Yunnan Taetea (Dayi) Group is one of the most well-known pu erh tea manufacturers in the world. The group owns several companies including the famous Menghai Tea Factory.
Located in Xishuangbanna in the Southwest Yunnan the factory has been providing quality tea for over 70 years. It has especially become famous for ripe pu erh, and later on also raw pu erh.
Menghai Tea Factory today produces their products mainly under the Taetea (Dayi, 大益) brand, which is without a doubt a brand that every pu erh tea lover is familiar with. The infographic below provides in a nutshell the history of Menghai Tea Factory.
1940 China Tea Company‘s Fohai Experimental Tea Factory (the earliest name of today’s Menghai Tea Factory) was established. Mr. Fan Hejun, a well respected tea expert in the industry became the first director. The factory produced the first batch of Dian Hong, a Yunnan black tea, in the Spring of 1941.
The timing of its foundation wasn’t great. In 1942 all staff of Fohai Tea Factory retreated to Kunming due to the Second World War. The factory ceased production. In 1944, the factory reopened, but immediately closed again.
In 1950 the political situation calmed down. The China Tea Company founded its Yunnan Branch. In 1952, the factory once again resumed production.
However, due to post war consolidation of the tea factories in Yunnan. The products of Fohai Tea Factory now carried the Zhongcha (Chinatea) brand. The red print of Zhongcha was used in the beginning, and was changed to the green print towards the end of the 50s. This brand was related to the Kunming Tea Factory.
In 1954, the Fohai Tea Factory changed its name to Xishuangbanna Tea Factory and started processing compressed tea and green tea.
In 1956, the factory was renamed as the Menghai Tea Factory.
1959 Menghai Tea Factory developed new products including a square pu erh tea bricks and tuochas. 1964 China Tea Company Yunnan Branch renamed as China Tea Import and Export Company Yunnan Branch.
In 1973, the Fohai Tea Factory became one of two factories to produce the first ripe pu erh tea. This type of pu erh was made by applying an innovative wet-piling technique.
1976 China Tea Company Yunnan Branch requested its 3 major tea factories – Kunming, Menghai and Xiaguan to increase the production of ripe pu erh tea. In this year, pu erh tea code system launched. The products of Menghai Tea Factory at that time began with 74 or 75 and ended with 2.
1976-1979 Menghai Tea Factory mainly exported tea in bulk during this period. Only two kinds of compressed tea were exported: 7452 and 7572. 1979 The factory started to export more compressed tea such as 7542, 7532 and 7582.
1981 Menghai Tea Factory began add raw pu erh tea cakes to its collections. The 7572 raw pu erh tea cake was introduced in that year, followed by the 8582 raw pu erh tea cake in 1985. In 1989, it successfully registered the “Taetea” trademark. In 1994, the factory began the production of pu erh tea cakes under this new brand.
1996 Menghai Tea Factory reformed and established as Xishuangbanna Menghai Tea Industry Co., Ltd.
2005 In order to honor and commemorate the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, the company launched the “Caravan to Tibet” cultural event. The large horse caravan of 99 horses with tea packed on their backs, set off from Menghai and traveled along the Yunnan-Tibet Tea Horse Road. The whole journey completed with success 8 months later.
2007 Yunnan Taetea Group officially registered. The Menghai Tea Factory operated under this newly registered company. In the following year, the Taetea Production Technology was included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection List by the Chinese State Council.
In 2010, the the Academy of Certified Chinese Tea Masters (ACCTM) was established by Taetea Group. It was China’s first professional tea ceremony research institution.
In 2011, the Taetea brand was officially identified as China’s Time-honored Brand by China’s Ministry of Commerce. In the same year, the trademark Taetea was announced as China’s Famous Trademark by Chinese Trade and Industry Administration Trademark Office.