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