Old Tea Nugget Ripe Pu'er 2009 - Lao Cha Tou

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dexter
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 7 oz / 221 ml

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Sipdown # 34! I’ve been sipping on this one for a couple of hours. Initially I had planned to compare this one to the secret stash I have of Yanxin’s Reserve (verdant), with is also in...” Read full tasting note
    terri-harplady 3253 tasting notes
  • “But I don’t want to write the first tasting note on this tea. This note is more my impressions for me. Please don’t judge totally on what I have to say. My first problem is I...” Read full tasting note
    Dexter 998 tasting notes
  • “Grandpa style, only I haven’t refilled my thermos at all. I put 4 tiny nuggets in the bottom of my not-a-timolino this morning, and added boiling water. I’ve been sipping randomly all...” Read full tasting note
    OMGsrsly 2212 tasting notes
  • “I have been off site going mental, preparing for the in-law visit (yay). Ahh, they are nice people; they welcomed me in their home a few weeks ago, and despite that I am spouse #2,they were very...” Read full tasting note
    scribbles 286 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

This very same material was what we used to press our 2011 Mandala Old Tea Nugget Brick. Grown in super pure conditions in the Lincang region of Yunnan, China, this leaf was picked in 2008 and ripened in 2009. Milder in flavor than our other loose-leaf nuggets from 2005, there is alot of room for maturation with these little fellas.

Our customers have been enjoying this tea for months now and we are happy to have finally gotten our full shipment of this tea in so that we could post it here on Mandalatea.com!

About Mandala Tea View company

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9 Tasting Notes

3253 tasting notes

Sipdown # 34!
I’ve been sipping on this one for a couple of hours. Initially I had planned to compare this one to the secret stash I have of Yanxin’s Reserve (verdant), with is also in nuggets. But I never did, & why bother? I enjoyed it, that’s all that matters!

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998 tasting notes

But I don’t want to write the first tasting note on this tea. This note is more my impressions for me. Please don’t judge totally on what I have to say.
My first problem is I don’t always read steeping instruction – I think they are more guidelines and I don’t always follow them. I didn’t rinse this enough. The official instructions say THREE 10 sec rinses. I only rinsed once – read the instructions later. I don’t think the leaves were open enough on my first infusion because of that.
Anyway, taking all that into consideration, this is still not quite what I was expecting. Grace said that Noble Mark was “gentlemanly” (I LOVE that line, had to steal it). If Noble Mark is gentlemanly, this is feminine. Almost too gentle for my tastes.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is a high quality pu’erh. Like all Mandala pu’erh’s it’s nice and smooth and easy to drink. No icky at all. I would prefer it to be more bold. I don’t need it to kick me in the face, but a little nudge would be nice.
I’m not going to number rate this. Next time will be more careful with steeping instructions, and see if that gives it more pow. I might have underleafed it a bit too.
I’m sorry Old Nugget, I didn’t treat you right…..We will be friends yet, I’m sure of it.


lol, this was an awesome note, dexter!


LOL, I wish there were a way of saving tasting notes for “private” viewing before making them public. I LOVE Mandala teas, and I know they can’t ALL be my favorite. I think I can make this better with more leaf, more rinse, and longer steep times. For my personal tastes this needs more flavor. If you want a nice gentle feminine pu’erh, then this would be perfect.


I have a 1oz sample of this one. Kind of happy to hear that it’s a gentler tea than I thought. I had the 05 version and it was like a swift kick in the pants. If you want a bolder version of this one…that’s it :) If this one is feminine that one is an ex-football player with unfulfilled dreams.


i really love following the comment threads, =0)


LOL Me too, you can learn a ton from the comments. I love this site. I didn’t even really understand what pu’erh was until I stumbled into this site. I certainly wouldn’t be drinking straight pu’erh of this quality if it weren’t for this wonderful community. (I really need to update my profile too….)


Hmmmmm ex-football player with unfulfilled dreams….. that might be a little too aggressive for me, but maybe not. I like bold flavors, I just don’t like the icky bold flavors.


I’ve read that some people don’t even drink the first three infusions at all, sometimes prefer only the 5th onward. As for me, a 20 second rinse when I have no instructions and I poke a hard puerh with my pick. I’ve seen pro’s do it so I don’t feel bad about it. Why wait? Get the tea party going! Puerh is pretty forgiving.


It’s not icky at all…well, the first couple of steeps were challenging but after that it was all niceness.


Bonnie, like I said, I’m pretty non conformist when it comes to the “rules” about steep parameters. To each their own, and if you like your tea then you steeped it properly. At least that’s my motto. This one I don’t think I steeped properly. Will play with it and see if I can get it more to my liking. Poking a hard puerh with a pick is a good idea, I hadn’t thought of that, will give it a try. :))


Grace, LOL I didn’t need to know that. I would really like it if it’s BOLD without being icky. Add it to the wish list. I just placed a Mandala order today….. Need to wait before ordering more. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself).


Tee hee. Sorry :)

That’s the cycle I go though with Mandala. No. Nope. I will not order more. Well…maybe a cake or twenty. I think it may be time to parental block the site…Nah.


I only ordered ONE cake (250g Noble Mark), 2 oz Black Pearl (rumor has it there isn’t much of it left), 1 oz Milk Oolong (had to try this one before I totally give up on green oolongs) and a Yixing teapot. I thought I showed great restraint. (What that really means is that there are still several on my wish list).


I was good this time too. Only one cake—the Phatty Cake Sequel. Last time, however, very very bad.

Milk Oolong…how I miss it. It’s the only green oolong I can tolerate. I did just buy some of the Alishan with my last order.

I can honestly say with plenty of shame that most of Mandala is my wishlist. Except for the white teas. Never really got into that.


I agree, not really into whites or greens for that matter. Just starting to explore blacks – still have lots to learn about them. Like the roasted oolongs more than the greens….so only about half the Mandala site is on my wish list. It’s a dangerous place. I don’t want to talk about tea ware, I desperately want/need better tea ware. I see several more orders in my future…


Don’t even get me started on tea ware. I found a whole box of antique tea pots from random places in my Grandma’s house and I’m still considering buying a yixing teapot.

Terri HarpLady

I love you guys :)


Hi! thanks for writing that up, my friend!! Yes… this 2009 tea nugget is definitely milder than the 2005 we have in. It is a favorite of some and not for others :) The 3 rinses for old tea nugget are important as these are some very tightly compressed gems we are talking about. Not only do we need to really prime the leaf, the rinses are also helping to heat the brewing vessel up as this tea needs the hottest water possible.

When I was in China last April, I was working at sourcing more old tea nugget and did not have a whole lot of success finding something that compared to the 2005. I mos def recommend trying the 2005 stuff. We have just a few kg’s left and one customer who buys it 8 ounces every time she orders. I hope to find something as good to replace it with.

In regard to ripe pu’er, in general, many drinkers are looking to have a milder cup and this one works really well for them, with some people sipping this from their glass tea thermos, too. Most of the time, I like bolder flavors, darker color when it comes to my ripe pu’er. But ain’t it swell that we all have different taste? And ain’t it swell, too, that our tastes can change?

Life is grand. Tea it up, Steepster pals!!!

And again, wow, on the wonderful compliments about our tea biz. Golly, y’all know how to make a fella blush!


I think I may have to brew up some of this tonight. Most of the time, I like a good kick in the head from tea but today I think I want something gentler.

Garret-I just sent you an email…Sometimes I worry about the oddest things :)

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2212 tasting notes

Grandpa style, only I haven’t refilled my thermos at all.

I put 4 tiny nuggets in the bottom of my not-a-timolino this morning, and added boiling water. I’ve been sipping randomly all day, and it’s been SO good! Really mild and soothing. A little foresty but not much. IDK, I just really like this tea this way.

Boiling 12 OZ / 354 ML

That’s awesome – I haven’t really explored grandpa style…


It’s my lazy way of having lots of tea OR preparing tea when I know I won’t get to it for a long while but I want it to be tasty and not flat like it can sometimes get in a thermos. Wee bit of leaf, water, let it go. Wee bit of leaf. I’ve started using 4-5 oolong balls, so maybe 1/4 tsp? I haven’t tried it with Indian teas, but it works with puerh (even stuff that’s mostly steeped out), rolled oolong, and Zen Tea’s Phoenix Pearl really well.


I haven’t explored that style, either. Sounds so interesting (and convenient, and yummy, and just all around great. :) )

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286 tasting notes

I have been off site going mental, preparing for the in-law visit (yay). Ahh, they are nice people; they welcomed me in their home a few weeks ago, and despite that I am spouse #2,they were very warm to me. So, I have been going crazy cleaning, cooking and food shopping in preparation for their visit, which led me astray from steepster for the duration.

On to the tea…I am glad that this was not my first experience with Mandala. I am a little disappointed with this pu’erh. It tastes a little weak and a bit musty to me.

It is however, a new tasting experience, thanks to Dexter3657, for this sample. While not to my preference, I am still waiting to put in an order with Mandala (tea hiatus), as I have read so many good things about their pu’erhs, as well as having an awesome tasting experience in a previous note.


This wasn’t my favorite Mandala Pu’er either. I think I started with a couple of AMAZING ones, and the other GOOD ones just pale in comparison. Glad you tried it. My favorites might not be your favorites, so is good that you get to sample a few. :))


I so appreciate your samples! Looking forward to trying ‘noble mark’.


:)) Noble Mark is still my favorite. Good luck with the in-law visit.

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278 tasting notes

I’m just gonna leave this here for now:

Not sure what to make of this. I didn’t follow the instructions because the steeps seemed SO LONG. I did do the three 10-second rinses, then went with this -

Method: 3 g, 3 oz, 208 degrees, 20-30-30 (40-50-60) (60-60-70) seconds, ru kiln gaiwan and Dr. Who mug

Dry Leaf Aroma & Brewing Aroma: Smells earthy

Flavor: Steeped 20-30-30. Blended all those into one mug. Mug 1 tastes earthy. I don’t get much else. It’s a little overwhelming for me. Mug 2 is 40-50-60 seconds blended into one mug. It’s not bad, but I’m not in luuuurve. Then there’s mug 3 with 60-60-70 second steeps. The earthy aroma calmed down and this has a smoothness.

I’m trying really hard to find more complexity and other aromas and flavors, but they aren’t readily apparent to me. I’ll try this again using Mandala’s exact instructions.

One thing I do know is that I think this needs longer rinses, for me anyway.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

I suspect you need more leaves. Because its nuggets it takes longer to open up. I read something g like that. For my 100 ml gaiwan I used 6g . It was diff nuggets but concept is the same.


Aaaaahh, thank you, boychik. The nuggets definitely did not open all the way, even after 3 rinses and 9 steepings. I will try more tea next time. :)


I just got some of this so I’m interested in how it turns out


HoneyBelle: I would really love to hear your thoughts when you try it. I’ll keep tweaking the times/amounts, as needed!


I just got home from work and am having trouble picking out a tea to drink


I’m on the Imperial Dark now. Feel free to join me. Or drink something else that make you happy. :)


I think I’m finally zeroing in on Cocoa Amore


Gonna go make a cup back soon


HHHHMMMMM Imperial Dark – it’s like Special Dark’s little brother – I really need to buy more of it.


I like the Imperial Dark a lot too Dexter – and I think you’re right – SD’s little brother :)


Maybe I’m not ready for the power of the dark side….


10 grams. 1 long 20 second rinse 30 second steeps.


Thanks, mrmopar! I will try again soon. :)


You can always toss the first couple steeps if you are tasting storage. After awhile you will recognize storage tastes. By the time you get to the fourth and fifth you will be getting the tea. I use this method if the storage taste is overwhelming or unpleasant.


That’s kind of what I was thinking. The flavor smoothed out, but it really took awhile.

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