All things Chinese tea, food and culture.

Recent Tea Posts

Issaku Green Tea Review!

Issaku Green Tea Review!

I’ve lucky to have received samples of Issaku tea from Kei at This is an award-winning Japanese tea that has won last years Global Tea Championship (Steamed tea category)! The leaves appeared dark green, as expected from a Japanese green, and are finely broken. […]

Cheese Tea?? Give It a Try If You Haven’t Already! (With Recipe)

Cheese Tea?? Give It a Try If You Haven’t Already! (With Recipe)

I’m not sure if everyone noticed it, but cheese tea has been a hit among the young generation over the past few years. Here in China, if there’s a long queue on the street or in a mall, it’s most likely in front of a […]

The History The Menghai Tea Factory,  Taetea (Dayi)

The History The Menghai Tea Factory, Taetea (Dayi)

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.

menghai tea factory dayi taetea history

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.

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

Brewed wet tea leaves (Yedi, 叶底) contains a lot of information about the tea that you’re drinking. Too often they’re simply ignored and discarded. Take a careful look at those wet leaves, and it can tell you more about its quality and how it was […]

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a plant that grows in Southern China. Japanese researchers discovered this herb while looking for a natural sweetener. Yet, they discovered other more powerful health benefits. Joe Hollis gives a short introduction of this medicinal plant.

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co., Ltd. is a pu erh factory that’s prominent in the tea industry.

The company is the result of a merger of many small factories in the Xiaguan district of Dali, Yunnan. The earliest company was established in 1902, meaning that the company is has a history of more than 100 years.

The high-quality ecological environment provides a unique natural sources for the tea. The company mainly produces compressed pu erh tea. Its product series such as Song He (White Crane), Bao Yan( (Holy Flame), Xia Guan, won numerous international, national and regional awards and have always been appreciated by tea lovers. It’s also one of the most populair brands for pu erh outside of China.

Let’s now take a look at the milestones of Xiaguan Tuocha!

xiaguan tuocha tea history infographic


The tea firm “Yong Chang Xiang” in Xiaguan was founded an created the first tuocha shape pu erh tea. The shape resembles a bowl and has become of one of main shapes besides bricks and round cakes. Yong Chang Xiang will later merge into the larger Xiaguan tea factory. This clarifies why Xiaguan today still maintains ‘tuocha’ in its official company name.


The tuocha became popular and Yong Chang Xiang opened its first tea factory in Xiaguan. Its tuocha.


Dozens of tea factories opened successively in the Xiaguan district of Dali. It has become a hub for pu erh tea factories along the ancient tea horse road.


The Yunnan China Tea Trading Company was founded.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory was established by the Mongolian and Tibetan Committee and Yunnan China Tea Trading Company.


Bao Yan (Holy Flame) became a registered trademark.


Because of the large demand, a series of tea factories were established, including the Southwest Tea Factory.


With the withdrawal the of Mongolian and Tibetan Committee, the Yunnan China tea Trading Company became wholly owned by the Kang Zang Tea Factory.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory closed and functioned as a transfer station for transporting tea.


The Kang Zang Tea Factory resumed production and was renamed as the New Kang Zang Tea Factory of Yunnan China Tea Trading Company .


The New Kang Zang Tea Factory was renamed as the Xiaguan Tea Factory of China Tea Company Yunnan Branch “. It was nationalized and now belonged to the National Trade Department.


  • All Chinese Tea Company’s affiliated companies started to use “Zhongcha” trademark. Xiaguan Tea Factory too started using Zhongcha as the trademark for the products.
  • Consolidation continued, the Southwest Tea Factory, Yong Chang Xiang Tea Factory and other tea factories in Xiaguan area all merged into the Xiaguan Tea Factory.
  • 1953: Xiaguan Tea Factory shipped 54 tons of Bao Yan( (Holy Flame) mushroom-shaped tea to Tibet.


Xiaguan Tea Factory purchased and processed wild tea leaves up to 50 tons this year.


Xiaguan Tea Factory gradually expanded. The production capacity was increased and the packing and the transportation methods were improved.


The mushroom-shaped tea products changed to brick shape. The ingredients and processing technology remained the same.


The weight of each tuocha changed to 100 grams this year.


The factory resumed the production of round pu erh tea cakes.

The company created the first ‘XiaFaTuo‘ meaning ‘Sell To France Tuocha’.


Xiaguan Tea Factory expanded tea plantation area, carried out equipment transformations on tea screening, pressing and drying process.


The factory increased the volume of the export of pu erh tea greatly.

Pu erh tea code system lauched. The code for products of Xiaguan Tea factory started with 76 and ended with 3. For example, product 76073 meant Grade 7 loose pu erh of Xiaguan Tea Factory.


The factory’s Yunnan Tuocha (Grade A) was awarded Quality Products in Yunnan Province.


  • Product “Cangshan Green Snow” won the title of Yunnan Province Quality Tea.
  • Zhongcha brand’s Yunnan Tuocha (Export) and Grade 10 loose pu erh tea (76103) was given the title of Yunnan Province Quality Product .
  • French tea wholesale delegation visited Xiaguan Tea Factory to discuss the possibility of further trade expanding .


Xia Guan tuocha (Grade A) won National quality Silver Award, given by National Quality Award Committee.


Yunnan Tuocha (Export) won the World Food Golden Crown Award at the 9th World Food Awards held in Barcelona, Spain.


Yunnan Tuocha won once again World Food Golden Crown Award at the 10th World Food Awards in Dusseldorf, Germany.


Yunnan Tuocha (Class A) and Yunnan Tuocha (Export) both won Golden Award at China’s first Food Exposition,given by the Exposition Evaluation Committee.


  • Yunnan Tuocha (Grade A) was named the National Agricultural Department Quality Tea.
  • Yunnan Tuocha (Domestic) was named the National Quality Tea.
  • Yunnan Tuocha under Zhongcha trademark won the Silver Medal at Outstanding Export Commodities Awards.
  • Bao Yan (Holy Flame) brick tea won the Yunnan Province Quality Product title.


Xiaguan Tea Factory was given the Quality Management Award by National Ministry of Light Industry.


  • Song He (White Crane) and Nan Zhao registered as official trademarks.
  • Cangshan Green Snow and Gan Tong Cha were named Yunnan Province Quality Tea.


  • Yunnan Tuocha was given the World Food Golden Crown Award for the 3rd time at the 16th  World food Awards in Madrid, Spain.
  • San Dao registered as a trademark.


Xiaguan Tea Factory reformed to Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha Co., Ltd.


Song He (White Crane) and Bao Yan (Holy Flame) were awarded as China’s Quality Tea Trademark by Chinese Tea Circulation Association.


The company was permitted to use the “Green Food” logo.


Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co., Ltd. was established.


The company obtained Import and Export Enterprise Qualification.


  • The company held the press conference “100th Anniversary of the Creation of Tuocha”.
  • Xiaguan Tuocha’s official website went online.
  • Product Xia Guan tuocha was named as Product of National Geographic indications Protection by National Administration of Quality Supervision.
  • Song He (White Crane) obtained “Mark of origin” certificate.


Song He (White Crane) trademark was named by the Yunnan Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce as Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.


  • Bao Yan (Holy Flame) trademark was named Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.
  • The Chairman of Xiaguan Tuocha Group, Luo Nai Xin, was nominated as “Top 10 Outstanding People of Pu Erh Tea”.
  • The company obtained Organic Product Authentication Certificate.


Xiaguan Tuocha Museum was established by Xiaguan Tuocha Group.


  • Xiaguan tuocha production technology was included in Dali Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection List.
  • Xiaguan trademark was identified by Yunnan Trademark Commission as Yunnan Province Famous Trademark.
  • Song He (White Crane) trademark was once again identified by Yunnan Administration for Industry and Commerce as Yunnan Famous Trademark.


Xiaguan Tuocha was chosen by China’s Ministry of Commerce as China’s Time-honored Brand.


The company held public charity auction activities which raised a total of nearly 500,000 yuan of funds.


Xiaguan Tuocha Group was given Provincial Industrial Quality Benchmarking Award.


8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

Teaware Meaning The modern definition of teaware (Cha Ju, 茶具) is different from the ancient times. Teaware used to refer to the various tools used in tea production and consumption, including tea picking, making, drinking, storage etc. Nowadays, teaware only refers to tea utensils, including […]

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

You can’t tackle your oral hygiene without taking your diet into account. The food and drinks that we consume have a direct impact on our health, particularly on our teeth and gums. In recent times the sugar content in foods has gone up, making the […]

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Hawthorn berry is full of vitamin C, carotene and other antioxidants. These little red fruits can block and reduce the formation of free radicals, enhance our body’s immunity, help reducing blood pressure, and help indigestion.

Although with all these health benefits, fresh hawthorn berry is just too sour to have. We have a great solution here –hawthorn jam! Follow our easy recipe, you will taste this sweet and sour, refreshingly delicious jam within half an hour.


  • Fresh hawthorn berries 1000 grams
  • White sugar 400 grams
  • Water 600 ml

Stepshawthorn jam

  1. Rinse the hawthorn and chop them into halves. Get rid of the stalks and cores.
  2. Put 600ml of water, 200 grams of sugar and the hawthorn berries into a pan and boil it until the hawthorn is soft.
  3. Transfer the content into a blender and blend for 20 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pot, add 200 grams of sugar, and stir constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, wait till it cools down and thickens.
  6. Pour and store it into sterilised jars!

You can taste your homemade hawthorn jam whenever you like: spread it on your bread, use it as a dipping sauce for snacks or dishes, and try mixing it with smoothies… Healthy and Yummy! Just remember to keep the jam in the refrigerator once you opened the jar.


  • Enjoy the jam also with some home infused hawthorn tea. You can buy sliced dry hawthorn berries online for this, or make this at home as well.
  • If the hawthorn berry jam is too sour, tweak this recipe by combining hawthorn with other type of berries to get a more balanced flavour.
Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Drinking Chrysanthemum tea has a long history in Chinese culture. It is well known for its soothing aroma and multiple benefits for the human body including detoxification, clearing up the hot flashes, improving eyesight, relieving symptoms of sore throat and fever. But did you know […]