Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mandala Tea Temple Stairs 2014 Ripe Pu'er

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark brown with visible golden tips
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark reddish brown

There's a chill in the air and I find that my tastes are changing with the shift in seasons. Cravings for roasted oolongs and dark, inky shou puerh has been dominating my tea drinking. There's just something comforting about these darker teas. This tea immediately came to mind on a particularly nippy fall evening.

This 100g cake from +Mandala Tea was beautiful to look at. I almost didn't want to break into it. The leaves were a million shades of brown and gold, especially when I put it inside of my light tent to pictures. They weren't super tightly compressed so I was able to easily break off a portion with just a small needle.

After a quick initial rinse, this tea brewed up an inky dark color. The taste was earthy and sweet with woody notes and hints of vanilla. This is a great introductory tea for those that are new to cooked puerh. It wasn't overly earthy and there was absolutely no fishiness. I did at least five consecutive infusions and then continued to brew a bit the next morning. Later infusions brought out cacao and brown sugar.

Since this shou is on the milder side I definitely recommend being a bit heavier handed with leaf volume. I wound up using about 8g in a 150ml gaiwan. Increasing your steeping times as you go will help to maintain strength as well. Mandala Tea's website is down at the moment but once it's back up you should definitely check out what they have to offer. Their customer pressed teas, like this one, are among some of my favorites.

Temple Stairs 2014 sample provided by Mandala Tea.