Menghai Tea Factory( purchased from berylleb ebay)

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Recent Tasting Notes

I teach piano and voice lessons in my home, and my students find out about my tea obsession pretty quickly. There are two Bellocq tins sitting on the piano and the dog treats for them to bribe my Sam are in a Mariage Feres tin, so it would be pretty hard to miss.

Today, an adorable little boy who has been coming for lessons for about a year asked if he could have a cup of tea. He was getting an extra long lesson because his sibling is at camp. I told him he was welcome to have a cup from my tetsubin…it was this. A ripe pu.

His mother does not drink tea at all, and from what he tells me his father drinks herbals and green tea.

Would you believe he loved it? With no milk or sugar, too. He told me he likes really, really STRONG tea, sweetened please, but I gave him this plain (there was sugar on the table) but he drank it just as it was and exclaimed that it was delicious.

I am out now, so these nuggets are getting resteeped plenty today and tomorrow.

This is one of the sweeter and milder ripe puerh teas I have had. It has great body and is so easy to drink…a child could do it.


What a great tale! My son likes really strong tea too. He’s a musician. Hm.

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This is my first eBay tea purchase, but I felt really comfortable about it because mrmopar has recommended this seller several times. I am not disappointed.

I got the fifty gram option, so mine is not a brick, but individual nuggets. The package was so secure I could hardly get into myself, even with the use of a knife and pair of scissors. Needless to say, the tea inside was in perfect condition.

The nuggets have a rich aroma and we have been resteeping and drinking for a few hours now. This tea keeps on giving.

I think puerh always tastes significantly better if you allow it to cool a bit – much more so than other teas for me. I feel that I taste all the layers of flavor best when it has cooled a bit, and this one was silky excellence once it cooled. What a lovely, round mouthfeel.

I am making seven ounces at a time and used one nugget, which is probably a little overleafed but I am watching the color of the liquor carefully and keeping the steeps short.

I did a quick rinse of maybe five seconds. Then the first steep was about thirty seconds as the nugget wasn’t fully saturated yet. I should have let it sit for about ten minutes before proceeding, but the steep accomplished the same purpose. Each steep after that has been five to ten seconds, and the tea is rich and dark in color.

I was really excited to see a sample enclosed as well! Can’t wait to try it, and that was super generous since I had only ordered fifty grams of tea. But on the plus side for them, they have nabbed a new customer!


Yeah berrylleb is quite good

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This is my first sheng, something that I will definitely need to spend some more time with. It also definitely made me thankful that I tried sheng before going in head first with a cake.

Well, this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I really did. thought the whole session there were so many dark notes with vanilla being in front of the crowd. It also had the taste of very dark fruits. I had to add sugar to this tea, because I found that I enjoyed it much more this way. I’m so sorry, but the way that I describe this is as though all of the flavors are in a line, with Vanilla being in front of the line, and something lighter dark along the lines of vanilla following, then a dark fruit taste with a citrus being behind this. Then at the back of the line is the barn yard which definitely came from the smell.

When I first opened the bag there was a very weird smell, something like meat sitting in a barnyard next to a horse. This absolutely terrified me and I thought that I had made a grave mistake. But after a wash and a first infusion this horse and barn walked far away from my tastebuds (not my nose) and I was left in a field of already harvested hay sitting on a hay bail. But with this I was also surrounded by vanilla, lots of it. This tea it encloses your tongue and traps it in this dark taste not too dark. Giving you a pinch of vanilla at first then more and more and more. (forgot to say but these tastes are up to the 3rd infusion) until it is like you are drinking a London fog without any milk at all.

The smell on this tea was the worst part. The taste moves away from the barn, but the smell never leaves the barn. The smell wasn’t as pleasant as it’s amazing taste. But as soon as it hits the mouth the smell runs back behind the fruit taste, and is only present for around a couple seconds then the vanilla and whatever that taste was with it just overpowers. when in my mouth I breathed out of my nose and got nothing, needless to say it is only aromatic when out of the mouth. I believe that this is fermentation, but I’m not sure at all as this is my second puerh ever.

Unlike the sheng that I drank earlier when I felt stressed before drinking this tea, I felt even more stressed after. This may be due to the fact that I am drinking this on the honest day this year outdoors. This tea is definitely one that I would like a lot more in the winter, and I will save it in it’s little bag until then!

Overall this tea hit me in the face with reality of what sheng is. However, I might seem a little bit dull when writing this review because it’s been a not so good day and I was really hoping that this tea would help (I know sheng spoiled me) but my expectations were too high in this category of tea, and it did not meet that. But that’s okay, when looking back on it I really enjoyed this tea’s taste, but I was not a big fan of it’s smell.

[A Day later] Though today (viewer discretion is advised) I woke up with blood all over my face, and pillow. Turns out that one of the teeth that I pulled decided to annoy me today (I had to pull them to make way for braces).

But with that out of the way, I have an intense craving for this tea, and I want to pop the bag open and drink another. I think that my rating was a little low because I drank this in summer, which I think isn’t the time to be drinking such a dark and strong tea. I think that if like now in the early morning it was a little cooler outside I would have absolutely loved this tea. But I still do!

Flavors: Barnyard, Citrus, Stonefruit, Vanilla

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

It should air out in a while. That is the edge to shou that many have a hard time with. When you get past the aroma the taste is much different.


Yes, the taste was amazing, but the smell was a big bother. So, would you recommend me leaving out the little hunk of puerh to sit outside for a few hours before I do a session with it?


Air them for a day or so in the open. As shou gets older say 10 years or so this will clear given good storage.


I think I definitely need a lot more experience with Shou, and definitely in the winter. But. I am also very excited to taste some more Sheng, as the flavor notes on them seem very nice for the summer time. But overall, I am still learning, and getting to know puerh.

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I have to admit, I drank this like; the hell is this???

It’s pretty much a thick heicha. Not tasting any fermentation which is fine, but I also don’t seem to find a dark color to this at even 30 seconds. Very light in color with notes of hay and maybe the burs on my shoes after a walk off roads; but I have never tasted one because they are too spiky, do they have a taste that is noticeable though?

Anyways, I drank this 6 steeps deep at work because I didn’t want to miss out in case there was a prize in the middle like some cereal boxes…. but, nothing.

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This tea now sells for a whopping $150. Did you who now own this pay that much? I am only tasting a sample. Anyway, this tea is certainly very good, though not nearly good enough to justify its current price. It is on the lighter side, with that signature ripe Dayi taste in the background, rather than upfront like it usually is. Quite smooth, and definitely different than your run of the mill Dayi. Tastes like gushu. I get cocoa, a little burnt coffee, and mostly a clean shu flavor.

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Sipdown. Finished off the last of this puerh today – exciting times. Looking forward to weighing my cupboard tomorrow for April results haha. Dorky but also exciting since i’ve been really working on drinking things down and getting rid of teas i don’t love. This one has been quite enjoyable this morning, just what i wanted it to be on this dark and rainy day.


Ha – maybe I shouldn’t send you more tea, then?


where are you guys these days? I thought i saw a post that you were taking off to drive a van somewhere? i have a bad memory. I love tea…it’s been good to have time this week to drink my puerh though – it’s been languishing in the back of my cupboard.

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Session of this earlier in the day to kick things off. I’ll be sad when this one is done – i’ve got maybe one more session left to this one and i’ll be enjoying it when i have time. So nice to have a treat of this one. It’s dark, rich, smooth…starts off a little earthy/woody but ends up being more cedar/spice and everything nice? haha. Noms.

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need to keep on drinking my puerh, and since it’s kind of a half day to all day thing, i’m trying to drink at least once while i work from home. I’ve got goals to make people! haha this one has been wonderfully smooth and dark today, though so far there hasn’t been much excitement going on..just a relatively delicious cup again and again.

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noms. nothing like a tasty shou to keep you warm on a day with windchills down to -40. And yes that’s F or C…since it’s the same ugh. gross. stupid weather.

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Much happier with this version over the 2010.

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I also pulled this one out of my cupboard today. I have had the 2010 version of this tea, so now i feel like i should do a comparison at some point in the future.

this one started out slightly earthy but mostly just smooth, with a hint of that leather sort of taste in the background. later steepings had echoes of cocao but not quite. I’ll have to spend another day with this one to really get in to things – sadly work exploded in the afternoon, so while i kept drinking, it wasn’t focused :(


An interesting theory about this tea is that because they use large grade nine leaves it should in theory have less caffeine than some other puerhs. Larger leaves are believed to contain less caffeine than small leaves.


really? interesting!

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I really enjoyed this shou sample from a friend today. Pretty much perfect shou flavor! :D

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What an enjoyable shou. The dark leaves yield a dark red tea broth with smooth and mellow flavor. Layers of flavors to enjoy and the finish is sweet in the throat. One of the deepest ripe puerhs I have enjoyed. Definitely no fermentation taste left – none of the wo dui flavor common in heavily fermented shou. In addition, I do not detect the typical woody flavors – this one is more like dark cocoa and minimally sweetened biscuits. This is a good one!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

I got this one and I really need to try it now.

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I am getting really frustrated with myself when it comes to this puerh stuff. I have some of the best stuff out there thanks to a wonderful tea benefactor and I can’t seem to appreciate it. I’ve finally made it past the “no thank you” stage and I am at the “if I must” stage.

Some tea people I trust are encouraging and swear they felt the same at the beginning and now they love it but man, how long does it take? I’ve been trying on and off for MONTHS.

But since we are talking about THIS particular one here, I am on my third steep, 1 minute western style for each steeps, plus a rinse at the beginning. The first two steeps the cake remained quite packed, it only now broke apart into what I recognize as loose tea (as opposed to a block). It is still very very dark, I am quite curious as to how long this is going to last. I’m going to keep at it until I taste chocolate, or something other than musty barnyard clothes.

Previous note says the flavour came out in later steeps. I hope so because right now it just sort of tastes like I’m sucking on a snow-soaked wool mitten. I must say it does not taste fishy which is an improvement but it still smells so. Last night I jokingly “offered” my cup to the dog we’re dogsitting, holding in out for her to sniff. No word of a lie, she turned her head and curled her lip. And she usually reacts quite differently when offered things from out cups and plates. :)

PS. this does not pair well with avocado which I happened to have a small amount of since I’m chopping it. I’m sure this morsel of info will be helpful to so many :)


“snow-soaked wool mitten” Jeepers. You’re much more forgiving than I!


LMAO! How did you ever come up with snow-soaked wool mitten? The worst part is I do remember what they taste like!!!


Fairy… I loved snow as a kid. I would be out there for HOURS, my poor mom pleading me to go inside and when I did, my gloves would be soaked, all of me would be soaked. And yes, I’ve sucked on my mittens many, many times.

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a wonderfull pu-erh. i started this one out with about 10 grams in a large yixing. a 15 second rinse and off we go. the first infusion was pale with a good aroma of something sweet. not very strong on the first steep with a hint of something i could not describe. second infusion much darker the same sweetness and there it is a touch of citrus like you would find in an earl grey. i carried this one through 10 infusions before i finally let it go. the middle infusions were very nice with the tea cutting through and finishing with the citrus notes. a very smooth and mot overpowering tea that i will have to add to the list of very good ones.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Thank you to mrmopar, my friend, for this tea sample

Very quietly and slowly I have been enchanted by Pu-erh over the past 9 months. Now, I am in LOVE. It is my favorite tea, especially
Shu (shou) Pu-erh.

For some time, I’ve wanted to talk about why I love it so much and now I’m going to try to share how I feel about it.

Imagine your own private place of wilderness peace.

The Blue Ridge Mountains in the Fall, Yosemite, the Redwoods, Kauai, the Rockies of Canada or Colorado. The Catskills or a Beach. The forests of Denmark and England. A city central park.
That is a beginning place to first reach down to the earth and begin to understand Pu-erh.

Pu-erh requires all of your sensory memory and shares a place with no other tea.

Pu-erh, both Sheng or Shou, is grounded to the earth in a unique way because of how it is processed. Dirt, soil, mushrooms, nuts and berries, spices, cocoa, vanilla and tree bark are common taste and aroma profiles. The scent of bread or leather in the wet leaves.

My own vision when I drink Shu (or Shou) Pu-erh is of the Redwoods in Northern California where much time in my life was spent.
The scent memory of redwoods is a strong one, and the vision of giant trees and dappled light streaming down to the forest floor is something I will always be able to close my eyes and see.

In Paradise California I lived in the forest with huge oak trees and Pine Trees around my house, which called for clearing leaves every Saturday in the Fall. An acre of leaves. Tarps full of leaves. And again more memories of musty, damp and dusty earth.

Working at the Fortino Winery in Morgan Hill, California…I acquired the scent of Old Vines and wet dirt clods after the rains. Empty barrels sour with the scent of oak and wine.
Damp cellars full of cobwebs and dust. Small wineries, big wineries, organic ones, some damp and some dry.

Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga, Murphy’s, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Monterey, Paso Robles and Santa Ynez. Each with a different ecosystem.

All of this has everything to do with how I approach Pu-erh.
My love of the Earth, the way I love food and cooking. It all comes together as how I experience my favorite tea.

On to the review!

I began with a 30 second rinse followed by steepings 1-5 at 30 seconds. Steepings 6-7 were 40 seconds. Steeping 8 a minute.
I used a 6oz. purple clay Gaiwan that I use only for Pu-erh.

The liquor began as Autumn Gold then changed to Golden Rust Red. Very Beautiful and clear.

1. Thick and earthy sweet. My mouth felt a numbing sensation then a coolness and flavor of cedar very light at the finish followed by a spiciness.

2. The wet leaves had an aroma of vanilla. The flavor was smooth, silky to the point of almost being creamy with a sweet vanilla plantain taste. As this cup cooled there was a light cedar taste.

3. The liquor smelled bready and tasted delicious, sweet, with an energy that was exciting. How can I describe a flavor that’s exciting?
It was like an inner light was turned on. A sustained POP ROCK without the annoying sizzle. Refreshing!
This was silky smooth, mellow, sweet and very good. There was hardly any trace of cedar but more like vanilla cake with a little cinnamon heat at the end.

4. Beautiful, sweet with great energy and no earthiness although you CAN smell the cedar.

5. More energy again and smooth. This was a little warmer tasting, with a spicy cinnamon bread and cedar flavor at the end.

6. and 7. Here’s where I took the steeping to 40 seconds. The liquor was nice and dark! Yum! Still this was a smooth, cinnamon sweet cup of Pu-erh!

8. A longer 1 minute steep with additions for all those lovers of cream and sugar! (I do not care what the purists say about doing this, I care more about getting people to drink Pu-erh!)

This tasted like a very good spicy vanilla latte. I loved it!

This is a rich and above average Pu-erh. Smooth, silky with lots to give for many rich steepings. There was vanilla, light cedar (not too much) and spice for warmth. Good energy and sweetness without being too sweet with a hint of cinnamon heat.

The earthiness is very, very tame. A great beginner Pu-erh!


Amazing notes! I completely agree with your experience with Puerh. I’ve loved some Shengs that remind me of a fire build with wild wood back home, the bitter-smoky essence that is just melancholic and transports me back to the origin of my memory. Shu/Shou have reminded me of walks around the central mountain areas near my parent’s house. When it would suddenly rain and the scent will make you finally notice the dried leaves on the ground, some recent, some have been there for months. And back to the notes, Menghai is great in its smoothness and creamy body. Love it.


Thank you. I hope you continue to paint these kind of pictures for people like me who are visual thinkers. I can taste and see what you’ve experienced!


Wow, I absolutely love this review. You are so lucky to have spent time with the Redwoods. I haven’t even seen them yet. My forestry studies will get me out there soon and I can’t wait to experience the most magical of forests :)


My daughter lived next to Henry Cowell St. Park in Santa Cruz County (my Aunt had a cabin there when I was growing up too). Most of my life I lived within 30 minutes or less of these trees. My mom was born in a logging camp in 1924 way up north when they cut down huge redwood trees by hand using large 2 person handsaws. I still have black and white pictures. I hope you do get to see them, it’s worth doing. Make sure to feel the bark and smell it.


I love the vanilla/smooth pu-erhs. My fave! but pop rocks?! neato!!


I had a mini tuo cha tonight like candy, sweet orange. So good! Yum! The vanilla smooth and caramel ones…yum. I have just discovered the citrus ones thanks to mrmopar. Really delicious.


fantastic review

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moving this up a notch. the flavors really come out in the later infusions. it keeps getting better and better. i purchased a 2006 7572 cake at the same time as this one,but this is hands down the winner in my book and i am off to ebay to get another.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

sorry compared to a 7562 cake not a 7572


Wow that’s a high rating for you!


Better as in how? What does it taste like?


it is like an aged pu-er even though it is a young brick. it is very smooth and mellow, gives a great color and i think i have brewed it 4 times now and the flavor is still there.


i found a 2010 cake of the same and it will soon be in my cupboard!

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think this is very good now. it gives a rich broth that is milder than most shus this young a dark infusion very mellow to be a 2011 tea. very good. on the fourth infusion and it keeps giving and giving.
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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