"Wild Monk" Raw Pu'er-2014

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea
Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Campfire, Cherry Wood, Grapes, Osmanthus, Spicy, Tart, Cinnamon, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Smoke, Spices, Stonefruit, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Wet Wood, Wood, Yams, Cedar, Tropical, Kale, Seaweed, Camphor, Carrot, Pine, Dried Fruit
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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 oz / 112 ml

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20 Tasting Notes View all

From Mandala Tea

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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20 Tasting Notes

21 tasting notes

I enjoyed a smokiness in first couple of steeps.
Started to notice some oak, ash, maybe tobacco, and yes some bitterness.
Giving some time between steeps helped notice some apricot aftertaste, but not as forward as in other raw pu’ers. Some butter also in aftertaste, but subtle. I had tried this tea a few years ago as a sample, and I still have a bit left, so am trying again. Am being cautious not to drink too much because some reviews note its potent chi, and I recollect that as well from a few years ago. For me, it is an interesting tea to try, especially as I imagine the high altitude and pristine environment from where it came.

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1555 tasting notes

Here’s my first foray into the abyss of a tea gift box Kawaii433 sent. Thank you!

I brewed 5g in a 100mL gaiwan with 205F water for 10 steeps at 10/15/20/25/30/40/50/60/75/90s.

The dry leaf was loose in the bag and very dark with a burgundy tinge. It smelled warm with a note of campfire smoke. Rinsing brought out a spicy note along with cherry wood, osmanthus and butter. The first steep started off smokey, a little bitter on the sip. Fruity flavors of apricot and berries presented in the back of the mouth along with osmanthus and a stronger bitterness. The first few steeps had an astringency in the throat. The liquor left aftertastes of apricot and a light concord grape. As the steeps progressed, the tea became more bitter, the kind of bitterness that might make one cringe. The dominant taste/aftertaste was a generic citric or malic acid tartness which was strongest in the back of the mouth along with a hint of smoke and some wood. The bitterness maintained until the end, at which point some butter came forward.

Overall, the tea early on had those fruity flavors I’ve gotten in purple-leaf teas before but those tastes faded pretty quickly. Most of the activity happened on the swallow, not a whole lot going on upfront. The tea lacked depth, body and any sweetness and the bitterness I could see turning off a lot of people. It’s also full of energy — I had a really difficult time falling asleep despite drinking this tea in the afternoon. Tread lightly with this one.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Campfire, Cherry Wood, Grapes, Osmanthus, Spicy, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cameron B.

Yay for tea gifts! ❤


So many kind people here :) Best online community I’ve come across since 2004.


“I had a really difficult time falling asleep despite drinking this tea in the afternoon.” Oh good, thought it was just me. It pepped me up and I remember staying up till like 4am after that. o.O


Derk: When I try this again, I’ll try it at your infusion times. I stopped way early at 37s maybe that’s why I never got to the bitterness…


Yeah, some purple-leaf teas do weird things to me energy-wise. It expressed as restless legs last night which I never get. And I had even taken some codeine cough syrup earlier which put me out within an hour of taking it the night before.

I’m surprised you didn’t find this bitter at all! It was penetrating for me, like a bitter pill stuck in the throat.


That’s what others wrote too so I looked at your infusion time vs mine and I stopped way early, at 37seconds lol.


:( concerning restless legs… I’m sorry that happened to you!


I had it early I believe and I usually go to sleep like 2am and I think I stayed up all night. I remember because it’s the only note I ever wrote that it “pepped me up”. Wow…


I hope you update when you try it again. I’m curious what a much lower temp would do, too.
It was bitter from the first steep for me, which I usually like but it was lacking other qualities to back it up. The tastes and aftertastes early on, though, were really nice.


Will do. :)


An abyss of a tea box. Love it! Haven’t had one of those in a while :)

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379 tasting notes

I prepared in a 110ml porcelain gaiwan at ~200F, 5g, rinse, 10 steeps – 10/13/16/19/22/25/28/31/34/37.

Dry leaves are dark green and light green, has a woodsy aroma. Light pale amber liquor. I got it on sale and I’m glad I did, it’s a good sheng… To me, it was like a step up in boldness from some delicate shengs with many of the same notes.

Some seaweed, marine, floral, wood, smoke notes. It’s complex as it evolves steep to steep. On the 4th steep on, a little drying on my tongue going on, astringency. It wasn’t overwhelmingly bitter to me. It’s delicious and pepped me up some hehe.

Update: I’m using the last of this today 2/18/19 and this time I prepared it 7g in 10 oz, rinse 10 seconds and steeped it for 30 seconds, the 2nd steep for 1 minute. I prefer it this way much more.

Flavors: Bitter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Smoke, Spices, Stonefruit, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Wet Wood, Wood, Yams

5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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19 tasting notes

Very bitter

Flavors: Bitter


Young purple leaf tea really does well with lower water temps and/or very short steepings. We have two coffeeshops that sell this tea like hot cakes but they use a little less leaf and brew at 195. We like this with 160,175 degrees and brewed up farmer/grandpa style. Purple leaf can be super strong and have those bitter notes for several more years than the regular sheng pu’er. Try at some lower temps and see if you don’t have a different experience. Grateful, Garret

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7 tasting notes

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

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

These young purple leaf sheng can definitely get strongly astringent. Many folks are brewing the young ones with much cooler water, some as low as 175 degrees. I just drank this today before, during and after my sauna and really enjoyed it brewed at 180-195 degrees. Using less leaf and cooler temps it is also very enjoyable brewed grandpa style in a thermos or mug!

Tyler S

Awesome info Garret. I tried it in and around 185 and it was perfect. Great stuff!

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350 tasting notes

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. :)


Very detailed and helpful tea-note! Thanks :) Steeping time and water temperature can be so crucial.

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1113 tasting notes

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 find some cheap cakes to have a fishy smell/taste on top of the dui wui (aka fermentation taste)


Let’s get you some of the 2015 wild monk that just arrived and see how it compares for you.

Liquid Proust

I could buy a cake and split it up for some people :)
I’m waiting for that umpf that the 2012 had

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526 tasting notes

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

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

yep… the vintage makes a big difference, too. My sessions with this have been improving greatly over the last few months. I’ve been using less leaf and cooler temps on this and find that really takes the edges off. Also… if one sticks with the first few steeps, the sweetness really gets going at steepings 5 or 6. Truly wild tea like this is a whole different animal, isn’t it? Grateful for you posting the review!


I believe I’ll get some to age. I have confidence in this tea :)

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107 tasting notes

The tobacco aroma reminds me of Clouds and Fog, plus a little spiciness. Later steeps get slightly bitter; I can feel it in the back of my throat. Is it bad adding sugar to a pu’er? Because when I do that, I like it a whole lot more.

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64 tasting notes

A mouthful of flowers and veggies

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