During the year 1960’s to 2000, the Pu-erh tea products from Yunnan Xishuangbanna Menghai Tea Factory has always been one of the most sought after products for tea collectors and enthusiast alike. In terms of total Pu-erh tea production during that period, the three largest tea factories Manghai, Kunming and Xiaguan Tea Factories accounted for the majority of the total production.
Originally called the Fuhai Tea Factory, it was renamed to Menghai Tea Factory in 1953 and later the privatization of the factory from a state-run operation took place in 2004 and change the name to Dayi ever since. The well-known products from the Menghai Tea Factory include products from the Masterpiece Era (1950-1972) e.g. Red Mark ( Red Label, Hong Yin), Blue Mark (Blue Label, Lan Yin), and Chi Tse Beeng Cha Era (1972 to late 1990s).
Menghai Tea Factory abolished many of the customary practices of Pu-erh tea production of previous periods before the 1960s. During this cultural revolution period, the factory was owned by the state and in order to increase the production level and efficiency, many of the factory policies were reorganized to meet their goals, including the development of tea plantation of short tea shrub
that facilitate efficiency in the picking of tea leaves, highly mechanical press and steam furnace in the production line and packaging with English in order to draw international customers.
Since the beginning of the cultural revolution, Menghai Tea Factory has been playing the leading role in Pu-erh tea production. And the 7542 series of Chi Tse Beeng Cha is by far the longest running series of tea cake in the company's history in terms of quantity and the experience they gained from the production of this series is representational and set the quality standard for the company’s other products. The 7542 number itself and the production ticket accompanying each case of the tea cake is very informative which stated the year and place of manufacture, the batch number also shows the quantity and the season in which the tea cake was made.
Production Ticket in each case of 7542
The 7542 series from Menghai Factory is clearly a product of the cultural revolution era, Looking back to the 1960s and ’70s, it’s purpose is to create a stable, healthy, affordable product for the masses. As the market opens up towards the turn of the century, the concept of tea appreciation has developed and the knowledge and demand for better tea by enthusiasts and collectors is ever increasing. Following the privatization of the factory in 2004. this truthful, genuine and modest style of Chi Tse Beeng Cha tea cake representing the Menghai Factory for a period of 40 years is now a thing of the past.
Chi Tse Beeng Cha from Menghai province basically collected its Mao Cha from famous tea producing regions and tea plantations of Nanxun, Bada, and Bulang. The traditional 7542 series teacakes are covered with finer younger spring buds on the surface and mainly fourth-grade tea inside. Although some other grades of tea may also use to achieve an optimum taste. In order to maintain consistency of taste year by year, the factory would use Mao Cha from previous years. They also developed a system of collecting different grades and taste of Mao Cha from various cooperative suppliers to maintain the consistency of taste of their products. The description tickets included in every tea cake also mentioned: “Through a process of optimum fermentation and high-temperature steaming and pressing.” This very brief description suggests the full process of creating a tea cake. “Optimum fermentation“ refers to sun withering, fixation, rolling and drying into Mao Cha. Then, depending on whether the end product is raw or ripened tea cake, the latter requires an extra step of Wodiu fermentation.
Then through “high temperature steaming” in a steam furnace to soften the Mao Cha and press into the desired shape of a cake, toucha or tea brick. In some
cases the term “high-quality material” has been mentioned in some superior tea cake products also.
Since the establishment of Yee On Tea Company in 1973, we have been continuously stocking the tea products from Menghai Tea Factory. Our original stock on each of this 7542 series is about 1 to 3 tons, All our Pu-erh tea products including this 7542 series have been stored in our underground cellars along the natural hillside terrain in Hong Kong. In recent years, we moved our warehouse gradually to the more manageable industrial buildings where we can provide a better-controlled environment for the post-fermentation of our tea. Where the temperature, humidity, and lighting can remain steady throughout the years just as the natural conditions in the underground cellars. The quality of our products is further guaranteed as a result.
The 7 versions of 7542 chosen for this series covers a time span of 38 years. Through intense tasting and comparison of these 7 samples, we can clearly distinguish the different characteristics between them. The younger tea has a more astringent taste than the more mature older samples, also the aged, Hui Gan, Hui-Tian and the obvious sensation of layering. All these are good examples to show how the taste and value of Pu-erh tea improve with aging.
1968 conceptual beginning of the 7542 "Chi Tse Beeng Cha"
1973 Small Yellow Mark (Small Yellow Label, CNNP)
A special mention to the 1968 version of this series being the conceptual and beginning of the 7542 series that set the standard of future products to come, the materials and process of creating the teacake is similar to that of the previous masterpiece era (1950-1972). It uses broader leaves from wild-grown arbor trees instead of tea plantation materials in comparison to later versions. It even has a reputation of being the “red label of tomorrow”. In the 1960s when the tea factory has very limited resources, this version of 7542 uses the same inner ticket as the red and blue label and further shows that they made the best use of resources and use locally grown materials in those days. And the 1973 Small Yellow Mark (Yellow Label) becomes the more conceivable concept of the 7542 series as the Menghai Tea Factory began to set policies for their future conventional product lines like the 7532, 7452, 7572, 8582 and 8592etc. The yellow label is also one of the first teacakes to put Menghai Tea Factory in its inner label. It also set the standard of the defining Pu-erh taste so other related product lines could follow by adjusting the taste according to the 7542 series. This classic, defining Pu-erh taste is rich, delicate, smooth and aged taste. These 2 older versions of 7542 are made during the transitional period of the factory in the ’60s and 70’s when the state-owned factory renamed as “China National Native Produce & Animal by-
products Import & Export Corporation, Yunnan Tea Branch”. mainly to promote Puerh tea as a healthy drink worldwide.
If you are interested in the 7542 Tea collection contact us at email@example.com