Milk Oolong from Mandala Tea

MilkOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Mandala Tea

Tea Description:

We are so excited about this tea and judging by the repeat buys, our customers are too!  It possesses a creamy aroma with hints of coconut, hard toffee candy along with the classic floral undertone present in so many high-end Taiwanese oolongs.  The producers aromatize high quality leaves from plants that grow in altitudes between 1,600 and 3,200 feet above sea level.

The Fall 2014 crop delivers the dessert-like notes in early infusions and a beautiful, balanced cup.  In later steepings aromas of lilac and gardenia begin to move more forward.  Production is an artform and those who create it are quite guarded about proprietary steps in processing. Through many tastings, our appreciation for their craft only increases.  No “off” aromas and not a trace of artificial or chemical flavor.  It is a wonderfully complex tea, sure to please most any tea drinker.  And if they weren’t a tea drinker to begin with, they will be after trying this!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Never having Mandala Tea before, I was quite excited when I saw a package of Milk Oolong appear in a goodie box I recently received.  Mandala Tea has always been a company I’ve wanted to try but when you have a tea stash that is over 800 teas, its hard to justify one more order.

I open the package and take a deep breath and inhale the amazing aromas coming from this dry leaf tea.  Sweet and very dessert like, exactly what the description of the tea indicates. I prepped my water and sat and watched the tea leaves uncurl and dance around in my tea pot.

I pour myself a rather large mug of this gorgeous pale yellow brew and proceed to take my first sip.  The first notes that hit you are a rich buttery one.  It seriously envelops your entire mouth. All the while notes of an almost vegetal feel and coconut flavor swirl around, making a really nice creamy touch. I can pick up an additional sweetness but I’m not sure if its more sugary or toffee-like the description depicts.  There are other flavors that peek out here and there but I can’t really define them. Such a wonderful tea.  Complex yet simple all in the same if that makes sense.

All I know is this is one great tea that is perfect for any time of the day! Sweet, rich, buttery, with a slight vegetal touch. . .really good.  I plan on spending the rest of the day with this tea and I can’t wait to see what the second infusion brings.

For my first experience with Mandala Tea. I think I have a winner on my hands!

Yunnan Beauty Oolong Tea from Mandala Tea

Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Mandala Tea

Tea Description:

This tea is a variation on a Taiwanese oolong named “Oriental Beauty”, utilizing large-leaf wild arbor Yunnan grown leaves.  Nearly black leaves and silver tips impart a dark, sweet, wine-like flavor unto the water.  Great no matter how you choose to brew it.  This tea is quickly becoming a favorite in the tea thermos.  It will keep well and develop new flavors over 2-3 years.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Yunnan Beauty Oolong Tea from Mandala Tea is a very forgiving tea!  I accidentally brewed it at too high a temperature (boiling water!) because the sampling that I received said “Yunnan” and I saw leaves that were large and black and I thought … Alright, this is a black tea.  So I brewed it the way I would normally brew a black Yunnan!

But the flavor is amazing, regardless of this oversight on my part.  The flavor is sweet, rich, and has a lovely woody tone to it.  The sweetness is fruity with notes of molasses.  I also notice a toasty nutty taste to this as the tea starts to cool down a little bit … still warm, but, not quite as hot as it was when I started sipping.  A hint of caramel also weaves its way through the sip every once in a while, too.

There is a very pleasing sweet wine-esque note, complete with a muscatel-ish taste that … had I tasted this without knowing what it was, I might have guessed a Darjeeling, or at least an Oolong that was grown in the Darjeeling region.  After reading my Sister’s review (Azzrian!) of this tea, I see that she’s probably not going to agree with that last part, but, that’s OK.  Since I brewed this tea “wrong” … perhaps the way I infused the tea brought out the flavors I’m experiencing.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth.  This is one of those teas that I’d want to brew up a big pot of, and just keep sipping on all day long.  The leaves will submit several infusions as well, so be sure to resteep!

A really delightful tea from Mandala, I’d recommend this to all Oolong enthusiasts out there – it’s a deliciously different Oolong that will delight your palate!

Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea

Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea
Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Mandala Tea

Tea Description:

One of our favorite oolong teas capable of many infusions.

This tea is a variation on a Taiwanese oolong named “Oriental Beauty”, utilizing large-leaf wild arbor Yunnan grown leaves.  Nearly black leaves and silver tips impart a dark, sweet, wine-like flavor unto the water.  Great no matter how you choose to brew it.  This tea is quickly becoming a favorite in the tea thermos.  It will keep well and develop new flavors over 2-3 years.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea is a lovely sweet and aromatic oolong that looks much like a black tea in dry form.

The sweet aroma is present both in dry leaf and when steeped. There is a wonderful sweetness in the taste of this tea not quite honey but not quite molasses, more like sourgum. This lends to the tea being somewhat wine like in flavor, but not muscatel. If memory serves this tea is similar to a barley wine, but it has been years since I have sipped barely wine.

The flavor of this tea really coats your mouth leaving behind a long lasting delicious flavor and aroma that sticks in your nostrils. As you breath you can taste the tea even more.

At 6.00 per ounce, discounted to 21.60 if you purchase 4 ounces this tea is a steal for a high quality and totally unique oolong.

The tea has an interesting effect on the palate, in the front part of your mouth you will get a watery sensation but toward the back it is slightly drying. Not nearly as drying as some oolongs I have sipped but the drying effect is there. The watering mouth mixed with the drying in the back keeps you fully hydrated in between sips yet at the same time makes you just want another and another!

I really quite enjoy Mandala Tea’s Yunnan Beauty Oolong and am happy it is in my stash.

CNNP Yellow Mark Ripe Pu’er from Mandala Tea

CNNP Yellow Mark Pu'er
CNNP Yellow Mark Pu’er from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Ripe Pu’er

Where to Buy: Mandala Tea

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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!

Four Leaves Ripe Pu’er from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu’er

Where to Buy:  Mandala Tea 

Tea Description:

We are proud to offer our very own blend of ripe pu’er tea!  We (and our customers) are very happy with the finished product.  While we love this tea now, we can hardly wait to see what 2 or 3 more years of aging will bring to the flavor of this tea!

Also available in a 250gram cake!

The four leaves used in our ripe tea are from the Jinggu Tea Factory in Simao.  The Jinggu tea factory used to be part of the CNNP state-owned tea factories.  They started fermenting Pu’er in the mid-70’s and was the third factory ever to produce ripe pu’er!

The leaf used was spring picked and processed in 2009 and is quite ready for enjoying now.  We chose the material and pressed the blend in April of 2010.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

One thing I love about Mandala, other than their excellent quality of tea, is their 5.00 shipping! Its just something note worthy as I know when I am considering trying a new tea company their shipping rates do matter. Also Garret at Mandala is one of the most guanine people I have ever spoken with. He takes time with people. That is something we need more of these days.

Four Leaves Ripe Pu’er is a loose leaf pu’er which for those of you starting your pu’er journey may find a little less intimidating. However you can also get it in a cake as well, which is a condensed version of the tea. Steeping instructions are right on the packaging.

I always give my pu’er an initial rise, okay not always but most always anyway. With this tea I did do an initial rinse.

The initial aromas from this tea when steeped are fruity, and leather. There is a sweetness lurking behind these initial aroma notes.

This tea has a crisp bright mouthful, which surprised me as I was expecting something more rich and earthier from the aroma of leather. The flavor of leather is there but the sip is thinner than I anticipated, thin but not lacking flavor!

The sweet berry note is also noticeable.

One note that jumped out at me that took me completely by surprise was a buttered toast flavor! I swoon at anything buttery!

Now don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely an earthy tea, pu’er as a rule is earthy but the other notes bring forth a delightful cheery cup.

I really feel this would make for a good starer pu’er although maybe not a for your very first pu’er. This would be like a level 2 pu’er. Perhaps starting with something flavored first then working up to this.

On the flip side it is not as complex or mature as many pu’er so for the more advanced pu’er drinkers this may not be as exciting.

There is room for growth in this tea but it is young and as much time yet to develop. It does however have a wonderful starting point and if you are one to buy and store pu’er for later drinking I would absolutely recommend grabbing a cake of this!