Mandala Noble Mark Ripe Cake - 2012

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Molasses, Mushrooms, Vanilla, Walnut, Wet Wood, Green, Tobacco, Creamy, Mineral, Wet Earth, Bitter, Cedar, Smooth, Wood, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Leather, Earth, Spices, Malt
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 21 oz / 608 ml

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27 Tasting Notes View all

From Mandala Tea

We are so happy to offer this Mandala Tea exclusive ripe-style pu’er tea to our fine customers everywhere. These cakes were pressed on 10/25/2012 from 2011 tea available in loose form here.

This blend of ripe pu’er (sometimes spelled “puerh” or “pu-erh”) leaves come from spring-picked old plantation trees that are between 60 and 80 years old. Grown without pesticides or sprays, this is just pure, clean tea from one of the most pristine growing areas in southwest China.

We carefully selected 4 sizes of expertly-crafted ripened leaf from this plantation and blended them to make a very well-balanced tea. The majority of the blend (around 70%) are smaller leaves which will give up more flavor in earlier infusions with the remaining 30% coming into play in later infusions.

The result is an incredibly well-balanced tea. Rich and creamy in flavor and aroma without overbearing earthiness, this tea hits the mark and is now one of our most favorite ripe teas. And judging by our customer response, others think so too!

We are impressed with the clarity of the tea liquor produced from this leaf as normally, ripe leaf this young makes for a cloudier brew.

Brew it up short and sweet or loud and proud, this tea will not disappoint (these folks agree). In fact, it will tickle all your ripe tea drinking fancies!

To experience this fine tea to its fullest, please experiment brewing it up Gong Fu style!

We hope you enjoy the latest addition to our extensive ripe pu’er selection. Want to try before purchasing the whole cake? Just select the one ounce sample above. You’ll be back for more :)

About Mandala Tea View company

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27 Tasting Notes

1258 tasting notes

I was working on a yixing pot full of this tea while I made lunch and later on relaxed watching a live owl cam on youtube. Lots of hooting!
Yum, like I said before, I need to review this tea. Super tasty and creamy, I highly recommend this pu’er!
Well, off to the airport to pick up my dad, who’s flying in from Vancouver for the holidays.


I love owls. I find them irresistible :)


Have a blast with your dad! I’m happy that you are enjoying this tea! I really have found that the cakes of this tea are really opening up flavor-wise over the last couple of months. Just wait another year. There will be no stopping this ripe tea! Thanks for the write-up, my dear!! Grateful, as ever, G.


For someone who hates humid-aged tea, would you still reccomend this one?

Oolong Owl

this one isn’t humid tasting as far as I remember.

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97 tasting notes

I just got finished drinking my sample of the Noble Mark loose tea and now I am moving on to the cake sample that Garret sent me. I am kind of curious to see if there are any differences.

1st steep-15 sec
Still a gentleman’s pu’er. It’s not overwhelming even on the first steep. It’s very gentle. Like it’s holding the door open for you. Tee hee. Slightly roasty notes like a cup of blonde roast. Creamy. Almost a pastry type of sweetness. It tastes like a napoleon.

2nd Steep-20 seconds
The pastry aspects really come out. It tastes like walking into an old school bakery smells. It’s like being hit in the face with all those lovely smells of baking. Kind of sweet but in a breadlike kind of way.

3rd Steep-30 seconds
Still sweet and breadlike. A little honey coming through.

4th Steep-35 seconds
Same as before. Sweet like pastry with honey and some new nutty notes. Kind of like baklava.

5th Steep-40 seconds
Still a bit nutty with honey notes.

6th to 12th Steep-Up to 2 minutes
Varying levels of vanilla. Sometimes with nutty notes, sometimes with fruity notes and one very interesting time with a basil note. Tea is losing a bit.

13th Steep-5 minutes
Figs and honey. Almost can’t give up on this tea now because figs!

14th Steep-45 minutes
I forgot it. I don’t even have a good excuse but it didn’t turn out bad at all. Very light even with the long steep time. The figs are gone sadly and replaced by an almost anise like sweetness.

15th Steep-1 hour 30 minutes
I figured why not. It’s very very light. Still sweet but it’s hitting the floral side of fade which means it’s time for me to move on.

I did notice that when I started steeping this one, I was in a terrible mood. Like Eeyore meets Grumpy Cat meets Archie Bunker. Mainly because my team’s superstar decided to bail on a 15 year deal. Once I started sipping Noble Mark, the mood lifted and I was all cheerful again. Could be a coincidence but considering how much of a bad mood I was in. I doubt it.

I really did love this in cake form more than I did loose. I don’t know why. The flavor seemed much deeper and I didn’t mind spending almost 5 days with it at all. I have a feeling this would be one of those teas that taste different every time you steep it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

thought you might like this!! Interesting that the cake is now really starting to excel in complexity over the loose. Not the case for the first few months after pressing. I learn this with every pressing that I do. It always takes 6 months to a year after pressing a ripe tea for it to begin to open up and rock. Within 2 to 3 more years, this one is going to be one of the best tasting ripe cakes available. Why do you think I pressed so many of them.

The loose is delicious and is the 1st tea I drink every morning and have for over 5 months. My personal stash of the loose is in the neighborhood of 200 lbs. Of course I can sell it to our tea shop as the shop runs out of its current stash :)

We had the entire lot tested, too, and it is ZERO parts per million of anything other than tea. You know me, I like to source from super clean growing areas and from growers that are using organic and biodynamic ways of growing. This tea is as pure as it can get, sister!!

So happy that you are enjoying it. Remember, too, when you get your new Phatty Cake 2 this week that it was pressed on 4/25… still a few months before it opens up more and rocks out, but the reviews from the handful of people who have tried it so far are very favorable. Even made it here in the shop for someone who has never enjoyed ripe tea and they bought a cake!

Rock on, Archie Bunker!


This tea was something special. I felt almost guilty tossing the leaves so I made iced tea—-just about the only way I can trick my family into drinking pu’er. I don’t know if this’ll become an everyday tea—because I’m going to want to hoard it. I think I’ll stick with Phatty Cake Prime for that.

200 lb!!! That sounds like…heaven. Better than heaven. Tea heaven. You’re very generous to consider selling it…because I’d hoard it like an angry goblin.

I can’t wait to try the Phatty Cake sequel. I am going to try my hardest to curb my kid on Christmas morning tendencies and wait a couple of months. I do have to finish my Phatty Cake Prime so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

I also just got my mug this afternoon. It’s adorable. I’m already in love with it and I haven’t even used it yet. I may have to break out the Year of the Dragon pu’er to break it in.

Archie Bunker is my spirit animal. Along with Peg Bundy and Balki Bartokomous.


i foresee possibly sending cakes to my parents place so they can be in a less humid place for the summer….or buying some sort of tea humidor for my apartment?


Sil… i think for short-term storage, you don’t really have to worry too much about all this. Most importantly, keep the tea away from strong smells and covered in an (odor-free) cardboard box so that it does not get cold or hot air blowing on it. If you are not going to be drinking the tea within 6 months or so, then there are other things you can do. And we can cover that later, if need be.


Grace… Archie Bunker, love him! So happy you are digging the new infuser mug. They have been flying out of the shop already and the reviews are good so far!

You have some of the Bulang Gong Ting, right? We have a bunch of customers who are serving that tea iced and really loving it!


I love my little mug. I’ve named it Stuart and somehow tea tastes better when drinking from it. Sounds crazy but it’s true.

I love my Bulang Gong Ting. I have 5 ounces that I am hoarding. I’m not that big a fan of iced tea but I’ll give it a go because my family loved the Noble Mark iced tea.


Sil—I keep my pu’er in cardboard boxes on my bookshelves. The room is air conditioned though. I am not sure how good that is for the tea but 100 degree heat is not something I can tolerate…at all.

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15 tasting notes

I finally pulled this out from my cupboard, mostly to get rid of it and drink it by sheer force of will alone. I had gotten a sample around a year to a year and a half ago, and like all ripe pu’s I didn’t like it as they all tasted very “samey” to me. Turns out I had taken someone’s well meaning advice and had been following it unwittingly this entire time. That is, brewing ripe pu’s at near boiling (208-212 F). Apparently this completely blows all the subtle flavor out of a ripe pu ehr, hence why I’ve been thinking they all taste the same!

I had basically been doing the same as blasting a steak until it was well done, then wondering why people rave about steak so much, when it just tastes bland to me.
Well, this time I brewed at 190 F, and brought this pu down to a “medium rare” equivalent, and boy does it make this tea shine.

Throughout brewing, this tea has a woody, wet earth, mushroom taste at the forefront, immediately followed by the most delicious nose I’ve ever had in a tea before.
Cinnamon, butter, sweet sugariness, walnut… all at once, layered on top of each other, like eating a cinnamon bun taken straight from the oven. In later steeps this takes on a more sweet taste throughout, with the earthiness relaxing a bit into a more molasses cookie in a forest after a rain flavor, and more of that cinnamon bun flavor on breathing out after a sip.
The taste doesn’t linger long, and there’s no astringency and very little bitterness.
I’d have to experiment more to see how long this pu could last after a rough session, but I have a feeling this would hold up to a lot of resteeps without losing its charm.

I’ll definitely have to see if I can get a hold of a cake (or two, or three…) as it is well worth it.
This pu is a real charmer, and an absolute gem.
Here’s to pleasant surprises, and learning from mistakes.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Molasses, Mushrooms, Vanilla, Walnut, Wet Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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21 tasting notes

Lovely green Puerh. I like a stronger green brew. This gives me an aged bold flavor.

Flavors: Green

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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7 tasting notes

This ripe Pu erh is unbelievable. I decided to purchase a cake right off the bat as some of the reviews seem to coincide with my tastes and I am glad I did. Brewed it gongfu and got 10+ steeps out of it. The vanilla flavor is fantastic and is prominent throughout each steep. It is now my go to daily tea and will be purchasing at least a few more cakes shortly. Not going to say this particular pu erh is something particularly exotic, but it is absolutely delicious and brews smooth and dark. Was my first purchase from Mandala and they now have a lifelong customer (received 2 samples with my order which I will also review). Have already purchased the temple stairs and phatty cake II (the latter of which i received a sample of). Thanks for such a great tea!

Flavors: Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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107 tasting notes

I drank this tea all day while working from home. It was a cold, rainy day, and this shu was both warming and energizing. While I like the loose version of this shu, for some reason the cake seems to be much more to my liking. Actually, this one is definitely one of my all time favorite shupus. The smoothness is just unparalleled. I must get a cake.


I love this tea. It was my first came I bought. No regrets on it either.


*Cake. Thanks auto correct.


Get a cake soon. They are not long for this world. As I’ve gotten lower in inventory, people are buying up tongs at a time. As of this a.m., there are 6 or so tongs left. Just sayin’… If you want tong pricing, contact me at my email address – [email protected]




awe crap. i don’t get home for another few hours..


That’s ok @Sil, I left plenty for you!


Part of me wishes I hadn’t seen this….

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234 tasting notes

Pulled this tea back out this morning. It has been a while since I’ve taken off a piece of the cake. I’m finding that I tend not to drink puerh as much during the warmer months. But Autumn is officially in full swing here in Michigan and that means more puerh will be consumed.

This tea really is a star. After a rinse, the first two steeps are very smooth and sweet. After that there is a slight bitterness that comes into play but not a bad bitterness. That could also be due to my heavy leafing on this session. Sometimes a chunk gets broken off that is slightly bigger than you anticipated.

There is a well rounded taste that compliments the rest of the tea. The woodiness and earthiness mingle with a creamy, slightly oily texture. My god is it drinkable. As in, you won’t want it to end. This was my first cake purchase and I’m very glad to have it in my possession. Uptick on the rating.

Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Creamy, Smooth, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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919 tasting notes

Okay. Last drink of this. Smooth velvet walnut. Bad effects from the extreme amounts of caffeine I had today. Glad I’m giving it to someone who can appreciate it.

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1104 tasting notes

Flash steeping this is giving me solid color, strong taste, and constant enjoyment.
This is a wonderful ripe tea for sure :)
Just between the first three steeps you can tell this one is calling for MUCH more of your time. Thankfully I am willing to oblige!

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1725 tasting notes

I shouldn’t have had this today as I was not in the frame of mind to pay attention. Despite that though, I made it to four steeps.
What I can tell you is that this is delicious. Like the molasses version of red velvet cake. Smooth and sweet shaded by a mineral note and an even more potent sugary aftertaste.
Each steep was progressively sweeter and more mineraly.
Other than that I can’t really give any specifics. There wasn’t any real definition between cups which makes me think that this one could go on forever in a gaiwan. Great because, well yum, but I can see myself getting frustrated because if one cup just melds into the next, I won’t notice the differences as much. Like a frog in slowly boiled water.
Geeze, I’m feeling morbid today.

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