Thursday, April 19, 2018
CNNP = Scary For Me! The 2005 CNNP Big Yellow Mark
Another thing that I really noticed when getting back into buying puerh was that a lot more people seem to be buying China National Native Products (CNNP) puerh. This surprised me at first. To me CNNP was associated with a risk of being lower quality puerh. Basically, you never knew, for certain what the cake would be like and had no brand recognition behind it. At the random tea tables in China, and to a lesser extent Korea, there was a decent chance that these teas would be almost undrinkable. To order a cake of this stuff blindly was almost unimaginable 10 years ago.
Nowadays, the mentality toward the CNNP labeled teas has changed thanks to western pureh vendors. Puerh vendors have picked up on some Western puerh drinker’s preference for value over brand and have started stocking these. As buyers we no longer have to be concerned about them being undrinkable because the vendors basically do the leg work here to ensure something of a particular quality that won’t compromise their own brand. I feel sorry for them, but grateful!
As a result, we are now ensured a certain level of quality with these CNNP cakes. Without brand recognition behind these cakes- great value can be had. This pretty much removes the puerh collector from driving up the market value of these teas. These are the true puerh drinker’s puerh!
Recently, my feeling of the CNNP cakes changed because of good reviews and a general positive outlook overall and a run of good ones that I sampled from Stephane of Teamasters . After reading some of these reviews I really wanted to try some out in my next order. It took me longer than I thought to order again (probably a good problem to have), but I am happy to say that some of these CNNPs are on their way. I am really hoping that these cakes help me overcome my fear of CNNP.
The first to arrive was….
Dry leaves smell of a faint smoke almost creamy sweetness and slight aged, almost roasted meat odour.
“Big Yellow” gets the big yixing and big Korean ceramic cups treatment today. “Go bold or go home” I chuckle to myself.
The first infusion delivers a slightly smoke, slight sour initial taste. There is a mild sweetness that lingers on the breath. The base taste is slightly smokey, meaty, and savory here. There is a soft subtle sweetness that tries to push through in the mild returning sweetness. There is a soapy, almost cinnamon and rose pedal quality in there as well. There is lots going on with this tea. The mouthfeel has a bit of chalkiness to it in this first infusion. I got some mild allergic symptoms off this one right after the first infusion. Next time I will probably give it 2 or 3 rinses instead of just one.
The second infusion starts with a meaty, savory BBQ like taste then adds a slightly almost chalky rose edge. The aftertaste is mildly cooling and evolves in the mouth. The throat has a deeper chalkier mid throat feel which works well for this tea. The aftertaste minutes later is a nice mild smokey menthol barely rose sweetness. The aftertaste is long and interesting trying to push more subtle sweet flavours through. The qi of this tea is strong enough to have a profound effect on the mind.
The third infusion starts with a smokey, BBQ like taste. Then there is a splash of almost sweetness then back to smokey BBQ, then slowly and long evolving into a cooling returning aftertaste. Minutes later there is a barely creamy rose aftertaste. The taste profile of this tea is long and unfolds slowly. The mouth and throat feel develop a nice astringency to it. The aftertaste has a creamy almost sweet finish reminiscent of Nannou. The way I am reacting to this tea, it contains more than a bit of evil qi in there.
The fourth infusion begins with this roasted meat and smokey BBQ taste. The mouthfeel becomes more astringent but not overly so. The aftertaste is more measured in this fourth infusion with less subtlety or sweetness pushing through.
The fifth still carries this burley, masculine feel of smokey, strong almost harshness followed by hints of Nannou creamy sweetness in the aftertaste that slides into a rose-like taste. There is much to see in this tea if you can see through its smokey strength.
The sixth infusion starts to coalesce nicely. Its initial taste is almost a creamy sweet woody taste. Its less smokey here and more rich and creamy. It has a nice floral rose like finish that is more noticeable now. The mouthfeeling is chalky and deeper and aftertaste is slight cooling evolving. The qi is really nice and strong you can feel it in the chest as the heart beats stronger and in the head that feel cloudy, energy sure is felt, a boost for sure.
The seventh infusion is similar to the sixth but more smokey and woody. Nice big qi in here for sure.
I think about throwing in the towel with this tea but it just tastes too damn good, despite some of the allergic like reactions I’m having to it. It seems like it’s even getting better in these last infusions so I steep it a few more times. The body of these infusions are decently rich and thick in the mouth with a more cohesive flavor profile of smokey wood and almost creaminess. This tea feels like it could go a lot further with even more infusions.
This tea reminds me of 85% Xiguan, 10% Nannou single estate, 5% Yang Qing Hao. It is robust and strong, almost harsh but has some elegance, some softeness as well. To me the Nannou profile is the most obvious but the strength indicates other Menghai material mixed in there.
This tea tastes great and has some very nice qi but my body is reacting negatively to something in that cake. Who knows what it is. I really want to like this cake, but my body and the itch is telling me it’s probably not worth it. Due to past recommendations of this tea by others there must be many people out there who have sampled it. Is there anyone else out there that has experienced allergic type symptoms? Maybe I'm just allergic to good puerh? Hahaha...