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 6 oz / 180 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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17 Tasting Notes

261 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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217 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 5 g 4 OZ / 118 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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860 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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514 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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1518 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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862 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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2743 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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1049 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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435 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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