I would like to use this post to provide quick descriptions of well-known Dayi (Menghai Tea Factory) productions and just a few additional tidbits of information about Menghai Tea Factory I’ve picked up to help users learn about and discern different recipes. Of course, discussing all of Dayi’s productions might take a lifetime – Even their own factory director is probably unable to keep track of them all. I think I can at least provide a very basic introduction to the better-known productions that I’ve had in my day. In reality, each year and each individual batch will have variation – so please do not consider this anything more than a quick introduction to general characteristics of each tea – Dayi’s craft is continuously improving and changing. The most practical way to gain a better understanding of each tea is to taste it!
我想在這貼文裡面來鑑別大益最常見的嘜號. 當然, 想說大益所有的產品, 用盡一輩子的時間來講也說不完, 因為勐海茶廠的產品繁多, 連老廠長八成也說不清. 雖然如此, 最起碼應該能夠把大益比較有名氣的產品先介紹一下. 實際上每年每批次還是有些許差異(尤其早期跟現代的差異)，工藝也在不斷進步改良，還是以實際品飲經驗為準, 親自品嘗才知道!
Factory recipes always use four numbers – The first two represent the year of a recipe’s creation/implementation. The third number is the average leaf grade, and the final number is the factory code. (Dayi will always be a 2)
餅茶命名用四位數: 前兩位代表配方的創始年份, 第三位為用料綜合級別, 第四位為茶廠代號
* Leaf grade refers to the size of the leaf, not the materials quality!
e.g. 7542 = 1975 Recipe – Average leaf-grade of 4, and 2=Menghai Tea Factory. Menghai Tea Factory recipes do not specify whether the production is raw or ripe. With time, hearing the numbers and associating them to a specific tea becomes second nature. Menghai Tea Factory is often regarded for its ripe productions – Being the very factory to pioneer wet-piling post-fermentation. Both their ripe and raw products have become market staples and have very high collector’s value. Dayi teas are likely the single most faked teas in the market, because of name. Those interested in picking up cakes should stick to reliable vendors, or for 100% certainty buy directly from Dayi’s flagship store.
For more info on Menghai Tea Factory’s more recent ripe-pu’er fermentation methods, check this out. For a brief English overview, the HEMA (黑馬) process was implemented in 2013, with the objective of refining the results of the wet-piling fermentation process. These methods supposedly contributed to reducing “wet-pile flavor” (堆味), and more precision in the results of their fermentation. HEMA stands for:
Health Orientation 健康導向 – Making wet-piling fermentation result in a tea that could better contribute to weight loss, lower cholesterol, supporting digestion/stomach health, and helping keep healthy skin.
Environment 微生態環境 – This was to improve the quality of environment for microbes through testing humidity, temperature, and light levels in order to create an ideal environment for “Dayi Pu’er Fermentation” and lay the foundation for the “Menghai Taste”
Microtechnology 微生物技術 (Fun translation and hilariously misspelled “microfechnonogy” in the article) – Menghai Tea Factory looked into the different enzymes created during their fermentation process to better understand the resulting flavors of their fermentation process. They then separated the specific probiotics that resulted in fermentation in a lab to establish which cultures were used to create the “Menghai taste,” and create a standard foundation for future fermentation.
Aging 醇化技術 – Using the previously mentioned research to implement a more refined aging technique. Through correct humidity, temperature, and enzymatic activity, a more rapid efficient aging process could provide quality and desired recognizable characteristics in the teas, to accurately perpetuate the desired “Menghai taste”
*For the section below, general notes for each production are included as they are commonly listed on information pages (Baidu, Puercn, Wiki, and other forums) for each cake. Please note that these are general at best, and do not speak to the diversity of taste and production quality over vintages or varied batches.
生茶 Raw Pu’er:
熟茶 Ripe Pu’er: