Temple Stairs Loose Ripe Pu'er

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea Leaves
Earth, Spices, Sweet
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by TeaExplorer
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 7 oz / 211 ml

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6 Tasting Notes View all

  • “So I started a session with this one last night. And again the first thing I smelled on both the dry and wet leaf was pond water. I steeped this one up for the 30 seconds and holy darkness. For...” Read full tasting note
    Mandyyyy 165 tasting notes
  • “When I saw Mandala added this loose leaf pu erh to it's site, I knew I'd be buying some sooner or later. Thanks to a 50% off sale it was sooner! My first impression was that this tea is young, I...” Read full tasting note
    awilsondc 20 tasting notes
  • “I'm trying to decide whether to bite the bullet and order from Mandala again this weekend. I REALLY don't have a lot of money to burn these days and i have lots of puerh sitting in my cupboard...” Read full tasting note
    Silaena 4704 tasting notes
  • “I'm liking Temple Stairs more and more...I find myself longing for it. Could it be addictive? It fills me with positive energy in the morning. What a great warming feeling it provides. I think...” Read full tasting note
    TheTeaFairy 346 tasting notes

From Mandala Tea

“Temple Stairs” – a 2013 blended ripe pu’er

Morning arrives soon and with it,
the monkey mind.
In this moment, I’ve this tea -
a training ground upon which I find my center.

We are pleased to present yet another Mandala Tea exclusive ripe pu’er. This creamy and smooth two leaf blend was created using material that was spring-picked and ripened in 2012 and 2013.

Not only were both pickings from plantations that are pesticide free, but the two growing areas (Bada and Mengsong) are far from any cities or air pollution. This is 100% pure tea and some of the finest ripe tea available. Teas from these areas are famous for their uplifting nature as well as their qi raising goodness.

As this tea warms your lower dan tien (in laymen terms – the “energy bank account”), you will note hints of cocoa in aroma and taste. Flavors of sweet root vegetables with hints of dark brown sugar dance on your tongue alongside the clean and well-rounded essence of minerals.

A rich and creamy treat in a cup, this tea will lift you up gently and then place you lovingly back on the ground, better for the experience.

We also note that the leaf was expertly cared for in the process of fermentation, yielding a perfectly ripened leaf with full integrity.

Climb the Temple Stairs and find your center.

About Mandala Tea View company

Company description not available.

6 Tasting Notes

165 tasting notes

So I started a session with this one last night. And again the first thing I smelled on both the dry and wet leaf was pond water. I steeped this one up for the 30 seconds and holy darkness. For some reason I was expecting this one to be light. But it’s was almost black.

The liquor smelled just like the wet leaf, pond water, something I don’t remember Special Dark’s liquor smelling like. I’m thinking I definitely should have rinsed this. That first cup tasted similar to how it smelled, like pond water and mud. I ended up dumping half the cup. The next steep was a little better. Less pond and mud taste (I guess earthy in a wet way). Now I’m starting to get other notes, there’s a slight sweetness, and something not quite earthy but I’m not sure what it is.

The third steep, most of the pond scum smell and taste was completely gone and for the next three steeps the flavor continued to mellow and mingle and confuse but please my taste buds. My tongue is not refined enough to pick out flavors, but once I hit the third steeping I ha begun to relax into this puerh. It started to feel safe, like it was trying to show me a preview of could come if I continue down the rabbit hole that is puerh. Now I really think that a good rinse or maybe two would have eliminated those first two awkward cups and put me right into this sweet spot to begin with.

The 6th or 7th steep seemed a little bit weaker, and since by this point it was nearly 2am I decided to cold steep the last steep overnight. I strained and tried it first thing this morning, and detected a surprising note that I really wasn’t expecting and don’t know where it came from: grapes. This cold steeped and lightly sweetened taste like grapes and a tinge if cocoa, some of that almost earthiness, and I want to say browned sugar. The other notes were there in the hot cups but just seem more identifiable this time. But I don’t remember grapes last night, yet there they are this morning.

I still find it so amazing that a straight tea can have so many different notes, without adding any flavors.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Sorry you didn’t have such a good experience…so funny cause I get none of that “pond water”, but I used to hate pu’erh at the beginning…I think you are doing great in your tasting and evaluations so far ;-)


Hi! So excited to see you diving in with shu pu’er! The rinse is a must. Matter of fact, in China, they do two rinses of the leaf to start a sesh with ripe tea, 3 if it is tea nugget pu’er. That will help your brew significantly.

If you were here, I’d have you in to our tea room and we’d sit down and brew us up some great tea times!

Keep up the good work, you really are doing great. Never hesitate to ask any questions if I may be of help, ok? [email protected]


TheTeaFairy I actually did have a good experience! The 3rd steep on was good, even if I had a hard time describing it. And the first two cups taught me that rinsing is a must, and that Special Dark is just the exception to the rule!

I used to have turtles that my sister and I caught (“rescued” according to us) from the (retention) pond in our old neighbor hood. And the smell of pu’erh remind me of the smell of those turtles. Like wet slippery mud. Thankful after the first cup it didn’t taste like it smelled.

And thank you, I’ve been trying, it’s so hard for me to put a finger on what I’m tasting or smelling sometimes, and when I do it’s usually something zany (like chamomile tastes like celery to me).

Garret That makes a lot of sense, especially since the first two cups were the only not so good ones. I actually just started a session with Imperial Dark, rinsing it twice first, and seems like it did a perfect job washing the pond water away.

I wish I was there! Thats something I’ve been wanting to do! I feel like having a session with a professional would teach me so much about how brew as well as to help me identify what I’m tasting.


Oh, I said that only cause of the “pond scum” you mentioned…I’m glad your experience got better and better :-)

And yes, garret, I would pay to have a tea session with you!! Learn directly from the master :-)

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20 tasting notes

When I saw Mandala added this loose leaf pu erh to it’s site, I knew I’d be buying some sooner or later. Thanks to a 50% off sale it was sooner! My first impression was that this tea is young, I feel like it has not reached it’s full flavor profile… like there were some flavors in this tea lurking beneath the surface that time has not allowed to fully develop. I can tell this tea has great potential! The liquor was dark, much darker than I expected and I was pleased. The flavor was two toned with spice and and a smooth earthy sweetness. As I got into the 3rd and 4th steepings it hit me… this tea has some AMAZING cha qi!!! In fact I’d say this tea has the cha qi of an aged sheng. I’m probably going to go the delayed gratification route and keep this one for storage to allow it to develop it’s full flavor profile, sampling a couple times a year. I’m a big fan!

Flavors: Earth, Spices, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 185 ML

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4704 tasting notes

I’m trying to decide whether to bite the bullet and order from Mandala again this weekend. I REALLY don’t have a lot of money to burn these days and i have lots of puerh sitting in my cupboard that needs to be drunk up, but it’s SUCH a good sale. In an effort to convince myself NOT to buy more tea lol I figured i should try this one as Garrett passed it along as a sample in my most recent order.

I’ve been drinking a few steeps of this while i pray for the house to cool down. It’s going to be necessary to cool off under a hose or in the shower soon at this rate! Note, that my gaiwan is still packed up, so i’ve been steeping this psuedo gongfu style using short steeps but in my brew basket heh.

This is a young puerh. I feel like the tastes aren’t quiet fully formed, but there is the hint of what’s to come as this ages. This is, as i’ve come to expect from Mandala, a smooth brew. it’s not an earthy puerh – there are echoes of cedar? leather? Not sure…clearly i’ve been neglecting my puerh for too long and i’ve forgotten what sort of tastes are there lol On the whole though, I am looking forward to possibly ordering some of this and letting is sit for a while. I think it’ll be a really nice blend in the future.


I feel that I already have enough puerh to last for the rest of my life… lol


I couldn’t resist and ordered 4 oz. Some for now, some for later!


I loved this one…so smooth.


I grabbed 1 oz bc it was so cheap it was basically a sample!


Glad you did cavo. Was going to give you the other half of my sample but I owe Terri some NOT FLAVOURED tea lol


Haha. So we all win?


I want to order too. The sale is fabulous. And I’m thinking if I should add some cakes as well. I liked Autumn Song a lot. Temple Staires is nice but too mellow for me. I need a punch in a face…


Argh someone stop me from ordering! Such a good deal….


Sorry Steph, I need help myself. I also have a coupon fr them on reg price until 7/15 so I need to decide right now what else to get in one order. I’m trying now 2010 nun jian golden buds sample fr Mandala. It is so good…


i’m hoping the sale will be over before i get 5 mins to look at it again heh

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346 tasting notes

I’m liking Temple Stairs more and more…I find myself longing for it. Could it be addictive?

It fills me with positive energy in the morning. What a great warming feeling it provides.

I think it’s my most “elegant” shou pu’erh, not as bold and strong as some others, but still imposing its presence in a sophisticated way.

I love how the steeps evolve, and contrary to Special Dark, I prefer drinking this one Gongfu style. (Special Dark is my Big Mug guy!)

It’s got a light brothy mushroom flavour or “dampness” if the word mushroom in tea scares some of you.

There’s faint bittersweetness about it, hard to describe. Cooked turnips come to mind.

I love how creamy this is. I also detect notes of cocoa, but they aren’t prominent in this tea.

(Now, something I read put the thought of fresh cherries in my head early on this morning.
I think I have enough Temple Stairs energy stocked in me now to jog to the market and get me some!)

Have a great Wednesday dear Steepster friends!


You are right, Special Dark is great for “big mug” type steeping. I haven’t tried Temple Stairs yet but I hope to sometime soon! Also I too think puerh can be addictive :)


Mushrooms….you’re making me nervous about my Temple Stairs purchase, haha


Yay! I had Temple Stairs this morning! I am really excited about this tea. The 100 gram cakes will begin arriving in a few weeks and while I don’t want to wish time away, these cakes will be cha-mazing in 2 to 3 years. I hope I had enough of them pressed (500 cakes, 10,000 mini-tuochas) cause I’m gonna hog a few of them for myself :) Happy wednesday to each of you.


Stephanie, don’t we looove our big mug of special dark!!

Whatshesaid, I was actually thinking about you, lol!! It’s nothing offensive really, no worries :-)

Garret, i just love ALL your pu’erh!! Cha-mazing sounds just perfect :-)
I am having Imperial Dark for the first time and now I just don’t know which is my favourite anymore, so good!!


Your reviews are so seriously adorable. You make me want to do nothing but drink tea all day long.


Lol, Sarsonator, that’s because I haven’t been working for the first time in my life. I usually work 50 to 60 hours a week, so I actually DO take advantage and drink tea all day :-) life will take its course eventually, work madness will pick up where I left it and you won’t be seeing these notes quite as often, that’s for sure!


Then I will enjoy them while I can. :)


“Your reviews are so seriously adorable.” +1


You guys are very good for my self esteem :-) :-) :-)

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20 tasting notes

I received this as a sample in my latest Mandala order. with only 10 grams to work with, I decided to split it into two 5 gram sessions in my 100 ml gaiwan. Since this is less leaf than my normal 6 to 8 grams in this vessel I tried to ‘short-pour’ the water a little to compensate. I took detailed notes but I will spare you from the dreaded copy&paste. Just the highlights follow.

The first session involved short steep times (5/5/7/10/… sec) to see what aromas and flavors I could unmask. The shu brewed up a beautiful medium burgundy color with aromatic hints of mushrooms, warm figs, raw sugarcane, vanilla and mulling spices over the 12 steeps I took this through. It was light to medium bodied with mild flavors of mushrooms, pepper, cedar, leather, minerals, allspice, cinnamon, and a noticeable sweetness tying it all together. Near the end I picked up notes of SweetTarts in one steep and Cinnamon Disc candies in another. In all cases the aromas and flavors were quite mild, causing me to really focus on the tea to get a sense of what was gong on.

The second session used longer steeps (15/30/45/… sec) to see how it reacted. Again the tea revealed only mild aromas and a light to medium body. Aromas of raw cane sugar, vanilla, caramel, and, oddly enough, grape gum (at the end) came forth. This session had significant sweetness in the aftertaste, some spice up front, mild shu flavors and a lively feeling on the tongue over the course of seven steeps.

I’m not going to rate this tea since I don’t really feel like I got a chance to know it. When it becomes available on the Mandala site I will buy a few ounces and put it in a clay jar for six months or so and try it again with my normal amount of leaf. I don’t have a great deal of experience with new shu, but this came across as ‘young’ to me. It seems to have promise and I’m willing to give it another try.




I love how you were able to describe all those notes, you’re like “the note extractor” lol. I’m really interested in this one, will keep in mind for next Mandala order, thanks for this review.


TTF: The spectrum of flavors were a nice surprise. This seems to be more of a contemplative shu than a bold in-your-face one. I am looking forward to buying more loose leaf so I can both dial in the regimen to my liking and see how it matures over the course of time. And because I trust Garret’s taste I will pick up a couple of cakes when they become available and salt them away for a while.


Great review! Thank you for this. This is most definitely a young ripe pu’er. But… this one is gonna age like a champ, especially the cakes. I certainly don’t want to wish time away (goodness knows it’s going to fast as it is) but 2 to 3 years after this pressing comes online, it’s gonna ROCK. – The Noble Mark cake is a blend of 4 leaves (Temple Stairs is 2) fermented in a similar fashion and on October 29th, the pressing will be 2 years old. I am already amazed at the difference in clarity in around 1.5 yrs. That same thing is going to happen to this cake. We’ll keep them stored in our pu’er room and they will blossom :) Love your reviews!

And by the way… I was just listening to a live dead show from 1989, sipping some ripe tea (year of the dragon), grooving to a very sweet Eyes of the World. Life may be sweeter for this…


Garret — I miss my live Dead. I’m old school so it’s all on tapes or CDs, and the office is still in boxes … need to finish unpacking!

How about you? Are yours in digital format, or are you ‘old school’ as well?

I was looking at “The Complete Road Trips” on LiveDownloads (http://www.livedownloads.com/packages/2,383/Grateful-Dead-Complete-Road-Trips.html). Although pricy (FLAC is $350), it covers multiple eras and fills in many holes in my collection. May have to add that to my wishlist! I thought I’d mention it in case you were not aware. —Jeff


I pretty much listen to all my live dead on: https://archive.org/details/GratefulDead You can stream thousands of shows and there are many that are downloadable, as well. I used to have many cassettes as I had friends who were tapers and then had access to many soundboards on CD because of a buddy who is in tight with Bob Weir’s wife, Natasha. That was nice. Now… I don’t have a collection anymore. Just online streaming and downloading when I just gotta hear a certain show in the car.


Woah … had no idea about the collection on archive.org. Very cool! Thanks for that =:-D

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