Mandala Tea has several Silver Bud pu’er cakes - 2008, 2011 and 2012. I went with the 2012 as it is cheap price, plus it was on sale at the time! I actually was stuck between this one and the Mandala “Wild Monk” Raw Pu’er 2012 for my first cake.
Also, the 100g cakes are so darn cute of a size!
My only disappointment was there was no artwork on the wrapper. The Wild Monk cake had some fantastic art on the wrapper (and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing). Either way, Teal Owl is here, ready to use his pu’er pick (also from Mandala Tea)!
Dry Leaf: A very good looking cake that smells lightly earthy! The leaves are a beautiful monochrome confetti of silver and browns, broken up with the odd golden leaf.
Steeping Instructions: For my first steeping of this tea, I used a glass gaiwan with 190F water, with about 4ish grams of tea. Mandala Tea suggests for a smooth cup, go with 175F to 190F, but feel free to go with boiling water. I started with 15 second steeping, adding 15 to 30 to 1 minute infusions as I went on.
Teal Owl got crazy with the tea picking!
We got around 4grams picked off. I wanted a bit more but it was either that or way more tea as we needed just a little more, and he got a huge chunk loose, so we stopped.
Arggg. I really need a tea table. Oh well, I’ll make do with a saucer.
There we go Mr Tea Turtle! Have some Silver Bud rinse!
Okay, back to the tea! Silver Buds Raw Pu’er steeped has a gentle gold glow with a slightly smokey scent.
First Infusion: Very soft, smooth and delicate! The tea sips in sweet with apple notes. I’m sitting here trying to identify the apple.. maybe a gala? It’s a crisp apple. The tea finishes with a peek of earthyness.
Second Infusion: A stronger brew! The pu’er starts with that apple note. Mid sip is a gentle floral, as if a flowery spring breeze has swept into the room. End of sip is that earthy, with a touch of smokey flavor. Aftertaste is a gentle sweetness that lingers while I make the next infusion.
Reflecting on Silver Buds Raw Pu’er, the image I get is this tea is like a golden spring morning. The sun is rising, giving a warm glow on the petite white flowers in a meadow. Everything is waking up and starting off slow and gentle.
Even infusing away in the gaiwan, the tea glows like the sun is rising!
Third, Fourth, Fifth Infusion: The tea is getting brighter! The flavor starts off smooth, like a sweet apple custard, finishing off with a bright, sweet floral flavor that lingers. Floral-o-meter rating of 2/10! There is an interesting aftertaste. I wouldn’t call it astringency yet, but it’s a gentle apricotty-floral-earthy that is sticking to my teeth.
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Infusion: Silver Buds Raw Pu’er is starting to lighten, despite a 2 minute steeping time. The apple flavor has dissolved to a more smooth earthy sweet vibe, ending with a ping of mineral coppery flavor. The smoothness is very good here! The tea finishes off with that mystery almost astrigenty apricot tooth sticker flavor. The earlier infusion had lots of interest with the fruit and floral notes going on, but these infusions are so smooth and relaxing – like I’m sleeping in that glowy sun meadow.
Someowl is hoping he can get more pu’er to use his pu’er pick on!
Ninth, Tenth Infusion: Silver Buds Raw Pu’er has softened even more to a bright mineral and light earthy flavor, with that lingering apricot astringency.
Eleventh Infusion: Very light, just and aftertaste left. I’ll stop here.
Comments: I’m surprised how little smokey and astringency is present in Mandala Silver Buds Raw Pu’er 2012! I was expecting smokey and dryness as this is a young cake. This might have to do with my 190F temperature.
I enjoyed the transitions between the infusions – the floral apple early on to the smooth mineral earth at the end. I will savor every leaf of this cake! I do love Mandala Tea’s Wild Monk 2012 cake, but this Silver Buds Raw Pu’er 2012 is very different and I can justify owning both.
Overall, this tea is a gentle, delicate tea that just keeps putting out flavor and bang for your buck! Mandala Silver Buds Raw Pu’er 2012 would be an excellent raw pu’er for a tea peep who loves white tea!