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2006 HK Dry Storage CNNP / Kunming Factory 9981A Ripe Pu Erh Brick (50g)

2006 HK Dry Storage CNNP / Kunming Factory 9981A Ripe Pu Erh Brick (50g)

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Description

After wishing one of my regular suppliers Happy Chinese New Year on the first business day (of the Year of The Dog) for many companies here in Hong Kong, I was handed this brick by one of the members of the family. I have only dealt with this man on a few occasions, as I usually deal with his brother, but he insisted I take this brick, which was an absolute first in six years of dealing with this company. While his brother is much more passive and doesn't ever advise me one way or another, his brother seems to have much stronger opinions on tea. He's tried to steer me away from teas in the past, but this time he insisted I take something! He pointed out that it was from the Kunming Tea Factory, one of the first two factories to produce shu pu erh in the 70s. The other was the Menghai Tea Factory, which is today known as Dayi. I was a little surprised he was recommending a specific brick to me, but I decided to go ahead and take his word for it. 


Am I ever glad I did! 

This is a limited edition, serial-numbered brick from 2006 that I have not been able to find anywhere else online! This family have long been known for traditional storage pu erh, but this is a dry stored brick from right when the dry storage boom began here in Hong Kong. I had no idea this company had even attempted dry storage. If you like the '94 CNNP tuo or 2005 CNNP 8582, this brick has a light aroma of their distinctive storage character, but without any visible mold whatsoever. 

In the cup, this tea has lovely body and is silky smooth. I am astonished by how smooth this tea is! A smooth drinking experience is highly valued by pu erh aficionados here in Southern China. I wonder if the classic 7581 brick had been reworked by CNNP in 1999 for a new experience: there are similarities to 7581 here, but I think this brick may be even better than the 7581s I love so much!

There is a touch of camphor balanced with lovely, clean, sweet date flavors. The date/jujube flavor is surprisingly distinctive and more naturally date-like than I'm used to with HK dry storage tea. This is an extremely clean tea to drink. The leaves are chopped, as you would expect, but appear less chopped than with a 7581. The storage has loosened this brick up nicely and it is a piece of cake (brick?) to break up! I was able to pry off a piece with virtually no effort and there was almost no dust left behind.

There is a hint of storage flavor in the cup. I was brewing in Nixing clay for a change, which I have never tried with traditional storage tea, as I tend to stick to thicker-walled YIxing pots to remove the storage flavors that may be present. Still, the storage note is minimal and not unwelcome! 

This tea has excellent longevity as well. I went six infusions and could have gone much longer, but I couldn't take anymore caffeine! 

I believe this brick will be highly collectible in future. If you're looking for a Hong Kong-stored pu erh to hold for the long haul, this would be a great candidate! I've found 2006 and 2007 CNNP productions to be excellent. Later years weren't quite as good, but apparently production has improved again. I haven't tried any 2017 CNNP tea yet, so I don't know if this is true, but I hope to try some more recent productions in the near future!

Brewing suggestion: Full boil, with water of low hardness (15-35 mg/L, with 1-3mg/L of magnesium). Rinse twice, and start with 10-15 second infusions for the first two or three infusions, then add 10-15 seconds to each successive infusion. If the liquor is too weak, add more time. 

Please note: No volume discounts are available on this tea, and due to the limited number of these bricks, wholesale pricing is not available.

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