Special Dark

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Not available
Brown Sugar, Cacao, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Drying, Earth, Fig, Milk, Raisins, Smooth, Dark Bittersweet, Malt, Cherry, Cookie, Stonefruits, Mushrooms, Cherry Wood, Oak wood, Sawdust, Wood, Caramel, Leather, Bitter, Grain, Hay, Plums, Baked Bread, Honey, Stewed Fruits, Cream, Nuts
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf
Not available
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by looseTman
Average preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 6 g 10 oz / 295 ml

Available from 1 seller.

From Our Community

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41 Want it Want it

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53 Own it Own it

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136 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This tea has been comforting me during the ice storm today. Hope all my fellow Midwestern Steepsterites are warm and safe! I’m going to go build a fire now…seems appropriate :)” Read full tasting note
    paradigmamnesia 1112 tasting notes
  • “I haven’t felt much like drinking tea lately, and even less like writing about it. My dog of 14 years passed away over the weekend and the days leading up to it were pretty tough. I’m...” Read full tasting note
    TastyBrew 361 tasting notes
  • “This is delicious! The first steep was a little light…hint of dark chocolate powder. The 2nd steep was deeper, richer, like putting a pinch of gourmet dark chocolate powder on my tongue &...” Read full tasting note
    terri-harplady 3229 tasting notes
  • “I saw Terri Harplady steeped Special Dark for like 7 minutes and I totally needed to try it! I tasted it at 5 minutes and WHOA THAT IS Read full tasting note
    awkwardsoul 1152 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

Per Garret: Special Dark Offically Retired 7/2/15
A Very Sad Day Indeed! :-((

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.

136 Tasting Notes

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

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

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1485 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


I’m so sorry, Indigo. :(


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


So sorry to hear.


Sorry for your loss


Thx guys. I think I’m still in shock


So sorry to hear of your sad news.


Thanks Caile xo

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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

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

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239 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.

Boiling 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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9 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

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

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52 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

1 tsp

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488 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

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

I love a long steep on this one, Mmmmmm…

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583 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

Boiling 1 min, 15 sec

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813 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!


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!

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

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.


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


1 tablespoon is the recommended amount, actually…


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 :)


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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