Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mandala Tea Temple Stairs 2014 Ripe Pu'er Mini Tuocha

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: very dark

I'm a sheng girl through and through but one does not say no to mini tuoacha from Mandala Tea. I was intrigued when I read on their site that these were custom pressed from higher quality material. A blend of Bada and Mengsong leaves from 2012 and 2013, care was taken to use only tea from pesticide free plantations. After a rinse and a couple of brews, the liquor turned an almost inky dark color. Shou is usually associated with an almost unpleasant forest floor type of earthiness. There was none of that here. Instead, I got a smooth and comforting cup of tea with an unbelievably complex flavor profile. Sweeter notes of chocolate and burnt sugar gave way to hay and dark grains. I love a good stout and somehow that is what this tea brought to mind. There was a bit of eau de fermenation in later infusions but I didn't find it off putting at all. One tuocha kept trucking through at least 10 infusions over the course of an evening. I've still got a 100g bing of this tea to dig into but I can definitely see myself picking up some of these little guys once that is gone.

Temple Stairs 2014 Ripe Pu'er Mini Tuocha sample provided by Mandala Tea.

A photo posted by Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) on