Mandala Noble Mark Ripe Cake - 2012

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Not available
Creamy, Mineral, Wet Earth, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Leather, Molasses, Mushrooms, Smooth, Earth, Spices, Malt
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 7 g 28 oz / 823 ml

Available from 1 seller.

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21 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I was working on a yixing pot full of this tea while I made lunch and later on relaxed watching a live owl cam on youtube. Lots of hooting! Yum, like I said before, I need to review this tea. Super...” Read full tasting note
    awkwardsoul 1178 tasting notes
  • “I just got finished drinking my sample of the Noble Mark loose tea and now I am moving on to the cake sample that Garret sent me. I am kind of curious to see if there are any differences. 1st...” Read full tasting note
    graceatblb 92 tasting notes
  • “I drank this tea all day while working from home. It was a cold, rainy day, and this shu was both warming and energizing. While I like the loose version of this shu, for some reason the cake...” Read full tasting note
    curlygc 90 tasting notes
  • “This is the first Pu-Er cake that I have ever tried. I have had loose leaf Pu-er before this, though. I ordered this based on such good ratings and reviews. Despite my being a beginner, I...” Read full tasting note
    mtchyg 71 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

We are so happy to offer this Mandala Tea exclusive ripe-style pu’er tea to our fine customers everywhere. These cakes were pressed on 10/25/2012 from 2011 tea available in loose form here.

This blend of ripe pu’er (sometimes spelled “puerh” or “pu-erh”) leaves come from spring-picked old plantation trees that are between 60 and 80 years old. Grown without pesticides or sprays, this is just pure, clean tea from one of the most pristine growing areas in southwest China.

We carefully selected 4 sizes of expertly-crafted ripened leaf from this plantation and blended them to make a very well-balanced tea. The majority of the blend (around 70%) are smaller leaves which will give up more flavor in earlier infusions with the remaining 30% coming into play in later infusions.

The result is an incredibly well-balanced tea. Rich and creamy in flavor and aroma without overbearing earthiness, this tea hits the mark and is now one of our most favorite ripe teas. And judging by our customer response, others think so too!

We are impressed with the clarity of the tea liquor produced from this leaf as normally, ripe leaf this young makes for a cloudier brew.

Brew it up short and sweet or loud and proud, this tea will not disappoint (these folks agree). In fact, it will tickle all your ripe tea drinking fancies!

To experience this fine tea to its fullest, please experiment brewing it up Gong Fu style!

We hope you enjoy the latest addition to our extensive ripe pu’er selection. Want to try before purchasing the whole cake? Just select the one ounce sample above. You’ll be back for more :)

About Mandala Tea View company

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21 Tasting Notes

1178 tasting notes

I was working on a yixing pot full of this tea while I made lunch and later on relaxed watching a live owl cam on youtube. Lots of hooting!
Yum, like I said before, I need to review this tea. Super tasty and creamy, I highly recommend this pu’er!
Well, off to the airport to pick up my dad, who’s flying in from Vancouver for the holidays.


I love owls. I find them irresistible :)


Have a blast with your dad! I’m happy that you are enjoying this tea! I really have found that the cakes of this tea are really opening up flavor-wise over the last couple of months. Just wait another year. There will be no stopping this ripe tea! Thanks for the write-up, my dear!! Grateful, as ever, G.

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92 tasting notes

I just got finished drinking my sample of the Noble Mark loose tea and now I am moving on to the cake sample that Garret sent me. I am kind of curious to see if there are any differences.

1st steep-15 sec
Still a gentleman’s pu’er. It’s not overwhelming even on the first steep. It’s very gentle. Like it’s holding the door open for you. Tee hee. Slightly roasty notes like a cup of blonde roast. Creamy. Almost a pastry type of sweetness. It tastes like a napoleon.

2nd Steep-20 seconds
The pastry aspects really come out. It tastes like walking into an old school bakery smells. It’s like being hit in the face with all those lovely smells of baking. Kind of sweet but in a breadlike kind of way.

3rd Steep-30 seconds
Still sweet and breadlike. A little honey coming through.

4th Steep-35 seconds
Same as before. Sweet like pastry with honey and some new nutty notes. Kind of like baklava.

5th Steep-40 seconds
Still a bit nutty with honey notes.

6th to 12th Steep-Up to 2 minutes
Varying levels of vanilla. Sometimes with nutty notes, sometimes with fruity notes and one very interesting time with a basil note. Tea is losing a bit.

13th Steep-5 minutes
Figs and honey. Almost can’t give up on this tea now because figs!

14th Steep-45 minutes
I forgot it. I don’t even have a good excuse but it didn’t turn out bad at all. Very light even with the long steep time. The figs are gone sadly and replaced by an almost anise like sweetness.

15th Steep-1 hour 30 minutes
I figured why not. It’s very very light. Still sweet but it’s hitting the floral side of fade which means it’s time for me to move on.

I did notice that when I started steeping this one, I was in a terrible mood. Like Eeyore meets Grumpy Cat meets Archie Bunker. Mainly because my team’s superstar decided to bail on a 15 year deal. Once I started sipping Noble Mark, the mood lifted and I was all cheerful again. Could be a coincidence but considering how much of a bad mood I was in. I doubt it.

I really did love this in cake form more than I did loose. I don’t know why. The flavor seemed much deeper and I didn’t mind spending almost 5 days with it at all. I have a feeling this would be one of those teas that taste different every time you steep it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

thought you might like this!! Interesting that the cake is now really starting to excel in complexity over the loose. Not the case for the first few months after pressing. I learn this with every pressing that I do. It always takes 6 months to a year after pressing a ripe tea for it to begin to open up and rock. Within 2 to 3 more years, this one is going to be one of the best tasting ripe cakes available. Why do you think I pressed so many of them.

The loose is delicious and is the 1st tea I drink every morning and have for over 5 months. My personal stash of the loose is in the neighborhood of 200 lbs. Of course I can sell it to our tea shop as the shop runs out of its current stash :)

We had the entire lot tested, too, and it is ZERO parts per million of anything other than tea. You know me, I like to source from super clean growing areas and from growers that are using organic and biodynamic ways of growing. This tea is as pure as it can get, sister!!

So happy that you are enjoying it. Remember, too, when you get your new Phatty Cake 2 this week that it was pressed on 4/25… still a few months before it opens up more and rocks out, but the reviews from the handful of people who have tried it so far are very favorable. Even made it here in the shop for someone who has never enjoyed ripe tea and they bought a cake!

Rock on, Archie Bunker!


This tea was something special. I felt almost guilty tossing the leaves so I made iced tea—-just about the only way I can trick my family into drinking pu’er. I don’t know if this’ll become an everyday tea—because I’m going to want to hoard it. I think I’ll stick with Phatty Cake Prime for that.

200 lb!!! That sounds like…heaven. Better than heaven. Tea heaven. You’re very generous to consider selling it…because I’d hoard it like an angry goblin.

I can’t wait to try the Phatty Cake sequel. I am going to try my hardest to curb my kid on Christmas morning tendencies and wait a couple of months. I do have to finish my Phatty Cake Prime so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

I also just got my mug this afternoon. It’s adorable. I’m already in love with it and I haven’t even used it yet. I may have to break out the Year of the Dragon pu’er to break it in.

Archie Bunker is my spirit animal. Along with Peg Bundy and Balki Bartokomous.


i foresee possibly sending cakes to my parents place so they can be in a less humid place for the summer….or buying some sort of tea humidor for my apartment?


Sil… i think for short-term storage, you don’t really have to worry too much about all this. Most importantly, keep the tea away from strong smells and covered in an (odor-free) cardboard box so that it does not get cold or hot air blowing on it. If you are not going to be drinking the tea within 6 months or so, then there are other things you can do. And we can cover that later, if need be.


Grace… Archie Bunker, love him! So happy you are digging the new infuser mug. They have been flying out of the shop already and the reviews are good so far!

You have some of the Bulang Gong Ting, right? We have a bunch of customers who are serving that tea iced and really loving it!


I love my little mug. I’ve named it Stuart and somehow tea tastes better when drinking from it. Sounds crazy but it’s true.

I love my Bulang Gong Ting. I have 5 ounces that I am hoarding. I’m not that big a fan of iced tea but I’ll give it a go because my family loved the Noble Mark iced tea.


Sil—I keep my pu’er in cardboard boxes on my bookshelves. The room is air conditioned though. I am not sure how good that is for the tea but 100 degree heat is not something I can tolerate…at all.

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90 tasting notes

I drank this tea all day while working from home. It was a cold, rainy day, and this shu was both warming and energizing. While I like the loose version of this shu, for some reason the cake seems to be much more to my liking. Actually, this one is definitely one of my all time favorite shupus. The smoothness is just unparalleled. I must get a cake.


I love this tea. It was my first came I bought. No regrets on it either.


*Cake. Thanks auto correct.




awe crap. i don’t get home for another few hours..


That’s ok @Sil, I left plenty for you!


Part of me wishes I hadn’t seen this….

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71 tasting notes

This is the first Pu-Er cake that I have ever tried. I have had loose leaf Pu-er before this, though. I ordered this based on such good ratings and reviews. Despite my being a beginner, I don’t mess around. I want some of the best right out of the gate and everything I found pointed towards this being one of the best in my price range.

Right off the bat I found that the leafy earth type flavor and smell that is sometimes associated with this type of tea is very minimal. It is there but it is soft. Brewing gong fu, the flavors are, well, there isn’t much else I can say that hasn’t already been mentioned in these reviews. This tea is smooth, velvety, and carries creamy, mineral, earthy notes to it. And it is consistent. This isn’t a tea (as far as I can tell) that is going to bring you on a trip around the world with taste sensations but what it does present to you, it does it well and it does it with almost every steep.

But what do I know? I’m just a novice who is tea drunk in the middle of a lovely session. Carry on!

Flavors: Creamy, Mineral, Wet Earth

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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395 tasting notes

This is Smoothness itself. I’ve never had any other tea that is this gorgeous and this silky. I admit that I’m still getting over the smell, but as I rinsed it three times, it transitioned into something closer to a mushroomy odor. I steeped it for 20 seconds and the rest Gongfu, the second 25, the third 30. The color is a very deep brown, with shades of orange, purple, and red glossing the liquid. The taste is exactly as described on here, there are notes of cocoa, some molasses, leather, mushroom, and bitterness. The bitterness overpowers the natural sweet notes in it, but as I re-steeped it, it got sweeter. Next time, I’m going to steep it more to see if it gets any sweeter.

I am so glad that I got this, though I admit the cake is bigger than I thought. Originally, I thought that I was going to have to budget more with my teas running out of gift income, but I found more that I totally forgot about. I still need to budget better, and have certainly bought too much tea, but this is a choice that I’m really glad I made. As a preemptive hangover strike for my twenty first, I think that I’ll be happily recovering with this embodiment of velvet.

As for my usual tidbit about general audience, this is for an experienced drinker, and one that should be used to introduce someone to Pu-Erh and Gongfu style of steeping. A newbie would have a hard time getting over the smell despite the taste being far different, which is also why Garret HIGHLY recommends rinsing for 5-10 seconds 2-3 times. It might be easier for a palette that’s not used to it with sugar, specifically rock sugar or maybe honey. I personally might start adding rock or raw sugar on occasion to really bring out the sweeter notes like cocoa, but I still can totally drink it on it’s own. Also, this is a tea that you should devote an entire day to because of the sheer amount of resteeps that you can get. It will serve your tea needs all day, which is another reason why I purchased this as a specific budget savor when I thought I had less of a disposable income (still technically do, but you know, tea addict).

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Leather, Molasses, Mushrooms, Smooth

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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719 tasting notes

Flash steeping this is giving me solid color, strong taste, and constant enjoyment.
This is a wonderful ripe tea for sure :)
Just between the first three steeps you can tell this one is calling for MUCH more of your time. Thankfully I am willing to oblige!

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1511 tasting notes

I shouldn’t have had this today as I was not in the frame of mind to pay attention. Despite that though, I made it to four steeps.
What I can tell you is that this is delicious. Like the molasses version of red velvet cake. Smooth and sweet shaded by a mineral note and an even more potent sugary aftertaste.
Each steep was progressively sweeter and more mineraly.
Other than that I can’t really give any specifics. There wasn’t any real definition between cups which makes me think that this one could go on forever in a gaiwan. Great because, well yum, but I can see myself getting frustrated because if one cup just melds into the next, I won’t notice the differences as much. Like a frog in slowly boiled water.
Geeze, I’m feeling morbid today.

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1774 tasting notes

I can’t believe I haven’t logged this one yet. It’s so good! I only steeped it for 30seconds in a huge 14oz cup, and the result is just sweet, and amazing just slightly earthy. I’ll have to do a better review of this later, when I didn’t drink the cup while I was playing minecraft and not note all the incredible flavours.

Also, I should restock on Mandala teas some time in the next few months! :O


before you do let me know… i’ve got to get down to my goal but i wan to place an order.


I’ll try to remember! It prob won’t be in the near future as I still have a few samples of theirs to try!


and uh….maybe a few more at my place lol


/0\ (thanks!)

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950 tasting notes

Went on a bit of a tea/teaware shopping spree last night. Ohhhhh Mandala – I love Mandala Tea, and was spending the evening trying to put together an order – it’s tough when there are so many awesome choices.
Anyway I was drinking the amazing Noble Mark while I was shopping. I love this tea. I don’t drink it often enough and I don’t write enough tasting notes about it. I was using my little yixing shou pot and stopped counting at 9 steeps – but I’m quite sure I got to at least 15. It just keeps getting smoother and more mellow as you go. It starts really nice and doesn’t go through any icky stages. Maybe not as “complex” as some like – but you know what your going to get with this one. It’s always good – it can handle some “oops I let that steep too long”. One of my all time favorite teas.

Maddy Barone

That does sound good. Complex is sort of wasted on me since I don’t taste much. Give me a decent smooth tea and I’m happy.


:( steepster is eating parts of my notes again


Did you tell Jason so they can look into it?


Love this one too, so smooth and warming!

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7131 tasting notes

I hate it when reviews disappear. I pulled this one out to be my puerh for today after reading misslena’s tasting note on special dark. :) I haven’t had this one in a long while so i figured it was time to work on my sample of this, especially if i place a mandala order for special dark! I’ll be drinking this most of today and that suits me just fine. My little turtle needs more tea love and this is a great tea. I’d say it’s a toss up on any given day whether i’ll love this or special dark most :)


Yay for my note inspiring you to pull this one out! I should today too, but I don’t want to overcaffeinate..having a black tea right now lol. I hate being sensitive :(


I love this one. Also the Temple Stairs mini tous are good

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