CNNP Yellow Mark 2003

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Pu-erh Tea
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5 Tasting Notes View all

From 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!

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5 Tasting Notes

2784 tasting notes

Yesterday was my One year Steepster anniversary and I am almost up to 1000 tasting notes, egads!

I haven’t been drinking a lot of pu-erh lately but today it’s raining so I thought this afternoon would be great time to try this sample cake I got from Mandala. According to traditional Chinese medicine, Pu-erh is a good cure for internal dampness.

I broke off a chunk and put it in the infuser mug after a quick 10 second rinse and then steeped it for about 60 seconds. I got a medium reddish-brown liquor. This seems like a very clean tasting pu-erh… a roasted coffee aroma with very earthy & mushroomy flavors and a creamy feeling in the finish.

My second steep was for about 90 seconds and this time I got a much darker infusion. This pu-erh now reminds me of coffee even more. I really think I used way too much leaf in my infuser basket so I decided to dump this infusion out and go for one with a little less time. I wasn’t really wanting such a dark tea so I resteeped it for 30 seconds and liked it a lot better this way. I really think that pu-erhs should be more of a reddish-brown color instead of black so if mine are very dark I know I probably used too much tea.

I’m not sure I am ready to give this a numerical rating yet due to the errors but I am enjoying it. I think I will retry this on another day with a smaller leaf to water ratio. It is warming me up and nice for this icky weather…

Still going strong after 4 steeps but I will probably end here. :)


Happy Anniversary! My sister-in-law told me it was raining in San Jose…odd for June! Hope you have many more successful tea journeys in the coming year! Steepster wouldn’t be the same without you!


thanks Bonnie. :)


Yay for one year!!


Happy Anniversary Amy. May your second year bring you many more tea adventures! :))

…….In midnights & cups of coff [eh hem] TEA! :))


One thousand teas in a year?! Holy cow!!


Cure for internal dampness? Hmm…
Happy anniversary … keep up the good reviews : )


@CHAroma – some of them are repeat tasting notes, I am sure
@Cheryl – I’m skeptical too but whatev. :)

Invader Zim

Over 1000 in one year!! That’s a lot! Happy anniversary!

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673 tasting notes

Thank you mrmopar for this sample tea!

I gave this pu-erh a real good tasting at several steep times. Shorter at first as I usually do (30 seconds), then increasing to a minute and longer still after a few steepings.

The flavor was very, very mild at first. I thought there was something wrong…maybe I needed to rinse this puerh more than one time to open it up.

I poked my puerh knife at the rough bark, encouraging the breakdown of the leaves and more contact with the boiling water.

The tea was still bland.

I increased the steep time. 1 minute, then more after that.

Finally, I had to admit that this was one mild, mellow puerh that was just going to be what it was.

The flavor was juniper berry, (a little on the sour side) not very sweet and smooth. I didn’t find complexity or texture.

Too light a tea for additions too.



I agree that it is certainly not all that complex. I think this would be an excellent starter pu-erh though. It seems to be very mild as you said but I enjoyed it a bit more than you did. Bonnie I think you have just had so many amazing pu-erh that your jaded lol – I did not mean that as an insult – just jealous of your pu-erh stash :)


complex or no..its discovered a new life in your words and hopefully can find a way to express if properly stored away and allowed to mature..if not, then the previous hands who stored it perhaps did it a disservice and it has crushed the living heart of the pu erh…give it a home in an unglazed, ceramic pot and let it sit in a cool, site with consistent temps and airflow and see if it doesn’t transform in a few years


The owner of the beeng (probably has more than one) is aging this better than I can in this dry Colorado climate (which is better for oolongs than puerh unless I get a humidor!) I’m going to try my sample again though because sometimes one day is not enough of a tasting session. Azzrain is right that I’ve had lots of pu-erh and might be jaded…used to stronger pu-erh than this. I need to get some unglazed ceramic pots. I had a resource and can’t find it…erk!

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807 tasting notes

A wonderful Daily Drinker Pu’er in my book! I enjoy it quite much. Full review will be on on the 31st but here are my snippits:

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.

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.

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!


shu/shou pu erh yes? not sheng?


Hi Kashyap! Yes… the yellow mark cake is shu pu’er….
@Azzrian – I just completed a new blend that you have to try. I made 150 lbs of it in loose leaf and 400 cakes of it were also pressed. I am going to strike a deal with the producer of these leaves and do a yearly blend with the same proportions of leaf. It is not on website yet, but is called “Noble Mark” – 2011 material processed in 2011. Blend of 4 grades of leaf, majority smaller leaves balanced out with larger ones.


Thanks for the info Garret! I will have to check your site out and see what else is new too! :)

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148 tasting notes

Sometimes I realized I’ve almost finished off a tea without posting a tasting note. This is one of those! I think that must mean I like it, but don’t have much to say about it. This pu doesn’t wow me, but it’s not offensive either. It reminds me of the kind of black teas I like to get for my thermos at school – not the really lovely stuff, but still far better than the teabagged crap they have on campus (which is not to say that all tea in teabags is bad, but the ones at my school certainly are).

I’m glad I tried the sample of this, as it’s a nice easy drinker. Probably won’t get a whole cake. That Xiaguan crane I got from Garret on the other hand…I need to post a note for that and I wish there was a lot more so I could horde it.


HI Claire! I’m glad you are digging the Xiaguan Crane tuo. How wonderful that we each have one now! Pretty dang good, isn’t it?


It’s really delicious! I love the Yong De cake as well.

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5 tasting notes

Garret sent me home with one of these – my first 10 year old ripe pu’er, and an affordable one. I was working with water at 208 and my dedicated Yixing pot for ripes. The cake fell apart easily with the breaking knife.

30 second infusion: Clean and mild. The flavors are not intense, but work as an integrated whole with nothing spiking out at me. Yes, “clean” is the word.

1 minute infusion: Again, impressively clean-tasting now with a slight cooling sensation. I confess that I don’t like eating mushrooms so I don’t have a good benchmark on some of those flavors others describe. What I do taste is a pleasant leather scent, vanilla, and even slight cinnamon. The extra steeping time brought the flavor intensity way up. Hearty flavor, but not HUGE.

1.5 minute infusion: very much the same cup – it seems to have leveled out at this nice, easy-drinking plateau

3 minute infusion: still the same cup as the 1 minute infusion, the same flavors remain integrated in a nice, round whole. It is pleasant.

Homerun infusion: I don’t know…maybe it was 6 minutes, 10 minutes? Did it for the sake of science and guess what? Pretty much the same cup as the 1 minute infusion.

I’m really glad to have Yellow Mark in my home. This could be brewed in a semi-intentional way for some consistently good pu’er drinking.

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