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Recent Tasting Notes
There is a certain profile within aged Shengs I totally adore and love and this is exactly that kind of profile! Bu Lang is on of my favorite types in general because of its distinct and deep flavors. Drinking this type of sheng really lets my heart melt and my mind dream about mysterious magical ancient libraries filled with old manuscripts and l
eather wrapped books. The taste is deep as its flavor and filled with such a nice balanced aged thickness of those former named leathery aspects but majorly old Chinese wooden furniture, camphor, very distinct oud (agarwood) taste & scent plus fresh tobacco meets a hint mixture of sandalwood and oak-moss. There is a sensation going on after a while within your nose which develops a certain subtle note of bourbon vanilla while breathing in and out. Definitely coming back for more of this excellent aged Sheng!
So I found a sample of this that I traded for with mrmopar maybe two years ago. It was stored in my pumidor in a Mylar zip lock sample bag. Interestingly, I suspect this created a mini micro climate that sped up the aging process. The brew was very dark, basically shu dark. Very strong qi.
It tastes of mushroom, hints of fruit, and other agey type flavors. I think this is a good example of a humid stored tea done on the dry side. I’m not sure how much I like it. I don’t care for the mushroom flavor that these types of aged teas have. I wonder if I can age that out of it? I suspect not. But it is a very reasonably priced semi aged semi humid stored factory tea. Good to have on your bucket list for education sake.
I also ordered a new sample of this from YS. I will see if it is any different than my sample aged at home. That should prove interesting…
This is a fairly nice aged ripe with a moderate amount of wet storage flavor and no discernible fermentation taste. The wet storage taste was strong through four steeps. It was present to some degree even in the twelfth steep. Overall I do not think this is a good as the 1996 CNNP ripe cake that Yunnan Sourcing alsao sells. That one is also less money. I am not entirely sure how to describe the semi sweet notes that evolved in this brick. So I won’t try.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml teapot with 13g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. Despite the wet storage taste I did enjoy this brick.
Today was absolutely amazing. The astronomers in Saudi Arabia confirmed last night that the crescent moon was seen, meaning that ramadan is over, and it’s time to stop fasting. In other words, Eid Mubarak! In Celebration I picked out a tea that I have been saving for a while for a special occasion, this tea! It is the first ever aged sheng I have ever drank, and this one did not disappoint.
But first more of my day [Please skip this part if you only want to hear about the tea] I woke up today at 4:00 am for the Eid prayer, the prayer is at 6:30, but I was planning to do it at sultanahmed mosque, an extremely big mosque packed with history (but also packed with tourists). However I took too long getting ready and I left the house at 5:00. This spelled disaster, as the mosque fills up extremely quickly when the call for the first prayer is sounded. I forgot this, and came to the mosque when it was calling for prayer. On a normal day this would have been fine, but this mosque is a very popular one for salat al eid, there was even TV crews at the door filming it live. However, this meant that I could not be in the first row like I was hoping to do, but rather I was about 5 rows back. This was absolutely fine, but the thing is that if you are behind the 3rd row then there are people who come very late but still feel as though they can squish themselves in your already full row, it’s kind of annoying for those at the front rows as those people probably had to wake up extremely early to get that spot, and you just woke up 20 mins ago yet feel as though you fit there. This is exactly what happened to me, a group of 6 syrian men came and fit themselves right in the middle of their row (don’t worry I could tell by their arabic dialect, not being racist or anything haha) sat right in front of me and started to talk during the speech of the sheikh. This was extremely annoying as I could not hear the speech itself, and could barely sit down because it was so squished. But everything was well when Eid prayer was finished, as the whole mosque emptied out. I swear there were only like 3 people inside the whole huge mosque (look up a picture of sultanahmed mosque and you will see why this was so amazing), so I took a corner and watched the sun rise while reading quran. It was so amazing, the mosque was so quiet that all you could hear were the birds in the garden outside. So peaceful. Then I took a walk around the old city near my apartment during peak morning sun, and took some very nice pictures. man why do I have to leave in two days I’m finally starting to love it here!
I have always been wondering what aged sheng tastes like, will it be like a ripe or… But eh, kind of. This tea is like a ripe that is perfect for the spring. A Ripe that is not as heavy, it is light and elegant still with plenty of flavor. It was very nice, but still not at all what I was expecting. I’m sure not all aged Ripes are like this, but this one was very vegetal, like a freshly chopped weeds in the garden type of vegetal.
The first two steepings of this tea were where it shined most. It was very fruity…extremely fruity. The fruits I got were very dark, stone fruits such as plums, and grapes, but this tasted the most like cherries! It was very very nice, and at this stage in the tea it was syrupy and heavy like a ripe, which was so good.
However, the tea lightened up very quickly after the 3rd steeping. It was the lightness of a 8th steeping of a ripe, yet with the flavor of a 2rd steeping of a ripe, very refreshing. However, this is where the fruit started to fade and it became extremely vegetal. By the 5th steeping it became a bit too much, and I decided to take a break.
The qi was nice on this one too, not too much, but yet enough that you can feel it.
Overall, it was a nice tea, and I am extremely excited to try more aged shengs and see what flavor profiles they bring, because so be honest ripe puers are starting to all taste the same!
Flavors: Cherry, Grapes, Plums, Stonefruits, Vegetal
This was overall a nice tea. I only bought a sample but it might be worth buying a cake of. There were some notes of leather and tobacco that were gone by around the fourth steep. It was replaced by a note I would call a sweet note but very different from the sweet note of a young sheng. I am not sure how to describe it. I did in the end like this cake.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 75ml teapot with 5.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 seconds.
Flavors: Leather, Sweet, Tobacco
This is an interesting tea that I am not sure how to rate. It has lost every vestage of it’s fermentation flavor so that if I handed you a cup you would not know it wasn’t an aged raw. Before all the aged ripe I have drank had that 1 % of the fermentation left so you could tell it was shou. This was also the most densely packed tea I have encountered in some time. It was extremely difficult to pry off a chunk. The tea itself had a spicy note that I take for aged flavor, strong at first and weak by the twelfth steep. There was also a little wet storage note although not very much. This I barely noticed. Overall I think this was a good tea but it is hard to rate because I do not have much to compare it too. It is really in a category of it’s own even when I try to compare it to the 1996 CNNP that Yunnan Sourcing sells. The 1996 shou had that last vestage of shou taste to it, this had none. Overall this was I think a good tea.
I steeped this twelve times in an 85ml Silver Teapot with 5.9g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. The tea was not done I could get a few more steeps out of it if I wanted to.
Flavors: Spicy, Wet Wood
I haven’t tried any cnnp stuff from YS until now….
Amazing dry storage. The bulang is the star here! Not sure if I pick up the nannou as it might be lesser amount of it blended in here.
After 2 separate sessions I have decided that I will pick up a cake when a sale happens. This is just a solid dry stored tea
This was overall a very nice aged ripe tea. There were no traces of the fermentation left. You could still tell it was a ripe tea and not a raw mind you. Even when all the fermentation is gone it does not taste like an aged raw tea. There was some wet storage taste but it was not strong. It lasted perhaps four or five steeps. There was no bitterness to this tea. There was an evolving sweet note from the beginning until I finished my session with the tenth steep. There was also a taste that I would call an aged flavor but not entirely negative like the leather and tobacco you get with 10 year old raw teas. As to defining the sweet note. The exact description eludes me. You might say fruity but not a strong fruity taste. Very hard to pin down. Now the real question was this worth the price I paid, $105 minus 12%? I would have to say almost worth the price. I will I think continue to drink this one along with the 1996 CNNP from Yunnan Sourcing. This is I think not an incredibly long lasting tea. While I think I could have gotten two more good steeps out of it, it was a little weak at ten steeps. Overall I think this one is worth a sample.
I steeped this ten times in a 150ml Ru Kiln Shui Ping Teapot with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
I really wanted to like this tea. Aged ripe is perhaps my favourite tea ever. Unfortunately it was not to be. I found it somehow hollow and uninteresting. Did not give up much and ran out of steam rather quickly. Main tasting note was “smokey” and a bit musty (which you expect, but this was not complex musty)
Great colour etc, but the nose and taste were lacking.
This tea was very good over the course of sixteen steeps. There was no fermentation taste to this tea. You knew you were drinking a ripe tea and not an aged raw however. It started out with a strong and slightly unpleasant aged flavor. Not the leather and tobacco of an aged raw however. I am not sure how to describe it. This flavor gradually changed over many steeps until it was gone and replaced with what I would describe as a sweet note of sorts. Not the sweetness a young ripe exhibits however. It was different. This was a tea witih many layers as I went through sixteen steeps. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of it but sixteen seemed a good stopping point. Plus I was getting impatient with the longer steeps. This is an expensive cake but well worth a sample if you want to try a real ripe that you know is really from 1992. Not like many teas you see online that claim to be this old but are not really this old. I went into this cake the day after receiving it and didn’t let it rest because I wanted my 1500th tasting note to be a special tea and I couldn’t think of any better tea than the oldest verifiable one in my collection.
I steeped this tea 16 times in a 160ml Solid Silver Teapot with 14g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, and 4 minutes. I definitely recommend this tea. It is worth a sample just to know what a ripe this old tastes like. Wile I am very fond of young ripe cakes this one is a nice change. And the leaves were not played out a sixteen, I could have gotten another 2 to 4 steeps I would guess.
I got some bits of this cake (I don’t remember how), so I gave it a steep. I like CNNP, and I like aged sheng, so what the heck. The leaves are curled and frail; a good amount of darkness has grown. They give off a nice woody, spice, and cedar aroma. The leaves are very aromatic, and the scent is nice and smooth. I warmed up my pot tossed them in. The age is mellowing and dry wood tones appear. I can hint at a slight eucalyptus aroma along with the same cedar note mixed with tobacco. I washed the puppies once and prepared to steep. The taste is sweet and clean. A prominent note of oak aged whisky appears right from the start. The astringency is mild and tends to linger in the aftertaste. A smoky wisp makes itself comfortable at the tip of my tongue. The tea calms down a bit after a few steeps and gives a bassy cranberry throatiness. The aggressive tones seem to wipe away after four steepings and the tea becomes quite soft and sweet with a base of oats. The huigan becomes thicker is quite nice. The qi is very powerful with heavy chest pressure and a top heavy feeling. I was sweating like pig towards to end of the session. I liked this tea, and it was a good drinker.
Flavors: Astringent, Cranberry, Eucalyptus, Oak wood, Oats, Smoke, Smooth, Spices, Whiskey
I feel this is between the semiaged and aged stages of sheng. A slight bitterness on the edge of the earthy flavour. The earthiness is quite faint and is enveloped in a honeyed fruity thickness. Some woody flavour also. Slightly powdery and soft mouthfeel.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Honey, Wood
Rich, meaty aroma. Good mature flavor is mostly leather and tobacco, with some meat and fruit. 2nd steep is even better. Lots of camphor appearing, with strong tobacco notes. By the 3rd steep, I was getting tired of the heavy camphor though there was nice tobacco underneath, as well as some spice in the finish. Some would consider this a really fine tea, but I’m not all that into camphor.
The tea had great longevity. Still going strong after about 8 steeps. I went back about 8 hours later and it was still going strong, and it started to grow on me. At this point I was steeping for about a minute, and the flavor is just camphor and tobacco, but it is fairly strong and still has good mouth feel and a nice balance between nose, taste, and finish. I just kept steeping and it was probably about the 15th steep that I finally decided there was no more flavor in the leaves.
I’m not going to give the tea a score, since I rated it down on my personal ambivalence about camphor. If you are into camphor, you will think this is an excellent tea.
I keep telling people that I don’t like ripe puerh, so I suppose it is only fair to write up a review when I see a tea that challenges my prejudice. I’ve realized that I am just totally buried in samples of puerh. I’ve started just grabbing things at random and steeping them (with an emphasis on shou). This tea is from the second Puerh TTB: I stuck 4 grams in a baggie and threw it in a box about a year ago, so I’m past due time to try it.
The tea is really enjoyable. The best feature is a powerful wood/tobacco aroma with a bit of camphor and a bit of mustiness that reminds me of a dusty shelf. The flavors work really well together, being fairly complex and subtly different in each steep. The taste is similar, with the exception of the 1st steep, which was quite bitter. The bitterness was just about entirely gone in the second steep and beyond. I’m currently on my 5th steep and it is still going strong, with a bit more camphor and a bit less leather as it progresses. Sadly, it is a) out of stock; and b) fairly pricey, or I’d be buying shou for the first time in over a year.
This tea was also my grandson’s introduction to puerh. He’s 10 and has been mostly drinking dessert teas with me, but I figured he’s ready for the hard stuff. He loved it!
I’ve had this sample for over two years. Back then I really did not know what to make of it. Now that I’ve tasted a range of quality young and aged sheng I thought it was time to revisit it.
This tea spent it’s first four years in humid storage, then was moved to Kunming for the remainder. It comes across as a very nice sheng that has passed through middle-aged and is on it’s way to maturity. No sign of wet storage taste that I could detect.
The steeps smell of old books, medicinal notes, camphor, leather, with a couple of hints of cabbage near the end. The cup has a slight Bulang bitterness remaining which turns sweet in the aftertaste. I also get old books, leather, light citrus, some spice, camphor and medicinal notes. Good throat lubrication with slight dryness of the mouth (an interesting contrast).
I took it through 16 steeps, but I was pushing it a bit mid-session to see how the leaf reacted. It was always very smooth with no sign of astringency. I also got a great calming energy from it, and around steep 10 I heard the dying reverberation of a temple bell playing in my head for several minutes. I really enjoyed how this tea made me feel, in addition to the flavor.
Although a little pricey, I’m going to add a bing to my stash.
Flavors: Camphor, Citrus, Leather, Medicinal, Spices
Surprisingly unusual complexity found in this brick. The tea highlights the beauty of the leaf in repeated brews with full body and strong fragrances. Bold and flavorful is the best way to describe my overall impression of this tea. Clarity is found in the mahogany colored liquor. Built upon a base of musty wood as are many shu puerh but there is so much more here. Very smooth with a lovely berry sweetness. The taste of camphor is definitely found throughout the session and a light tangy citrus note comes forward in the 3rd or fourth infusion. There is clearly a bit of smoky tobacco in both the scent and taste but this subtle feature actually enriches the overall impact of the tea in a very positive way. (And I say that as one who is not particularly fond of smokiness in my teas.) The duration is on the shorter side with solid flavor throughout 6-7 infusions before thinning. Produced by the original Kunming Factory per Yunnan Sourcing. Carefully aged in the dry environment of Kunming. This is a wonderful example of a dry stored shu with nice age on it. Overall we have a sweet woody mouth feel with a mellow, sweet aftertaste that builds over a series of infusions. The flavor profile features notes of wet earth, wood, tobacco, berries, camphor and smoke all working together so very well. This blend is definitely done right and it is a very fine tea!
Enjoying a nice large cup of this one on a rather cold day – seems to hit the spot. When I drink this one, I typically use the same leaves over a three day period – the quality and maturation of the leaves allows me to do this. The first day (phase) offers a woody, mellow tea which is also quite smooth and mellow with the complexity slowly revealing itself. Good choice for this afternoon with more promise tomorrow.
This is the oldest cake I own. Picked it up during Yunnan Sourcing’s recent sale and when it arrived I had to open it up and pull out the leaves that had collected in the bottom of the wrapper. 7 grams of dry leaf with ; 4 oz boiling water; 15 sec rinse; I began steeping the tea at about 10 seconds and added 5 for every succeeding infusion. It yielded a very clean red-brown colored liquor but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the flavor. There was the earthy and musty taste one might expect but it was rather flat. The third steep, however, produced a smooth and sweet taste with a rich, medium body and not a hint of bitterness. In steep five, I began to detect notes of fruit and chocolate. I’m drinking steeps seven and eight now and find them very enjoyable.