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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drank Golden Turtle by Mandala Tea
107 tasting notes

Gongfu. 190 degrees. 1 tsp (about 3g) 30 sec. rinse. First steep 1 minute. The aroma is so floral, but also buttery. Wow. It’s like drinking… uhm… buttered flowers. Does not taste like any oolong I’ve ever had! No astringency at all. Very pleasant aftertaste too. It’s more like a green tea than an oolong imo. Second steep 1:30, flavor a bit stronger, but still no astringency. Third 2 mins; floral aroma is gone, more vegetal now, the flavor as well, but still has a lingering butteryness to it. A very pleasant drink.

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200 degrees. 4g of tea. Gongfu. Dry tea aroma reminds me of cigars (why do so many shengs smell like cigars to me?) 2 five second rinses. First steep ten seconds. Wondering if I didn’t use enough tea. Will try a longer steep next time. 20 secs. Flavor is very mild. No bitterness. 30 secs. Ugh. I may have to come back to this one and try it another day.

EDIT: I came back and tried it another day. This time I added a wee bit of brown sugar and you know what? I LOVE THIS TEA. I lost count how many steeps in I am. I could drink this all night. I’m going to have to try the 2007 Clouds and Fog again and see if sweetening it will increase my enjoyment of that tea as well. I am a happy girl.

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Gongfu. 190 degrees. The instructions said 195 but my kettle doesn’t do that, so… 3g of tea (about 1 tsp). 30 second rinse. Lovely aroma. I don’t know what it is… floral, light, sweet…peaches? Lovely flavor, also light and sweet. A few sips and I already feel relaxed, and I just got home from a long commute after a long day. Second: 30 seconds. The leaves are really opening up now. Lots of twigs in there (good, bad?). Third: 30 secs again. I really love this tea. It’s so mellow and sweet. I feel like I took a xanax. Sweetness giving way to more vegetal flavor. Fourth: 40 secs. It’s still mellow, not a hint of bitterness, but flavor has faded a tad. Fifth: one minute. It is still giving. I am floating on a cloud. Sixth: TWO minutes, I dare you to get bitter! Nope, it’s not. In my happy place now. Seventh: 3 minutes. No bitterness, but not much flavor left. All done!

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drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
107 tasting notes

I cannot place the aroma I’m getting from this tea and it’s making me crazy. There is tobacco, but it’s not overwhelming. I think it’s seaweed. That’s it, wet seaweed. Wakame. Hijiki maybe. So lovely actually. 190, 20 seconds first, 30 seconds for the second. A little bitterness coming in on the second steep. Third steep went back to 20 secs. Bitterness still there. Fourth at 200, 20 secs. Much better. Seaweed taste is fading. Fifth, 30 secs. Bitter. Sixth, boiling, 20 secs. Short steeps seem to work really well for avoiding bitterness. Flavor has mellowed considerably, but still pleasant. I’m done. I very much enjoyed the first steep though.

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Gongfu method. First steep water about boiling. 5g of tea. Two short rinses. 20 second steep for first drink. Tobacco. I taste tobacco. By the way, this is my first ever time trying Pu’er tea. The aroma reminds me of a fine cigar actually, before you light it. No smoke. It’s not bitter at all, no astringency. I rather like it. Second steep 25 secs. What a lovely light brown color. Second steep is a bit bitter. Huh. Third steep tried 15 secs, didn’t re-boil the water, it was probably about 200? Anyway, bitterness gone. It’s quite pleasant, calming down a bit. Can tobacco be sweet? There is something sweet about it. This tea is probably good for 20 infusions at least. Fourth: I got a wild hair and added two drops of honey. Tobacco-flavored honey. Maybe I’m just not crazy about Pu’er? I wish someone else would review this tea to give me a point of reference. I have two others to try, so I’m not giving up on Pu’er yet. Fifth: wow, this tea has calmed down a lot. It’s actually not bad now. The flavor is still one dimensional to me though.

Flavors: Tobacco

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
107 tasting notes

Gongfu cha method. Confession: I drank the rinse water. It smelled too good. I taste coconut, milk, burnt sugar. So good. 30 seconds@ 190. Second steep was about a minute. Grass notes coming in. Third steep longer (maybe two minutes? not sure. I should pay better attention). Noticing lively green color, but my cups are green so… Fourth four minutes (I am an oversteeper, I admit it). Tastes like green tea now, sweet flavors have faded a bit. Still quite pleasant. Fifth, five minutes. The aroma is still lovely and color still bright, but flavor too weak (and slightly bitter) to consider a sixth.

1 tsp 6 OZ / 180 ML

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For many years I drank cheap asian market-bought oolongs because I really didn’t know what was out there. For the last year or so I’ve been educating myself and making a foray into better quality teas. During the course of my journey I have fallen hard down the puerh rabbit hole – it started with young sheng, but now there’s another even deeper hole in the aged category, and I may be careening down this particular rabbit hole forever. I do still find time for aged oolong, a good wuyi yancha, and the occasional aged white.

I stopped rating teas awhile ago. I guess the numbers stopping meaning anything after awhile. For a long time I was pretty good about keeping my cupboard up to date and reviewing teas, mostly to help me keep track and remember what I like. I’ve gotten lazy about that for the last several months.

The tea addiction has also spawned a new addiction to throwing pottery, and I have become mildly obsessed with making tea cups, shibos, and teapots.


Southestern USA

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