Noble Mark Ripe Pu'er Blend 2011

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Creamy, Earth, Malt, Sweet, Smooth, Apricot, Dried Fruit, Leather, Chocolate, Fruity, Bread, Cream, Mushrooms, Nuts, Wet Earth, Wood, Bamboo
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 oz / 147 ml

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57 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!

This blend of ripe pu’er 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. In fact, it will tickle all your ripe tea drinking fancies!

About Mandala Tea View company

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57 Tasting Notes

97 tasting notes

I just ordered more—darn sale— so I decided to finish off the last of my sample. It’s like seeing an old friend again after a long time. You miss them, you know they are there if you need them but you just never get around to calling them. That’s how I feel about this tea. I love it so much and I know I have a cake waiting for me but I feel better waiting to drink it. Does that sound crazy?

It’s still my favorite gentleman’s shu after all this time. It’s creamy milk chocolate with a nutty background. There’s also a heavy cream-ish taste in the background. So nice. Like hot cocoa. I’m totally okay with having bought 4 more ounces of this. So okay.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Nuts

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Awesome…. that’s exactly how I feel about some of my favorite teas. Nice to know they are there, but you just don’t get around to “calling” them as often as you should.
You introduced me to this one, and I still LOVE it – thank you.


I went for the shou sale and got a lot of sheng to go with it! looking forward to my order from Mandala!


YES! I just packaged up your order, my dear and shipped it out! John, you should see yours soon, too! I’ve got a few new pressings in the works that I am quite excited about. It’ll be a few months before we see them (they have to be pressed, dried, sit for a while before shipping to US) but I look forward to sharing them with y’all when they finally land stateside!

Thank you each so much for spreading the word of our humble company. It truly means so very much. We are proud to have friends like you.



Dexter: A part of me thinks it’s my tendency towards hoarding. If I don’t drink it, I know its there but yeah buy more so I can hoard that too. It’s a vicious cycle. I am so happy that I could introduce you to Noble Mark. Although it doesn’t take much convincing with this one.

mrmopar: I have to load up on sheng one of these days. I am stocked up on shu for the next decade or so but I haven’t found a sheng that I love that much. Aside from Wild Monk that is.

Garret: I can’t wait for the new blends. I kind of fell of the wagon with coffee but now I am all teaified again.

Terri HarpLady

I keep thinking I should start a business called, “Terri’s Tea Library”. I could invite people over for tea, take a love donation, offer to sell them a bit at a reasonable price. OR Do a local subscription thing, where they have a small container that I fill once a month with the tea of their choice. I already do that with a couple of my harp students, I gave them a little tin for HoliDaze, & they can bring it & refill it. It only holds a couple of T worth, but that’s enough to try something out.

Anyway, I’d never really make a real profit, but maybe it could be a non-profit thing. The catch is I’d get to deduct all of my tea & teaware purchases when I do my taxes!! :")


Grace I agree about the shouQ Sheng is where my next direction is. I am trying to get some good stuff now to age in the pumidor. We will discuss some shengs in the future, you should join our discussion on puerh of the day.
Garret I am jumping for joy. I should have my box from you tomorrow!
Terri, can I join you in this venture or have you seen my cupboard lately! ACK!!


This will be my breakfast tea this morning. I haven’t tried it yet but am looking forward to it.

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3294 tasting notes

This is the 2nd time I’ve drank this tea.
Dry, it has an earthy, mushroomy aroma.
The first time I used a formula of 5T + 4oz Gaiwan (rinse) & then steeps of 10, 20, 30 secs, etc.
This time I realized there were actual instructions on the package, suggesting 1T + 8oz X 15sec (then 30, 45, etc)
It was nice, smooth, but a little weak for my tastes.

I’ve probably been drinking too many xingyang Shu’s, following their guidelines of more tea & longer steeps. Maybe I’ll try this one like that the next time.


I thought the same thing.


This has been the tea I’ve been having before every workout or run each morning for going on two months. I sometimes veer from the recommended brewing on the package and do a longer first steep… I’ll do the two boiling rinses of 5 or 10 seconds and then steep it for 5 minutes or so to get a bold and strong cup. Then I steep it again for 10 or 15 minutes and drink that during my workout. I’m a bit obsessed with it obviously because I have several hundred teas in our pu’er vault.

I look forward to seeing what you think when you brew it long and strong.

When it comes to making recommended steeping instructions on our packages, it’s tricky, because we have many customers who want mellow tea. So we use the recommendation as simply a place to start.

Joy to you both!!

Terri HarpLady

:D Thanks Garret! It’s all a divine experiment, right? :)
Enjoy the day!


Terri, I think both of us should just look in the mirror before brewing tea, huh! You, Garret and I would get along just fine.

Terri HarpLady

Savor the moment, right?


you both should get a really nice mirror, park yourselves in front of it and see all the beauty reflected in it. that’s what I think! tea optional for this exercise, but encouraged :)

Terri HarpLady

Oh, tea would definitely be a part of THAT experience! :)
I think the three of us should someday get together, brew up something awesome, & sit & smile at ourselves in the mirror, kind of like an episode of The Californians (SNL), only without the drama, LOL :D


Oh, but if we were all together, we would need no reflective surface as we would be a mirror for one another with smiles, joy and laughter ensuing. Unless you count the surface of the poured tea as being reflective, that is :)

Terri HarpLady

You’re awesome!

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1113 tasting notes

Sample sipdown!

I had been hoarding the last of this sample which I got with a Mandala order a while back. This is probably one of my favorite shu puerhs. I’m pretty sure I prefer it to the famous Phatty Cake as well! I will just have to order more eventually.

Happy Mother’s day to all the Steepster moms!!! Hope you have great days :)


Too funny that this review happened just now, my friend! I am drinking the same tea. The loose leaf version. I’m really happy that you enjoy this one. It’s one of my all-time fave loose teas. I’ve been sipping and comparing it to the Temple Stairs blend that I did this year. The Noble Mark, with it’s age, has a slightly more well-rounded flavor, but this Temple Stairs, with a little more aging will most certainly be a rival. I just wrote the description for the Temple Stairs and put it on the site:

I can’t remember if I got you some of it on your last order for a sample or not. I hope I did.


New shu from Mandala?! Oh, I’m in trouble now.


Oh boy, I hope that’s a good frowny face :) Pretty excited about it. So much so that I pressed 500 of the 100 gram cakes and 10,000 5gram mini-tuochas. Gonna be one mighty fine mini-tuo. Can hardly wait to get them shipped. They were pressed at the pu’er factory last week Now they just need to finish drying before getting on a boat and headed to us. Then you!


I have never tried the Temple Stairs! Sounds good!!

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676 tasting notes

Thank you to Claire for this sample!

I was eyeing the reviews on Noble Mark. What a clever name (these Mandala tea’s have the best names…Phatty Cake, Wild Monk are favorites)!

The other day I tasted this Pu’er with Eric at the tea shop, and then I had some again today.
Both sessions tasted about the same. A quick rinse and 10-20 second steep each produced a very light tasting tea.

This was one of the lightest pu’er’s I’ve ever had and the silkiest.

There’s a difference between buttery and silky. Buttery tea’s coat the mouth and lips while silky tea’s glide through the mouth in such a smooth way that you almost can’t feel the tea at all.

I tasted slight cedar and italian latte foam mixed together as a light, warm, tea gelato.

Etherial tea…..

Dreamers should drink this before dreaming, and lovers in the afternoon when the weather is warm.

I’m a Winter thick Pu-erh drinker, a mug of brew and cedarwood. Somwhat of an ancient Library or Cathedral in a cup.

To each their own, and I admit this is an appealing tea. I can envision it’s popular, comfortable use. Applause to Noble Mark.


I shared this tea with my oldest son on his 28th birthday. It was his first puerh! I even got the grand kids to try but not with as much enthusiasm as us “adults”. A very good one for us to share on that day.


Oh, I love the imagery of “an ancient Library… in a cup”!


Ancient library in a cup? Don’t mind if I do! :)

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318 tasting notes

Thanks for the sample, Garret!

My first thought when taking a sip of this tea was “Wait, is this the right tea?” I had a few shu pu’erh samples airing out in small cups, but this one looked distinctly different, being the only loose leaf. Yep, this is the right one, but how can a 2011 pu’erh taste so clean?!? Despite its young age, there is little fermentation flavor left in this tea. :)

Early steeps: Being this was a young shu, I was fully prepared to set aside the first steep or so for pouring over my yixing, but I decided to take a sip, and it was remarkably clean and smooth. The main flavors that I picked up on were milk chocolate, cream, and white peppercorn. Sure there was a bit of off flavor, but for a tea less than two years old? This is amazing!

Middle and later steeps: The warm, creamy flavor continues, and I start to notice some bready flavors as well as a sugarcane note that reminds me of a Yunnan black. It is malty and delicious. I didn’t find the flavor to be especially complex, just sweet, smooth, and enjoyable. Perhaps more will come with age.

This is a very soothing pu’erh and would make a great “happy place” tea :)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Yay!! I thought you would appreciate this!!! I am so pumped about my connection with this producer! I just secured this year production of the same leaves from them and will have 440 lbs of this tea for loose leaf and also our cake pressings!! They know what I want and I want to keep it coming!!! Thank you for the review!


That’s a lot of tea! haha, I’m always happy to review a good product. How soon til the cakes come? I might just have to get one


Hello, my friend! I have 5 kg’s of the cakes arriving in 3 weeks (or so) and the remaining 300 cakes in around 8 weeks!! I’ll hold one for you :)

Terri HarpLady

I can’t wait for my sample to come!!! This sounds awesome!
You might have to hold one of those cakes for me too…just saying!


Well, I decided to give in and place order to make sure I get a cake of the Yong De. Maybe sometime I’ll get a Noble Mark cake, but I think I’ve reached my tea buying limit for now :P


Mr Perez, my friend, your order has been received and will ship out to you tomorrow!! Thank you… can’t wait to see what you think of the new stuff. Wishing you all kinds of joy!


Thanks so much Garret!

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304 tasting notes

drank this today with my oldest son, his first pu-erh! will do a later tasting note.. he liked it!

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

It was his birthday today, correct?!?!!?!?!?!


Well today was an early celebration. his birthday is tomorrow but we celebrated today due to his work schedule. So yes its today (just early). Thanks for the great tea to share with him Garret!!!


I’m obsessed with the Noble Mark right now. I swear, I’m gonna drink it all. Luckily, I have biz partners who will do an intervention for me should I need it. They can’t have me drinking away the profit :) Thanks so much for sharing the tea drinking pics today, John! Awesome!!


You got to save me a cake when you get them in! Glad you got to meet the family through the pics. GREAT TEA!


I just had some of the cake yesterday. It was pressed on 10/25. Already, the flavors of the cake are deepening and getting more complex. Typically, the loose ripe tea is better than the cake for a while, but once the cake ages a bit, wow! So much more complexity develops and at about 2 to 3 years after the pressing, I fall in love. With the tea, that is. And who knows what else?


Saw the pictures! Great to share with your son!


Thanks Bonnie it was his first pu!


Always exciting for us addicts to share our addiction!

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1040 tasting notes

I had a bit of a crappy day at work today. Felt like I spent the whole day fixing other people’s mistakes, cleaning up their mess. Was in a bit of a cranky, foul mood when I got home. Went digging in my sample box, and pulled this out. Mandala did really well choosing the other sample I got from them, and I was hoping this one would suit me just as well.
There is something about pu’erh that just makes me happy. For me it’s comforting, soothing, it feels like home, it’s like your favorite comfy slippers.
This is AMAZING. I still haven’t drank a lot of different ones to really know good from great, but if there are better ones out there, I need to find a new rating system. This is big and bold, all the flavors I expect in shu, but as stated in their description, “without overbearing earthiness”. It’s not dirty socks earthy, it’s crisp and clean, smooth, mellow, but full of flavor. I can’t even express how good this is.
Thanks Mandala for including another fantastic sample in the order.

Edit: six 8oz cups later and this tea and I are still very much friends. It’s ok that I’m having tea for dinner right?


At first I thought omg, 6 cups! And then I realized I had 6 cups myself, 2 of 3 different teas. You’re fine. 6 cups is nothing. I am yet to drink 4 cups of the same tea, let alone 6. This must be some tea!


It changes with every steep, I can’t explain the differences, but it changes. The first steep and the sixth steep are not the same tea. You’ll have to let one of the pu’erh experts explain, I just know I liked all of it. :))


Dex! I am so excited that you are digging this blend. In my personal stash I have many tons of ripe pu’er but since creating this blend, I have had this tea every day. I am so excited by it. The cakes that I had pressed of this same leaf are now up on the site as well and they are really beginning to open up since the steaming and pressing. Did a 2 hour sesh with an yixing pot and I’m happy to see the cake doing so well. Over the next 2 to 3 years, this cake will really develop in complexity. Thanks for your review, my friend! I really appreciate you taking the time to do so. A friend, indeed!


Garret: Thank you for your comments. This is what I’m talking about when I say amazing customer service. You obviously care about what your customers think of your products. You’re not just reading reviews, you are thanking people for them. Not everyone does that.
My Mandala wish list seems to be growing!!! I hadn’t seen the Noble Mark cakes, so of course I had to go and take a look. I still don’t see the Special Dark on the website ( Once it comes up, I will be placing another order!!!


Dexter6357 Garret is great and I have a lot of tea from him in my stash.. except for that star of menghai he had but I think he is out now. The Noble Mark was special enough for me to share with my oldest son on his last birthday. Ack special , dark… on the shopping list now.


Thanks, guys! Such kind words!

The Special Dark – such a small quantity in right now. Working on securing more if my yong de supplier can score me more. If you want to get some, just email me. I have close to kg left and don’t have it onsite. We could just take care of your order over email and then you can paypal and we’ll ship it off.


Awesome, I’m so excited. I sent you email with my order. Thank you so much!!!!

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612 tasting notes

Pu erh, here I come. I was a little freaked out by the dry and brewing smell of this, as it was in fact fishy to me. It wasn’t super strong or the worst thing ever or anything, but it was mildly unpleasant and I wondered what I’d gotten myself into (underneath the fish, there was some great stuff though—mushroom mostly). At first sip, I was impressed how light and silky the texture is, no astringency or bitterness, just smooth sweetness. As it cools a bit, leather comes out along with more mushroomy, mossy soil, and while that might sound offputting it’s wonderful. Right at the very end of the cup I start to get intense, dark bricky chocolate.

I’m wondering if I’m missing some vital information to avoid the initial fishy smell (it receded by the time I finished my first steep), something as obvious as a 10 second rinse first or something (I just cavalierly followed the instructions on the package, which mention they’re just general ones). If I can overcome that in the future, I can definitely see enjoying shus. The texture and the way the tea comes across as rich and silky but without that general sweet potato and malt thing going on most of the nicer blacks I’ve tried have (and which I confess I’m getting kind of bored by) is great. It’s so soft but also full of flavor. This seems to be the week of mushroom and wet bark tea love for me, ha.

The second steep smells a bit like classic beef and mushroom stew.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Personally I rinse all pu’erh. Typically I would just cover the leave with 95C water, and dump it off after 10 – 15 seconds. Replace with fresh water and steep your desired length of time.


Yeah, now I’m reading the boards and rinsing seems standard. Whoops! Otherwise, I’m really enjoying it. (:


Good advice on the rinse!! In China, with ripe tea, we do 2 rinses of ripe tea, 5 to 10 seconds.

Rinses away dust, primes the leaf, gets the pot good and hot. The more highly processed the tea is, the hotter the temp required. If we pour boiling water into a cold pot over cold leaf, the temp drops 50 or more degrees just like that! So the rinse enables the water to really draw out the flavors.

Insofar as a fishy smell… a younger tea such as this, sometimes has a post-fermentation smell. But… the more skillfully processed ripe teas will lose that smell (and it’s more of a briny, mushroomy smell, rather than truly fishy) within a year or two. However, a less skillfully ripened tea may never lose that smell and it can sometimes be overpowering for more sensitive people.

I just finished the 2013 blend of these same leaves from the same producer. Exciting!

Thank you for writing up the review. Play with your tea :) What you have here in the noble mark is a really well processed blend of leaves, with plenty of room for improvement over the next few years. This tea was also fully tested for contaminants (we are doing this with our private label teas, even though it is costing us more to do so) and sprays and testing perfectly. Only thing in this is TEA! Enjoy. May the best of health be yours, my friends!


Thanks a lot for the advice! Yeah, I’ll definitely rinse from now on. Looking forward to trying the rest of my haul from you guys. (:


I’m confused – I know it doesn’t take much some days. I ALWAYS preheat my steeping vessel. Doesn’t matter what I’m drinking, I put hot water into the pot/mug/infuser and let it sit for a few seconds. This warms up the vessel so that you don’t loose what temp for steeping. Am I the only one who does this?
This sounds like you use the rinse not only to open the leaves but also to warm up the vessel?
I should be using BOILING water for blacks/pu’erh. I use hot water, just under boiling or so, but never true boiling water.
Maybe I just have some strange ideas………..


Preheating the vessel is just great. I do that all the time. I pour hot water into the vessel, let it get good and hot, pour it off then place the dry leaf in. I let the heat transfer into the leaf and then smell away. I love bringing all of the senses into the experience!

The rinse of the leaf will really heat things up and prime the leaf to give up its full flavor.

Pu’ers, particularly ripe teas, like a FULL boil. Some will use lower water temps on raw pu’ers, and that is personal preference. Hell, it’s all personal preference, really, but the more processed the leaf the higher the water temp it takes to coax the flavors from it.

It’s fun!!!


Also… smelling the leaf after the rinse is another great thing to do.

But above all, have fun with it all. Tea is a blast. Tea is so many things. Hip, meditative, joyful, delicious, sweet, fun to share, healthy, hydrating, cool, hot, sexy and groovy!


Thanks Garret!! Appreciate the insight. I LOVE Noble Mark, but usually steep about 95C. Will try at full boil, is it possible to be any better ?!?!

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15123 tasting notes

sipdown! Terri is my most awesome tea sister who sent this my way. But i suck. I was drinking this in the morning and apparently i’m a little tired and stressed still because without thinking i picked up the leaves and tossed them out with the other cup of tea i was drinking….there was no way to salvage them and yes…i stared long and hard at the garbage trying to figure out if i could get them out. Sooooo i didn’t get as many steeps out of this one as i wanted to but i DID get enough out of it to know that i really enjoy this one. I have more of this in my cupboard (i think it’s the 2012 version) so i’m looking forward to getting to have more and actually finish steeping it! sorry terri! :(


Crazy thing about this Noble Mark for me: Since I completed the blend and had all the leaves shipped to me, this has been my first tea of the day for over 6 months! And now the Noble Mark cake (pressed on 10/25/2012 is really starting to open up and build in complexity! So excited about this blend! Glad you enjoyed it.


Sil your post is both hilarious and sad at the same time. I so picture myself in the same situation. Only here could you tell this story and be understood.


i’m still kicking myself for doing that…


I’ve contemplated the same issue with dry leaves scattered all over my floor … after all, they do call some of ’em “sweepings…”

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525 tasting notes

So yesterday I worked from home because the train line I usually commute on is having power issues and is running very limited service. Today, I’m trying out the limited service because working from home for the two to three weeks it will take to fix is just too much. In any case, I had access to my fancy teas and tea ware while it was still early enough for caffeine! And I’ve been meaning to try out this puer for a while now.
First impression was that this is extraordinarily light for a ripe puer. But it didn’t taste raw either. I love the fresh cut cedar aroma. I wish I remembered the experience better but drinking while working, even from home, is not helpful to the tasting experience. I was aware enough to note that this is an amazing puer that I like more than I thought I would.

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