This cake is the sequel to Mandala Tea’s Phatty Cake (the first?), which at this time is still available for purchase. I have had the pleasure to review the first Phatty Cake, and it was a delicious, bold, smokey, mushroom, woodsy, party time kind of pu’er. When Phatty Cake II came out, I purchased it and held onto it for the right day for me to pu’er pick into.
Phatty Cake II‘s leaf was long and tangled, easy for Teal “Pu’er Pick” Owl to pry off some tea.
The cake as a rich forest floor earth scent.
I used boiling water for my steeping of Phatty Cake II, gongfu style in a yixing pot. I started with a 10 second rinse, then started with a 30 second steeping. I added an additional 15 seconds to my steeps up to the 4th steeping, 30 seconds from 5th steeping, 45 seconds for 7th and 1 minute added at the 9th steeping onward.
Tasting of Mandala Tea’s Phatty Cake II
First, Second, Third and Fourth Infusion: Gorgeous colour! Glowy dark brown with a dark halo. Mysterious! The tea has a woodsy earth scent, similar to the dry leaf.
Phatty Cake II isn’t messing around – this tea is sharp! It sips in light, but then quickly has a strong and sharp richness. Lots of dark cocoa spice notes – the kind of chocolate in the 90% range with a rich, lightly bitter quality. Also this tea has some rich woodsy bark notes. Throughout the sip Phatty Cake II is very clean. I’d say this first steeping is dancing close to abrasive territory with its sharp finish. The flavor is thick, yet clean and crisp. Bit of dryness, 2/10 on the Astringe-o-meter in the first steeping of Phatty Cake II, but this dryness goes away after the 3rd infusion.
With each further infusion in these early steepings, I’m finding Phatty Cake II smooths out and gets sweeter.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusions: Slight flavor shift in Phatty Cake II - it is still rich chocolate and woodsy, but much sweeter and with a slight vanilla smoothness. Overall, the tea has mellowed out. Also a mineral flavor end of sip. The colour of the brew has lightened as well. That slight bitterness from the sharp cocoa has faded.
Once I hit the fifth infusion I was like, “This is it. The best infusion – the stars have aligned!” However, every steeping onward is also just as good! I couldn’t get enough Phatty Cake II!
Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusions: Phatty Cake II has gotten quite light here and these last steepings is me milking as much as I can out. There is an amber mineral flavor, with a rich cocoa spice finish.
Eleventh Infusion: I did a 10 minute steeping here and got an interesting burnt caramel sip upfront, wet stones mineral notes with a cocoa finish. It was like Phatty Cake II had one last trick up its sleeve!
I found Phatty Cake II hard to put to words. It’s complex in its texture as it goes from a bright sharpness to mellow and smooth. Phatty Cake II had a “in your face” start – testing you with a slightly abrasive personality. With more infusions and patience, Phatty Cake II mellows out and gets sweet on you – once that happens, you want more! From the 5th steeping onward, I was shaking out every drop from my tea pot!
It has been awhile since I had the first Phatty Cake, but I found Phatty Cake II more interesting mellow progression. Also, Phatty Cake I had a more savory side with mushroom and almost salty notes, whereas Phatty Cake II is more woodsy and mellow. I’d say, it be worth owning both teas, but a newer pu’er drinker might want to try Phatty Cake II first.