Mandala Tea Phatty Cake

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Dirt, Earth, Mushrooms, Tobacco, Smoke, Wood, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Mineral, Raisins, Nuts
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Edit tea info Last updated by Kawaii433
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 oz / 161 ml

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50 Tasting Notes View all

  • “My Phatty Cake is becoming a skinny cake. I decided to make a big pot of puerh to experiment with tonight. I rarely cook red meat even though I have chronic anemia, but tonight I promised my girls...” Read full tasting note
  • “Pu-erh Abuse Warning! The following maybe sensitive for some readers… First and foremost I want to thank Garret for this lovely-crazy-huge pu-erh phatty cake! (I just like saying that…I think I...” Read full tasting note
  • “I’m finally getting around to trying my sample of this today (thanks, G) I really like the way this dry tea smells! It reminds me a bit of the pu-erhs I’ve been drinking which are flavored with the...” Read full tasting note
  • “I’ve been drinking this for about 3 hours. I went with about 8G in my yixing, with the initial steeps very short, & then building the time up. I haven’t had any of this since March, I think,...” Read full tasting note

From Mandala Tea

The perfect sized ripe pu’er tea cake that is sure to please newbies and seasoned tea drinkers alike! An exclusive ripe tea painstakingly ripened in 2007 using 2006 raw material and then commissioned for pressing in 2011 by MandalaTea of Winona, MN.

About Mandala Tea View company

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50 Tasting Notes

3283 tasting notes

My Phatty Cake is becoming a skinny cake.

I decided to make a big pot of puerh to experiment with tonight. I rarely cook red meat even though I have chronic anemia, but tonight I promised my girls steak. I knew I might need some help with digestion and decided to take care of that naturally, and do it early so I won’t be miserable when I go to bed.

I made this nice and strong, but something kept picking at my brain. Everyone talks about puerh lattes, or just puerh with milk and sugar, so I decided to give it a try even though I usually don’t add sugar to my tea.

First of all, wow. Wow. I added some sugar to the hot puerh and it was as rich and satisfying as a dessert. Then I added a lot of milk and ice, and I think it was too much. The ice melted really quickly and made my drink a bit watery. I added some more puerh and it is a little more balanced now, but I think my favorite way to have this is either plain and hot, or plain with sugar, or cold steeped with no sugar. The latte isn’t bad, it just isn’t my favorite way to drink this. Perhaps if I had sweetened it and then cooled it so I wouldn’t need so much ice it would be better.

I made 24 ounces and have some resteeps to go, so I will definitely be drinking this rest of this hot and probably with a sprinkle of sugar. This is my dessert tonight, and I do not feel deprived at all!

On that note, hubby’s dessert was something I saw on the menu for a local deli. S’Mores sandwich, made with wheat bread buttered on the outside, Nutella and Marshmallow Creme inside with fine crumbles of graham cracker sprinkled on the Nutella, then toasted in my Breville. He loved it, but I think I like my dessert just as well!


Good experiment! Didn’t know you don’t like it hot. If need an ice cube and milk, you’d need to make strong puerh and use condensed milk or cream to counter the water. I use splenda but sugar makes a good latte or agave. Garret at mandala uses coconut milk for lattes and always uses a stick blender.


I love it hot! It was just too hot to drink still, so I was making a cold latte so I could drink it sooner.


i have one of these waiting for me to sip down other teas first.

i knew puerh had lots of health benefits, but digestion i didn’t know about! condensed cream…. bonnie, always full of ideas!


JustJames: puerh was originally used as a digestive aid! As I understand, they believe it binds with part of the fat in our system so that our body does not try to absorb it all. Puerh has saved me many a miserable night when pizza crusts dipped in garlic butter just sat there and bloated me. The puerh relieves that feeling. My hubby asks for “whichever one makes my stomach gurgle.” LOL! It can get noisy when the puerh gets to work!


I get migraines in my abdominal area…nausea…it’s called atypical migraine, and puerh helps calm it down or takes it away if I catch it when it begins. No kidding…I love puerh for taste and health!


Oh man, I love puerhs with a little sugar. I have a couple cheapie plain ones I drink that way. Definitely have to try as a latte. Sounds amazing!


=0) one day i’ll know stuff like the two of you.

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6768 tasting notes

Pu-erh Abuse Warning! The following maybe sensitive for some readers…

First and foremost I want to thank Garret for this lovely-crazy-huge pu-erh phatty cake! (I just like saying that…I think I will say it again!

First and foremost I want to thank Garret for this lovely-crazy-huge pu-erh phatty cake! (There…I said it again!)

I apologize in advance to the pu-erh purists out there for what I am about to say.

I have had a really hard week and today was the ‘cream of the crop’ really. I needed to release some tension. While pondering just how I was going to go about tasting this pu-erh while at work with only my cup and standard hot tea water that I use for nearly all of my daytime tea…I wondered how I was going to proceed.

A few months ago I received a very hard/sturdy mutant-like plastic tool from japan that I cannot find on any website nor do I really know WHAT it is or how I am supposed to use it. Weeeeeeeell, I ‘dug’ the heck out of this phatty cake from center to sides…just enough to get a good amount for tasting. It seemed to work quite well.

Like I said…I know many pu-erh purists are probably cringing right now…but…desperate times call for desperate measures!

I did a rinse – thankfully – because it was TAR brown/black! The aroma was a gentle pu-erh type smell. Not overly loud at all, actually.

For my first infusion…I did a super short one because of the darkness of it. About 15 secs. This worked REALLY REALLY WELL!!!!! So well that I’m rather tickled with myself!

It’s still very dark in color. The aroma is about the same intensity level. The taste is delightful! It’s malty and rich and and velvety. It’s sweet and fairly fruity! This is right up my alley! WOW!

Dare I say I LOVE THIS Pu-erh? I just might…I’m almost there…ALMOST. Regardless this is really great!!! I’m going to do an infusion test. Stay tuned for more infusions and more notes about this one, folks!

Ahhhhhh! YES! First Infusion Score…HIGH upper 90s…between 97 and 100…at this time.


this stuff is the bomb!


I agree, Amh Oh!!!!


This review had me laughing sometimes you just have to use what you got in a pinch. This stuff sounds amazing.


I was looking at this earlier on their website and thinking that it looked good too. Wish I could afford it but I’ll put it on my shopping list!!!


@Tea Is Wisdom – LOL – If you can’t laugh at yourself who can ya laugh at, eh? At least…I was hoping for that…and it did make me chuckle as I was typing it :) teehee…thanks for commenting :)


Yay!! I am so very happy that you enjoy this!! I was so excited when I had the opportunity to buy all of the raw material from a small tea factory in China. I knew when i first tasted it that I wanted to do a private label pressing of it and so pumped to see it so well received.

We now have 9 private label pressings to date and plan on doing a few more yet this year. So if you ever need to borrow money, don’t look to me. My money is all wrapped up (literally) in tea. But you know what? Even if it all came crashing down tomorrow, I’d have tea to drink and share with friends for several lifetimes!

The DJBooth

Sounds amazing and sounds like when I broke my first brick…I watched videos read and said well here we go :)

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2816 tasting notes

I’m finally getting around to trying my sample of this today (thanks, G)

I really like the way this dry tea smells! It reminds me a bit of the pu-erhs I’ve been drinking which are flavored with the rice herb. I did give this a quick rinse in boiling water and now it smells earthy and sweet.

Steeping method: gaiwan.

1st steep: 30 seconds. A smooth and dark reddish-brown liquor. A very soil, rich kind of earthy with a definite sweetness bordering a bit on fruity. No off odors or flavors like fishiness are present. A hint of… tobacco perhaps?

2nd Steep: 10 seconds. Believe it or not, 10 seconds was plenty, especially for the way I feel like drinking it today. But it still got very dark! I’m getting a slight smokiness in the aroma here, kind of chewy in the flavor, nice forest floor aroma.

3rd steep: 30 seconds. I am starting to feel some of the invigorating effects of this tea. I did really need it today somehow. Even matching up my socks from the laundry is feeling like a chore. It has a very smooth feel in the mouth, which makes me want to sip on it slowly and linger around with it. Aside from earthy and smoky I feel like I’m getting a bit of raisin here.

It is fairly warm here today, which makes it hard for me to think about drinking more shu so I’m going to save the remainder of these leaves and experiment with cold brewing them.

This is a very nice offering from Mandala’s private pressing, I have enjoyed trying it and may need to get some more in the future. Good job…

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

Amy! I’m really happy that you enjoyed this tea. I found this ripened material from 2007 and never even contemplated blending this with other leaf. I liked it all on its own as a grade 1 leaf. Bought every bit of it, pressed 300 cakes and kept 25 pounds as loose leaf. Thanks for writing about it. I had brought a cake of this for one of my hosts when I was in China these last few weeks and we brewed it up gong fu style there. I am happy to report that they loved it there in Kunming!! Funny to bring tea to China, I know :)


Oh, as a side note I did cold brew my leftover leaves and enjoyed them the next day, they were really good that way!


Amy, do you mean cold brewing leaves after hot steeps with the same leaves? Just wondering because I was thinking….‘Man, thems some hearty leaves!’. :))


Scott- that’s exactly what I did.

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3294 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this for about 3 hours. I went with about 8G in my yixing, with the initial steeps very short, & then building the time up. I haven’t had any of this since March, I think, & today the Chaqi is outrageous! I’m flying high & loving it! Such a tasty Shu, my little cake is pretty much a flat disc now. I have a Phatty Cake II waiting in the wings.

Anyway, these leaves still appear to have much to give, but I’ve definitely had enough tea for today, so I put them in a jar of water, & they are in the frig now, to become a refreshing drink.


can’t wait to hear your thoughts on PC II. So far people have been happy! The original has more time under its belt following steaming and pressing, but the PCII is made from same 2007 material and the added larger leaf. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my dear!


i want a house that lets me have proper storage for pu cakes :(

Terri HarpLady

I don’t know if I’m really storing them properly, they are in a cardbox (one for sheng & one for shu) in my office on the 2nd floor. At least they are away from the kitchen smells…


terri – our house doesn’t have central air so i’d be worried about the humidity and such

Terri HarpLady

Do you wanna buy some cakes & send them to me…for storage… ;)

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97 tasting notes

I haven’t had this one for a while. I missed it. It’s like an old friend that I haven’t seen for a long time but think of constantly.

I tried shorter steeps this time around because I wanted to extend the leaves a bit.

1st Steep-10 seconds
Slightly smoky with a sweet raisin finish. I am going to see what shorter steep times can do to this tea. So far so good.

2nd Steep-15 sec
Very very slight smoke. Roasty. There is also a almost breadlike note on the finish. Very thick mouthfeel as well. Shorter steeps seem to be working really well.

3rd Steep-20 seconds
Sorta sweet. Kind of leathery. Smooth mouthfeel.

4th Steep-25 seconds
There is a grape note in there. Sweet and a bit earthy. Like grapes just off the vine.

5th Steep-30 seconds
Grapes and a bit of a spice bite. A little nutmeg in some sips.

6th Steep-40 seconds
Nutmeg just popped right out there. With vanilla. The grape is gone. Still fruity but it’s a different feel to it.

7th Steep-50 seconds
Lightening up quite a bit. The fruit flavor is much clearer. Like a carmelized fig. It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever.

8th Steep-60 seconds
All fig right now. With brown sugar. This one is perhaps my favorite steep because figs are the best thing ever.

9th Steep-1.30 minutes
Lightening up much more. Tastes of vanilla wafers.

10th Steep-2 minutes
Vanilla and a bit of clove.

11th Steep-2.10 minutes
Some spice…clove still…and a floral taste creeping in.

12th Steep-2.30 minutes
This tea is pretty much done. Very floral on the last steep and that’s how I know to quit. Floral + me= no fun

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Its almost like a caramel or brown sugar at the end.


It definitely does. It’s amazing that I didn’t actually manage to compare it to caramel because I was making it at the time with Milk Oolong. I was hoping to get more steeps in but that last steep with the floral spooked me. I think I may have underleafed.


i’ll be thinking of you grace and garret today! trying to sort out my order now that i’m back haha

Terri HarpLady

Sil, I’m sending you some of this. It’s in your box, along with other Mandala samples, which I will finally mail this week, LOL.


soooo you’re saying i should IMPATIENTLY wait to place an order with garret?

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148 tasting notes

Drinking phatty cake today while I agonize over finals. This morning shortly after breakfast my right eye started to twitch; this has happened to me before around finals times, and it means I am way too stressed! I figured that meant it was a good day to drink some good and calming puerh. Monday I have a 9-10 page paper due for my Shakespeare class, and I’m writing on devils and exorcism in Twelfth Night and King Lear. After writing five pages of that today I felt like I was ready for an exorcism myself. ;)


I hope the papers and the final writing go well and are over before you know it, so you can relax and really enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea without such stressful distractions.


Claire, you had me at “drinking phatty cake”! :) I am so happy you are enjoying that…. yes the eyelid twitching thing is no fun…. liver wind, as it is called in Chinese medicine, oft manifests as a twitching eyelid. Stress can definitely create such a situation. You are getting enough sleep, I hope??

Terri HarpLady

What a great topic for your paper! Hang in there Claire!


Thanks all! Garret – now you’ve got me wondering where the name liver wind came from! I try to get at least 8 hours a night, preferably more. I really can’t function without a lot of sleep! I am getting plenty, and working pretty steadily during the day. I think the stress comes from being a perfectionist about grades. ;)

Terri – I think it’s coming along pretty nicely. So far I’ve discussed the fool’s “exorcism” of Malvolio in the Twelfth Night, and some of the implications of Malvolio as devil possessed. I’m moving onto Edgar’s disguise as Tom of Bedlam which is a lot harder for me to wrap my head around. I’m trying to argue that when he tricks Gloucester into thinking he survived falling off the cliffs of Dover it’s a kind of metaphorical exorcism.
Oh, Shakespeare! So much fun and so much grief.


Claire… when there is heat or congestion in the liver, it needs to go some where. And just like heat rising up in a chimney, so too the heat in the body can travel upward. In TCM, the liver opens/manifests in the eyes and so frequently excess heat in liver will affect eyes. And so heat, in this case, is in the form of wind and will cause the eyelids to twitch – this is perhaps the more benign manifestation of liver wind. A bad case can be migrainous headaches, dizziness, convulsions and on and on… In the case of the slight eye twitching, it is frequently seen as a need for some detoxing of the liver. I’d try the juice of 1/2 a lemon in warm water in the morning 20 minutes before eating or drinking anything else. It’s mini-detox and stimlulator for the liver. Also – organic foods, less sugar and abstaining from alcohol/drugs for a bit can be quite helpful.


Garret – that is super interesting and thank you!

Terri HarpLady

When my son Leif (now 20) was in Jr High, he played Malvolio in the school play. :D


Lucky guy! :) Fun fact about Malvolio and Twelfth Night: during Shakespeare’s lifetime the play was commonly referred to as “Malvolio” even though “Twelfth Night” was the real title. King James’s personal copy of Twelfth Night still exists, and he actually crossed out the title and wrote Malvolio instead.

Terri HarpLady

I believe it! You’d have to know Leif to fully appreciate this, but he is a very straight laced guy, looks a lot like a young Robert Plant with long ring curls, but as straight as an arrow & as dry as a bone, personality wise. He had a lot of speech therapy when he was young, due to a verbal comprehension problem, so he has an amazing vocabulary (& isn’t afraid to use it), and speaks rather eloquently. He’s also very shy. So we were all quite amazed to see him come alive on stage, turning & addressing the audience like Ferris Beuller talking to the camera. We (his family) were blown away, as were his classmates, and he literally stole the show. It was awesome! I still feel proud!


That is awesome Terri, I bet you were so proud! Malvolio is a great character and it takes a good actor to play him. It sounds like Leif was more than up to the task. :)

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

A most interesting set of comments to read. Both b/c I love Shakespeare, esp King Lear, and b/c I found eastern medicine v interesting in my complementary and alternative medicine class in grad school.


chrine – I think King Lear is Shakespeare’s best play (my opinion). My final paper ended up discussing the nature of disguise as a kind of possession and accompanying exorcisms (Viola as “monstrous”, Edgar in disguise, the Fool in disguise exorcising Malvolio). I’m happy to say that the professor really liked it!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Sweet! I’m glad you did well on your paper. =)

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141 tasting notes

Very nice shu puerh! This was one of the ones I was waiting to try for quite some time and I was not disappointed.

I love the smoothness of the sip and the strength to its brew. Really does well with a GongFu styled shorter steeping. The liquid has plenty of body and is not watered down tasting. This allows for quick reload of your next cup and works perfect for the impatient tea drinker. No need to wait here, steep for 7 seconds in your gaiwan and you are all set – time to pour and sip!

There is very little fermentation smell or taste – more fresh uncovered earth or moisten moss. Greener, not old musty. I found no bitterness at all, no matter the steep time (I did allow the leaves to steep longer a couple times, to gauge it’s character under the Western steeping style. It’s all about knowledge and full experience, for me that is).

There were some cleaner, almost medicinal properties to the tea that I noticed the longer I drank. One surprise I found, somewhere around cup 4-5, was a numbing sensation towards the front of the mouth and concentrated on the tip of the tongue. This was most enjoyable and added depth to the overall interaction with this tea and its wonderful complexity.

I’m sure that I’ve missed a few points that are needed to be stated, however my mind is not able to put all the necessary words together. I guess what is written will have to be the only voice at this time. If there is any question of what I’m trying to say – I really enjoyed this tea!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

I love the name too!


oh, i got one of these i am going to have to try it soon!


I tried this on Monday and loved it! Great little cake.


On my list!


I am so humbled and appreciative of the enjoyment that you are all expressing for the teas that I have been choosing and pressing. It makes all the work and money worth it. I am truly grateful. No words. Just so happy. A happy man.

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318 tasting notes

This is a nice shu! This afternoon I was faced with a tough choice; which tea to try first. :D I was in the mood for pu’erh, and decided to try the phatty cake.

The leaves are attractive and fairly large in size. The compression on this cake is really tight around the center, I could hardly pry a piece out!

Early infusions: The first couple of infusions were a bit disappointing for me. It was a bit too mulchy and mushroomy, but I could taste the good, strong flavors underneath.

Middle infusions: All of a sudden, this tea was delicious! A bold, chocolaty flavor with a slight saltiness, and an unexpected hint of fruit; apricot and, blueberry maybe? Blueberry is definitely a new one for me. There is still a bit of “compost pit” hanging around, but its mostly gone. Around this time I also start to get some “qi” feel with some tingly feelings along the top of my head. Definitely the strongest feeling I’ve gotten from a ripe pu’erh.

Later infusions: Tea! Waht r u doing!! Stahp!!! I have some homework to get on, but these leaves just keep making more tea! These little leaves made at least twelve (I wasn’t really counting) nice, bold infusions.

This is a good, potent pu’erh, but my(not so) expert opinion says it could use a year or two to let the fermentation flavors fade.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

This is one of the one’s that I’m probably gonna have to get sometime soon. :)


still has a little “camphor” bite in it but like you said very good for multiple infusions. i am anxious to see how this ages as well. i have no doubt of the quality here. i think it will get better and better.


HI! The material I used to press this cake was 2006 spring leaf that was ripened in 07… this tea, because of its fairly light oxidation still has plenty of room the grow. I’ve got 7 cakes set aside for my personal stash. And while I do not want to wish time away, I do look forward to seeing what the next couple of years will bring to it!


Pu’er… the one thing that makes me wish for immortality! I honestly get a little sad when I see my newest pressings in the vault and know that I likely will not get to taste them when they are 50 years old. And then I get happy, cause I have them to drink now. Where there’s tea, there is hope, right?!!?


LOL! I like that. That’s how I feel sometimes (look! a great cake… but.. but I wont be able to taste it at 50 years of aging). Tea is amazing, and think about this way. The light oxidation allows for complexity to be formed! You could become a legend!


Man, all this talk of aging pu’erh is making me drool :P


garret it will be yummy! i don’t think the phatty cake i have is going to last longer than 2013!!!


Doomed! At 65 I’ll never know what aged puerh tastes like but the way I love puerh,not sure I could wait anyway without drinking it all up!

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1040 tasting notes

It was snowing here today. I am not ready for winter, don’t like this cold weather. Came home and was looking for pu’erh to add to a swap package, and decided that it was time to break into this cake. I’d been saving for a night when I can spend some time with it. Cold, wintery evening equals hockey game, spicy noodles and a good pu’erh. I have hockey, I have spicy noodles but I don’t have a good pu’er – I have a GREAT pu’erh.
I LOVE Mandala pu’erh and this one is no exception. I don’t even know what to say. This is totally different from Noble Mark – great but different. I’m not going to come up with the right words, but this is almost sweet – almost desserty. It’s smooth and gentle, not a trace of nasty. Sometimes I think a pu’erh is too gentle – but this one has enough happening that it’s gentle but not boring. I’m eating spicy noodles and this balances that spiciness perfectly. Is this better than Noble Mark – no I don’t think better is the right word – I’m going to say complimentary. I highly suggest that if you like pu’erh you should have both in your cupboard. :))


I second that!


I have a feeling I’ll be making a “Christmas money” order from Mandala before Christmas…


This is a fun review, my friend! Thank you for posting this. It warms my heart to see teas that I have created come alive in the cups (and reviews) of our friends/customers! I am working on 5 new pressings right now, both ripe and raw. Excited about the new material and the testing we have done (proving our teas to be free of pesticides/sprays). We drink this stuff all day long and we want our customers drinking super clean tea, too!

Also… the Phatty Cake II: The sequel, is now available. It’s the same 2007 material with the addition of some slightly larger 2007 leaves for balance. We are excited about it.

Again, thank you!! I am super grateful to you and make wishes that you are having a tea-riffic day!!



Garret – Thank you. I love your tea – 7 out of my top 10 rated teas are yours. I’m really excited to hear that you are working on new pressing. More great teas to try.
But, as much as I love your teas, I love your attitude more. You get it, it’s more than just customer service – you want to share the passion you feel for your teas – you are excited about sharing what you are doing and that passion/excitement is contagious – it just oozes from both your products and your comments.
I just want to say thanks for doing what your are doing. I appreciate it and I know others do too. :))

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15131 tasting notes

thank you terri for sharing this with me. I have some of the loose version of this as well in my cupboard that i recently purchased from Mandala. I know that garret is going to be doing something in the near future with this and the phatty 2 that they have now so i wanted to make sure i got a chance to try this one out before then. I’ve been drinking it most of the morning and haven’t been focusing on that particularities of teh tea on purpose. I just wanted a morning with this to get a general sense of how i felt about it. At some point in the future i’ll go through the steepings and make notes but today? Today i am simply enjoying this for what it is. A delicious puerh i could drink nearly every day.

Terri HarpLady

Glad you like it!

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