100 gram Mandala Silver Buds Raw Pu'er - 2012

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Apricot, Honey, Tangy, Apple
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 oz / 74 ml

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11 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This tea got me into trouble. As I was sipping away, writing my review, I started looking at tea ware. Once the 3 hour tea session was done, I dented my paypal account with a yixing pot. Be warned!...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is delicious, OMGsrsly. I drank this all day, using short steeps of 5-15 sec and I never once became bored. I also had a mini heart attack when I visually interpreted the delightful tea...” Read full tasting note
  • “I’m going to combine two reviews. In March 2015 I bought a cake of this tea and tasted it twice soon after delivery. I loved it. It had a light honeysuckle flavor, with underlying depth. ...” Read full tasting note
  • “I drank some 2011 white buds from Norbu yesterday so I pulled these out to compare with today. I find this to have a stronger taste, but not in the good way. There is a wild element to this tea...” Read full tasting note

From Mandala Tea

Yet another top-shelf tea procured by us during our April 2012 tea buying trip in China. This is our 3rd production of a silver needle tea. The 2008 and the 2011 editions of this are aging so well and this one will follow in their footsteps for sure as a little brother. We chose this material and had only 20 kgs pressed at a small pu’er workshop in SW China. This is our first 100 gram raw pressing.

This tea is very tasty and both new and old raw pu’er drinkers will find their senses satisfied in a way that only Yong de area grown teas can accomplish. While many will brew this with boiling water, others will be happier with this in its smoother form at temps between 175 and 190. Try it both ways! Experiment.

This tea is entirely hand-processed from the picking of the sun-dried buds to the pressing with old stone molds.

A must-try tea of 2012, year of the dragon!

About Mandala Tea View company

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11 Tasting Notes

1271 tasting notes

This tea got me into trouble.

As I was sipping away, writing my review, I started looking at tea ware. Once the 3 hour tea session was done, I dented my paypal account with a yixing pot. Be warned! Actually, it’s probably all my fault, I get into trouble all the time!

This cake – gentle and beautiful! Apple, floral, apricot, earthy, and mineral notes with a fantastic smoothness in later infusions. I can see this tea being loved greatly by a white tea lover – it’s almost similar in intensity, but with a earthy flavor and better resteep ability.

I was very impressed how little smoke and astringency was present despite it being a 2012 – the least smoke and astringency I’ve had in a 2012 raw cake so far! Very nice!

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/mandala-silver-buds-raw-puer-2012-from-mandala-tea-tea-review/ featuring thirsty tea turtles and pu’er pick happy Owl.

190 °F / 87 °C

Awesome to hear, I love the silver buds 2011 – but couldn’t justify the price for a cake. In compromise I bought this one. Nice to hear that it’s gentle too!!!
Mandala tea often get me in trouble too, I haven’t bought a yixing pot yet, but I keep looking at them. Congrats of picking one up.

Oolong Owl

It’ll be my second yixing. I can’t decide what to season my current one with, so with two I’ll have more options, lol!


Always season with the best tea you can in the type the pot will be used for. I’m assuming this will be for white puerhs? (Usually a yixing isn’t used for white tea otherwise) Or will this be for another type? Anyway…sounds wonderful! Got back to some pu this morning myself finally.


Are you thinking about oolong in one and pu’erh in the other, or both oolong – one green one roasted? Or I guess both pu’erh one sheng one shu? Hmmmmmm just writing this I may need 4? LOL

Oolong Owl

I’m thinking dark oolong in my first yixing, and sheng pu’er in my new one. Or vice versa? Either way, my new one is that snazzy green clay, so it’s for oolong or sheng pu’er. I figure I need maybe 3 more – shu pu’er, green oolong and black. Uggg, pricey little tea pots!

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been drooling over the blue lotus tea set on the mandala page for months. I finally am getting it, along with several tea samples, including the 08 version of this silver buds sheng, thanks to your lovely review :)

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1428 tasting notes

This is delicious, OMGsrsly. I drank this all day, using short steeps of 5-15 sec and I never once became bored.

I also had a mini heart attack when I visually interpreted the delightful tea bubbles as a scary tea spider upon sip. Luckily the steeped tea spider appears to be a mythical creature. Good times with tea and absurd brain. To be fair, they were very lively bubbles.. It’s amazing what stress does to the brain.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Tangy

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314 tasting notes

I’m going to combine two reviews. In March 2015 I bought a cake of this tea and tasted it twice soon after delivery. I loved it. It had a light honeysuckle flavor, with underlying depth. Similar to a white tea on top but with wood/straw puerh character adding depth. Later steeps added some vanilla flavors. It was rich and had quite a bit of cha qi.

Fast forward to Dec 2015: I have stored this with other, stronger sheng since March at 60% RH. The tea has lost the lovely floral character that made it special, though has more classic puerh flavors that make it a good but not great tea. It is quite a bit lighter than my other teas so I’m not sure how it will age.

I initially rated the tea a 93. Now it is probably an 87. I blame my storage, since I had a 2011 in late 2014 that was delicious. I suspect that the down-side of that wonderful pumidor smell is that the teas exchange flavors. In theory this imparts richness, but it may also detract from the unique character of each tea (one reason why I don’t use my yixing pot very much). In the case of this tea, it was that delicate floral flavor that made the tea special.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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1113 tasting notes

I drank some 2011 white buds from Norbu yesterday so I pulled these out to compare with today.
I find this to have a stronger taste, but not in the good way. There is a wild element to this tea that showcases the way that it was created, but tat is not a taste I like. Some people may like that really earthy notes within the tea that make it taste alive… but I want a smooth hot liquid that has a complex taste that doesn’t make me think about the process the tea went through rather what is happening in my mouth.

This might nice, but it isn’t my favorite white/silver bud tea that I have had

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199 tasting notes

Finally broke into this one! Very nice and light tea. Semi-floral and fruity, like crisp apples and maybe a pear note. Steeped it many times over the past two days. Definitely a good bargain :)


I have one of these, too….sitting there waiting for me to get to it. I dug it out last weekend, but still haven’t broken into it. I should.

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2291 tasting notes

Soo… I may have just “accidentally” placed a rather big Mandala order. Including this! (And on a side note, I totally forgot to get some Smark Soak to try. WHOOPS.)

I blame the order on Sil. And Dex. And my paypal balance that I was actually trying to save for the next month of Tea Club. :)

So I hadn’t tried this version yet. I have a sample of the 2008 and it is divine. I’m not sure how different, I’d have to test them side by side to see what I think. But I’m really liking this. It’s tea. Definitely tea. Hay and pea shoots. Sweet, malt, hopefully highly caffeinated.

I’m drinking part of the 4th steep right now. I combined 1-3.5 in a travel mug for work. It’s a golden shade, looks lovely. And I used a ceramic mug to be extra fancy. :)

Here’s hoping all the cakes I now have survive my rather shoddy storage conditions (paper shopping bags on a shelf in my room…) until I get to drinking them and sharing them out.


if you’re just looking to try the smart soak, remind me next time we talk about packages and i can send some your way


:) That would be awesome. The denture tablets work great, but I hate how they’re all so grossly minty.


yeah just don’t let me forget. I picked up a bunch the other day

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149 tasting notes

I managed to find a moment of silence.
Sun was streaming through the living room window, I was in a comfy spot, and all my kids were busy…away from me. ;)
Even the dog was sleeping.
It was one of those tea moments that get ingrained in your memory…. it was that special.
And this tea… Oh, this tea! I really can’t thank you enough, Dexter. :))))
I think I’m on about my 10th steep of this…and the cup is still absolutely delicious!
The leaves smelled of sweet hay after their rinse and first 10 seconds.
The cup itself was almost fruity (I swear I was picking up melon…. then I swore there were hints of ripe plum skin…).
I knew right away that this was one special tea.

20 second steep left the leaves more bright and fruity, less hay like… The cup wasn’t as fruit centered; I found it to be buttery and creamy… So good!
At this point, I seriously want to shout from rooftops that I love this tea!

I continued on… getting distracted by kids… but loving this tea the entire time… It took me through episodes of Steven Universe, and through my time perusing cook books trying to come up with the weekly menu, and now it’s time for me to start dinner, and I’m still drinking this tea.
I loved how it tingled my tongue and left my mouth just wanting more.
Yes. This tea is a keeper.
Dexter, I wish I could hug you right now!! :)))

(This whole session was done using boiling water… I have enough to try it with a lower temp, as suggested on the website. I’m really excited to see what that’s like!)


This is an amazing tea – happy to have shared, but really it’s Mandala that should get the credit for sourcing one that so great.
Those AHHHHHhhhhhh tea moments are really special – glad you experienced one today. :))


As I was reading I was laughing and crying. Even dog mind his business. Those moments are so precious. I think any tea would be delicious . Glad you had that moment ;)


Oh I really have to try the 2012 soon now! I have a bit of the older one and it’s just so so good. :)

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4148 tasting notes

MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #24
I appreciate trying this one, but I’m not sure my tastebuds can comprehend these delicate raw pu-erhs yet. The ripened are so robust yet the raw are some of the lighter teas. I have no idea if I steeped this one right… I really wish Mandala would have instructions for their teas. They would know better than I. I also don’t think I used enough leaf, as I was trying to save a little bit for the tea box. So I used about 3/4 of a teaspoon and filled the mug 3/4. This one just seems like a fuzzy white tea to me: light without much flavor.. hints of apricot maybe. The second steep was a little stronger, but my tastebuds still couldn’t figure it out. I’m leaving the other raw pu-erhs in the box for the rest of you to figure out!
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 40 seconds
Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep


Oh, phooey. I forgot that Mandala doesn’t have brew instructions online. ): Sorry about that. They recommend 1TB for 8oz of water. Brew temps vary, but I stick to low rather than high. I think you’re supposed to start with around 30sec and increase in increments of 15-20sec. I would have to check…again, sorry.

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278 tasting notes

I’m having a lovely evening at home, relaxing with my dogs, reading some Joseph Campbell. You simply haven’t lived if you’ve never read “The Power of Myth”. It’s a life-changer, swearsies!

Method: 3.3 g, 3 oz, rinse, 10-15-20 seconds, 200 degrees, ru kiln gaiwan

Aroma: fruit and new leather. Hey, dried apricots! This also smells like dried plums! And spring forests!

Flavor: This is so mild and pretty. I think this one has a slightly more astringent finish than some of the other shengs I’ve tried. It’s kind of refreshing. It definitely has some fruity flavors, but is a little less sweet.

The only things missing from my wonderful evening are my boyfriend, who is at work, and a huge, puffy reading chair which I do not own. Yet.

I think I am going to work out some kind of goal to read at least one chapter of a chosen Joseph Campbell book per week, and to do so while drinking a pretty sheng. JC and sheng are pretty much a perfect match. I really have to work on that puffy reading chair, too…

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

I remember the original TV show for The Power of Myth back in the 80s, read the book back then. I recall his favorite was the Rose window in Notre Dame.


I have those on DVD and I love to watch them. The first thing I ever read from JC was TPoM, so it has a special place in my heart. I always say that I am going to someday read all his books. I should really get moving on that!


He had very much wisdom and I’m grateful he shared so much of it


Couldn’t agree more. Is it possible to miss someone you never knew? It must be because I do!


Yeah he’s one of those people who leave the world much poorer when they ;eave it. I will feel the same way when Willie Nelson checks out.


Have you read “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”?


Ha! MzP, Brian and I were just talking about him on Sunday!

Not yet, mj. I’ll tackle that one next!


I think you’ll like it :). I did!!

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661 tasting notes

I love white tea but I rarely ever have it. Why? Because it must be brewed at such low temperatures. I like my tea hot and white tea always cools down too fast. No problem with this tea since it’s a pu’er white. I can brew it at high temperatures and it’s still delicate. This tea does not have any smoke or bitterness. It’s smooth , light, with a fruity apple taste. I’ve been considering what shengs I should order in cake form from Mandala. I had two picked out but this one is very good too. Hard choice!

Flavors: Apple


Nice, I will put this on my “to try” list :)


I get apple in this, too! Cool. I believe there are only a handful of these cakes left in the storage vault. 5 or 6. I had this pressed when I was there in China in 2012 and went in on the pressing with one of my connections there. Emailing him today to see if he has any of these left in storage. Together we pressed 40kg (400 cakes) on a whim, hence the no label art.


Every time someone posts a glowing review of another one of the Mandala shengs, I get even more confused. I need to figure out what to order. Garret, you’re not following me, so I can’t message you to ask for help.


I will follow you :) But then you must message me :) Email works really well for me, too – garret @ mandalatea.com


Oh no! Only 5 or 6 cakes left!!?? I must make a decision soon then.

Cheri, you need to try the loose shengs first. That’s what I have done. If you’re new to sheng like I am , you might like less smoke and closer to a green/white tea flavour. How the tea makes you feel is also another factor.


I’ve had some loose, and some samples from cake. I liked both. I do enjoy the “smoke” flavor, although it just reminds me of smoke, doesn’t truly taste like smoke to me.

I’ve ordered some cakes today; they’ll be here Monday. :-)

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