250 gram Mandala Silver Buds Raw - 2008

Tea type
Pu-erh White Blend
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Edit tea info Last updated by Nathaniel Gruber
Average preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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From Mandala Tea

Here is one non-finicky raw pu’er tea! We chose the raw material during our 2008 visit to China. The silver buds are from spring of 2007 – super tasty and ready for drinking now.

We hear from both raw tea afficionado’s and newcomers to raw tea, alike and are so excited by the feedback and the sales of this tea that we will commission another pressing of this.

This has become a favorite tea for many brewed in the tea thermos and tastes great even at temps well below boiling. We find the sweetness and slight smokiness of it so enjoyable and never tire of this tea. One evening, while entertaining guests, I prepared this tea gong fu style in a gaiwan and used a gallon of water before we called the tea exhausted! That’s a whole lotta tea value – cup after cup after cup.

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14 Tasting Notes

172 tasting notes

I got my first order from Mandala today and I could barely contain the excitement. Inside my package were some very generous bonus goodies including a tea needle, thanks so much Garret.

First steep:
The aroma of the steeped tea produced the scents I am accustomed to in a typical silver needle, which are nectar and hay. There was also a bit of that “aged” smell along with it. As for the taste, all the flavors were subtle as I expected. The most dominant flavor to me is that of a crisp, sweet and slightly tart apple, with just the slightest bit of pu-erh earthiness. Some hints of spice are also present.

Second steep:
The apple flavor has turned more towards pear, and there are hints of sandalwood and a trace of camphor. Along with that, there is also some maltiness.

And I’m gonna leave it at that for now, I’l take it to further steepings some other time but for now I’m just too excited about trying my other new teas! This was a truly unique and delicious tea experience, I quite enjoyed it.


My next tea order has to be from Mandala! :))


Amy, just brewed up the Xiaguan FT Flame and it smells GREAT. Smoky, woodsy, sandalwood, damp earth…just gotta wait for it to cool.


oooh. I do want some!


Just tried a cup and I’m definitely gonna order more, my advice is definitely to buy one for yourself…it’s a steal.


Hi! If you check out the new products section, you will see that I just listed a bunch of new items (20 more or so to load up tonight if I have the gumption) – check out the new silver buds pressing I did in China in April, just arrived. Also the Wild Tree Tea mao cha – amazing and addictive in the best possible way! Pretty excited by my Year of the Dragon ripe pressing (wild arbor, spring-pick) and the two new sheng cakes (made from material I bought at the farms near Lincang) will be up soon, too!

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3262 tasting notes

I was initially hesitant over buying this one. I’m not a huge white tea fan, but then I read Aweward Soul’s review of the ’12 version, & I immediately thought, “That sounds interesting”. Since I was placing a Mandala order anyway, I figured I might as well try a sample.

And I like it! It’s like Sheng Lite, in that it doesn’t have the bite that some Shengs have, if you know what I mean. It’s a milder version, but still very nice. There is a sweet crispness to it like fall fruits, a creaminess that comes after several steepings, & my tongue is thick with the resinous sensation.

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2816 tasting notes

I got a sample size of this beeng from Mandala to check out. I’ve only had one other white pu-erh – I find them intriguing and they aren’t too easy to find.

I decided to steep this up in the gaiwan this morning. I did give the leaves a quick rinse with boiling water.

My first infusion is really lovely – it has the sweetness and smoothness of a delicious white tea with a hint of lingering smoke in the background. I am getting nectar like flavors with a bit of apple. Very mild in flavor.

My second steep I accidentally spaced out on the timing. I must have left it for two minutes or more. The flavor is a lot more assertive than I was expecting. It got more smoky and slightly musty but still very easygoing and delicious.

The third steep I used water that was around 180 F for 45 seconds or so, I’m getting a honey like aroma with tiny hints of malt and apple, again. The other reviewer mentioned nutmeg and I agree. This is definitely a non-finicky tea as the description states. Charming and interesting! I think this will age quite nicely. Good job Mandala… I would go for more infusions now but it’s time for work and I may need to revisit this when I am slightly less rushed for time.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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8230 tasting notes

sipdown! and terri, thank you so much for sharing this one with me since it’s nothing i ever would have bought for myself. I’ve been drinking this most of the day, in between other teas.

I just wanted to enjoy this tea so i didn’t really take notes. What was most surprising and interesting to me though was the smokey notes in this. It wasn’t like a black tea, but the contrast of the smoke with a lighter tea was really interesting, especially since it wasn’t overpowering the tea taste. there’s a sweetness to this one as well that i like.

Wonderful find Garrett!


Glad you are enjoying it! I had to take it off of the site, though. Was down to my last two cakes from that pressing :( But I saved them for myself for further aging :) My 2012 100 gram pressing that I commissioned is quite nice, too, better than the 2011 that I did, IMHO. Amazing that a different years weather can bring forth an entirely different experience from the leaves. I gotta get on it for 2014 and get more of the spring picked leaf from them so I can do a 2014 pressing from the same grower. I’ll be there in April again!


hmmm….2012 you say. I will have to check it out. On a side note, are you planning any black friday/cyber monday sort of things?


Too funny – I liked 2011 better than 2012.
(why do I always see these comment AFTER the package is in the mail – I could have sent you some of 2012 Sil.) If you don’t order your own, let me know and I’ll add it to the next package.


Good question, Sil!


Ha! We have a bunch of customers who dig the 2011 better, too! So interesting isn’t it, that we all have the same biology but experience things in different ways. I love it!!

Sil… as far as specials, all of our teas are special :) I’ll put my head together with Jamie’s and see about coming up with something, since you asked!! I’ll post it here under the discussions page “tea companies, promotions”.

Thanks everybody!


Dexter – because the tea gods want us to keep sharing LOL. I’ll keep you posted. I’m looking at a couple things, just not sure what i want to do. I’m on such a roll in terms of cleaning out my cupboard and sipping down things heh

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184 tasting notes

Quick Notes at Work
Thanks again to Amy Oh for sharing with me , I really appreciate it :)

The leaves smell faintly sweet but after a quick wash you can smell the sweetness and some of that slight raw puerh bitterness that is floral. I love Silver Bud Puerhs because it has all the characteristics of a Sheng in the most subtle of ways. Its complex simplicity if that makes sense.

The liquor is darker than I expected, specially for a younger puerh. It has an orange hue with slightly lively still. It smells sweet and slightly floral. It tastes sweet, mellow and smooth. I notice the slightest bit of astringency as it washes down but it may be because of the hairs in the bud (need a fine filter for work I guess).

The after taste is sweet and slightly floral, a little bit ‘juicy’ but also taste ‘greener’ like a Yunnan Silver Needle would taste like. Reminds me of Yunnan’s Sourcing’s ‘Jing Gu “White Pekoe Silver Needles” White Tea’ I bought once.

Overall a good Puerh, If you don’t mind younger Puerh or are too afraid to start with them I would try this one. I feel like it needs more aging, it still has some of its greener taste to it. I would Buy and store it ;)


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41 tasting notes

The 2008 Silver Needle Sheng is a treat. I’m so glad Garrett over at Mandala chose to commission this brick and share it with the rest of us! It has been three years since the picking and the buds are already turning in color. The brew is much thicker than your typical Silver Needle White, and the liquor is much deeper in hue as well. Spiced notes of nutmeg are present while still possessing many of its white tea qualities. Much different from a White Peony Sheng Pu’er, but that’s a good thing. With aging this should become a rare and expensive beeng.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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998 tasting notes

I am so behind in my tea notes, updating my cupboard and spreadsheet. I was drinking this one a couple of days ago (?)
I was given this sample by the most wonderful OMGsrsly because I like the new Silver Buds.
This is really nice – I liked it, steeped it a bunch, spent an evening with it. I think the newer one is more “pu’erh” and this one is more “white” and therefore I feel the newer one is more interesting.
Thanks for the opportunity to try it. :))

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2216 tasting notes

I totally forgot I had this. That’s legit, right? I got it about 1.5 years ago and haven’t tried it yet…

1 tbsp for 1 (tea) cup.

20s: I’m going to call this a rinse. It smells like cooking meat. Savoury. Umami. Not in a good way.
http://instagram.com/p/x-J8l0x5AY/ (Is that enough bling for one cup?)

15s: It’s been about 15 minutes and finally the water heater is up to temperature. Time to get serious about tasting this. The smell makes me think of okra. Or roasted asparagus. Or the Labrador tea I had last night. Spicy and green. Still with a lot of savoury behind it, which I’m not expecting because the tea looks so light. It tastes green and spicy and thick. Still indescribably light.

15s: I’m really not sure how I feel about this tea. There is a lingering bitterness.

20s: Lots of lingering bitterness. Still savoury.

30s: Now there is an initial sweetness with a lingering bitterness. Still asparagus. And I need to stop. My tummy is becoming rather upset with me.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Pretty cup!


Thanks. :)

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