Special Dark

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt, Cacao, Cherry, Cookie, Fig, Stonefruits, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Smooth, Cherry Wood, Oak wood, Sawdust, Wood, Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Leather, Earth, Bitter, Grain, Hay, Plums, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Raisins, Honey, Dates, Stewed Fruits, Cream, Nuts
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 6 g 10 oz / 301 ml

Available from 1 seller.

From Our Community

1 Image

37 Want it Want it

  • +22

52 Own it Own it

  • +37

129 Tasting Notes View all

From Mandala Tea

We call this Special Dark for good reason. This decadent tea is hand crafted in small batches within cotton bags, and fermented more extensively requiring great attention and intention. Creamy, rich, dark, and smooth. This cocoa-y indulgence is one of our most unique pu’er teas. An excellent change-up from the norm for you lovers of the shu.

Pu-erh that is more lightly fermented can hardly be oversteeped in early infusions, but this tea should be approached differently. We suggesting easing in with quick infusions before experimenting with the full power of the Dark Side.

About Mandala Tea View company

Company description not available.

129 Tasting Notes

99
136 tasting notes

Mmm, definitely quite reminiscent of an unsweetened, rich, dark chocolate.

Not sure if it’s just my mind making things up after reading the description of this tea being made in cotton bags, but I did suddenly think of linens or cloths in the aftertaste. Not in a bad way, of course. More of a comforting, freshly air-dried in sunlight cloth way.

Of course, it’s finals week for me and it could just be the stress getting to me. Man, I can’t wait for this week to be over.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

1960 tasting notes

I have had this a couple of times lately but haven’t logged it. Last Wednesday night I drank several cups of it in the evening and was WIDE awake until around 3 am! That may have been the tea, the cake I had with it, or just a fluke.

I had it again today. A friend is moving away and we met for possibly the last time. She has recently become quite sensitive to gluten, so my daughter made some delicious flourless chocolate cookies for us, and I made deviled eggs. It was all we could come up with on short notice that was gluten free! It was good, though, and she really seemed to love it.

This is the friend who thought she disliked tea, and I introduced her to puerh and to Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and she in turn got her mom totally addicted to puerh. Don’t you LOVE it?

This is a great tea to serve with sweets because it doesn’t compete, it complements. I also like serving it when I think the fats in the food might be hard on the system. I suppose it is preventive maintenance.

This is not a horsey puerh at all, but rather one of the smoothest. It is very mild yet flavorful. We drank two steeps western style in a large pot and the second steep was as good, as flavorful, as dark and tasty as the first. It is not the darkest puerh I have had, but it is indeed very, VERY special.

looseTman

Dear ashmanra, I just purchased SD and have started to become acquainted with it. I can see how this tea would easily complement sweets. What brewing parameters do you favor for this “very mild yet flavorful” shou? Thanks!

ashmanra

Since we were drinking a lot of tea that day, LooseTman, my daughter used a 22 ounce pot and about three and a half teaspoons of leaf. It was steeped for about four minutes for the first steep and four and a half for the second, using boiling water.

looseTman

Thank you! Pu’erh by the pot – I’ll have to try that!
Do you typically brew pu’erh Western of Gong Fu style?

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

497 tasting notes

Thanks to KiwiDelight for sending me some of this! I decided to have it gong fu style with boiling water. The dry leaf has a nice, promising cocoa smell. The first infusion was 15 seconds. It brewed up a lovely amber color. The flavor was thick bittersweet chocolate. The second infusion was 30 seconds. It came out darker than the previous steep. Again, lots of lovely cocoa notes. My dad showed up at that point and I stopped taking detailed notes, but I think I got about 7 total steeps out of this one. Later steeps were more malt than cocoa, but still quite lovely. Sipdown!

Incidentally, I thought this was a black tea. Turns out it’s a ripe pu’er. I haven’t had the best experiences with pu teas, but this one is making me think I’ve just been drinking the wrong ones. Hmm.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt

mrmopar

Yep there are some good shou’s out there and this is a good one :)

KiwiDelight

I don’t recollect sending you some O-O

Glad you enjoyed it all the same! It’s amazing Western style also.

Kaylee

Kiwi, I think it was part of our Secret Pumpkin swap six months ago!

KiwiDelight

No wonder I couldn’t remember xD

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

93
2726 tasting notes

Finally finishing off this sample given to me by a Steepster friend. Now I can’t remember who it was, it’s been so long. Whoever you are, thank you!

It was a difficult week for me. I am still sending out job applications and I had a very lengthy interview for a job I really wanted. Found out on Monday I didn’t get the job and I’ve been kinda down all week just burying my head in the sand, doing nothing but obsessing over tea and avoiding more job searching. I might be coming out of my funk a bit today but I am just so sick of this job searching process! I have to remember to enjoy life.

So here I am with a nice cup of pu in a cute yixing teapot. I’m not sure why I don’t have any of this tea but I will need to pick some up in the future. It’s so smooth and I’m really digging the cocoa taste. I also pick up a faint bit of cherries. Something about it seems a bit leathery too, not that I would normally be chewing on a piece of leather, but you know what I mean….

This is a nice companion to a quiet evening. It’s hard to go wrong with any puerh from Mandala but something about this seems almost decadent. Quite lovely.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
faybingler

Searching for a job is brutal. Last time it took me 5 months, and March is probably the worst time of the year. Just keep trying and enjoy your tea!

Amariel

Sorry to hear about the job interview…I have definitely had a few of those myself. It hurts and you think to yourself, “What did I do wrong?” and wonder what to do differently next time. This is certainly the tea to fall back on though. Hope it gave you a nice comforting hug!

TeaBrat

@faybingler – I’ve been looking for 8 months now!
@amariel – thanks… :)

faybingler

Wow, that sounds awful! I hope you find something soon!

MsWhatsit

I’m looking for work too. Hang in there.

TeaBrat

Thanks, MsWhatsit. :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95
201 tasting notes

This is probably the only Shu Puer to really have earned my favor. I like Shu Puer in general, but aside from this one, none have ever really stood out to me as being unique or particularly enjoyable. Admittedly, I’ve probably had less than 10 different ones.

After a rinse this tea smells strongly of cacao and stone fruits. The brewed infusion tastes quite like unsweetened cacao, and in later infusions this is balanced by a dark fruit flavor something like dried fig or bing cherries. The aroma of the brewed liquor is like sugar cookies.

This one lasts plenty of infusions and delivers such a nice, rich flavor, with very little of the mustiness that most shu Puer have. I really like this. Best ripe Puer I’ve had so far!

Flavors: Cacao, Cherry, Cookie, Fig, Stonefruits

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84
1044 tasting notes

I am on my final cup of this tea and still have not logged a tasting note! Sad sad :( well now I will! Haha. This tea served me well, I had it quite often while painting, so that speaks to it’s relaxing, mood enhancing abilities quite a lot! I didn’t take detailed notes on this tea unfortunately, but I will log what I have noticed about it in this final cup.

I usually prepare my western steeped pu’erhs in a similar manner, 1 or two short rinses then a short first steep. This one I did two rinses, 25s and 20s, and then a steep of around 30s. This isn’t a pu’erh that necessarily needs a rinse, as it’s super smooth and not fishy at all, but the rinses make it a bit smoother and silkier for me! The cup smells faintly woody with a hint of chocolate.

The flavor is pretty good! This one is very much milk chocolate. It is difficult to even tell it is a pu’erh. I will admit, as tasty as milk chocolate/fine cacao is in a tea, it is not my favorite note. I like earthy, woody notes, and this one is very mellow in that department. There is a faint mushroom flavor to me, which I am enjoying :) It is very good, but in all honesty, my Noble Mark still holds my heart for favorite shu. This one is tasty, and I might re-order someday, but for now I will enjoy the ones I have in my cupboard.

Overall, super milk chocolatey, light cacao, silky smooth, and calming. Delicious, but my heart is still won over by Noble Mark for a favorite :) but will probably will meet again, Special Dark! Highly recommend if you want a pu’erh that is not very pu’erhy in taste (no fish, not much earthiness, if any, and not overly strong at all). Great for starters, and also, I could see that since this will be out of my cupboard, I will probably end up craving it haha. That tends to happen with teas like this :D very happy I ordered this!

Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Smooth

Dexter

That is a great tasting note. Personally I really like the chocolate notes in it, but I do agree that it’s not very Pu’erh ish. I do love it though. Yes Noble Mark is amazing and is also one of my favorite shou pu’erhs…. Mmmmmmm Mandala pu’erh – I don’t drink enough of it.
I’m going to take inspiration from this and drink some Noble Mark tomorrow. Thank you. :))

MissLena

Haha no prob! Enjoy that noble mark I am hoarding mine since I’m on a no-buy for a while! Yeah I am not a huge chocolate fan overall..hence why I also don’t have any laoshan black in my cupboard..I enjoy them every once in a while as a nice treat though! :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95
3 tasting notes

Mandala Tea sells several excellent loose leaf puer teas, and this one is my personal favorite of the bunch. Can be made strong but still remains perfectly smooth with no overpowering flavors. One of my current favorite teas ever, and maybe the best one I currently have in my rather extensive tea drawer. Leans quite far towards the dry & woody side of the puer taste spectrum rather than damp & earthy taste that is more common. An awesome tea if you prefer this flavor profile.

Flavors: Cherry Wood, Oak wood, Sawdust, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 9 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

1398 tasting notes

Today is a sad day. A childhood family friend who I used to play with during summers at my Aunts cottage died in a snowmobile accident. He was my age (32). Since I stopped hanging out at the cottage so much, I saw him only once every few years or so… in truth I didn’t know him well at all in adulthood, but my Aunt and cousin consider him a second son. They are family. I always regarded him fondly.
This is all so surreal. Larry was a good kid, he’s been riding since before he could walk! He knew all the rules and always took care to be safe. He never partied or anything like that. I’m so confused…

The tea: I need to try this again, preferably in my gaiwan. It was a little too thick for me and left me feeling unsettled- backlog from yesterday

Fjellrev

I’m so sorry, Indigo. :(

Lala

Sorry to hear about your loss. Sending you and your friends family prayers.

Nicole

So sorry to hear.

boychik

Sorry for your loss

Indigobloom

Thx guys. I think I’m still in shock

caile

So sorry to hear of your sad news.

Indigobloom

Thanks Caile xo

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95
253 tasting notes

This tea is so appropriately named! Finally getting around to this one from the sampler that I bought months ago and it really does taste like dark chocolate without tasting like chocolate. So that means it tastes like dark. Wait, what?

Made this is my yixing and my tea pet thinks it’s delicious!

Flavors: Dark Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

226 tasting notes

Quick rinse and then brewed for around 30 seconds. I re-steeped this a few more times; probably a minute on the second one then much longer and finally left the leaves in for over 15 minutes. No bitterness at any point and although the last cup was considerably weaker, it was still delicious and flavourful.

Tastes like chocolate and caramel, especially at first, and has the tiniest hint of gentle earthiness. Very smooth, with a soft aroma. I am not good at describing more than that, but this has been a favorite of the mandala ripe sampler so far… I like the gentleness of it, especially the smell.

Preparation
Boiling 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.