Menghai Tea Factory (berylleb on ebay)

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Recent Tasting Notes

This came to my cupboard from White Antlers’ Swedish Death Purge. The handwriting on the bag is clearly mrmopar, though. Thank you both!

I didn’t catch the dry leaf, but once warmed, it smells like an unsweetened root beer with other notes of geosmin, walnut, mushroom, tobacco and ancient wet leather hanging in a barn.

The body was kind of light but very oily and smooth. I was unable to get dark-sludgy pour from this tea. Not a whole lot of excitement going on flavor- or structure-wise. Lots of peppery tobacco and geosmin, some dark wood. Easy drinker and not overwhelming with caffeine effects like so many Menghai area shou pu’er can be. I dig it. Depending on the price, it might be a worthwhile purchase for my tastes.

Flavors: Barnyard, Black Pepper, Dark Wood, Geosmin, Leather, Mushrooms, Oily, Root Beer, Smooth, Tobacco, Walnut


Have you heard from WhiteAntlers lately?

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Been a while since I opened this tea and trie it last. Maybe 3 years. This is very good tea slight bitterness up front but a fantastic tea flavor. Sweet stone fruit and glacial quality. Notes of stone and cooling mouth feel. No comliants t all a very good factory sheng that is aging well in my dry Mountain west climate.

Flavors: Stonefruit

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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First infusion:
When I stick my nose into the cup, I get the scent of mushrooms, clear and bright and not too musty. Liquor is the colour of black coffee. Tastes slightly bitter on its own, but in a rousing way again like black coffee, or bitter chocolate. But it pairs well when drunk with my slightly sweeten black rice + grass jelly breakfast.

Second infusion:
It’s fine with milk, not revelational or anything probably because the bitterness clashes a bit. I think sweeter Pu ers tend to go better with milk.

This Pu Er might taste better with a savoury meal.

Third infusion:
Ate it with a banh mi sandwich. Really nothing special. I won’t be buying the full size of this tea.

Rating: 79

Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Mushrooms

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Great unobjectionable classic Pu Er that goes well with any food. Decent with milk but tastes well-balanced and full-bodied enough on its own.


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Started the new year on a good note!

I ordered this cake based on the great reviews and Mr. Mopar’s recommendation and
I was not disappointed.

I got mine from as they had the best price I could find on this cake and free shipping. I’ve got to say I’m very impressed with their service; low prices, free fast shipping, photographed my order before shipping, gave a free sample, and packed very well and the cardboard box was wrapped in a tough plastic cover to waterproof it.

Back to the tea. The cake has moderate-tight compression and the leaves are very attractive with lots of golden tips. It smelled a little fishy/fermentation-y with worried me, but this did not carry over into the brewed tea.

Brews a clear red-brown, I gave it two rinses as I normally do with shou. The first infusion that I drank (the 3rd) was not impressive. It tasted kind of funky and just sort of generic “Dayi shou.” However, with each infusion it improved. Tastes of rich dark earth and rain, but also warm oatmeal and almonds. Has just a hint of dark chocolate bitterness that adds to the complexity. A nice cleanliness appeared, kind of cool and refreshing like cucumbers or cantaloupe. It is mildly sweet, but I have trouble pinning the flavor down. In the background there is a tiny hint of fruit. The best thing about this tea though is how it simultaneously has a thick creamy-ness and a clean minerality.

This is a very nice shou: it exemplifies the Dayi character but also exceeds it.

Flavors: Almond, Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Oats, Wet Earth

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

I love this one. There was a lot of effort by Dayi to make this one right. I have a few of these around here.

Shine Magical

I’m glad I’m not the only one that tasted oatmeal in this, lol

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Material seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road quality. Lots of yellow stem.
Dry smell: mulchy, kinda fish food-y, a lot of fun!
6g, 75ml porcelain gaiwan
98C, 5s rinse
Wet smell: not really getting anything, to be honest.
98C, 5s: watery, I’ll brew it longer
98C, 15s: much more rich color. okay, maybe a mild smell of chocolate chip. maybe. mostly lack of pungency. definitely some camphor notes in the smell, like cooling in the nose after you sniff. tastes a little sour (in the beer sense) to me. not impressed with the strength of the flavor. I’ll infuse for even longer I guess. really watery mouth feel, some fullness but mostly side-of-mouth and after swallowing.
98C, 30s: same everything. I guess i’ll brew it till the dogs come home.
98C, 90s: seemed to really like being brewed forever. 60s into the brew the first sign of oxygenation of the leaves (CO2 bubbles escaping the gaiwan lid). took until 90s for the water to begin receding. Still no real standout scents for me.

Not sure what to say about this tea. It just didn’t do it for me. After reading previous reviews I have to think that maybe I just broke off a stemmy bit of the cake and didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the scents of it? But the dry leaves smelled really interesting…

Oh well, you can’t like them all.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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A very nice Dayi raw. I’d even put this one up against some of the boutique pu erhs and I would venture to guess it would hold up well in comparison. The liquor is gold. It is fairly sweet, with some honey and Lucky Charms notes. A very easy drinker with just a touch of bitterness. King Tea sells this for $32 for a full size cake, I think this one is well worth the price and a good one to shove away for the future.


The price is still down on eBay as well. Good value. I remember the 2006 one..


Care to share which boutique tea you are thinking of?

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So sorry for the lack of tea reviews, my classes have gotten MUCH harder. It’s only two weeks in and I’ve already had 5 tests. I can tell that this semester is going to have a lot of tea involved if i’m ever going to get through it, haha.

This is such a beautiful tea. I can’t afford to go into much detail, as I am currently procrastinating on some readings, but this tea was wonderful. At It’s “peak” if you will at around the 2-3 steeping this tea was exactly like milk. This might seem weird, but you know how when you drink a glass of milk, it doesn’t really taste like anything, but it has that smooth texture. That is exactly how this tea was. In it’s peak you could not taste very much, but the smooth mushroom pueriness. As well, I noticed that it did not take much of this tea to seem like a whole lot, when I took a sip it felt like a mouthful.

In the 2-3 steeping was when the texture was at it’s best, but the flavor of this tea really came out in the 4-5 steeping. This tea had the classic ripe taste, but was fruity aswell. It was like a very dark peach that didn’t have the bitterness that a peach presents. It just had that addicting fruitiness. I drank this tea on the weekend in the grass watching the sun rise. It was a perfect compliment to the beautiful scenes of nature around me. Very Very delicious tea!

I’ve noticed that my reviews aren’t really that good for people just starting out in puer. I often identify with the classic ripe taste. My next Ripe tasting, however, I will taste it with a pen and paper to really point out what the “classic” tastes are, so that I can really observe fluctuations in this taste for teas in the future. I hope that in the future I can also make my tastings as precise as possible, as to benefit whoever reads it. So much to improve! If you have any comments please do feel free to leave them in the comments section, I would love to hear how you guys go about your tastings. Have a nice day everyone!

Flavors: Milk, Peach

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

I’m right there with you… started my MBA and I come home from work around 6pm… so it’s school until 10pm… fun times.


I really like this one. It is an excellent cake. Your reviews are fine. I think a lot of people can relate to this. Tea is a mysterious wonderful thing.


Haha indeed. Tea really is wonderful.

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Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 8-yr old shou.

Leaf Color – Chocolate brown with gold tips throughout.
Fragrance – mild, sweet
Aroma rinsed leaves – winey, keemun-like
Aroma 20 min post rest – keemun, sweet fine pipe tobacco
Brewed aroma – faint keemun
Liqueur – Dark chocolate brown, thick, viscous with a sheen.

Taste – Full-bodied, thick, rich, round, and ultra-smooth. As one would expect with a 8-yr old premium cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, acidity, fishiness or funk. There was mild astringency that didn’t increase with additional cups of this shou. Perhaps, the quantity of leaves (16.8 g) may have been the cause of it? Perhaps, a slightly lower temperature?

Flavor profile – I was in keemun heaven! This shou reminded me of the best crop-year of Teavivre’s Premium Keemun that I’ve tasted. I was quite surprised and pleased!

Impression – This shou is a bold robust invigorating morning cup that tastes like a full-bodied keemun rather than pu-erh. Keemun lovers rejoyce! “You can have your Pu-erh & Keemun too!” :-) This is an excellent shou.

16.8g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 10 / 20 / 40 /80

17 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

I’m a bit upset I read this tasting note. The mention of keemun flavors means this is yet another shou I need to get it and my spending is getting out of control.


I’m sorry my review has caused you some distress. Have you seen this discusdion thread?
We’re all a bunch of enablers here!


Ahahha yes that thread might be needed at some point but I am not willing to admit that just yet! At least with puerh we don’t have to worry about degradation over time, that’s my current excuse to keep buying :)

I may have to find some steepsters over in Europe that are interested in group buys and/or trades so I’m not always buying an entire cake of everything.


Berylleb offers quantities as small as 50g.


I’ll have a look, thanks. Last time I wanted a sample for a specific tea they were all out so I hadn’t considered it again.


For those who may be interested, the price of this 2009 cake was just reduced:


oh, thanks!


I hope you found it in time. It was briefly reduced to $35.


Very unfortunately, this vendor has currently raised the price to $80!! Perhaps because its just before Christmas or because of this positive review?


At $80 (> 2x the prior sale price) for a single 357g cake (= $0.224/g), this shou is clearly no longer a good value.

Evol Ving Ness

Too bad. I have removed it from my shopping list.


$40 was a very good price considering wholesale prices right now. I am talking to a wholesaler about picking up a case!

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The dry leaf to this one was most interesting. There was the typical wood and bark aroma, but it was also mixed in with eucalyptus, menthol, and mint. I kind of want to order a soap in that flavor now.

There is still a bit of menthol and eucalyptus in the aroma of the wet leaves and the brew, but it has taken a back seat to the wet, woody smell.

The eucalyptus menthol is completely gone in the flavor of the brew. All that’s left is a cool tickle out the nostrils, but honestly, that could be my allergies at this point. What’s left is what I taste in all shous: that mossy, woody, tangy smooth flavor. It’s a pleasant experience, but I am starting not to be able to tell the difference between the different shous I am trying.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

I like this one a lot.


I think I did too. Not as much as 2000 Old Warrior, but pretty up there.

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Sample from Phi

I was brewing this at work yesterday since the day was moving slowly. I wasn’t completely focusing on the tea itself since I was attempting to process what work remained. I did note that there was a woodiness with a hint of semi-sweet earthy undertones. I had experienced a brief exchange of astringency toward the beginning; however, it relinquished soon after the first steep.

Thank you again Phi for the sample.

Flavors: Earth, Wood

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Pretty psyched to open this one up after reading mrmopars rave review. He very kindly sent this sample to me. I had a disappointing sheng this morning so I’m excited to have something, hopefully, excellent.

Whenever I rinse a shou and go in for that big first whiff of wet leaf, I brace myself for the smells of the rotten Minneapolis riverfront in the spring when all the dead fish thaw out. I instead got a beautiful leathery, caramel smell. Not an insanely dark soup on the first steep like I usually expect from a ripe. Beautiful color though. Sweet, awesome mouthfeel. Nice body already. 2nd steep and it’s getting wider and creamier. Still very sweet and smooth. 3rd-5th steeps are all pretty similar. Still smells and tastes really nice.

(incomplete notes)

205 °F / 96 °C 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Woke up today craving a ripe instead of my usual raw so I pulled out this sample from mrmopar. Nice dark nuggets with a weird small bit of light colored leaf and a light twig/stem. Odd, but whatever. After the rinse there is a decent strength ripe smell that, fortunately, faded pretty quickly in following steeps. 1st steep is bright and very very sweet but not very flavorful. 2nd steep smells like old books. Very deep brown soup, lovely. Taste is still mild and sweet. It’s got a perfect astringency level for me, it’s there enough for the tea not to be flat and boring but it’s not drying me up. There’s some cooked fruit flavor deep in the throat. 3rd steep continues to please.

At this point I’m already digging around Taobao for a cake of this. It’s tremendous. It’s everything I never knew a shou could be. It’s not fishy and rank. It’s sweet and smooth and DAMN MAN. Just when I thought I was going to be able to get away with ignoring ripe puer forever and focusing my efforts on raw, you bastards make me want it all.

4-5th steeps the sweetness has backed off a bit and it’s a little earthier. I’m even picking up a hint of the grassiness of a young raw. 6th+ steeps are all similar, still sweet and smooth and rich and delicious. I’ll stretch these leaves as far as they’ll take me, I’ll end with an hour steep if I have to!

Edit: I’ve done a 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m steep and it’s still tasting good.

205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

SOCT is a great one :)


It is a fine shou. Are you hunting for one on Reddit? I saw someone looking over there for this cake. Woops that is you! :P

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I got this tea from King Tea on Aliexpress but decided to review it here rather than create another page. This was an excellent tea. It was slightly bittersweet in the start, but this bitterness did not last long. There was a fair amount of fermentation in the first few steeps, I’d say they were history by the fifth or sixth steep. What was left was a nice sweet tasting shou. Not sure what to call the sweet note. This was excellent tea. So good that I am happy that I bought two bings. This one would be worth a tong purchase.

I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 120ml easy gaiwan with 10.1 g 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, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 min. This tea was not finished at fourteen steeps. It would have gone another two to four steeps I am sure. It had not gotten tremendously weak on the fourteenth infusion.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet

Boiling 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

You’ve had quite a few good (90+) shous recently


I got to taste this cake via mrmopar. He sent a get generous sample a year or two ago. After another year it is even better. I concur this is a good shou.

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I obtained a sample from the Pu’erh Plus TTB. I think it’s this particular shou – the label didn’t say who the vendor was, but that it was provided by mrmopar.

Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a 10-second rinse, then a rest for a couple minutes. Steeping times: 5, 8, 10, 15, 10, 20, 40; 1 min, 1, 2, 5, 12.

The dry leaf smells earthy and sweet, and the wet leaf aroma even sweeter, so much like dark chocolate. The soup color starts off as burnt orange and darkens to ruddy brown. A little cloudy in the beginning (viewing the soup from the pitcher), but eventually clears up by the end of the session. The first couple infusions are a little sweet with some thickness, mostly tasting of fermentation (I think). The middle infusions – 3 through 10 – taste just like the wet leaf aroma: very sweet with a bitter dark chocolate note. Creamy in texture. This was the heart of the session. One word I wrote down was “yum.” I also eventually tasted the Raisinettes note that I usually get in a chocolate-like shou. Infusions 11-13 are still creamy, but the chocolate disappears, replaced by cut wood.

Boiling 5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

It is from the eBay seller Berylleb. An excellent trusted seller for me.


I have heard excellent things about Berylleb from you and Allan. Thank you for adding this to the box!


Welcome, its a good tea.

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I was able to score a generous sample of this tea through a tea swap with a board member.

I found this tea to be remarkable. Remarkable in it’s smoothness of flavor, it’s lack of overly fishy umami , and the subtleties of flavor that came out over time. I made it through 7 steeps, and wish I had begun earlier so as I could continue. I won’t make that mistake again with this tea, as I believe there to be at least double the amount of steeps left. I’m looking forward to a rainy Saturday to sit and relax with this tea again.

There was a hit of bitterness in the first steeps, along with a dryness in the mouth feel. Perhaps it could have been alleviated with a second rinse, or a longer first rinse (mine was 10 seconds). By the 3rd steep the liquor was a deep red with a nice rounded mouth feel, and any bitterness was gone. To be fair, there is some umami, but it’s a pleasant addition to the full-bodied tea, rather than an overwhelming crush.

My wife didn’t like it and quit after 4 cups (70ml each). I have yet to discern her flavor profile, if she has one. I didn’t penalize the tea for her unrefined palate. ;)

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Wet leaf reminds me of an old abandoned, falling down barn with perfectly clean sun-bleached wood.
Taste is very sweet and smooth with a dark forest woodiness. So nice!!!

Thank you dear teafriend for sharing this sample!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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I bought a 50g sample of this after reading all the rave reviews on Steepster, but sadly it was a little disappointing. The tea is pretty good—strong with that Menghai bitterness. But it’s just sort of…flat. Hard to describe—this tea just tastes so average, with very few flavors jumping out at me. It’s sort of like eating mild salsa. It tastes like salsa, it looks like salsa, but it’s just not as interesting as eating the spicier, more interesting stuff.


Did this one just arrive in the mail? I always try to let any puerh sit in open air a few days when I get them in. They can go flat during the shipping process. And if I know Berylleb there is a little desiccant packet in with the tea in the envelope. They suck all the moisture out of the tea.

Huh, that could be it. I’m gonna try sticking it in my trusty pumidor bucket, will report back.


I think that will help. They all taste flat to me right out of the box. Try it in a week as that is usually how long I wait. Cakes , sometimes a month.

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Although I mostly drink black tea, the past while everything started tasting the same, and even worse, not tasting good. So, I pulled out some pu’reh samples I have had stashed away as I had a feeling that is what I needed.. And I was right. This is what I want to drink now.

This tea in particular is so delicious, and although I am not able yet to describe any flavors other than smooth and darkly sweet, this is what I want to drink everyday. Since this is the last of my sample it will not be this particular tea, but this taste is what I want and am craving for now.

Thank you to a very special tea friend who sent these wonderful samples to me last year – I am lucky to have been touched by your kindness.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML
White Antlers

Nice to see you reviewing again!


Thank you! I’m not very good at it but thought I’d give it a try.

White Antlers

There are no ‘rules’ so don’t worry about good and not so good. :-)


Im glad to see you reviewing again <3


My thanks to you


Nice to see ya!


You as well! :)

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Price: £27.80 ($42.53) / 250g in box.

5g in Gaiwan.
On a good day: 82/100
On a bad day: 65/100

Hot gaiwan: Smouldering wood.
Wet: Dry, dusty, smokey, dark fruit.

Summary: Clear, swelling raisin sweetness is joined by honey sweetness to give a floral profile. Not concentrated herbal here. It does have a stimulating grip. The number of steeps it gives is fairly limited.
The problem with this tea is it’s a bit hit and miss when brewing. Some days it has an excellent honey sweetness I’ve not come across, then other days it is flat and fairly plain and mildly astringent. However, it was worth buying to taste that honey sweetness.

5s – Med orange; slightly cloudy. Mild raisins; very gentle bitterness; light body. A bit thin.
15s – Med orange/gold. Thicker. Raisin sweetness swells, and a honey sweetness sparkling returns.
20s – Med orange/gold. Not so much honey sweetness this time. I think it wants brewing longer for that.
30s – Med orange/gold. Honey and floral. The returning sweetness is there.

Flavors: Honey, Raisins

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I have to admit right now that after drinking W2T’s Rapave, all other raw pu’erhs have new standards to meet.

This tea has one great mouth with a nice spunk to its taste. One can tell that it is a new cake, but that does not mean that it has astringency all throughout it; in fact, after steep 4 was smooth sailing for me. The liquid has medium thickness as I swish it around in my mouth. My favorite part of this tea is the lingering taste that has to go for at least four minutes… but I’m not sure its longevity because I have to keep drinking to remember its taste or my mouth will be mad at me.

Personally, I think the semi dry mouth that comes with the great feeling will dissipate over the years. I’d love to taste this one in a few years… which means I may end up picking up a cake if it combats with the Yunann Sourcing cake I just bought. Thankfully I have enough of each to have steeping battle between the two (aka, comparison)

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