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Pu-erh Tea Factories

This is about two of the main tea factories currently producing the bulk of the pu-erh teas on the market today: the Menghai and Xiaguan Pu-erh Tea Factories

Menghai Tea Factory

Chinese: 勐海茶厂; pinyin: měnghăi cháchăng)

This tea factory is located in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (中国云南西双版纳勐海县). It is well-known for its old raw pu-erh cakes and is highly reputed in the tea industry of China.


The Menghai Tea Factory was originally called Fo Hai Tea Factory (佛海茶厂), but changed its name in 1953 with the establishment of the Xishuangbanna autonomous prefecture.

The factory is credited as being one of the first two factories to make "cooked" (熟茶, shúchá) pu-erh tea in 1973 (the other was Kunming Tea Factory). As the tea factory industry in China privatized in the late 1980s through the 1990s, the Menghai Tea Factory adopted its "Dayi" (大益) logo and went fully private in 1996. Currently, the Menghai Tea Factory is owned by The Bowin Company, who purchased Menghai Tea Industry Co., Ltd, along with the Menghai Tea Factory in October 2004.



Menghai protection ticket (shown at right) from 2006 7742 recipe bĭngchá; prominently features Dayi brand logo

The Menghai Tea Factory is perhaps the most widely known producer of compressed and loose pu-erh tea, including túochá (沱茶, "bowl- or nest-shaped tea"), bĭngchá (饼茶, "disc tea"), and other compressed shapes. Vintage bĭngchá from Menghai Tea Factory are perhaps the most highly prized pu-erh tea produced in the 1970s and 1980s. Current productions from Menghai Tea Factory products remain popular, even with trends of pu-erh collectors favoring smaller producers. Because of the high prices fetched by both new and old Menghai products, Menghai products often suffer from widespread counterfeiting. In 2006, Menghai began issuing micro-printed tickets in their pu-erh cakes in an attempt to throw off counterfeiters.


Like Xiaguan Tea Factory and many other formerly government-owned pu-erh factories, Menghai produces many cakes by recipe, indicated by a recipe number usually in a four-digit numeric format: ####. The first two digits represent the year the recipe was first produced, the third digit the grade of leaves used in the recipe, and the last digit represents the factory.

Some examples of bingchá recipes are below. Menghai also produces some zhuanchá ("brick tea") and túochá by recipe as well. Many pu-erh series by Menghai - especially newer series - are not referenced by recipe number.

Bĭngchá recipes (partial list):

Raw: 7432, 7532, 7572, 7582, 7742, 8542, 8582, 8972, 0622

Cooked: 7262, 7552, 7562, 7572, 7592, 7632, 7672, 7752, 8562, 8592, 0532, 0562

See the article “Recipes or ‘What do those numbers mean?’


The Menghai Tea Factory previously produced its teas under the zhongchá label of the state-run China National Native Produce & Animal by Products Import & Export (CNNP), but registered its own brand, Dayi, in June 1989 and began producing exclusively under this label in 1996. While some Menghai labels contain other more prominent labels, such as the Menghai peacock, the Dayi brand is always found on these labels as well.

Dayi logo below recipe number on
Menghai 2006 7742 cake wrapper.

Menghai 8542 Recipe
Bingchá, 2005



See more information on our blog: About the Menghai Tea Factory

(See About the Menghai Tea Factory and Tips for How to Store and Age Your Pu-erh Purchases on our blog Fine Tea Focus.)

Xiaguan Tea Factory

Chinese: 云南下关沱茶集; pinyin: yúnnán xiàguān túochá jítuán

The Xiaguan Tea Factory is located in the biggest compressed tea distributing center, Dali city in Yunnan province, and was established in 1941. The Xiaguan tea factory has two brands: The "Song He" (Crane) brand was established in 1902, and is widely exported to many overseas countries. Another brand is the Baoyan (Holy flame). This brand used to be used primarily in the border regions of China, but now it is commonly consumed by many tea lovers.

See more information on our blog: About the Xiaguan Tea Factory


118px-xiaguan-2005-big-g-label.jpgThe Xiaguan Tea Factory was founded in 1941. They have their own logo design (shown at right).


Xiaguan Tea Factory is a major producer of compressed pu-erh tea, most notably túochá (沱茶), "Bowl-shaped Tea" and bĭngchá (饼茶, "Disc Tea"). Aged túochá and bĭngchá, particularly those produced in the 1970s and 1980s, are highly valued by collectors. However, while Xiaguan Tea Factory's productions enjoy popularity today, higher production temperatures for their túochá are prompting some concern over the "ageability" of new Xiaguan túochá.

Xiaguan produces both raw (生茶, shēngchá) and cooked (熟茶, shúchá) varieties of pu-erh.


Like many other pu-erh factories, the factory produces a series of cakes by recipe number. While these cakes have been produced since 1986, numbers began to be included on cake wrappers in 2005. Recipe numbers are usually in the form of four digits, sometimes with an optional initial letter. The first two digits represent the year the recipe was first produced, the third digit the grade of leaves used in the recipe, and the last digit represents the factory ("3" for the Xiaguan Tea Factory). The optional initial letter, usually T, marks the use of tight machine compression. T8613, then would be a recipe from 1986 using first-grade tea made by Xiaguan Factory, compressed by machine.

See the article “Recipes or ‘What do those numbers mean?’

About the Xiaguan Tea Factory “FT” Brand

Xiaguan Tea Factory and the Taiwan-based “Fei Tai” business worked together to produce these super premium blends in the Xiaguan tradition of quality. These special leaf blends are produced from the highest quality Pu-erh leaves and are intended for export directly to Taiwan, hence the “FT” has also come be known as meaning “For Taiwan." I am pleased to be able to offer these fine Xiaguan teas to my customers all over the world, but please keep in mind they are very limited in quantity.

Bĭngchá grades

Raw: 8603, 8613, 8633, 8653, 8673, and "T" series of these same teas (T8613, etc.)

Cooked: 8663

Túochá brands

2004 Xiaguan Jin Si
(Gold Ribbon) túochá

Song He brand
on bĭngchá

Bao Yan brand
on mini bĭngchá stack




About the Summit Tea Company

Summit brand Pu-Erh tea is founded by Pu-Erh tea experts and enthusiasts in Guangzhou, China. The Summit tea team are dedicated to offering the pure, big-leaf pu-erh tea from big-arbor pu-erh trees with recipes that are formulated from tea originating from a single mountain. In addition, the Summit Tea Company endeavors to educate tea lovers about the distinguishing tastes of pu-erh tea from each individual tea mountain.

The Summit Tea Company decided to create these teas because it is extremely hard to find old-arbor, big-tree pu-erh teas originating from a single mountain in the existing tea market. Instead, there are many factories claiming their pu-erh tea offerings are from old-arbor trees from a single mountain but the tea is actually a blend of the leaves from several nearby mountains. Or, the tea may be a blend of old arbor trees and bush tea in order to keep the cost down.

Each year, during the spring tea harvest times, the Summit Tea team travels extensively in the mountains and stays there for about two months. During that time, they taste each of the teas from individual villages and farmers and then select the best ones. That is why the Summit Tea Company cannot guarantee teas are the exactly the same from year to year. However, they do guarantee that they will be the highest quality available. In addition, due to the highly selective process, the Summit Tea Company does not guarantee huge quantities will be produced.

All Summit Tea Company pu-erh tea is carefully selected by the tasting team and is processed using traditional stones to ensure the teas have a perfect compression for ideal post-fermentation to occur. After you taste the Summit Tea Company's raw Pu Er tea, you will have an excellent appreciation of some of the finest, true big-arbor pu-erh tea available and will get a true sense of the different flavor profiles presented based on the tea mountain where the tea originates.

About Bulang Mountain

The Bu Lang minority are known as Pu people in ancient China because they were good at cultivating tea wherever they lived. The Bu Lang minority have lived in the Bu Lang mountains for almost a thousand years. In addition, there are still some other minorities living in Bu Lang Mountains, such as La Gu minority, Ha Ni minority and Han Majority. Currently, the Bu Lang mountain region has about 6.5 million square meters of ancient old tea trees with an average age of over 200 years.

Pu-erh tea from Bu Lang mountain in Menghai is famous for its super sweetness after a short bitterness, thick tea taste and high mountain flavor.