2273 Tasting Notes

I got this for Christmas from my youngest daughter and used it for the first time last night. Appropriately, I used it on my Mandala Tea Phatty Cake, which has some spots that are rather easy to break but some really difficult, hard spots around the edge.

This is a huge improvement over my previous dangerous cake breaking experiences. A slippery plate with no rim and a serrated tomato knife result in the occasional spilling of blood for tea. (Totally worth it, though)

I still don’t have a knife and pick but will get those soon. Even using my old knife, this was so much easier and safer. All the leaf was well contained by the rim, and the corner opening made it perfectly easy to just sweep the loose bits into the pot.

Hubby wants to devise a means of keeping it on display on the wall when not in use, and he prefers for it to be tilted in a diamond shape, which will tilt the Chinese character that is in the middle of the tray, so not sure if that is how we will do it. I wonder what the character is, anyway? I KNOW someone is going to ask!

Bottom line – I love it, and highly recommend buying one if you like any compressed cake teas.

Terri HarpLady

I probably need one of these. I finally got the pick, & am so grateful I did, as it works way better than the small screw driver I was using.
(heading over to the Mandala website cuz I still have some playpal money, & I have no self-control)


I think you will really enjoy it using, THL!

Oolong Owl

awesome, thank you for the review! I’ve seen the tray on the mandala site, but was questioning it. But from your review, I’m thinking I need one as something to keep the cake in place and catch loose bits would be very helpful.


This is a must have staple for Pu Er cakes and bricks. This thing gets used about every day and is well worth the money. Ashmanara if you need a pick I will be glad to send you one. I have several. Just message me with your address.


Wow, thank you for the amazing offer, mrmopar! I will send the address right now!


Awkward Soul: I expect I will be using this A LOT! It isn’t terribly big so it isn’t going to take up too much space, but it is plenty big enough for even the largest puerh cakes I have seen, like Moonlight White.

THL: let us know what you think if you end up ordering one!

Terri HarpLady

out of stock :\

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This was sent a s a free sample with my Christmas order from Mandala Tea. Thank you, Garret, because this is a real treasure.

I made this last night while we were playing Ticket to Ride, European version. My son wanted some, too, and when hubby saw our cups he asked for some as well. What a joy it is to have everyone in the family requesting tea now!

This puerh was clean and fresh, with lots of mineral flavor, no astringency, no fishiness, and not really horsey. Pure, fresh nature is what came to mind. There is an oily/creamy mouthfeel that I love, similar to what I find in Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds. This is excellent, and I will probably be ordering some more as soon as I can justify spending more money on tea.


I love that game, but I don’t have the European version. The American one is fun, though.


We love the pace, you don’t have to sit and wait a long time so you don’t get bored.


my favorite pu erh so far, precisely for those “pure fresh nature” aspects. mm.


Love the alliterative name…loose and luscious!

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Note: this is the loose leaf version, purchased in London.

I saw this described as Whittard’s lightest Earl Grey but the scent when I opened the tin seemed to challenge that notion. I notice that it is only referred to as black tea here except for one person who mentioned oolong, yet when I turned my tin over it said there was 13% green tea in this. Hmmmm. For this reason I pulled the temperature back ever so slightly and kept the steep a little shorter.

And guess what happened? The jasmine stepped forward in a big way and the bergamot was perfectly matched with it. It made a sweet dance of the most elegant flavors that made my pinky hoist into the air and made me glad I had used my favorite tea cup. The brew is fairly light in color, but the tea has plenty of strength so don’t oversteep this. You don’t want to miss it in all of its glory.

This is a tea I would serve to a friend who was sad and needed for me to say “There, there!” and give them tea and sympathy. Or one for a young lady’s first elegant tea party. Or for drinking when you need a touch of glorious beauty in your life.

Brilliant. And I wish you could see these tins. They are gorgeous.

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Note: I am drinking the loose leaf version.

I am really, really eager to try the Afternoon Tea in this set with jasmine and bergamot, but I wanted to dip some gingerbread almond biscotti in my tea this morning, and that really calls for unflavored tea to me. I opted for this one and braced myself for the first sip because it says, “Strong, Traditional” on the front of the beautiful little green and gold tin that I doubt I will ever part with because it is so beautiful.

The color in the cup did not lie. I made this in a small glass teapot and saw that it was a medium color with great clarity, though not too pale. I am a little afraid of some assam teas and I figured there would surely be some in this blend (and there is) but it isn’t harsh at all. I made a resteep because I hadn’t finished my biscotti and it was a little paler, not quite as strong, but still very enjoyable.

This is a good all around tea, easily drunk without milk or sugar, tasty for dipping biscotti or tea biscuits, and perfect for when you are not craving a particular tea or flavor and want an easy choice. Very nice!


Gingerbread almond biscotti sounds amazing!


Oh man, does it ever.


They are quite good, and I only find them near Christmas. I need to go buy some extras to hoard!

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Merry Christmas, all! We have been drinking tea all day, one kind after another. My daughter and I shared a couple of steeps of this one. Her fiancé was drinking Hot Cinnamon Spice, the black version. He LOVES it and that is one of the things I gave him for Christmas. My daughter tried it and said it wasn’t bad for black tea but she isn’t the biggest fan of black teas. I made this hoping she would enjoy it since she found the black version tolerable, and she said she did highly prefer it to the black tea version. I made two steeps and mixed them together and got a really nice flavor level. I am really pleased with this one.

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
2273 tasting notes

If I had any notions of reducing my cupboard, they were blown out of the water today. I got lots and lots of tea for Christmas.

I wanted puerh after lunch to help keep the tummy happy after the holiday meal. My son and hubby usually want some whenever I have it, and this time they did indeed bring me a cup to fill. Then my eldest daughter wanted some. My, how far we have come from the days when they all turned their noses up at tea! My daughter’s fiancé had never tried puerh but he was game and gave it a try.

I am pleased to say that every last one of them liked this tea, even the puerh newbie. I made four steeps and then had to make four more. My daughter remarked that this wasn’t nearly as horsey as some we have had. I agree. It was rich and earthy, and the darker I made it the sweeter the aftertaste was.

I had high expectations and hopes for this one, and they were all met.

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This is one of my favorite teas, and it has only been a few years since I thought I would never be a let o detect flavor in white tea. This one is full bodied and creamy, and the jasmine is absolutely perfect. My best friend tried it and had to have it so she has been buying it for a while and I just gave her a pouch of it for Christmas, and a lady who only just discovered a love of tea here at my house just had to have it and had me order two pouches – one for her and one for her mother for Christmas.

Try this tea at your own risk. You will want to keep it on shelf at all times.


Well now I’m afraid to try;). When I tried H&S jasmine pearls after reading your review I had to run to SOHO shop to get them.

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Yes, I just clicked “add to cupboard” on this one. For a while, the number one selling tea for Harney and Sons, Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea, was my nemesis. It was simply too hot and spicy for me, yet everyone who tried it at my house loved it. I have gone through several tins of it loose leaf and a whole box of bags that were given to me for Christmas last year by a friend and I have just purchased another tin of the loose leaf because my future son in law loves it so much that I need to keep it on hand. He is getting the fifty sachet bag for Christmas, too.

Even though I don’t like Red Hots Candies, even though the black version was too strong and spicy for me, I liked the sample of the green version, which seems more syrupy, thicker, and sweeter to me. So when I ordered my tin of loose leaf black I got the green version as well because I need to take in more cinnamon and drink something hot for this perpetually sore throat of mine. Darned allergies.

The nice thing is that I can make eight ounces in my tiny pot with just one teaspoon of tea and resteep right away for sixteen ounces, and it gives me a fantastic level of flavor, plus I can still taste the green tea, which is pretty impressive with cinnamon this strong.

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It seems like ages since I had this one. It is a beautiful sunny day and warm for this time of year, but this morning was very cold and I had to be out and about. All I could think of as I ran my errands was, “Get home, make tea, have some smoked cheddar.” So I did!

This is a milder Irish Breakfast tea. Assays can be too harsh for me, but this one was just right even when I was new to hot tea. It possibly wouldn’t satisfy a lover of good, strong, Irish breakfast blends, but people have liked it when I serve it here and it was a favorite of youngest daughter for a long time.

It is a little malty, a little fruity, not too harsh, and I can drink it as easily plain as with milk and sugar.

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This tea is a favorite of Hubby and myself. My eldest daughter came to town today for an appointment and her car broke down just when I was about to start teaching. I sent middle daughter to pick her up, called the mechanic, taught, and then got some Asian food because the poor thing had to miss lunch and was about to miss supper. I asked youngest daughter to make a couple of steeps of this to go with our food.

My two eldest kids never liked tea, any tea, not even the super sweet Southern iced tea. A couple of years ago, after begging them to take sips of everything I thought would “turn” them, they both took a liking to puerh, and then matcha, two teas I would have least believed they would like.

Thus it was quite a moment for me tonight when my eldest daughter drained her cup and shook it in my direction for refills of this lovely green tea. Miracles happen, people. Miracles happen.

It helps that this tea is smooth, mellow, amazing with food, and fresh.

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about eight years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…


North Carolina

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