, but maybe a bit less dry. Strong, rich, earthy.

3: 1 minutes, boiling. Might as well mention that due to my lack of a sharing pitcher, I am brewing in my small gaiwan, and pouring into the larger one then pouring into our cups with a dribble at the end for my teapet. It’s a messy but equitable system. This steep smells very strong. Like an earthy greenhouse or barn. As always, this isn’t negative. Still no bitterness, but a bit dry. No sweetness, which I had in other shu. I think this is maybe the result of the small leaf?It’s bold, fo shu! (See what I did there?) The beau says the fish is gone (I never got that!) and that it is more earthy. “Best steep so far.”

4: 1 minute 15 seconds, boiling. I can’t imagine how strong this would be with the full sample. I definitely made the right choice for my brewing setup to split this in two. I was looking at other notes and saw some comparisons to coffee which seem accurate but it isn’t unpleasant and bitter like coffee. More an explanation of the depth and richness. This steep gets some sweetness finally. I like it. Much the same, but better. The beau says “now this tastes like a typical pu-erh, the strong taste is gone.” We agree on that for once.

5: 1 minutes 30 seconds, boiling. Whoa sweetness. Something fruity. Appley? This is different. I like it. Best so far. Reading other notes again – man, did my experience contradict EVERYONE else? Oh well!

6: 1 minute 45 seconds, boiling. The problem with this steeping method is that the gaiwan burns my fingers with boiling water, but the water is cool enough to drink by the time it is poured in my cup. I could go through a lot of steeps very quickly if it weren’t for the need to get water boiling again regularly. Taste is similar to 5. Sweet, lighter, a sense of apple or maybe apple peel. I don’t know why I say that, it isn’t strong enough to really explain, but it comes to mind anyway.

From here on, I’m going to just steep and enjoy without reporting. This can get exhausting. I need a bigger sample so I can try it gongfu, and Western-ish as well. For now, this was nice and different from other shu I have tried. I don’t think I need a cake of it, as it doesn’t hit my hot spots (currently). Really nice to experience though. Great education!

Flavors: Apple Skins, Earth

AllanK

I have this tea and have brewed it. I think you would do better with shorter steeps, no more than 15 sec initially.

Uniquity

That is closer to my usual approach, Allan. When I try the other half (~4g) I will go with my usual and see how that changes my impression. Thanks!

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