Phatty Cake II: The Sequel

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Caramel, Earth, Leather, Mushrooms, Ash, Clay, Ocean Breeze, Tobacco, Wood, Fruity, Smoke, Campfire, Wet Earth, Dark Chocolate, Sweet, Molasses, Oak wood, Vanilla, Mineral, Fig, Hay, Honey, Plums, Spices
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 oz / 189 ml

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From Mandala Tea

The follow up to our very popular Phatty Cake. We used the same material, but added grade 3 leave to the mix which gives a more interesting gongfu experience.

Save money by ordering a tong. Traditional “case” size for pu’er tea is seven cakes (beeng). The hand-tied bamboo sheath wrapper is a beautiful addition to your tea collection. A full tong purchase saves you $35. You’ll be drinking cup after cup of delicious, classy ripe pu’er for under $3 per ounce and gifting cakes to your friends who still think pu’er is that weird, fishy stuff from the Asian market. Score!

About Mandala Tea View company

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29 Tasting Notes

92 tasting notes

I’ve been a bit absent from Steepster lately. I have a good excuse. I sprained my wrist and typing is a big ol’ pain. To make it even worse, I steam burned the same hand so now I have second degree burns and a sprained wrist. I’m not whining, I swear. The only thing that has kept me from being a big baby is tea. So, I guess, there’s that. My form of pain management is drinking copious amounts of tea.

Steep 1- 15 seconds
Kind of mellow. Sweet. A little bit smoky yet creamy. Very interesting in a completely non-aggressive kind of way.

Steep 2-30 seconds
It’s asserting itself a bit more. Still smoky and sweet but where the original Phatty Cake asserted itself in a smoky way, the Sequel is all about the creamyness.

Steep 3-45 seconds
It’s getting a bit nutty…literally. It’s reminiscent of Amaretto. Call me a bit insane but I may even prefer this to the original Phatty Cake.

Steep 4-1 minute
It’s a tiny bit woodsy but it’s kind of reminiscent of vanilla extract without the alcohol kick. It’s vanilla in that sort of woodsy way and not totally pastry-like or sweet.

Steep 5-1.30 seconds
Vanilla bean with a touch of figgy fruitiness. Winner! It’s light but it’s very flavorful.

I’ve been craving some iced tea lately so I decided to stop brewing this hot and try an overnight iced tea steep. Oh my dear tea gods. It was amazing. This is going to sound crazy but it’s like I took a Napoleon, mashed it up in a blender and drank it. It’s vanilla and custard and even a bit pastry-like. I wish I had made more than a glass worth of it.

I am not going to go so far as to say that I love this more than the original Phatty Cake but I love it for different reasons. Since hockey season is getting close, I am going to use a hockey comparison. The original Phatty Cake is the flashy forward. The guy who scores all the goals, gets all the credit and is all “Look at me!!! I’m so talented” but the Phatty Cake Sequel is the hard working third liner. The guy who does everything well but stays out of the way. He’s also the guy that scores the goals when the flashy forward is in one of his cold streaks—-or decides to retire to Russia…I’m bitter. I think on most occasions I’d prefer the more mellow Phatty Cake Sequel to be honest but I think the Sequel with gain some strength with age. Hopefully not too much because I like the gentler aspect of it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Awesome! Thanks for this grace….love the review :)


Welcome back !


My dear, I am so glad that you are enjoying this. Given that the steaming/pressing took place so recently, look for some big changes in complexity over the next few months. This was pressed on 4/25/2013… I’ve detected big changes already. I am SO HAPPY you like it already. Thanks for writing this review and providing me with whole new ways of looking at pu’er :)


“Thanks for writing this review and providing me with whole new ways of looking at pu’er :)”
Given Garret’s experience with Pu’er, I imagine he hasn’t given such a compliment to too many people! Way to go!

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7131 tasting notes


I had this in the afternoon since i REALLY need to drink up some of my smaller puerh samples instead of accumulating them all. I still think that while i could live with having most of Mandala’s puerhs in my cupboard, there are a few that i MUST have…and this isnt’ one of them. it’s delicious, but not something that i’ll be wishing for often, now that it’s gone.

The first few steeps were a middle of the road brew that was smooth and delicious, while also not being out of this world. Later steeps brought out hints of woodsy vanilla. I’ll have to see if i can cold brew the rest of this over night just to see how it fares after a number of steeps hot brewed :)

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3230 tasting notes

I drank this all evening, on & off.
I was busy, so I don’t really have any notes to share, but I wanted to drink it, since I drank the original Phatty Cake yesterday. I can’t really give a comparison of the two…but I love them both. I think the original is sweeter, but they are both tasty.
What I can say is this was a wonderful bold & rich contrast to the last couple of steepings of the Huang Zhi Xiang Dancong I was drinking all afternoon. The Dancong had me so dopey & mellow, & the Phatty Cake woke me back up a little. I drank several steepings before dinner, & several more after.
Yesterday I put the leftover leaves in a jar of water in the frig. I added tonight’s leaves to the same jar, as I didn’t really feel like the water had absorbed much flavor. I’ll drink their fusion tomorrow.

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10 tasting notes

Phatty cake, phatty cake how I love saying phatty cake.

I had a sample of this from the time when Mandala was having its shou sampler set (In 2014 IIRC). Unfortunately for me this one was forgotten and neglected in its plastic baggie at the back of my tea box. After surviving through two moves and an equal number of years in a ziplock bag the flavors were slightly muted. I still get whisps of the wonderful flavours other reviewers have described but I definitely should have tried reviving it by reintroducing some humidity to this sample first. Still a good tea, but I wish I had enjoyed it sooner.

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2118 tasting notes

After dusting off my gaiwan I spent a good part of the morning enjoying this tea and ignoring the mile long to-do list I have sitting on my counter. I gave the leaves a quick 15 second rinse, discarded the water, and began with a 30 second steeping. The flavor was light, with hints of leather and molasses. Each time I steeped this tea the flavor deepened and the notes changed. What started out as leather and molasses moved into dark chocolate and slowly became sweeter. The later steepings reminded me of the Mexican vanilla beans I bought last year, they tasted of wood and vanilla.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML


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9 tasting notes

My first review on Steepster :)
Who knew dirt could taste so good? The earthiness of this Pu-erh is unlike any I have ever had, in the best possible way. I am typically turned off by earthy or grassy teas, but this one completely changed my mind on the former. Garret at Mandala Tea included this sample with my first order from them and I am very grateful. Will definitely pick up a cake of this after I finish the others I purchased from Mandala.

1st Steep(45 sec): I tend to start pretty short on steep times so I can be sure it doesn’t come out too astringent. My first thought was mushrooms covered in dirt, and I realize that may not sound tasty but it was exceptional.
2nd Steep(1min30sec): This one came out a bit more rich but just as smooth as the first. Started to catch some hints of toasted caramel on the finish.
3rd Steep(3min): Richness started to fade but the sweetness started to come through even more. This is where I started to taste something more akin to leather than earth.

Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Leather, Mushrooms

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML




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261 tasting notes

This Puer starts out very strong and in-your-face, with notes of wood, cork, and cigar ash. In later infusions notes of ocean spray and clay emerge and in even later infusions it becomes more mellow and sweet with notes of tobacco.

It’s very dynamic from one infusion to the next, but I don’t think it’s really my tastes simply because of how pungent it is at the start. I used flash infusions and it was still rather intense from the get-go.

Flavors: Ash, Clay, Ocean Breeze, Tobacco, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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19 tasting notes

Tasted smooth with a fruity lingering mouthfeel.
Very enjoyable! No fishyness detected but lots of good earthy tones.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Smoke

Boiling 8 min or more 7 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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707 tasting notes

The beau and I had 4 or 5 steeps of this last night after a great supper of homemade pad thai. We are anxiously awaiting the opening of a new Thai restaurant in the town near us, but so far no dice. So we took things into our own hands!

This was a great choice afterward for our night tea. This is a habit I picked up from a great friend and her husband of 25 years. They are kindred spirits even if we are 20 years apart in age. For their whole marriage, her husband has prepared coffee for them to take to bed and enjoy before going to sleep. Both of them like whatever is left cold in the morning, and it creates a nighttime ritual for just the two of them, perfect for the parents of four great kids.

After commenting on how brilliant that is, my husband started making night tea for us, usually my choice of tea, as we have no problems sleeping after tea. Or while drinking it. He usually finishes his, and I get halfway through mine, but I love it. We don’t have kids yet, but it is still nice to carve out a ritual for us in the midst of busy lives. Due to my propensity to fall asleep as soon as I am in bed, we usually enjoy this in the living room but it works for me. We also read bedtime stories to each other since I’m just a really big kid. We’re almost done the Philip Pullman collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and I am looking forward to reading the Tales of Trenzalore next. Except whenever hubby reads, I fall asleep. He puts up with a lot. :)

SO! We used half the pack, which I got in the Mandala Shu sampler of a few months back. This is the second one I’ve actually managed to try. Probably should have used all 7 g but I wanted two goes at it, and my cups are small. Gave it a rinse, which was very pale and didn’t open it up very much and then drank the first real steep at 30 seconds (boiling water). It was earthy, with a smoky note. I was reminded of a campfire in the rain, it wasn’t overpowering, but very nice. Through all the steeps, that smoke note remained, and was present with some earthiness, some leather, maybe some mushroom flavours. I increased the time with each steep and the leaves really let go of each other with each steep.

This tea had no bitterness or astringency at all which was really nice. As I got further on, I got more sweetness but it was never a really sweet tea. It was rich and nice, very pleasant but a bit mild because I didn’t use enough leaf, I imagine. I was trying this to see if I should get a cake of it in the mandala order I am considering since they’re having a sale, and I think for an easy drinking, every-day, no-thought-required shu this is fantastic. We both really want a few cakes of shu that we can just have western or gongfu, with no fuss. I want one at work, at home, and the beau wants one at work too. For now, finances and common sense dictate we settle down a bit but if I do this order, I will definitely add a cake of this. Really nice easy drinking shu – if you’re afraid of it, try this.

Flavors: Campfire, Leather, Mushrooms, Smoke, Wet Earth


You sound like an adorable couple.


Oh, we fight plenty and can be very petty but we’ve been together since we were 15 and were fortunate to grow into ourselves, with each other (flaws and all). After ten years, I’ve noticed the less time we are able to spend together, the more we fight, so I’m learning to focus on us even when it doesn’t seem like there is time. He is a video game guy and I am book girl but we share both those interests and many others. Unusual maybe, but works for us. Luckily! :) Neither of us had a great example by way of our parents for relationship happiness either so we try to learn from those who know better to avoid the same mistakes.


What a slew of bonus commas. I love the comma today – I’m keeping it in business.

Also, thank you!


My spouse and I are a book girl and a video game guy. I will read a book on the couch while he plays his game a lot of the time, just to be in the same room together.


I like playing video games well enough, but nothing compared to him. I also read while he plays. It’s great system! When we did our vows (independently) he made a bunch of references to chapters and stories and I agreed to be his player 2. Maybe we’re all on the same wavelengths in the tea drinking world!


That is adorable. :)

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240 tasting notes

Interesting – This immediately reminded of old books.
Dark brew. Tastes smooth and rich with spices, wood and leather.

My favorite dark pu’er sample so far.

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

This one is my kind of shou – sweet thick leather stonefruit. Yum! Glad you liked it!


Yes, it sort of surprised me. And I liked the subtle ‘old book’ scent somehow. :)

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