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drank Twelve Cent Brick by CNNP
187 tasting notes

5.5g, 90mL gaiwan. brita filtered tap. boiling.

wet leaf is smoke and old TCM herbal medicines. light in taste initially. slight minty/vegetal edge along w bright fruitiness. slight warmth. TCM taste, and something both sandalwood and floral like about it. Agreed with Marco’s note of honey on empty cup aroma.

overall: not too durable, but tastes good. there’s a ton of seeds and sticks in my cake, and weight after rehydrating was ~239g, and after factoring in shipping was ~16c/g but I’m certain this is the best bang for buck sheng you can get from any western vendor, period. I’ve learned somewhat now to prioritize purchasing good and not necessarily “value” teas for the long term, but i wish starting out someone had just told me for value sheng to purchase twelve cent brick and for value shou, Yee on Purple mark. Or maybe someone has mentioned it somewhere and I missed it, because I was too focused on chasing value… anyway, a work in progress.

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But this tea from Aliexpress. Good looking cake, with medium aged look and little pressed leaves, but with poor fragance . I taste it two times with 6 and 7 g, little astringency and thin body..Infused leaves have a very soft scent to camphor and looks broken, with lot of stems. I think could be a fake cake or a authentic low quality blend. Overall taste is flat with little complexity.

Tim Lane

I just got a 2004 ripe cnnp pu erh from Aliexpress that taste just like your describing not complex not earthy and lots of twigs and a few chunks of something white that’s what I get for$8

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Boiling 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This tea has a stable, warming character. Most often I gravitate toward puer of the smooth and mellow variety – this particular aged sheng is best described as smooth and heavy so I have learned to lighten up on the leaf. Seems to be made with high grade material. It is clean with good body and the sweetness is of the deep meaty variety. Nice mouthfeel with a little tongue-tickling and a light cooling sensation. Dark brown leaves with a few tips and twigs. Clear and bright orange liquor with a nutty sweet aroma. Good durability (I’ve steeped it 12 times). Age has served this tuo well.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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The qi… the qi… the qi…
Talk about being tea drunk. This guy ended up being dark amber throughout the session and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Such a lovely tea to have a session with that changes taste within 10 seconds of steep time and about every third steep it tends to be somewhat different.
Going to drink the other 90’s stuff I have an make the hard decision on which would be the one to buy… hard choices.


sheng or shou?


What’s the decision?

Liquid Proust

W2T’s 90’ HK Style is very similar for me. I have some 1980’s stuff as well, but my wallet is telling me to be careful with it because if I like it we will have to talk about our relationship.

I truly think this 99’ cake that RoyalTeaBay sold me is legit, but just not stored as well as others. The taste profile fits everything correct. The difference is the qi from the tea.

Overall I am looking at Tea Classico for their older stuff, W2T for their newer products, and other places for hidden gems (which I’ve only found one and it was a Mengku so it’s not very hidden)

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Okay, so here we go! I deleted the last note of this one and will write my full one now!

1st steep (5sec): Light amber in colour with a light taste. It’s slightly sweet. Yum!! Smells very earthy but doesn’t taste strong of earthiness yet.
2nd (6sec): Slightly darker with some earthiness hinting through.

At this point, I pulled some of the leaves apart as they were really sticking together. Next time I wouldn’t do that and just see what the taste is when left as is.

3rd (7sec): Colour is going slightly red. Earthiness is most predominant. Not noticing the sweetness anymore.
Steeps 4-7 were still very earthy.

8th (9sec): Roasted hickory smell! Yummy! Reminded me of campfires but in a light way. It is earthy but very good. Tastes slightly woody with some of that roasted almost hickory taste! LOVING this steep! So delicious! I’m loving the hickory taste.

9 & 10: Same as above. Loved the last three steeps especially. Finished on 10 as I just felt done.

So, in conclusion, I am really enjoying this tea so far. I love using a gaiwan. I love using a tea pick. I love noticing changes in the tea as I steep it. I love how it actually does change as time goes on. I love how it brings me to a place where I stop and relax. I know to a lot of family and friends that don’t get it, that I probably seem crazy, but I love this tea journey that I seem to be on right now and how I’m really trying to find the ways I love tea the most.


Congrats and welcome to a Dark Side of Pu!


Thanks! :)

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Here I am drinking this tea again, only this time I think I really am drinking CNNP Yunnan Chitsu Pingcha. I think. The other time I reviewed this tea, it was a shou; this time, it’s a white pu’er, or so I’m told. And based on some of the other reviews, I think I wasn’t drinking what I thought I was drinking. OR maybe I’m not now. Anyway, this is what you get when the only local tea shop in your area specializes in flavored teas served by folks dressed as pirates (read: coastal tourist trap) and their employees wouldn’t know pu from poo if a dog (or a 2dog) bite ‘em in the ass. Anyway, unlike the other block of doorstop I purchased the last time, this one isn’t bad, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to purchase again. The flavor is very mild and floral. The leaves are like chopped spinach, not a trace of a whole leaf anywhere. But that might have been the pirate’s fault; he used his hook and no small amount of brute force to pry a piece of the cake off for me. No, not making that up, and not a pu’er pick in sight. Blimey!

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I stopped by my local tea shop and this was the only pu’er they had, so I thought what the heck, it was about 5 dollars for the last bit of the cake they had left (about 30 grams) so I went for it. I used about 8 grams tea, water just about boiling, gongfu, 2 short rinses. I started with very short steeps (5-10 secs) b/c that’s what I do with shou, but the tea was weak and terrible so I upped it to 30 secs and then one really long steep, which didn’t help much. The cake was very, very dry so it may not have been stored well. The aroma is decent enough, not fishy or anything, but It tastes like weak, funky old black tea. A flat zero on the sweet meter. I think I’ve been spoiled by better quality shous, so I’m going to chalk this one up as a loss of five bucks and move on.


Break up the chunk and put it some small ceramic or porcelain sugar bowl or teapot to air out. Some water in a bowl near may help to rehydrate it. Sample it in a few weeks or month. Read Cwyn’s storing experiments on her blog.


Thanks, I will do that. The more pu’er I buy, the more I’m thinking I need to learn a bit about storage or I may risk ending up with a lot of undrinkable tea after a few months!


we all worry about it. Mrmopar can guide you about pumidor setup. Cwyn does different storage with ceramic crocks. im planning some setup,but for now its carton boxes ;(

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drank 2011 7581 by CNNP
1758 tasting notes

Purchased this tea from Mr Mopar. It was in the end tasty. It started out with what I would describe as a woodsy note for lack of a better description. This evolved into a fruity note. I gave this tea eight steeps and think it would have gone a few more.

I brewed this eight times in a 180ml teapot with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a ten second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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drank 2015 CNNP Ran Wu Bie Yi by CNNP
63 tasting notes

Still smells like it needs to breath a bit. Will rate later.


Agreed the young ones need the still period before getting into.


Amen, I got too eager/anxious yesterday with a 2015… it wasn’t that bad, but id definitely wasn’t good. Self-control -1

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drank CNNP Yunnan Chitsu Pingcha by CNNP
13 tasting notes

At first, I was unsure of the quality due to the low price tag. Yet after having my first cup, I found it very enjoyable and this tea got me hooked on pu’er teas. After reusing the leaves for a second cup, its flavour only gets more smooth without tasting watered down. I do not have very large experience with tasting pu’er teas, yet I thoroughly enjoyed this one and now I drink it every morning. I do not know how aged it is, but judging by the affordable price tag (~$10), I’d say probably not very long. My verdict is that this is a very tasty and affordable tea for someone new to pu’er teas.

Flavors: Earth, Smooth

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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This is a nice looking cake full of large whole leaves – there is some serious content locked into these leaves. Age has darkened the color to a deep brown. Two quick rinses to wash and awaken the tea leaves and we’re ready to be impressed……. The soup color is a mature orange tone and both floral and wood fragrances come forward. A smooth thick tea soup that presents a gentle rather complex mix of fruit (berry-like), honey, nuts and camphor. This mix of flavor sensations feels quite refined and pure and light with a lingering rich mouth feel. This is an enjoyable tea and it has it all - taste, mouthfeel, lingering aftertaste, energy and endurance. The discovery of a well aged cake such as this makes me very happy!

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

Classic stuff, sounds good. One quick rinse would do for me, too precious to throw away :)


Where may one purchase this?


I picked up this cake at The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver.

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Let’s review some grocery store Puer cake! This is fun simply because you can find these at most Asian grocers, so depending on where you live, this may be the only Puer cake you’ll be able to purchase in person and not online. They’re usually only 10-15 bucks a cake, and because of that, I’ve avoided them, thinking they’d probably be poor quality tea. Let’s find out!

After a rinse, there are some really warm aromas of roasted nuts, sweet tobacco, and leather. The flavor is mellow and round, slightly sweet… earthy, nutty, and with an aftertaste of leather. This is surprisingly non-offensive for a cheap and likely mass-produced tea. There’s a tiny hint of mustard in the taste.

There’s nothing particularly outstanding about this Puer, but as ripe Puer goes, so many of them have very similar flavors to me. I’ve only had one or two where I thought “Hey, this is unique!” Otherwise, they most often seem to just have a similar mellow, enjoyable taste, granted they aren’t too musty. This one isn’t, so no worries there.

So, my verdict is… if you just want a nice everyday kind of Puer cake for helping to get you familiar with Puer brewing, or just to have some tea that you can shamelessly brew without breaking the bank… this isn’t a bad choice! Even if you’re just curious about using a compressed tea cake and aging it, why not give one of these a go? It may not be the most remarkable tea out there, but it’s worth its price for the quantity you get.

Flavors: Earth, Leather, Roasted Nuts, Tobacco

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank CNNP Yunnan Chitsu Pingcha by CNNP
518 tasting notes

Advent Calendar Tea, Day 8

A relatively generic shou, I don’t know what year, or anything about it.

There was only right about 3.5g. I normally do my shou with right around 5g, so it was underleafed for my gaiwan. I don’t know if that’s why I felt this was weak, or if it really just didn’t have much flavor.

I only got a few infusions out of it. Then I gave up and tried for one long infusion. It didn’t improve.

Ah well.

I think it would be a good complete beginner shou. It’s not overly strong or too earthy, and it doesn’t have any off flavors. I’m still a beginner to pu’erh, but I think that I’ve advanced beyond this one.

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Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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This tea offers a smooth texture with a simple cedar wood flavor. Earthy with an interesting mouthfeel – spicy, sweet, nutty and leathery. Medium compression. Mostly whole leaf with a reasonable amount of stems. Initial scent of dry and wet leaves is reminiscent of walking through a damp forest. Not as much depth and complexity as I prefer but all in all a rather enjoyable tea session.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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4.25g in 4.5oz water.

Mellow and earthy with a rich, dark liquor. This makes me think of hiking in the woods: towering old trees, leaves from past autumns moldering into loam on the forest floor, moss-covered stones, gurgling brooks plunging down the hillside, scattered sunlight sparkling on their cold, clear depths. In short, it reminds me of home.

This is definitely worthy of seasoning my new yixing pot with.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 133 ML

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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank 2006 CNNP Yellow Label by CNNP
880 tasting notes

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Love this Pu Erh. It took me a while to get the preparation just wright (for my taste buds), but once I did this tea became one of my favorite pu erhs out there. Now, I must say that I prefer my pu erh strong, full of aroma and body. So if you are new to pu erh this might not be the best one to start with.
The first time I tried it I gave it a very quick rinse. The first steeping was quite weak and had a bit of a stale musky taste to it.
I sipped it for a bit … then went to check the cake for any signs of staleness, fungus or mold. I scraped it and I pealed it, and smelled it all over, it was healthy beautiful cake:) So I poured the tea out and made the next steeping, now this time the liquor was darker, thicker and richer. It lost most of the stale note and now was on the sweet side, earthy, rich, with mushroom notes but so much smoother. The more I steep this tea the smother it become and the more flavors and aromas it develops, from woody to sweet and spicy. It also lasts for ever, I’ve made up to 8 steepings and it was still going strong. So my backwards steeping process on this one is: Do a longer rinse, basically steep for up to over a minute and discard. Then make another longer steep at like 50sec, or when you see the liquor color rich amber. And after that I do short steepings at like 20-30sec. I also enjoy it with milk.

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drank 2007 cnnp 6581 brick by CNNP
304 tasting notes

Did this one with short steeps water at boiling. I have had this one for a while in the pumidor. It has an almost flowery tart aroma to it. It was a very tightly compressed brick so I may have under leafed the cup. It tuned out pretty mellow with just a hint of orange color to it attesting that the aging is working ever so slowly since this is a brick. It has a light metallic taste to it with a sweet aftertaste to it. It is almost a slight flower aftertaste. Not the best but very drinkable sheng. For the money I paid I think it is an excellent performer in that category. I was kind of hesitant to try this after seeing it since it does have stems and rough looking leaves in it but I think it turned out pretty good.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Quite a surprise, way better than expected, but it definitely needs the zhong treatment, to release its power.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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I have been excited for two days… Guess what?! I’ve restored contact with an old buddy through a networking website! The last time we saw each other was summer 2001. I was terribly guilty for not maintaining the contact. And how grateful I am that after all we haven’t lost each other! Ten years! How many times do we lose contact with good people in our lives? For me, I guess that’s many times. We ride the flowing water of time without even realizing a lot of good friends are out of the sight… How may times do we get back into contact with an old friend whom we haven’t heard from in the past 10 years? I guess that doesn’t happen a lot! But there are people in my life who I know will stay in my life, even if I don’t see them for 10 years.

To honor the friendship, I am having a 2001 CNNP Bulang today, a tea of 10 years, just like the 10 years in which we never heard from each other but never forgot about each other.

Tea from Bulang is excellent for aging and for making shu puerh, because of its rich flavor profile. Shu is not my favorite tea category. But today I feel I appreciate it more than ever. It doesn’t have the charming floral or fruity aroma. Instead, it has the “aroma of age”, which, to me, often means the taste of an old wooden box (let me add “clean”, because it’s dry-aged, ha ha…). Then it gives strikingly sweet aftertaste. In Chinese tea aesthetics, aftertaste is often valued a lot more than the taste a tea gives at the first moment. I feel probably the older I get, the more I appreciate this aesthetic value. In our lives, there are people who don’t give you excitment every day, but with time being, you know those are the people who give you lingering aftertastes.

Puerh is not my favorite tea category. But I always think it’s one of the most unique types of tea. On a day like this, when I think of my buddy, think of my own life 10 years ago, think of how much has been changed by time and how much has not… on a day like this, a pot of aged puerh is exactly what I desire!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

I think I could be convinced to give puerh another chance under these conditions!


That sounds like an absolutely amazing tea. Awesome that you got to try it.

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