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  • Great leaves (near as good as it gets for the era)
  • Pure dry storage
  • Complex aroma and flavours, rich Menghai taste with strong huigan
  • Excellent price/quality ratio as well
  • Perfect further aging project for a western environment

The red ribbon was used by Menghai tea factory to mark special productions with much higher quality leaves than usual. Later on this is used a lot and loses its meaning but in the late 90s the red ribbon was still a serious thing. We try so many semi-aged cakes and while there’s a few that pass the quality test, there’s almost none that pass our quality/price test. Finally here’s one, and it passed with flying colours too!

The DSG, which acquired this tea in 2002 from the commissioners and stored it pure dry ever since, think this may contain a fair amount of old tree but it’s hard to be sure, but what’s definitely sure is these are strong leaves not coming from plantation (as most cakes of the era, including famous and more expensive ones, do).

This cake is bold, strong, very complex (because of the taiwanese pure dry storage), with good aftertaste, huigan and pleasant intensity when pushed, it has a rich taste which will gradually evolve from its current complex form into thicker and fuller over the years. But what’s more remarkable is having been stored dry until now, there remains a lot of complexity for a semi-aged puerh (which will stay the same or even increase a touch with more dry storage in a western environment). The more one drinks puerh, the more one knows why this is a big deal: it’s comparatively easy to make a punchy bold old tea, but to have that while retaining the depth and nuances generally found in younger puerh, it’s a whole another level of refinement.

The connoisseur and expert puerh drinker will enjoy this cake as it is, already recognising its deep complexity and nuances. The beginner or intermediate drinker will most likely learn to love this cake over time as they familiarise themselves with a category of puerh (semi-aged with pure dry storage) that’s virtually impossible to find (except by spending well over $1k for a cake with this kind of big tree leaves Menghai quality). I still recommend it to both, as a tea to enjoy and grow with.

Given the good quality and excellent quality/price this is an easy recommendation for something to age for a 5-10 year horizon for a really excellent cake to enjoy for the rest of your life, with complexity very hard to match. One cake to slowly sip through, a tong to sit on.

In the video below I review this tea as I talk bout semi-aged cakes and why they’re so tricky to brew and buy:

Dry Storage Gentlemen (DSG) introduction

We try a lot of new sources all the time, both when we meet tea lovers in Taiwan and also people we’re introduced to by our existing network. The more time passes, the less we find good new sources, both because we’re more and more picky and also because there’s really a limited amount of people that both have great tea and reasonable prices. DSG is our first new source since approx March 2023, we were impressed by their knowledge, variety and quality of tea and of course the storage!

The Dry Storage Gentlemen are a group of old Taiwanese collectors obsessed with fine teas stored hot and dry, most of them are veterans of 20+ years in Puerh and have commissioned and collected a lot of impressive teas with material that’s really hard to find today.

~357grams cake, some weight loss over the years with aging.


7 grams, 25 grams, 1/4 slice, full cake, 1 tong + 1 cake

5 reviews for 1997 Menghai Red Ribbon Special Order (Dry storage gentlemen)

  1. Colin M. (verified owner)

    This tea has grown on me. I couldn’t work it out initially. But having gone back and done further fresh brews it’s growing on me.

    Today I used an unbroken chunk of almost 6g/100ml. Initially it was well behaved and polite. As the tea opened on later brews, the colour deepened and it began to assert itself. It’s got depth without becoming too full on.

    This feels like a tea to spend time to get to know

  2. Nick M.

    To my taste attractively mature, whilst being super clean, sweet and with a rich up-front flavour profile. Even has a soft caramel centre. Remembering that this is sheng. Lovely leaves pressed to perfection. Easy to like…a lot. A feel-good tea. Definitely one of those reasons to be cheerful.

  3. Guillaume C. (verified owner)

    That’s just great. Had a sample, bought a cake later, and I don’t regret it for an instant. This is what Menghai tea should taste like — and it has without a doubt a more than attractive further aging potential.

  4. Guillaume C. (verified owner)

    (See review above — haven’t changed my mind !)

  5. Nicholas (verified owner)

    Very good dry storage. This is a decent tea for the price. Not easy to find tea this old and cleanly stored.

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