Temple Stairs 2014 Mini Tuocha

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Citrus, Earth, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Wet Wood, Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Chocolate, Sweet, Cocoa, Coffee, Barnyard, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Grain, Dark Bittersweet, Hay, Vineyards
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Edit tea info Last updated by Ag
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 6 oz / 184 ml

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From Mandala Tea

“Temple Stairs” – Mini Tuocha (bowl shaped cakes) pressed in March 2014
average weight with wrapper is 5.1 grams each

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 grade one 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 (at Bada and Mengsong) are far from any cities or air pollution. This is 100% pure tea and some of the finest ripe tea available. We also note that the leaf was expertly cared for in the process of fermentation, yielding a perfectly ripened leaf with full integrity. 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.

Conventional wisdom among pu’er drinkers is to avoid mini tuochas because they are often comprised of junky leaves and chop destined for tourist shops or shady weight loss websites. Conventional wisdom isn’t wrong for the most part. For every twenty different mini’s we try, maybe one makes the “would drink again” cut. So why did we press mini’s along with our 100 gram cakes?

Because they are so convenient (video demo) and have an undeniable “awww cute” factor…just look at them! We have many customers who only drink ripe pu’er when in this handy form and part of our curated mini-tuocha assortments. Travelers, campers, and extremely busy people don’t need to sacrifice quality for convenience. This is our exclusive top-shelf mini for the people.

Climb the Temple Stairs and find your center.

About Mandala Tea View company

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21 Tasting Notes

299 tasting notes

These are really cute mini tuos. I grabbed one to brew in the morning; because, it was something quick, fast, and easy. The small little guy carries a light fermentation and a dry scent. I warmed him up in my gaiwan and prepared for brewing. The little tuo gave off a warm fresh soil and forest aroma. I washed the tuo once to get it nice and ready. The leaves take about two steeps to fully expand. These wet leaves carry a sweet but daunting earth scent. The liquor is heavily black with a deep red. I mean like black black black when I say this. You couldn’t even see light through it. The flavor is very good. This is a perfect on-the-go daily Shu drink. There is a pleasant drying sensation with a light mineral tone. The black liquid is heavy with earth and fermentation tones. There was a background oak and pleasant sour flavor in later steeping. The odd thing is that a slight tang or citrus tone follows the drinker throughout the session. This is a nice brew; however, it was very “dusty”. I mean that in the sense, that you must have a nice strainer to gongfu this. I was spitting out tiny leaf dusting throughout the whole session. This still was a nice little tuo, and it would be perfect for gongfu on the go.


Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Wet Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Thanks for writing up your experience with this tea, my friend! Even though the tea is sifted before we press, there are places in the batch where it might be, shall we say, dustier than others. Sounds like you had one of those. So far, I haven’t run into one like that.
Not to wish time away (it’s going fast enough) but 2 more years and this blend is going to be quite special. That’s why I pressed so many of these mini’s and also the 100 gram cake of it. So happy you had a positive experience (for the most part) with the tea. Again, thank you. G


I’ll have to try the cake out :) I prefer cake over tuocha any day.

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640 tasting notes

Oh snap, this is fantastic!
Normally the touchas that I get that are ripe are super dark, but this looked like it was coated in dirt :)
^ that is a good thing

This tea was a little hard to break up so I just made a tornado in my gravity steeper with the water and this guy :p
The result at 15s was wonderful… however, I screwed up once again and started this after 9pm so I only made it to steep 10 or 11; better known as 4 bathroom visits (I was told it is just as accurate)

I hope to find more toucha to be this good :)

Daylon R Thomas

I thought you would like this one. :)


This was high grade leaf we used to make these mini-tuochas. Most of the time, leaf used for minis is not of good quality and I wanted to create one that was super clean, super high quality. I’m working on another mini pressing soon. I’m happy you enjoyed this.

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266 tasting notes

Thank you Garret! I really enjoyed this one!

This was one of the recent samples I got from my last Mandala Order. Pu-Erh’s were in my budget since there typically cheaper, and I wanted to get one cake, the Noble Mark, as a preemptive hangover strike for my 21st a few months from now next year (it helped my roommate out and I looked up that it helps detox alcohol). I also got it in case the price goes up with age. And I needed something to replace my morning coffee, and for about four bucks per ounce plus free shipping, I decided it was worth getting some, though I’ll drink it more in the winter and next year.

So for this one: I’m still slowly getting over the “pooh” smell in Pu-Erh. It made me hesitate, but I reminded myself that Pu-Erh very rarely tastes like it smells. I was right. I rinsed it twice, first five seconds, then ten. The first 45 second steep brewed something that highly resembled coffee in color, with a little bit more orange and burgundy, or even purple undertones. The taste was like a very smooth black tea, albeit with a dark earth, yet somehow silkier body. There’s some woodsiness that also reminds me of some Wu Yi’s that I’ve had. The second and third steeps were approximately between 45-50 seconds. It somehow got sweeter and more minerals later one, which I started to prefer. There’s some chocolate there, but I almost did not notice it-to me it was much more like a dark chocolate.

The thing that I really liked about this tea was how smooth it was. Astringency was only slightly there, but almost nonexistent. The only bitterness was from the earthiness of the Pu-Erh, but again, it was not so present and yields smooth.

This tea is definitely for a more experienced drinker. My mom is pretty experienced herself and she liked it, but she also had to get past the smell to drink it. NEWBIES BE WARNED. Tea snobs, come loving it.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Earth, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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277 tasting notes

Mmmm, mandala to go!

I love how smooth this is. I have been so lazy with my teas at work lately, grandpa style everything. This one is just made for it!


this is a great one :)


Mmmm. I have a cake of this on my to-buy list. It will be my first ripe puer cake. I have a few raw ones, but no ripe yet!

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267 tasting notes

From the Sheng and Shou TTB.

Brewed the gongfu method with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the tuocha a 20 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 10, 30, 40, 60, 240.

Luscious aroma: cocoa and sugarcane arise when the tuocha is newly steeped, then loam and damp earth at the end of the session.

The liquor full-bodied, delectably creamy, and very dark in color yet clear. The flavors are bittersweet, a combination of dark cooking chocolate and black coffee. I notice that the chocolate tends to rise to the roof of my mouth while the coffee sticks to the tongue. The flavors sweeten and become less bitter as the session goes on. An earthy note then appears.

The tuocha gives away a rich liquor right away, but too much too quickly, as the flavors weaken after the fourth steep, hence the really long ultimate infusion time. Now, this comes from using a ceramic gaiwan. I’m certain a yixing pot would be more generous.

Ugh, it snowed for most of the morning and some of the afternoon (just flurries but still – UGH). At this point of the year, the crocuses would be in bloom. Even spring migration is stalled! Temple Stairs is definitely a comfort in this delayed “spring”.

Boiling 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Dr Jim

Love your review, but hate the snow: it’s been coming down all day here as well. I REALLY need some Spring.


Me too. I’m not used to long winters. The grayness has been making me feel so tired.


I am so done with the constant cold. But it has to change some day… right?

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921 tasting notes

Mmmmmmmmmmm I love Mandala pu’erh. This one is no exception. It’s just so comforting. Love how smooth it is. Love how dark it steeps. It just makes me happy.

Hoping everyone on the East Coast is safe and warm.


i just saw your profile, may i know have u ever drinked fu brick tea with “Golden Flowers”?


I’m going to have to say no. I’m not even really sure I understand what Fu tea is. I have a brick of Anhua dark tea and several pu’erh cakes but thats about it. :))


yes, u r right. what u mentioned that anhua dark tea is what i said to u " fu brick tea" , have u tasted anhua dark tea yet? what do u think of the tea? may i have your suggestion??


This is what I have. Its lighter than what I would normally expect from a Chinese black tea. It has some roasted, nutty flavors like I would expect from a dark oolong. Just a hint of the earthy/musty that I associate with a ripe pu’erh. It different than anything else I own. I like it and would like to try more.


yes,fu brick soup is lighter ,smoother, and it has a softer taste with a little darker colour,i think lots people love the tea not only the taste of itself, but also its healthy care function .

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517 tasting notes

This was a delicious treat for me this afternoon. One mini tuocha lasted through over a liter of water. Yay!


Mmmmm, Temple Stairs…amen!!

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1611 tasting notes

I love a toucha. They are so convenient. Today I used a 90ml gaiwan. I don’t do rinses. The first cup was excellent. So smooth and gentle with a taste that reminds of digging potatoes in the dry soil. There was a much lighter background note of leather. The sip ends with a well rounded mineral taste.

The second and third cups convinced me I much prefer Western mug brewing. The tea is coffee colored and has a rough edge that distracts me from everything else that might be going on.

Fourth cup I steep for 10 seconds then poured it into my mug. Added enough kettle water to make an 8 oz cup. Yep, I like this. The roughness is gone and I am back to leather accompanied by earth and maybe sweet hay. This again finishes with the round mineral note.

I never know if it is rude if you don’t mention who sent you a tea or more embarrassing if you do. So let me just say Thank You.

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253 tasting notes

From my shou/yarn trade with sarsonator. Thanks! :)

Drank this at noon. Let’s see if I sleep tonight. lol.

It’s becoming more an more apparent to me that 160ml is just too damn big, especially for when i’m using mini tuos because that’s when I can’t adjust the amount of tea. Anyway, I can’t afford another yixing so I have to make due with the one I’ve got. for a few of the steepings I only filled 3/4 of the way and that seemed to help :)

rinse, rinse, pause, 5s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 6m

1st steeping (in and out, ~5s): Chocolaty goodness. All of my ripe puerhs seem to be tasting like this now. lol. I think this one tasted closer to milk chocolate than dark chocolate though.

2nd steeping [3/4] (10s): This one was kind of weak because I had let the water cool down by accident. My bad. Surprisingly the color was still really dark though!

3rd steeping [3/4] (20s): Temperature back up, the flavor is more like the 1st steeping again, mmmm, just not quite as chocolaty, more plain puerh flavor.

4th steeping [3/4] (30s): Chocolate gone, just simple sweetness.

5th steeping (6m): So I’m basically done at this point, just wanted to see what a long steep would taste like. Answer: EXACTLY like steep #4

All in all, a pretty good mini tou. I liked it :)

Flavors: Chocolate, Sweet

Boiling 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

Yarn for tea! I love it!

I also really like this shou :)


The two best things! lol

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863 tasting notes

Steep two: 2 minutes.

The tuo cha broke apart completely after the first infusion, which honestly I was glad for. I don’t know why but the whole piece just sitting in water unnerves me – it’s like it won’t distribute flavor evenly through the water. This is obviously not true but it’s something I’m visually going to have to get used to.

Anyway, the hay/pellet smell is back in the steeped liquor. It is still, thankfully, not present in the taste. The semblance is coffee is still really strong, and particularly so in the texture – it is a very thick, chewy tea. As it cools the hay/fermentation becomes present in the taste – boo. If I can get used to that I think I’ll be good as pu erh’s go. This is going to be a slow process but I’m determined – pu’erh is my final tea frontier and I really want to explore it as thoroughly as I have all the other types. More later….


hahahaha i have the same mental approach to that one lump sitting there!


Yay! It’s silly but sometimes it’s nice to know you aren’t alone with some things :)


HI! check out this vid of brewing mini-tuocha. May it be useful in making ripe pu’er a more pleasant experience for you, my friend! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdIW5jzwMCs&feature=youtube_gdata

With gratitude,

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