Menghai Tea Factory

Recent Tasting Notes

87

I’ve tried a number of these Star of Menghai cakes, and this is one of the better ones. I like it more than the 2010 and 2011 versions, both of which I found underwhelming. This one is a keeper, fairly smooth with a hint of bitterness, deep and rich. This tells me that recipes only can go so far, and that the quality of a tea depends a lot on the vintage, not just the age. And this is cheaper, being young.

AllanK

Where did you buy this one?

Rich

I got a sample from a trade, so I’m not sure where it came from.

mrmopar

I think Berylleb has it Allan.

Rich

Grandness on Ali Express also has them, both a 100g mini cake and a full size cake. They seem to have the best price right now.

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I’m not going to give this tea a numerical rating because I have no idea how to rate it. The taste is relatively nondescript: a blend of tar, wood, and earth, with a touch of bitterness. They work surprisingly well together, and the flavor is not objectionable, but certainly not really anything I would seek out.

However, the distinguishing feature of this tea for me was the strong cha qi. The very first cup put me into a meditative state, and throughout the time I spent drinking the tea I had a tremendous feeling of well-being. I’ve had this experience with other pu-erhs, and occasionally with black teas, but never this strongly.

On a hunch, I measured my blood pressure while drinking the third steep, and it was about 15 points less than usual. Unfortunately, it was back to normal soon after the tea was finished.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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86

So today I tried this famous tea from Menghai Dayi, one I’ve wanted to sample for quite a while. I think it has the reputation of being the best quality ripe pu erh by this factory. It certainly commands what seems to be an unreasonably high price. This 2012 version sells for about $90 right now, and the 2008 version is a whopping $130! That seems outlandish. But hey, maybe it’s that good?!

Well, it’s good, but not $90 good. It is quite smooth and rich, tasty, and is a high quality tea to be sure. No off flavors. But I’ve had others this good for quite a bit less. I’d pay maybe $40. These inflated prices are crazy.

mrmopar

Agreed! Tea prices are crazy this year. maybe the puerh bubble will hit soon and drive prices back down.

AllanK

I bought the 2010 version back when Yunnan Sourcing had it for $65.

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95

AllanK is 3 for 3 on shous from our trade! Thanks, A!

This is another winner. This tastes a little like dessert, even on the early steeps. I did one rinse, and then 10-15-25. I will probably dial it back a little to a few at 15 seconds. It even has an interesting mouthfeel, very soft and full. It gives a nice tickle on the back of the throat, too. It has some nice chocolatey notes and is only very slightly earthy. And I mean very slight.

I have a feeling that this must be pricey, which may not be so bad since I am on a strict buying hiatus anyway. I’ll say this – I definitely WOULD buy this. It’s excellent!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
AllanK

SArsonator, I am glad you liked it. There is only one seller on EBay that seems to be selling it but he’s disreputable in the extreme.

Sarsonator

Oh that’s a shame. I would have liked to get some when my hiatus was over. :)

TheTeaFairy

Anything with lotus in its name is destined to greatness :-)

And I congratulate you for holding on to the teaplets hiatus!!

AllanK

I need to go on a tea buying hiatus as well.

mrmopar

The trick on these is to buy them when they come out. This way you avoid the “older it is the more valuable” from the sellers. I just buy the new stuff and sit on it a while before I drink them.
Any Dayi product with the yellow on or the largest color on there are usually the top grade ones. The “7632” and the “Big Dayi Classic” and the “Daughter” cake are 3 off the bat like this also.

Sarsonator

Thanks, Fairy! I’m trying really hard!!
Allan – Join us. It only hurts a little!
Mrmo – Thanks for the info! So I should be able to find 2014 versions on the cheap I guess.

Terri HarpLady

I need to get back on the Hiatus bandwagon…but probably won’t, LOL

mrmopar

Maybe by the end of the year. Menghai usually holds the newer shou to air it out and get rid of some of the shou poo as they call it.

Sarsonator

Shhhh Terri. We are staying on the wagon here :p

Thanks, Mrmo! I will keep an eye out!

MzPriss

Wagon. We are on it.

Sarsonator

The “be happy with what you have and pay down your credit card” wagon. It doesn’t SOUND fun, but we are having an ok time. :p

mj

I would also like to be on that wagon. Actually, I wouldn’t like to. But I need to. Is there room?

Sarsonator

All are welcome on the wagon.

Welcome wagon! HA! I slay me!!! :p

boychik

I’m in denial

Terri HarpLady

me too, boychik.
You can never have too much tea! Actually, I probably DO have too much tea, but…oh well!

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Another step in my pu-erh exploration. Since I’m a novice, I won’t score this tea, but if I did, I would give it a 65. I didn’t like the flavor and found it to be bitter and uninteresting.

15 s rinse; 1st (15 s): Earthy nose. The taste is rich and not at all earthy, but hard to describe: some sort of cross between fruity and floral, but neither. Feels round and full in the mouth, with a long finish. 2nd (20 s): The earthy taste is almost dirty. Slightly bitter at end. 3rd (30 s): Nose is less earthy than before. Taste is less bitter but still not interesting. 4th (60 s): I was ready to give up on this tea, but this steep is less unpleasant. Some fruit appearing, and it is less bitter. Not really enjoyable but less unpleasant. 5th (60 s): Getting better; a bit of fruit showing through and most of the bitterness is gone. No cha qi. 6th (6 oz, 3 min): Getting rather thin.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
DigniTea

Steepster has multiple listings for this Dayi product and as I recall it is a fairly popular shou for those in the early stages of their puerh exploration. I wonder if you might experiment with a thing or two – raise the temperature; let the wet leaves sit for 10-20m after the double rinse as it allows shou leaves time to open up a bit before using them. I have found that these two things help with the tightly compressed cakes and the Red Rhyme cake is definitely tightly compressed.

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

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98

This is without a doubt the best ripe Menghai Tea Factory tea I have ever drank with the possible exception of the 2008 Song of Chi Tse. It is slightly earthy in the early infusions with notes of chocolate mixed in. It has a slightly bitter character and just slightly sour character in the early infusions too. By about the fifth steeping it loses all of its earthiness and you have the pure flavor of the tea underneath. All the bitterness, however slight, and that subtle sour taste disappears by the fifth infusion too. At this point I started to notice a distinct taste that could be described as either plum or dates notes. Its hard to put an exact description on it.

I used 8g of leaf in a 200ml Yixing teapot with boiling water. I first steeped it for 15 sec. This was a slight oversteep so I then gave it 10 sec, 10 sec, 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, and 15 sec. This tea did not need long steepings throughout the eight times I steeped it. The aroma of the spent leaves was intense and had an almost chocolate like character, but not exactly.

I bought this tea from Yunnan Sourcing. The last time I looked they had two or three left. I bought three and wish I could have afforded a tong.

Flavors: Chocolate, Plums

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
AllanK

I was wrong about Yunnan Sourcing having a couple left, they sold out.

Rich

Wish I could bring myself to buy one of these, but they are crazy expensive!

AllanK

Yes, but crazy good too.

AllanK

Yunnan Sourcing has run out but you may be able to find it on Ebay, or perhaps Dragon Tea House.

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82

Chose this one this morning. I keep one broken up in a Yixing container bought from EBay. I am drinking the second steeping. The first steeping went into a thermos for work. Brewed it for 30 sec in an 18 oz teapot with boiling water with 10g leaf. It is a little earthy but not too earthy. There is still some fermentation flavor. Overall it is a good, tasty ripe puerh. There are some complex notes I can’t figure out exactly how to describe. It is sweet, it is a little earthy. But not earthy in a bad sort of way if you know what I mean.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 10 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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80

A perfectly fine ripe Dayi, though not as smooth and flavorful as their top products in my book.

mrmopar

Stronger than most other Dayi.

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Typical Menghai Dayi production in the look, aroma and taste. I do not suggest this in a bad way just saying that it is not that distinctive from other decent Dayi factory blends – it is reliably a Menghai Dayi ripe puerh. Rich in color; pleasant in aroma; mellow and rich in taste –woodsy, a little sweet with hints of stonefruit. Worthy purchase as a Menghai Dayi “building block” in your shou collection.

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

my brain made me read that as “pillow taste” the first time, heh

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This is a highly regarded Dayi shu and I now understand why – smooth and mellow; very easy to drink over and over again. Medium compression of dark leaf with golden tips sprinkled throughout. Fairly easy to pick apart. Red-brown tea soup; flavors of cedar in early cups becoming more like oak in later cups; sweetness found in each. The tea is lightly fermented – ready to drink now but due to this lighter fermentation, also likely to continue changing as it matures. Therefore, I am enjoying and sharing this cake now and I have another cake on the way to me to hold for 3-5 years. This is a solid shu with a very appealing flavor profile – not complex but a very clean, nice sip.

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

Sounds yummy!

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86

This is a very good sheng. It is smooth after the first two infusions. It is not as good as the 2014 Mandala Wild Monk but has more of an aged taste. The bitterneess disappears after the third infusion. I steeped this seven times for 15 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, 30sec and 30 sec. It does not have any real young sheng bitterness left except in the first infusion.

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

love the setup

AllanK

I have about six gaiwans but this is the coolest.

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Dayi introduced this tea to offer an improved version of their classic 7572. The tea produces a clear red-brown broth with sweet mellow flavor and a nice creamy aftertaste. Cake is of medium compression and fairly easy to pick apart; dark brown leaf with a good amount of golden buds. The “staying power” is most impressive – the leaf keeps giving and giving. The leaf quality is so high that I could begin with flash steepings – add water to 5g of leaf and pour it right into the cup. I’ve done 2 rinses and five infusions and I’m only up to 5 sec. A cake worth owning.

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

Shorter life than expected; did not get as many flavorful resteeps as I had hoped for but the first six are definitely good. Maybe more time needed beginning with #7. I did 15s on #7 and then 25s on #8.

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Quite a smooth, mellow, and sweet shou. For me, this probably ranks a bit under the 2011 Menghai Dayi 100 Tribute shou. Nothing I have had so far has been able to top that. Still, this is such a gentle yet flavorful tea that it truly deserves to be experienced with few distractions. Subtly complex. Incredibly sweet and creamy throat.

I chose to try this out while watching the latest episode of Korra (episode 10) and boy, was that a great choice! By far the best episode of Korra ever produced. It was everything. When I met Sifu Kisu (the martial artist who comes up with all of the bending) he talked a bit about the upcoming Korra episodes and explained that there are some great things in store. This episode was without a doubt one of the things he was talking about. And pairing experiencing such a great show with experiencing such a great tea equaled one of the best mornings I’ve had in a very long time.

boychik

It’s more expensive than 100 tribute.

Tea Pet

Ugh… I deleted my comment by accident.

Yeah. There is so much hype about the Golden Needle White Lotus teas. I think that excitement around them has probably played a part in the high pricing and the amount of fakes that are produced. With that said, I would like to try some of the other years, however, I doubt I will ever buy full cakes of them. I’d much rather spend my money on some 100 tributes! :)

boychik

I ordered some Golden Needle White Lotus Yubang
http://www.tuochatea.com/yubang-golden-needle-white-lotus-p285/
I think Rich said it was good. Still awaiting since end of June . They probably use sea turtles for delivery ;)

mrmopar

The tribute is a good one. I really like it.

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88

I read that the 7572 recipe is the benchmark for ripe pu erh, kind of a standard of quality used to compare other shou pu erh’s to. I bought this 2010 version over a year ago, but haven’t opened it. I prefer my shou’s to be 5+ years of aging for most cakes so I let this one sit. Today I was at a friend’s and we sat down for some tea and chose a 7572 he had just opened. We probably used 9g in a 180ml yixing, rinse and short steeps 3-5 seconds. The brew was nice and dark brown with a sweet welcoming scent. My first taste caused a reaction of ahhhhhh yeah, I see! It has a classic Menghai shou taste, rich but not too strong with flavors of mushroom and chocolate with an earthy note distant in the background. It was truly very tasty. I can see why it is the benchmark for shou quality. This could easily be a go to shou, an every day drinker for shou lovers. I’d be interested to try one with a couple more years of aging, but this is certainly an excellent shou worthy of the benchmark label.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mushrooms

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
mrmopar

Yeah this is a good one.

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95

I haven’t had this one for a while but I can still remember the flowery chrysanthemum taste and not-so-earthy or heavy Pu-Erh (just right, apparently not aged though). After multiple steeping, rice flavor may appear, but the tea is still surprisingly strong. Even if it’s cheap, one tuocha makes about 1l of acceptably tasting tea.
Actually helps against cold and minor liver disease as ybtea.com claims.

Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Rice, Round

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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84

I purchased this tuo from Yunnan Sourcing and I am tasting it 4 years later than the previous reviewer. This tuo is what I have been looking for in a sheng, smoky and tasting like it came out of an aged wooden cask. I packed the Yixing with this one. Liquor looks like a warmed brandy, a hot toddy. Smells spicy and like old oak. Two rinses.

This is the sort of sheng that separates the men from the boys and women from the girls. Think poker lounge and fine cigars, in fact I lit up a cigar and this tea cuts right through. Lingers on the palate smoking up your tongue. Short steeps and yes it is still bitter if you steep too long, I am at ten steeps now, and still not past 20 seconds but then I packed the pot full so it will likely go on. The tea is not your floral,orchid, write home to mother tea. This is deal the cards or you’re out.

Still only 9 years in for age on this. I am not sure my own storage will do anything to improve this further. It would need a careful humidity, the nest shaped tuo isn’t too difficult to pry apart as it would have been a few years ago. The leaves are whole if you can be careful and digging around I found several 1 bud/1 leaf sets, green after a few steeps with orange around the edges, just what I want to see. However, this is one of those tuos probably meant for like Tibet or wherever, it is not subtle by any stretch. Not sour, but it is a man’s and strong woman’s tea. Cowboy hat and britches, people. Just what I have been looking for.

Flavors: Spices, Tobacco, Whiskey, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
SimpliciTEA

I was smiling the whole time I was reading this review.

I can’t wait until I get cakes that are of enough quality that I can find full leaf and bud sets in them!

Cwyn

Yeppers, I would kneel on the train tracks for more of this tea! Ordered a pack of tuos.

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93

I bought this tea several years ago and was not impressed. Not realizing that I had already tried it, I bought another tuocha and was thoroughly impressed the second time around! Prepared in a gaiwan, the first 3 steepings were rich and creamy, dark with notes of coca and molasses. The following few steepings opened up with the sweetness spreading out and hints of floral earthiness coming out. The tea leaves to not steep very many times, but this is a great tea.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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92

This variety is often touted as one of the best ripe pu-erh’s out there, but I must say it did not live up to the hype. That’s not to say this tea is not good, in fact it is very good, but not the best. I have had 5-10 variteies that I enjoy more, but the Golden Needle White Lotus is indeed an excellent tea. For me it’s lacking in complexity. The tea liquor is smooth and sweet and goes down with almost no effort or resistence. The taste is slightly malty, sweet, with very little earthy taste. Again, there is very little complexity which was disappointing, but this is still a top notch Dayi tea. At the price though… I’m not sure I’ll be buying another cake. I’ll just ration out the one I have now. :)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 185 ML

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77

Absolutely no “funk” smell or taste that you get with a lot of Shu. Super clean and smooth. There’s a bit of a nice roast of meat that’s been cooked on the grill in the scent of wet leaves.

Initially I got some vanilla upfront but that goes away very quickly. Mostly getting wood and light smoke. I kind of want to say a sort of wool sort of flavor as well, and maybe a slight touch of watered down coffee.

Pretty solid shu, but nothing spectacular in the depth of flavor. Maybe age will bring out some more of the vanilla and maybe some sweetness.

Flavors: Meat, Smoke, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

My second pu erh from Tuocha today! Another good one at a great price. The first few steeps were a bit subdued, with somewhat damp flavor. Then, after about 4 infusions, it got much nicer. Fruitiness, and still thick, slight astringency. All in all a tea worth trying!

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91

This is an excellent tea. I ordered mine from tuocha. It brews a nice golden color, all the way through several infusions. The flavor is smooth, with little astringency. Some fruity notes come in at the later infusions. It’s flavor is simple but quite nice, and I enjoyed drinking something with a little age to it. I would highly recommend trying this cake if you want to get some idea about what aging will do to a pu erh, and you don’t have tons of money to spend.

mrmopar

Excellent choice.

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