Special Dark

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Cacao, Cherry, Cookie, Fig, Stonefruits, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Smooth, Cherry Wood, Oak wood, Sawdust, Wood, Dark Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Caramel, Leather, Malt, Cocoa, 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.

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126 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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126 Tasting Notes

90
335 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
487 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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704 tasting notes

I tried this tea out on my mom yesterday and she liked it! Yay! She’s a black tea drinker, so I think this one turned out to be a easy puerh for her to drink. She didn’t sound too enthused about the wood flavor I get in other puerhs, so this was a good choice. We enjoyed it with chocolate-dipped biscotti! Yum!

I also brought a raw puerh for comparison, but I just showed her and my dad the dry leaf, to which my dad said it smelled like chocolate….what?!!! I’ll have to brew up one of those in the future so they can smell what it’s really like….not chocolate! Ha!

boychik

yay for great experience!

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972 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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118 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
510 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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379 tasting notes

Well I thought I’d bust this one open and try it while I’m just sitting around today. I’m not getting the cocoa/chocolate that people write about. It’s very dark and reminds me of coffee. I don’t really know what things it all tastes like right now but dark is a good descriptor. It’s ok but I dunno, gotta try it some more I think.

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1765 tasting notes

Brewed in an all-too-infrequently-used yixing pot…a delicious afternoon.

TheTeaFairy

Yay! Hope it also helped that nasty cough of yours :-)

Spencer

It did, until right now, which is probably due to me not drinking any for the past twenty minutes! Time for a resteep.

Garret

Special Dark! Just brewed this up for a coffee-addicted friend in the shop yesterday. I don’t think he’s gonna be coffee-addicted for long. He adored it. He sent a message a couple of hours later and said the energy he got from that tea is so much cleaner than coffee. I’m not saying he should quit coffee. I’m just saying he should start drinking tea. The rest will take care of itself :)

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114 tasting notes

Drinking this exactly as I always have (because why mess with something so good!?)
10 sec steep/rinse

30 sec 1st steep: Mineral and dark baked quick bread, with walnut and caramel.
As I’m sipping, my youngest is skipping through an Adventure Time dvd, trying to locate a specific episode, so this tasting is being accompanied by the AT theme song…over and over. Is it just me, or do the new episodes of that show just not stack up to the old ones? I’m much more of a “Regular Show” appreciator now…. Haven’t had a cup of this in awhile, and I really did miss it. So good!

45 sec 2nd steep: Oh, do I love the colour of the second cup (as always). The scent is completely brown sugared quick bread, all crusty and caramelized on top. The taste is nutty, with a mineral end note. I love how it leaves my mouth feeling so bright, with the aroma being so deep… a contrast I really appreciate.

60 sec 3rd steep: tingly tongue and gorgeous cup colour. So light and refreshing, this cup is on the end note, but with that dark chocolate lead in that just knocks my socks off. Cocoa powder and almonds… mmmmmmm……

Dexter

Mmmmmm – I love this too. You of course should drink it however it makes you happy. I love it western brewed – 2 tsp – 450 ml yixing pot – 8-10 minutes. Either way, it’s a special tea…. :))

DeliriumsFrogs

now, I am going to have to try it western brewed. I don’t have a yixing pot, though. (yixing is SO gorgeous!!)

Dexter

The pot I use for special dark is still fairy new so it still has a little of the clay/mineral taste to it – that taste just goes so well with this tea. If you love it short steeped you should drink it that way – I just meant that it’s really versatile and you can drink it lots of different ways. :)) http://instagram.com/p/w5O59buE-v/?modal=true

DeliriumsFrogs

That pot. THAT POT!! So beautiful!
That setup is really divine… the cup is so pretty!
No, I totally got that that was what you were saying, and I so appreciate you saying it, because that’s what I love most about tea (especially when you get one like this…); there are so many ways to make a single cup of tea, and exploring them all is the most fun part of tea drinking.
Thanks for sharing that photo! :D

Dexter

Thanks – I have a bit of a teaware addiction…..

Amariel

I did this one western style and I really liked it.

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2232 tasting notes

Sipdown!!

So I really don’t like pu’erh teas. Perhaps one day my tastes will develop enough that I grow to enjoy them but so far that has not happened. Nonetheless, Cavocorax was generous enough to share a sample of this with me so I figured it was at least worth trying it.

When I first sniffed the dry leaf, there was nothing offensive about the smell so that was comforting. I boiled the kettle, rinsed the leaves for 30 seconds, and that brought out the fishy pu’erh scent that I hate so nerves kicked in. I then steeped the tea for 30 seconds and the result is not as bad as I anticipated given the smell while rinsing. Luckily, there is no fishy taste in this cup however, it is not the cup of liquid chocolate that so many others seemed to experience either. Instead, it is a little bit mushroom and a little bit of dark chocolate and I don’t know about you guys but chocolate-covered mushrooms seems like a weird snack. Ultimately, though this is far more tolerable than other pu’erhs I have tried, I just don’t think I am a pu’erh fan. I am very grateful to Cavo for the chance to try this out though because it has received so much love on steepster lately that I was actually a bit curious. Plus, if I can’t enjoy this one, I feel it is safe to say that pu’erh is just “not my cup of tea” (sorry for that :P).

Marzipan

I’m the same way, it makes me feel like something is lacking me somehow, but maybe with time…

VariaTEA

Maybe. I mean, I never thought I would outgrow my flavored black stage but more and more I find myself reaching for straight blacks so perhaps pu’erh will come with time. Though, tbh, it is nice being able to completely overlook a type of tea when shopping.

Marzipan

I am in that same place, starting to want straight blacks more and more.

OMGsrsly

Mmm, chocolate covered mushrooms. ;) I think the earthy/mushroomy taste is super neat, but it’s not something I crave often. I drink the flavoured bready puerh teas way more frequently.

whatshesaid

I got mushrooms too. But I like it with cream :)

Cavocorax

I tend to steep this for a long time – like 8 minutes? It brings the chocolate out, but I can’t say if it enhances the mushrooms or not…

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