Special Dark

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Caramel, Chocolate, Leather, Malt, Wood, Mushrooms, Cocoa, Earth, Dark Chocolate, Bitter, Grain, Hay, Plums, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Raisins, Honey, Dark Bittersweet, 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 11 oz / 337 ml

Available from 1 seller.

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51 Own it Own it

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108 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

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108 Tasting Notes

99
121 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. One quiz down, two presentations (I will add here that I’m an incredibly shy person with a fair amount of social anxiety so I’m really not looking forward to that), another quiz, an exam, and a paper to go! And then another paper later next week, but I’ll deal with that one later.

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1829 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?

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91
8 tasting notes

A great Shou featured by Mandala in a limited time sampler, very balanced, smooth and mellow, easy to drink from first steep to fourth. Chocolate and malt notes, along with leather and wood in early steeps. I would recommend this to people (like me) that are new to Pu-erh.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Leather, Malt, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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97
46 tasting notes

mushroom and chocolate what could be better? That’s what I am getting from this tea. Its about to be very very hot out but for this moment hot tea is good and puer seems both hot and cooling to me. This sample from the riper sampler mandala sent out. I sent one to my sister too and so across the country we are sipping together. Once the weather cools I’ll be drinking a lot more of this! The head pains are clearing and now I’m ready for my day! Brewed gongfu style.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mushrooms

Preparation
1 tsp

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90
229 tasting notes

I have to admit. I got this tea awhile ago and have had it a few times, but never left a review. It was just one of those teas that had so many good reviews. I didn’t really get it ,and so wanted to try steeping it many different ways before doing my review. I originally tried this with short steeps. I remember it was good but didn’t get any chocolate. This morning I did a long steep – 5 min. The first 5 min going to Hubby since he’s enjoying it now too. After having some amazing black teas from WP that have a chocolate flavour, it made me appreciate this tea and how it is different. No , not like the chocolate from the black tea but definitely chocolate notes—dark cocoa more like. This tea has an earthy flavour like other ripe puerhs, but not anywhere near as pronounced. I didn’t get any mushroomy flavour from it either. Very smooth. This is the kind of tea that slowly works it way into being one of your favourite cups. It didn’t knock me over right away when I first had it; but I enjoyed the many times drinking it ,and working through the tastes in my head.

Flavors: Cocoa, Earth

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

I love a long steep on this one, Mmmmmm…

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93
420 tasting notes

The folks in the chat room kept saying I should try this on. So today I finally got to. It smells like earthy dark chocolate. There is a flavour like rich, dark, slightly sweet hot chocolate, and the name makes me think of a certain candy bar.

Since I joined the Dark Side long ago, it was certainly time to try this tea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec

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550 tasting notes

I think I’ve just fallen in love with a ripe puerh! How can that be? Wow, what a reversal! This tea definitely lives up to its name. It’s clearly “special!” I feel like Gollum right now….“my precious!”

This tea completely distracted me from the Filipino pastry (hopya, for those who know) I set out to eat. Ya, it’s that good!

15sec rinse, smells like chocolate!

30sec: earthy, sweet, unsweetened cocoa, dark chocolate bite rather than a sharp cedar or leather note, hint of dried fruit?

45 sec: so dark! unsweetened bakers chocolate, wood, plum, smells like vanilla.

1min: OMG, it smells even sweeter! I could just inhale this all day!

1min30sec: lighter in aroma, and then OMG, amazing taste…this just keeps getting better! Smoother, still bakers chocolate, bread-y.

2min: smells so sweet! Keeps getting smoother and sweeter. Honey, like honey wheat bread.

2min30sec: keeps lightening up, still honey sweetness, more smooth, vanilla.

3min: honey, vanilla.

5min: pure honey water! Yum!

I could drink this all day! It would be delicious with a scone…that’s key!! ;) This is a “must buy” for me. I’m so happy I enjoy a ripe puerh! Yay! :D

Thank you, Garret, for offering the sampler!

Okay, time to eat my hopya!

KiwiDelight

Shu makes me feel like “My precious” every time I drink it

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543 tasting notes

Sipdown! (124) (Yay I’m halfway to 100!)

Giving this tea a second chance today! I found that I didn’t enjoy it much gong fu style, each steep was bitter to me. Apparently this is unusual? So today, I’m trying it Western-style to see if I find it more agreeable that way. I did two teaspoons in boiling water for 7 minutes.

Meh, I guess this tea is just not for me. I will say that I think I prefer this method to gong fu, because it doesn’t taste as strongly woody as before. However, it’s still quite bitter. To me, it kind of tastes like biting into a bar of baking chocolate, and I do not consider that a pleasant experience. I added some sugar and soy milk to see if that would help temper the bitterness, and it did lessen it slightly. However, I don’t really want to buy a tea that I have to drink with sugar and milk.

I’m really kind of torn on whether or not to rate this, since it seems everyone else loves it. But I’m not really biased here so I don’t see why not… Hmm!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
AllanK

I think you used too much tea for 8 oz of water. I would try again with only 1 tsp. Less tea usually means less bitterness.

AllanK

Also, I think seven minutes is way too long, try only 2 or 3 minutes.

Stephanie

1 tablespoon is the recommended amount, actually…

Garret

I know a lot of people on here like to brew this up Western style. Me? I brought this tea over here to the US cause I dig it gong fu style, very short steepings. I guess for a 5 ounce gaiwan, I use 2 tsp or so, maybe a hair more, but I’m doing a rinse and then steepings that are “touch and go” for the first 3 or 4, slowly increasing time. I’ve enjoyed more than my share of western brews of this, though :)

Marzipan

When you hit 100 are you off hiatus?

Cameron B.

Marz, that was the original plan but we shall see! :P

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112 tasting notes

Aroma: Damp earth
Liquor Color: Deep red
Liquor Flavor: Dark, rich, woody, bitter coca
Notes: This one was dark, and super rich. A little too much so for me but I can see why people like it. I’ll give it a whirl again with less leaf and take it from there.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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92
161 tasting notes

I received an 8g sample of this with my last order. I used the whole thing. This tea was good. I steeped it six times in a 160ml teapot. First 10 sec, then 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, and 30 sec. I immediately noticed the chocolate notes. They were very strong notes of bitter chocolate in the first two infusions. The chocolate notes changed their character in the remaining four steeps. They took on the notes of half bitter chocolate, half sour plums/dates. This tea has no remaining fermentation flavor to it, the tea broth has cleared. I just bought another four ounces of this, and I had not yet tried this sample that Garret gave me with my last order.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Plums

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
AllanK

I brewed the tea in this great little pot. It pours really well. It was the first time using this pot.
http://instagram.com/p/rk13VoTDQW/?modal=true

boychik

The pot is gorgeous. i love the tray too. where did you get it?

AllanK

I bought it from a great EBay vendor called Streetshop88.

AllanK

That is I bought the tray from Streetshop88. I bought the Gaiwan from an Amazon seller called Ufingo.

AllanK

Said Gaiwan, meant teapot.

AllanK

Ufingo is a great seller. Here is a link for the pot. When I bought it I got a set with a Cha Hai and six 50ml teacups.
http://www.amazon.com/Ufingo-Brown-Beautiful-Kiln-Ceramic-Teapot-Type5/dp/B00CSDNZWM/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A22JKBTMGBNADE

boychik

OMG. i gotta get this teapot. I shouldnt show it to TheTeaFairy;)

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