Menghai Tea Factory

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Recent Tasting Notes


This was a very tasty tea with a moderate amount of fermentation flavor to it. There was no fishy taste or even unpleasant taste to the fermentation. It was fairly sweet. I agree this tea did not seem overly complex but that may be because it is just on the cusp of being an aged shou. Ten years old is in my experience when teas begin to change. This one was beginning to lose it’s fermentation flavor and beginning to take on a flavor of aged shou. Sweet but not in my opinion chocolaty in this case. It did not seem fruity either. More a mushroom type of sweetness to it in the end. That may not be the best description but it is the best I can come up with.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 160ml silver teapot with 13.5g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. This session was also an attempt to see if I could distinguish any difference between water boiled in my silver kettle and my ceramic kettle. The first steeps were in silver and the later ones were in ceramic. It did seem there was a slight difference with the silver kettle winning out overall.

Boiling 13 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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We ordered this 9-yr old shou based on the recommendation of John @ King Tea and our fondness for Menghai shou. We’ve finished this 357g cake a while ago. What follows is what stood out for us:

Taste – Full-bodied, & smooth. As one would expect with a 9-yr old Menghai cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, astringency, acidity, fishiness or funk.

Flavor profile – Typical Menghai shou flavor. There wasn’t anything that stood out as being particularly memorable. It’s less complex or more homogenous.

Impression – This shou is a good robust morning cup. It’s just not as satisfying as:, which is three years younger.

12g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120

12 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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The version of this I have is from TeaLife.HK and has Guangdong dry storage.

This is one of my favourite shou so far. It was very smooth right from the first steep, with a kind of black pepperyness at the end of a sip. Long steeps work absolutely fine, which I like.

It feels slippery in the mouth, leaving a gummy feel and a lingering taste (that I can’t identify but is not unpleasant). It builds up and has a tingly feel – not really pepper and not mint, but something along those lines.

I got a raisin taste on a new pot of water at steep 6 or 7, which I do not tend to get from teas that have it as a note.

I got 50g of this based on the description and would buy a cake. (I am mostly going for samples at this stage).

0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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[So sorry as again I am studying for finals I will post a better tasting note when I drink the other part of the sample in the bag]

I remember enjoying this tea a lot. At first, it gave me a smooth mushroom and earthiness with a dark typical ripe puerh taste. This was the first time that I have tasted earthiness, and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. Though, this earthiness faded after the second steeping and there was this pronounced cherry taste. Very smooth, and quite enjoyable! Unlike the other 2010 ripe I tried this one did not have as much of that “barn yard taste” and had a very enjoyable fragrance, but this was not with the ripe puerh meaty smell.

I loved this tea, all of the flavors worked well, and I found myself wanting another sip every time I tasted it. Very delicious indeed!

Flavors: Cherry, Mushrooms

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 10-yr old shou.

Color – Chocolate brown with some gold tips on surface.
Fragrance – sweet
Warmed leaves – refined puerh aroma, very clean
Rinsed leaf aroma – mild pleasing pu-erh aroma, I anticipate good things!
Brewed aroma – Very mild aroma – citrus
Liqueur – Amber, initally a little cloudy

Taste – Medium-bodied, very clean, ultra-smooth, & rich. As one would expect with a 10-yr old premium cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, astringency, acidity, fishiness or funk.

Flavor profile – I agree with mrmopar, this shou has a mild mineral flavor that was more obvious near the end of the sip.

Impression – This shou conjured up thoughts of a very refined introvert skilled in the art of diplomacy to win over your tastebuds and your smile. It isn’t a bold robust extroverted morning cup. This shou is perhaps best served at the traditional English afternoon tea time. This is an excellent shou.

11.6g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120

Flavors: Mineral

12 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I received a generous 7.4g sample of this from Liquid Proust. I’m not usually a ripe pu drinker but I’ll try any tea once, especially if it has some age on it and a fancy name on the label. This tea is quite compressed – I was surprised the scale read 7.4g for this little chunk. I broke it up a bit into larger flakes to speed up the opening of the cake. The rinsed leaf has a nice, earthy nuttiness in its aroma.

Despite my best efforts, the leaves look more like shou nuggets than loose tea after 2 rinses and some extended rests with the gaiwan lid on. That’s okay, I’ll let the cake open on its own time.

This stuff brews up very dark and opaque, almost coffee-like. The liquor is super smooth and easy to drink. It has some sweetness but the primary flavor is extremely soft earth forest floor. There are no off flavors or aromas to be found here – this is a very clean, well made tea.

The flavor remains much the same through the middle steeps but it does get a little bit of thickness to it. At this point I was about to set this tea off to the side and come back to it later BUT there’s some sneaky qi happening here. It’s relaxing but swimmy. I’m sweating and a bit numb in the face.

So, I think this shou is pretty good. It probably won’t change your mind if you’re like me and don’t really like shou, but I’m happy to have had the experience of drinking a higher quality shou like this.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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This is my second time sitting down with this tea. Rinsed once before tasting, infused for 10 seconds, and drank 6 infusions. The dry leaf has a warm earthy smell typical of ripe puerh. The wet leaf smells of earth, smoked tree bark, and moss. Taste overall is the same earthiness with smoky bark, but has a surprisingly fresh finish similar to mint. Enjoyed it overall, but once this brick is gone, probably won’t buy again.

Flavors: Bark, Earth, Mint, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 9 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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So I’ve participated in the last few curated puerh boxes posted by toby8653 and dug into one of these teas this week. I started this tea the day before yesterday and I’ve been steeping it out and taking progress notes several times since then. From the start, it was clear this came from a dense cake. 7g of material hardly took up any space in my gaiwan. The sample has a deep smokey aroma, so I’m prepared up front to get plenty of smokiness in the tea.

I give this a quick rinse and let the leaves sit to open up a bit before the first flash steep, which produces an amber liquor that tastes sweet with notes of tobacco and a hint of earth. The flavors are light, so I can tell the tea is definitely still opening up.

Some tannic sourness and astringency kicks in in steep two. I leave these and come back to the leaves the next day, and there is a very strong smoky aroma and taste to start. After a few more steeps, the taste becomes a bit more mellow and more defined with woody notes and a nice thickness. It’s still got a significant amount of bitterness and sourness going on, though.

I come back to them again today and the taste is significantly more mellow and balanced tasting, with a very long-lasting drying effect on the throat. This has been an interesting drinking experience, and though I gave this tea a couple of weeks to air out and pretty much flash steeped it every time, I’d like to come back to it after an even longer period of rest and to play around with steeping parameters, as well.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Earth, Smoke, Tannic, Tobacco

Boiling 7 g

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i’m a shou newbie but as far as i can tell this is pretty tasty. kinda bitter in a coffee-like way but mellows out after a couple of steeps. i did three rinses.

notes of earthy wood and fallen leaves. maybe a dark chocolate too.

i like it

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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I am not a big shou drinker, so I have been picking away at what I had of this for a couple years now. This past session took up the last chunk that I had left. This is a really great shou. The leaves are heavily compressed and give off no fermentation stank, rather they have high notes of spiced wood and earth. I warmed up my zisha, broke the chunk in half, and threw in both pieces. The warmed shu smells great with burly nuttiness, sweetness, and damp wood. Honestly, I was picking up a definite nutella tone. I washed the leaves three times and proceeded with brewing. The taste is somewhat thin with a slight dryness at first, but it builds in thickness and smoothness as the session goes on. The tones start with a great nutty base along with a great sweet syrupy background. Due to compression, this session lasted for quite a long time. The dark leaves became sweeter and sweeter with more pronounced earth, hazelnut, dry dark cacao. The qi is an intense warming sensation in the face and lower abdomen. I can feel brief bursts of energy the ebb and flow with the session. This is a great tea, but I think its a bit too high priced for me. I couldn’t see myself spending this kind of money on shou. However, it is a stellar tea, and it will always please!

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Hazelnut, Nuts, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Breaking this out as I love some BuLang teas.
I grabbed 10 grams off the cake. Easy to do as the cake was loose pressed for a Dayi. The leaves are a mix of chopped and some full leaf in there. I gave it a wash and let it sit a few minutes. There is some color in the wash so that is promising.
First brew 5 seconds. Golden color. Tastes , a bit smoky with typical shot of BuLang bitterness. It hits with smoke and mineral on the middle part of the tongue.
Second steep, 5 secs, more color getting golden now. A bit stronger on the bitterness with some hints of sweet coming through. Cooling down give some tongue tingle.
Third steep, 5 seconds, color dropping a bit. Still has a good punch some drying at first. Mint and cooling on the breathe intake now. Some more sweetness. Leaves unrolling now and able to see some color variance in them.
I did this tea nine times two days ago and didn’t do many notes. It finally tailed off for my tastes at nine. You may be able to steep it a bit more.

Flavors: Bitter, Mineral, Mint, Smoke, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I had a hard time reading the name on this sample at first, but glad to have finally figured it out. 5g in 200ml gaiwan. Nice, deep red liquor and the first steep is smooth and light, but has a clear, earthy richness.

Starting with the second steep, this shou becomes super smooth, rich and has a nice sweetness to it that lasts through the next couple of hours of steeping. No qi, but this this is easy to drink with a gentle, but rich flavor.

Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g

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I just updated this one after some research. It has older tea leaf in this cake. Stored as MaoCha and then they were pressed into cakes.

I pulled 9 grams off the cake to start with and gave a 5 second rinse. There is color in the rinse that would support the older material.
I started steeping at 5 second increments. The color on th e brews is a nice golden. The aroma has the camphor humid type note to it. This is confirmed upon drinking the tea. You can taste the humidity and the camphor notes along with some mineral in there. The leaf was pretty tightly pressed and there is some bitterness in there as well. This thing is very similar in profile to EoT’s Baotang. It has good storage without being too wet. It gives some tongue tingle and it exudes mintiness breathing it in and out for a minute or so. This thing feels almost like a supercharged ‘7542’ hits all the good notes for me.
This was loads better than the Menghai ’Old Tree Round" I had a while back. Maybe Menghai is something that can be drank without a 5 year or so aging process. I have a couple of more in this same style production to try as well from Menghai.

Flavors: Camphor, Mineral, Mint

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 200 OZ / 5914 ML

There are something like four versions of this in the catalog.


I like the comparison to the EoT tea, although I’ve not tried it. It shows you have pinned it down to something specific.


@tea123 it is very close. I think an initial tasting would be close. The Baotang has a touch more depth to it.


It’s a yearly series? Tried your 2011? It’s smoky and chop but not the worst I’ve had.


@Cwyn, I think this has had some emphasis put on it. It is very much different from the 2012 that I have. It is still chop and goes maybe 9 steeps before I tossed it but the age of the leaf is evident with the taste and color.


That Baotang is superb. I’ll have to look into this.


^I second Haveteawilltravel’s comment. mrmopar thank you for directing me onto Baotang a few months ago, so I’ll have to look into this tea too.


Is “Baotang” an alternative spelling of Bo He Tang? “Bohe” is mandarin for peppermint. Stuff from this terrior is extremely rare and pricey.


its two separate locations. Baotang 保塘 is in the Mengsong region of Menghai, and BoheTang 薄荷塘 is in Wangong region of Mengla

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Purchased at Uwajimaya Market in Seattle, also sold through Tienxi’s website.

This is my first experience with aged pu’erh tea. I prepared it Western style in a mug infuser – 3 minutes and 200 degrees.

It’s everything I was told to expect: it smelled like fresh turned dirt or flower-bed manure (but without bacterial odor) and fresh cedar mulch. The body of the tea was smooth and somewhat sweet with low astringency. I don’t have much to compare it to, so I’ll be back after a few more samples.

Flavors: Cedar, Dirt, Malt, Wet Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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It’s a nice and smooth shou.

The soup has some thickness that is not very dense but really nice and sort of a bit oily, it sort of just melts in your mouth.

The taste isn’t that complex nor that heavy, it tastes a bit like shou puer does but nothing special in a sense. But i really like it, it has a nice smoothness and a lovely sort of mellow oily thicknes.

It reminds me of a nice walk among birches on a clear but mild day with the sun shining and heating up the skin in the late spring.

Flavors: Earth, Peat, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Thanks LP for sending this out as part of a puer taster.

I drank this over a 3 day session and to my amusement the densely packed leaves remained a solid chunk until I finally poked them apart before the penultimate steeping. I found the tea very smooth and mellow. The main flavor was woodsey loamy forest taste with a pretty heavy note of decay and mushroom. I occasionally ride a bike on a path that goes near a waste treatment plant and the aroma of these wet leaves reminded me of the cloying rich scent of trash. As terrible as that might sound, I did enjoy this and would probably drink it again, but I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to seek it.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 120 OZ / 3548 ML

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A bread and butter Dayi ripe. Solid little plantation cake that you can’t go wrong with.

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This is a strong and bitter sheng. There was a pronounced bitterness throughout the first eight steepings. Somewhere around the ninth steeping it began to transform into something sweeter. Not sure that I would go as far as to say apricots on this one but it definitely smoothed out and became sweeter. This is probably a good tea to age. But it will have to be dry stored because I have no more room in my pumidor, unless I remove something that is.

I steeped this twelve times in a 100ml Ru Kiln teapot with 8.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.

Flavors: Bitter, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Drank the rest of mine today from the mystery group buy: &

Honestly, I think the 2014 version is better because it’s more upfront in its boldness while they has more of a smooth nature to it’s taste. The texture is thinner as well. While this taste quite nice and the color of it is wonderful, showing a slight red hue coming about, I find it to be a bit more complex for my taste as I am not too much into shou as I am sheng.

Interestingly enough, almost everyone has guessed the 2015 (super fake), 2010, and 2007 incorrectly :)
It’s been fun talking to people as they have been trying these three out; it also helps them find out if they like a BS $10 cake labeled GNWL.

Bought from, now sold out:

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