Temple Stairs 2014 Mini Tuocha

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Chocolate, Sweet, Cocoa, Coffee, Barnyard, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Grain, Smooth, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Hay, Vineyards, Wet Wood
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Edit tea info Last updated by Ag
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 6 g 7 oz / 193 ml

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12 Tasting Notes View all

  • “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...” Read full tasting note
    madametj 251 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...” Read full tasting note
    kellyhinton 829 tasting notes
  • “This is a sample I got from Mandala a while back. I've been drinking more of my shus lately, they definitely seem to be a wintertime tea for me. As others mentioned this still has a bit of the...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2586 tasting notes
  • “I received a few of these in the mini tuocha sampler from Mandala and am having this one as my first cup of the day (or few cups). Yes, it is 1:30 here, but I have been having a slow, relaxing...” Read full tasting note
    misslena1221 991 tasting notes

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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12 Tasting Notes

251 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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829 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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2586 tasting notes

This is a sample I got from Mandala a while back. I’ve been drinking more of my shus lately, they definitely seem to be a wintertime tea for me.

As others mentioned this still has a bit of the fermentation flavor left but it doesn’t bother me much. Also I think the tea has a slight aroma of roasted grain and coffee. It’s a very dark shu as well. As far as flavors go, I am getting cocoa with a slight bitter taste like buckwheat. It’s smooth but a little rough around the edges still, could benefit from a bit of aging I think but overall this is a nice tuocha. If you steep it for very short period of time, like 5 seconds, you don’t get much bitterness. I don’t find many mini tuos I am overly fond of drinking but I would consider getting some of these once I can support my tea habit again :)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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991 tasting notes

I received a few of these in the mini tuocha sampler from Mandala and am having this one as my first cup of the day (or few cups). Yes, it is 1:30 here, but I have been having a slow, relaxing morning of Christmas shopping on Etsy haha, and finally decided to make some tea to continue shopping with, start some laundry, and continue watching the football semi finals.

To be honest I didn’t really smell the tuocha dry, but the whole bag has an earthy, slightly barnyard like scent, so I imagine this one would have had that too, they all meld together in terms of smell in the bag! I also cannot get over how darn cute the mini tuochas are :) haha, I did a 25s rinse and then steeped for 15s, the directions recommend steeping a minute with an even shorter rinse, but the tea is coffee black after only 15s! Mmm it smells caramelly and sweet and cozy. I believe I have had temple stairs in loose form as it was a free sample in my first Mandala order, but I didn’t review it on here I don’t think.

As for the flavor, ahhh this is so good. For how dark the tea is, this has not translated to the flavor in that it is not strong. It is so smooth and mellow, a bit more caramelly than Noble Mark, but a similar flavor. I do recall the loose version tasting different than this one, although I don’t remember in which ways. There is a light kind of grainy earthy flavor in there as well, adding a slight almost savory note. The caramel is more on the brown sugar side too. Not much cocoa yet to me, but the sweetness with the earthy smoothness is just wonderful.

I feel a calm sense of warmth coming over me as well :) as it cools the earthy grain notes (slightly barnyard like in flavor, but in a really good way) come out a bit stronger, making this a warm, comforting cup. It’s lightly snowing outside, and this is just what I need to hibernate inside and enjoy the day.

Later steepings were energizing and just as delicious. The smooth brown sugar notes continued, and I might have one more cup tonight :) Overall, another delicious pu’erh from Mandala!

Flavors: Barnyard, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Grain, Smooth


Mmmmm, that sounds lovely!


It is quite good! Soo dark though when it steeps! I did the third or 4th steep for 10s and it is still black like coffee haha. A bit daunting, but luckily it is not overly caffeinated. Still giving me energy :)

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418 tasting notes

had this mini tuo couple days ago.
Such a cutie. And delicious too. i think i liked it more than loose form.
Gongfu 100ml glass pot, 212F
2 rinses/5/5/10/10/10/15/15/20sec
its pretty resilient. Color is beautiful. taste sweet and rich, and creamy.
i have to pick more of them.
Thank you Garret for the sample, i enjoyed it a lot, as usual;)




205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Very nice!


I liked the loose better myself, but this is such a young tea. It will be interesting to see how it does with a few years on it.


I had this in the mini form first, and I really enjoyed it. I also bought myself a full size cake.

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629 tasting notes

I’ve been enjoying quite a few steepings of this little tuocha while doing laundry and making scones. I made pumpkin pecan scones and they are yummy!!! I always feel like baking when the weather turns cooler. I think I’m getting more fermentation flavor with these little tuochas than I did with the piece of cake, if the barnyard note is fermentation flavor. I noted it in early steepings of the cake, but have noticed it lingers for awhile in the mini tuocha. Makes me a little nostalgic for the time of my life that I rode horses. It turns to a sugary cinnamon sweetness later, similar to the Ba Ka Ngoi cake I have from JalamTeas. You can’t beat the convenience of these mini tuochas though! I can’t wait to dig in to the variety pack!


YUM this one is great

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27 tasting notes

I have long heard the comparisons between shou and coffee, which often times imply a certain amount of personality rather than flavor similarity. This is the first shou I’ve had that upon smelling it immediately struck with reminiscences of my coffee drinking days. I’m not going to say it smells and tastes like coffee but there is certainly a common touchstone somewhere.

Yes, there is a slight bit of fermentation flavor in this, which dissipates so quickly you might forget it is there. Notes of cocoa and a myriad of other flavors and feelings hit while drinking this tea. It’s a great mini tuocha and something I am really happy was included in my order from Mandala as a sample. I might have to pick up a cake of this at some point to see how it progresses as I feel the 85 I am giving it might even rise further upon some aging and I am wondering what the difference will be between the two forms.

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14 tasting notes

Sampled this one for my afternoon tea session.
I was tempted to use two of the toucha but I decided against it as I only bought 2 ounces.

First steeping was reminiscent of what it smells like after a fresh rain, with overtones of mud and fresh earth noted.

I found the body was medium with a soft almost juicy mouthfeel. There was a nice qi present but not very caffeinated in my experience.
The longer I drank this sample the more earth and bold taste developed.
Later into the session there was a sweetness revealed that I didn’t notice at first.
Took it to about 8 steepings.

Flavors: Barnyard, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Hay, Sweet, Vineyards, Wet Wood

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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999 tasting notes

Thank you so much Cheri for sharing a couple of these minis with me!

Man, I love mini tuos. They are so adorable and convenient! This is a VERY tasty shou as well. Nice and clean with some creamy earthy cocoa notes. Quite satisfying. These are going on my Mandala shopping list for sure! YUMS!

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365 tasting notes

This is a very tasty tea with the caveat that it still has a lot of fermentation flavor left. If you don’t mind a little fermentation flavor it is an excellent tea. There are some complex notes including chocolate or cocoa notes. It will be a while before this tea develops complex date notes. Its pretty good.

I steeped two mini tuochas, about 10g in a 350ml yixing teapot with boiling water. I gave it one rinse and then steeped it for 15 sec, 10 sec, and 15 sec. I was going to give it a second rinse but the first rinse was dark enough so the tuochas had broken up. It did not require two rinses.

Flavors: Cocoa

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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