“Very bitter” Read full tasting note
“Trying to expand a little into the Raw Pu erh as I’m normally a Ripe guy. Certainly enjoyed this tea. The 1st time I brewed it I don’t believe I got the water/tea ratio quite right and it was a...” Read full tasting note
“This is the first sheng I’m trying from Mandala. :) I pulled a chunk out of the bag and it weighed 4.5g, and I have a 3oz gaiwan, so I decided to just go for it. I did a long 30sec wash with...” Read full tasting note
“Pu’erh TTB 2015 Tea #7 Thanks AllanK for putting this in the box after I made the request. The 2012 Wild Monk still has a memory associated for me because it has continued to be the best of what I...” Read full tasting note
It is with great pleasure that we present to you the 2014 pressing of our famous Wild Monk sheng pu’er. The reception of the 2012 Wild Monk by our customers around the world has been so positively overwhelming that we had no choice but to carry on the tradition of truly wild tea.
This particular pu’er is very special in that it was picked from tea trees grown entirely in the wild, surrounded by all the native floral and fauna, exposed to nothing but clean air, high altitude, healthy rain and sunshine. Grown in Yong De in the Yunnan province in China, this special tea is packed with goodness. The tea grows quite dark, almost purple as it has adapted to the high levels in sunshine in order to protect itself from the UV rays. For us humans that means that we get a tea that is higher in antioxidants than other teas.
The leaf for our 2014 offering was picked in the autumn of 2013, making for a slightly different expression than the spring 2012 pressing. Because the smokiness of the 2012 is much more in the background here, some may find the tea liquor even more interesting in that it allows some of the more subtle characteristics (mint, bamboo, cinnamon, sweet potatoes) to be brought to the forefront of the experience. A total of 500 cakes is all that was produced of this tea and we are also making the mao cha available for sale, as well.
Almost no bitterness is present in the infused tea liquor, even when brewed at higher temps. And while we here at the shop brew this tea with 212 F water, many of our customers are brewing this at temps of 195 F and slowly increasing water temps as infusions get longer. It is delicious when brewed in the tea glass/tea thermos style of brewing, as well, but should definitely be brewed gongfu style at least once!
The dry leaf has a sweet and slight smoky aroma. Even those who normally find smokier elements unattractive are fans of this tea. You will find yourself reaching for this again and again for the energy of this tea is beyond compare. Many customers and reviewers are calling this the “feel-good tea”, suggesting that it has anti-depressant elements and leaves them feeling uplifted, energized and content. We concur.
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Trying to expand a little into the Raw Pu erh as I’m normally a Ripe guy. Certainly enjoyed this tea. The 1st time I brewed it I don’t believe I got the water/tea ratio quite right and it was a little too bitter for my liking. I dialed down the tea a bit today and it was much more enjoyable. Tastes of cedar, citrus, a little bitter, and overall kind of tropical.
Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Citrus, Tropical
This is the first sheng I’m trying from Mandala. :) I pulled a chunk out of the bag and it weighed 4.5g, and I have a 3oz gaiwan, so I decided to just go for it. I did a long 30sec wash with boiling water and then let the leaves sit for a few min to see if they would loosen up, which they did. It was still mostly in a big chunk, so for my first infusion I did boiling water again and a 15-20sec steep. Yiiikes, very bitter. So I dialed down to 90deg and tried a 10sec steep – still bitter. Then down to 80deg and did a series of 10-15sec steeps. At this point the bitterness was tolerable, but still a bit sharper than with other shengs I’ve tried. In one of the fairly early steeps I got a strong aftertaste of apricot, but that didn’t persist into later steeps. Then I started to lengthen the steeps a bit, and once I was up to 40sec or so, I turned the temperature up to 90deg. Suddenly the bitterness mostly dropped away, and a thick sweetness replaced it! Fascinating. So now I’m sticking with this temp and just adding 10sec or so with each steep. I’m glad I stuck with it. The body feeling with this is warm with an “awake but calm” kind of mental state – very pleasant. I’m glad I have enough in this sample to experiment with it some more, but certainly not feeling the need to run out and buy a cake of it. :)
Pu’erh TTB 2015 Tea #7
Thanks AllanK for putting this in the box after I made the request. The 2012 Wild Monk still has a memory associated for me because it has continued to be the best of what I have tried in regards to the wild variation of sheng (with Repave as the non). While this may be smoother than the YS tea I had today and only a year old, the taste just isn’t as explosive as the 2012 was. This sample was exactly what I wanted before I shelled out lots of money for a few cakes; I still find it odd that a small ‘higher’ quality cake doesn’t seem to have the flavor that a cheaper cakes has. Maybe the price is for the material?
I did a side by side comparison with the 2012 Wild Monk. They both look close in resemblance. The distinguishable difference is that 2014 is loosely compressed and seemingly larger leaves. This trait is only due to it not being stored for as long. The leaf smells of sweets and lightly woodsy. I placed this inside my warmed yixing to awaken it a bit. This sweet aroma became stronger and changed to that of a dock at the lake. I washed the leaves once to prepare for brewing. The steeped leaves became strong and bitterly scented, like that of fresh kale and seaweed. The flavor was drastically different from its older 2012 part. The initial sip was very dry and with some sharp bitterness. This stricking flavor was covered with a smoky and purple arugula taste. There was a slight sweet undertone, but it was otherwise nonexistent. It was interesting to see what just a couple years can do to Sheng. I do enjoy a sharp puerh, but this was just too dry. I’d love to give it some age though to enjoy it more thoroughly. My vote will have to stick with the 2012 version for now; perhaps, this idea will change in a couple years.
Flavors: Bitter, Kale, Seaweed, Wet Wood
Thank you so much for sending a sample of this one a while back, MzPriss. It’s been a while. Maybe I’ve been avoiding this one, since if my palatte doesn’t like THIS raw pu-erh, I probably won’t like any of them. But nothing will beat the cocoa/coffee of ripened pu-erh for me though. I used eight grams (stated on the sample) for my eleven ounce mug.
Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // rinse // 45 second steep
The rinse didn’t seem to break the leaves apart at all. Luckily, it’s very good! Completely different flavors from the few raw pu-erhs I’ve had. The flavor is very smooth – like a syrupy texture. There is also a slight buzzy quality, though I don’t have anything to compare it too…maybe when you eat too close to the edge of a pineapple, which is odd, since the flavor does seem a little like sweet pineapple. It’s very juicy, also a little creamy, hints of apple. Really, the best possible results of a raw pu-erh. I also love the name ‘wild monk’. The color of the steeped tea looks like a green oolong. Usually raw pu-erh is too woodchipy for me, and this is certainly the opposite of that.
Steep #2 // 18 min after boiling // under a minute steep
Hmm, this one certainly doesn’t taste the same. I always seem to have a problem with any steep after the first. I think I shouldn’t have steeped this one this hot or for a minute. The flavor was tough to figure out, but it was a little too strong for these lovely leaves. Almost like old tobacco and a bitey flavor. I HAVE to remember that with second steeps of raw pu-erh, the leaves get much more unraveled and they don’t need so much steep time.
Steep #3 // 30 min after boiling // under a min
Another cup that was a little too bitter. Such a shame to ruin this one! I know it was my fault… the first cup was so nice. It seems I can never learn with these pu-erhs. The first cup is always nice but with the following steeps, the flavors get a little odd. It is my fault, but they don’t seem to be very user friendly.
From the sheng sampler. Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 180.
The dry leaf aroma offers a delicate fragrance of fresh honey, while the wet leaf smells of green peppers, and then of bamboo and a thick conifer forest.
The liquor is golden, clear, thin-textured, and full-bodied. The session begins with a light grassy and prickly cup, and a peach aftertaste. Thereafter, a bitter green pepper note dominates. The fourth infusion, additionally, has walnut and pecans, and the beginning with the fifth infusion, is a sweetness underneath. I also taste a forest floor, the sort of forest that big and crowded with trees, the sort of floor that has layered beds of moss and dried and freshly fallen pine needles. The feel is light yet powerful.
Despite my words, this isn’t for me (well, it is sheng, but I felt the need to broaden my tastes with the sampler anyway). I can’t be appreciative of it unfortunately.
I just realized that I had yet to try any of the shengs I got from the Mandala sampler, and decided to remedy that with this tea. I have only tried one or twoshengs before, so I’m quite inexperienced with them. That’s why I got this sampler, to explore the world of shengs withput having to commit to any.
7g, 6oz water, 200F, two 5 second rinses, then 8,10,12 second steeps.
Ok, so the first steep tastes like smoked meat. There’s definitely other notes here, there’s a lot of complexity, but I’m having a hard time identifying anything other than smoked meats, and maybe some pine. The second steep loses most of the smoked meat flavor, but still is slightly smokey. Again, smoked pine comes to mind. There’s also a sort of sweetness here, not in the tradition I just added sugar to this sense, more in a mouth feel, and in the salutatory response. (I didn’t add any sweetener, I generally don’t sweeten greens, oolongs, or shengs). There’s also some camphor notes, and with the pine needle like notes, creates a cooling sort of bitter end of sip/aftertaste as it cools.Third is much like the second, but less cooling/bitter.
I don’t know if I’m just not in a sheng mood, or if I’m not really in a sheng mood. But this just isn’t doing it for me right now, so I’ll be calling it a quits early. Leaving the rating off since it’s purely my tastes.