Review: 1996 CNNP “Green Mark Te Ji” Ripe Pu-erh Tea Cake
As part of my ongoing journey through pu-erh teas, I tried my this flavorful and full-bodied ripe pu-erh tea which reminds me strongly of a rich, steaming cup of coffee. The tea is aged and dark, full of interesting character and depth but a surprising lack of complexity.
Yunnan Sourcing’s Description:
A special CNNP for Malaysia export ripe tea cake. Pressed entirely from 1st grade, Te Ji and broken Gong Ting grade Menghai area ripe tea. This tea cake features old green mark on old style pin-stripe offset paper. Nei Fei is not pressed into cake, as this inventory was to be sent to Malaysia where the wrapper was to be changed. Dry-stored in Kunming for 15 years this has developed an incredibly complex flavor and mouth-feel. The tea need only be washed once before drinking. The aroma is of cacao and fruit with some spiciness. The tea enters the mouth and fills it with pungent aroma and thickness. The taste also belies cacao and something spicy. The astute drinker will notice a mouth-watering effect accompanied by a protracted feeling and flavor in the mouth long after drinking. This pungent cha qi and flavor reminds me of raw pu-erh. Some people may experience a subtle drunken state after drinking this tea. Pleasant and clean aged tea, very rare and unique.
Rinsed once with boiling hot water, then steeped for 30 seconds.
This pu-erh is a completely different tea from the raw Ai Lao Mountain I examined earlier. This tea is dark, with fine fragments of finely chopped leaves compressed tightly into a dark brown cake. The depth of color is a clear hint that it’s a fermented tea. The cake is dry and crisp. The smell is woody and slightly musty.
The liquor steeps to a dark amber red soup that is thick and full-bodied. The aroma is light, but medicinal.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the taste. It was medicinal and potent, unlike just about any other conventional tea that I’ve had. I’m not sure what what the right words are to describe it. Camphor and preserved plum? This tea soaks in and warms my entire body.
The steeped leaves are a deep brown black, and have dissolved nicely. They are redolent with the aroma of age and wood.
The second steep was for longer, 60 seconds this time. The liquor comes out to a dark, thick brown. The tea is almost like a strong coffee, with a full body and aroma to match. Surprisingly, while there’s a full body, it still tasted like tea, somehow flat on the tongue and lacking the complexity that I was hoping for. While it’s quite enjoyable, I am calling this an OK tea, but not a favorite.
Pricing & Where to Buy
Pack Size: 10g, 25g, or 1 cake
Price per unit: $5, $10 or $98 respectively
This tea can be purchased on the Yunnan Sourcing’s website here.