Can this tea be saved?

Puerh and other heicha
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Janice
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Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:01 pm

Some time In 2012 I purchased a puerh cake from Essence of Tea. I labeled it 2001 Jin Chang Hao Yiwu but I suspect I mislabeled the canister and it’s actually 2011. I was very careless about storage - I put the cake in its wrapper in a brown paper lunch bag. After that it spent several years in a kitchen cabinet before I moved it to a plastic bin. Now it looks clean but the predominant flavor of the tea is mint - and I really don’t like it. The brewed tea actually reminds me of mouthwash. Is there anything I can do to it now, or any way I can brew it, that would allow more subtle flavors to come through? Or is it destined for the compost heap?

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impromptuandy
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Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:14 pm

A while back I had two cakes of sheng (pretty young, like 2007 and 2012 I think) stored in a small cardboard box. Some other cardboard boxes filled with teas sealed in foil bags and the like were stacked on top of that box, along with another cardboard box that had an unsealed cake of shou. Things were arranged like that for several years.

A couple years ago I tried one of the sheng cakes and was extremely surprised to find that the first couple steeps had a distinct shou flavor. Tried the other cake, same thing. The shou flavor went away after a couple steeps in both cases (leaving, also to my surprise, teas that were aging nicely despite my negligence).

I separated the boxes so neither is in contact with the other, tried the cakes a few months later, and no real trace of the shou flavor remained. (I've long since switched my puerh/liubao storage to ceramic crocks, but am keeping this cardboard box experiment going because why not.)

It sounds like you've already moved the tea to a better storage location. I'd check back in a few months / 6 months / a year and see what it's up to.

Worth keeping in mind as well that mint/camphor flavors are somewhat common/desired in well-aged teas but that doesn't sound like what you're describing here really.
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pedant
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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:34 pm

if you think it could be dried out, try hydrating it (@~70% RH) for a few months. maybe other flavors will pop.
Janice
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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:59 pm

On amazon I see boveda packs for ‘herbal’ storage with 62% RH. Would that work?

The tea is a 2001 cake. I should have been more careful with it.
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OCTO
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Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:26 pm

Janice wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:01 pm
Some time In 2012 I purchased a puerh cake from Essence of Tea. I labeled it 2001 Jin Chang Hao Yiwu but I suspect I mislabeled the canister and it’s actually 2011. I was very careless about storage - I put the cake in its wrapper in a brown paper lunch bag. After that it spent several years in a kitchen cabinet before I moved it to a plastic bin. Now it looks clean but the predominant flavor of the tea is mint - and I really don’t like it. The brewed tea actually reminds me of mouthwash. Is there anything I can do to it now, or any way I can brew it, that would allow more subtle flavors to come through? Or is it destined for the compost heap?


Image
Personally, I would brew the tea and add in an additional bag of peppermint leaves..... promotes digestion... or add some bergamot and make Earl Grey Puerh.... hahahaha ..... otherwise, it's destined for the compost.

Cheers!
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mrmopu
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Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:10 am

Janice wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:59 pm
On amazon I see boveda packs for ‘herbal’ storage with 62% RH. Would that work?

The tea is a 2001 cake. I should have been more careful with it.
I do 72% Boveda.
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Stephen
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Location: Bay Area, California

Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:32 pm

Time and good clean storage could take care of it - like others have suggested. Breaking up the cake and storing in a tea jar/container could speed things up. Personally I would store it and just forget about it for a while. It's certainly worth a try for a 2001 cake like that.
.m.
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Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:14 pm

+1 for rehydrating with Boveda packs. Warm summer weather will also help it a bunch.
Janice
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Location: New Jersey

Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:36 pm

The boveda packs are on order. My kitchen isn’t air conditioned so when I move other teas to a cooler spot I could leave this one in its place.
Rui
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Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:42 am

mrmopu wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:10 am
Janice wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:59 pm
On amazon I see boveda packs for ‘herbal’ storage with 62% RH. Would that work?

The tea is a 2001 cake. I should have been more careful with it.
I do 72% Boveda.
Me too specially in the permanent summer weather (temperature wise) of the office where I work.
Janice
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Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:00 am

I ordered a package of 72% RH “cigar” boveda packs. A few months ago I broke the cake into chunks and put them into an airtight container. Do I just put a boveda pack into the storage tin?
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mrmopu
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Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:15 am

Janice wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:00 am
I ordered a package of 72% RH “cigar” boveda packs. A few months ago I broke the cake into chunks and put them into an airtight container. Do I just put a boveda pack into the storage tin?
Toss it in and see if it will do its thing. You may want to plastic the top of the tin to help keep the moisture in.
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Nis
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Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:29 pm

Janice wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:00 am
Do I just put a boveda pack into the storage tin?
Yes. You don't have to worry about it touching the tea.

When the pack eventually dries out, you can recharge it by putting it in an airtight container with some water (but not in/touching the water). For me it usually takes a few weeks to fully recharge.
Janice
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Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:59 pm

The boveda packs arrive on Monday. I’m planning to move a chunk to a small tin and I’ll do a comparison in a few months.
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