Leaf Type: Ripe Pu’er
Where to Buy: Mandala Tea
I love this tea. Spring of 2003 CNNP Yellow Mark ripe pu’er. Brew this up in your gaiwan or favorite yixing pot and enjoy a creamy, earthy and well-aged tea. We first had this in Kunming, China in autumn of 2008 and fell in love with it, buying all we could get. Since then, it has been stored (as all of our pu’er teas) in our climate and humidity controlled vault and we have tasted some nice changes since then.
The selfish part of me wants to keep it all for myself, but this is a tea that needs to be enjoyed by as many people as I can get it out to! If you are a lover of well-kept (never wet-stored) ripe tea, this is a heavy hitter… a must try. I am drinking some right now!
Learn more about this tea here.
CNNP Yellow Mark Ripe Pu’er from Mandala Tea has a lovely heaviness to it in the flavor notes. So much so that I could have possibly been fooled into thinking this were a high quality coffee had I not made it myself. Now granted, a thin coffee, but then again I used to drink a very thick turkish coffee before my conversion over to tea. So for most, this probably is exactly the heaviness of a coffee.
This tea has a lovely earthiness to it without being too earthy. The mouthfeel does have a creamy texture which is quite nice. I get hints of notes of vanilla, and butter, but its not too intense on those notes. There is a nice woody taste to the cup as well.
One does not need to use much leaf to get the full effect of this tea. When steeped it has a deep red tone to it. I find the aroma of the tea to be heavier than the flavor itself.
There is a subtle sweetness to the tea which is nice, it is on the dessert end of the pu’er spectrum.
To me, this is more of an every day pu’er – and that is not an insult by any means. Usually when I take the time to sit down and enjoy pu’er it is a process, an event if you will. To me, this is one of those pu’er that is not so complicated that you can’t just make some up and enjoy it every day, on the go, or while working. While it is quite good, very good, it is not so complex that I feel I need to do nothing else but sit down with my yixing pot and dissect it.
Now of course you do get multiple steeps from this tea and you need not steep it for very long. I find that about 20 seconds on the first steep, 30 on the second, about 45 on the third and so on do just fine. This makes it even easier to make while you are working, cleaning, multitasking, and so on. The water temp you can use is also very forgiving. I have made it with water anywhere from 212 degrees to 180 and it fairs well however the recommendation is between 208 and 212. Still if you are on the go and need to use a coffee station somewhere and the boiling water they offer its perfect and you need not steep long so it truly is my favorite “on the go” pu’er, tea for that matter, as it has a real deep flavor that I tend to crave when running errands. Now I dare to say it, but I have actually enjoyed this tea iced as well!
The notes come over as direct and are unassuming. Creamy, full, robust even, woodsy, perhaps a hint of mushroom, buttery, and warm. Simple enough to enjoy every day but delicious enough to savor and appreciate in the moment without it taking too much time to figure it out. I will not say it is my all time favorite pu’er, nor even my favorite from Mandala Tea, but for what it is, it is hardy, and delicious!