112 Tasting Notes

80

Not stellar, but good quality overall. Smooth sweet flavor with mild honey, fruit, and floral notes. Personally I’ve been unable to really get into white tea: “decent”, “good”, and “great” ones all taste about the same to me. I’m not sure which one of those this one would be categorized as, but I can’t imagine anyone thinking it was less than decent.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Kirkoneill1988

i assume you got this one off the .us one? cant find it on the .com one

tperez

I got it on the .com site, but it was over a year ago now. Just finished it off so I thought I should give it a review :)

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100
reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
112 tasting notes
For the past couple of months my stainless steel mesh tea strainer had hardly been letting any tea through (it would take about a minute to let 150ml through, on a good day). I’d tried boiling it in water, boiling it in vinegar, and scrubbing it to death with baking soda and NOTHING would help. I had already given up on it and ordered a new one. After soaking for about 20 minutes in the tea soak and then swishing it around it was like brand new! This stuff really is magical.
Dexter

“This stuff really is magical.” – Yep – not sure how I lived without it…

Kirkoneill1988

is it sold in stores?

tperez

I think only from Mandala, but the main active ingredient is sodium percarbonate which can probably be bought elsewhere

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96

-Dry leaves: Deep dark purple/black leaves accented by a few reds and greens. Thick, musky aroma. Peppery, tropical fruit, touch of smoke.

-1st steep: Dusky yellow infusion common of purple sheng. Notes of caraway seed, camphor, honey, papaya, carrot, and fresh greenness. Mild for a purple tea, but not as mild as Mandala’s other offerings. Incredibly clean, fresh taste.

-5th steep: Calming, steadying qi sets in. Pomelo and pine flavors with a long lasting fruity/perfume-y aftertaste.

-Spent leaves vary in size, and colors range from dark green to reddish purple. Strong leaves with a slightly rubbery appearance common of purple tea.

Overall an excellent tea. Very flavorful, infusible, and not lacking in strength.

In addition to this tea, I also need to praise Garret’s almighty tea soak! For the past couple of months my stainless steel mesh tea strainer had hardly been letting any tea through (it would take about a minute to let 150ml through, on a good day). I’d tried boiling it in water, boiling it in vinegar, and scrubbing it to death with baking soda and NOTHING would help. I had already given up on it and ordered a new one. After soaking for about 20 minutes in the tea soak and then swishing it around it was like brand new! This stuff really is magical.

Flavors: Camphor, Carrot, Citrus, Honey, Pine, Tropical

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Kirkoneill1988

awesome! :D

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86

-Dry leaves: Medium sized leaves, warm brown with a spicy-sweet aroma. They’re covered in little silver hairs that give them an almost holographic look

-1st steep: Soft yellow infusion with a sweet and savory tastes that lingers in the mouth long after drinking. Unique taste that reminds me of green pepper, accompanied by mineral, molasses, and wet moss notes. Slight bitterness, but still pretty mild.

-2nd and 3rd steeps reveal more sweetness. Notes of muscadine grapes, rich soil, and something reminiscent of white cake.

-Around the sixth steep a menthol/cooling effect becomes noticeable, and a slight mushroomy flavor. Unfortunately the leaves are beginning to loose some of their strength already. I squeezed out ten infusions, but the last few were pretty weak.

-Spent leaves are slender and olive green. Plump stems with less defined veins. A good number of the leaves have browning/damaged edges

-Overall a nice sheng with a good amount of flavor and power, but burns through it’s stamina quickly. Like the other sheng that I’ve tried from Mandala it is fairly mild and has nice a nice cha qi.

Flavors: Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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84

Got my sampler today! I greatly enjoyed the 2012 Wild Monk maocha that I tried a while back (the leaves in my profile pic came from it) and I’m excited to try the new batch as well as the other offerings.

Dry leaves: Medium-small leaves have a peppery aroma, light brown-green color.

The first steep is very pale and clear. Mild taste with a nice round mouthfeel. Bready rye flavor balanced out by tastes of olive oil, fresh camphor, and a slight nectarine sweetness. Little astringency, bitterness is nearly non-existent.

Second and third steeps reveal more sweetness and tastes of glutinous rice, honeysuckle, and minerals. Cha qi becomes evident in later steeps, and I would consider this tea pretty strong in it. The tea provided me with eleven infusions, and I might have been able to squeeze out one more.

The spent leaves are very attractive. Medium-small size with a few budsets, but mostly single leaves. The leaves are delicate but have nice thick veins and a rounded tip.

Overall this is a nice clean tea with good stamina, but a bit too mild for my tastes. Very similar to Yunnan Sourcings Ailao shengs.

Flavors: Camphor, Honeysuckle, Olive Oil, Rice, Rye, Stonefruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Kirkoneill1988

What does honeysuckle taste like?

tperez

Sort of like honey but lighter and more floral. Hummingbirds love it lol

Kirkoneill1988

interesting :)

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Today I felt like having something a little different, so I mixed together three different Yunnan blacks.

-2013 Hong Yun Yiwu Mountain Wild Arbor black tea cake from Yunnan Sourcing: A very fruity, floral, almost sheng-like hong cha
-Some cheap dian hong from an AliExpress seller: A very earthy, malty black with a honey sweetness
-And bit of Adagios Yunnan Gold, which is a very silky and smooth tippy Yunnan

Three different extremes of Yunnan black tea that balance each other quite well :)

Brewed in my black tea yixing, which has started to take on a really gorgeous patina

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Terri HarpLady

sounds good to me!

tperez

It really was! The results were better than I expected. I think I liked it more than any of the three by themselves

Kirkoneill1988

what exactly is random steepings and various artists? is it where you post custom blends?

Starfevre

Basically the misc of steepster.

Terri HarpLady

Kirkoneill, I started the random steepings category a year or so ago, as a place to post whatever: teas that are no longer available (so why bother creating an entry for them), home made blends, or whatever you feel like using it for, LOL.

Kirkoneill1988

oh! i get it now :D

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98

I dropped (and broke) my gaiwan in the sink the other night while cleaning it out, so I’m brewing this in a glass measuring cup with a gaiwan saucer over it. Sad to lose my gaiwan, but it served me well over the past two years.

I’m really enjoying this tea tonight. It’s very tasty, but has a different flavor profile than most. No “peach and tobacco”, but softer flavors like olive oil, grain, bamboo, and white wine. It’s not super sweet, but the sweetness lingers in the throat for a long time. It makes a good many brews, a bit more than average, and has one of the strongest cha qi’s of pu’erh I’ve tasted.

Soo, since I’m in desperate need of a new gaiwan I’ll be pushing up the Yunnan Sourcing order I had been planing (they also have some celadon cups I’ve been eying). I’ll probably just stick to the tea wares, some black tea ,and some pu’erh samples since I need to keep this fairly cheap. Any favorites you think I should try?

Flavors: Bamboo, Grain, Olive Oil, White Wine

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
boychik

2011 hui run ripe
2005 ye sheng Dehong( sorry if misspelled, I’m on iPhone and my cupboard is impossible to sort)

Kirkoneill1988

is this one the same but different year and packaging? the other one with similar if not the same wrapper is 50$ and has no samples

http://yunnansourcing.com/en/2012-yunnan-sourcing-teas/2310-2012-yunnan-sourcing-pasha-mountain-autumn-raw-pu-erh-tea-cake-400-grams.html

tperez

Boychik, I’ll definitely be trying that 2005 ye sheng, sounds great. I had a sample of the 2013 hui run and it was very nice, I imagine the 2011 may be even better. Hehe, spellcheck seems to love to change all our tea words

Kirk, yes that’s the same but a different year. The one I have is here
http://yunnansourcing.com/en/yunnan-sourcing-teas/1948-2011-yunnan-sourcing-pasha-mountain-autumn-raw-pu-erh-tea-cake-400-grams.html

boychik

Wild Tree Purple Varietal Black Tea of Dehong * Spring 2014 i liked more than other purple teas fr YS

Kirkoneill1988

i will defiantly try it someday :D many thanks :)

Kirkoneill1988

oops i cannot seem to spell the word that means i “guaranteed i will try it”. i cant spell that word right today :(

tperez

No I haven’t, looks pretty nice though

Kirkoneill1988

well i added it to my ys wishlist :D

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90

Creamy texture and caramel, spice, and fruit notes. Slight mineral quality, excellent cinnamon/floral aroma.

This is the best Wuyi I’ve had, though that being said I haven’t had very many.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Floral, Mineral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
boychik

I really really liked the one from Tao Tea Leaf. Not that I’ve tried many

Sammerz314

I live about 10 minutes from Tao Tea Leaf =) LOL

mrmopar

Lucky dog to be that close…

boychik

Omg. I would be there every day. Everything I tried from them was great. Can’t wait for the next sale;)

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Today I’m having something black and delicious and Fuijan-esqe. Though i’m embarrassed to say I don’t know what it is. It was in a plastic baggy, probably the last of a sample from Teavivre or Yezi or something I got in a swap.

Very sweet and thick with a slight salty note. Yammy and chocoalty and has a good buttery pastry-like quality. Needless to say I’m enjoying it

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Pastries, Salt, Yams

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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94

Rediscovering just how much I like Taiwanese oolong! For a while now I’ve been drinking mostly pu’er and Yunnan black, neglecting the first tea I fell in love with.

This is a very good one, still delicious despite not being very fresh. Mellow and juicy. Green-ness that reminds me of the amaryllis bulbs my grandma used to grow, balanced with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut with the bright tang of tamarind.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Tangy, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Profile

Bio

My name is Thomas,

Long-time tea and coffee driker, but I only started getting into the world of good quality teas about three years ago.

My favorites are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas or jasmine/florals, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

Currently taking a break from school, working in Orlando Florida and trying to find my place in the world.

I’m a music lover and have played guitar and violin for quite a while and have also learned to love the sounds of the sitar and hindustani music in all its forms. I’ve become a bit of a guitar “grease monkey” and find building, modification, repair, and dissection to be even better than playing sometimes.

I also love hiking/camping and downhill longboarding when I have the time to make it out to somewhere hilly.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.

Location

Orlando, FL

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