Vacuum sealers?

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debunix
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Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:14 pm

FYI another option:
I bought this vacuum sealer because it works with this attachment:

Image

which allows you to vacuum seal mason jars. It's not a good enough seal for safe canning, but it is a brilliant way to decrease deterioration of dry goods like grains, beans, dried peppers, spices and delicate teas that would be crushed in the usual bags. You can now buy wide mouth mason jars in 8 oz, and regular mouth jars that are 4 oz and work with one or the other of the two vacuum accessories.

They would need to be stored in a dark place, because they're not protected from light, but for a tea that is very delicate and fast-fading, it might be worth it.
swordofmytriumph
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Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:09 am

Very nice. I’ll have to look into that cause I have a lot of mason jars.
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debunix
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Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:31 pm

They're sturdy, cheap, and when you're using them for this kind of sealing, even the lids are reusable. The whole setup for the sealer, refills of bags, a dozen or two small jars and the accessories is similar to the cost of a few hundred grams of fine tea that will be better preserved and you'll get more out of it when well preserved. If you do a lot with delicate greens and green oolongs that come in large and not-vacuum-sealed packages....very worthwhile, even if you're not a bean-and-grain fanatic like me.
Rickpatbrown
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Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:50 am

I used a Foodsaver plastic jar with hose attachment for storing coffee over the 1 week that I drink it. It definitely makes the end of the bag taste much better than not vacuuming.

One thing that I always wondered about, though... what does the vacuum do to the plant material? Coffee seems a little more robust, but I worry about vacuuming contributing to release of important volatiles. This would be less of an issue with vacuum sealed bags, because there is little/no headspace above the tea compared to what you would see with a rigid container. This would be an interesting experiment ... maybe someone with more sensitive pallet could test.

If this is a problem, the biggest effect would be seen by vacuuming and opening every day. This is what I do with coffee, and I havent noticed it a problem worth solving, yet.

I've started to notice a drop off in my gaoshan's over the couple of weeks it takes for me to drink 150g. I think I'll start sealing half my bags when I open them. I'll just through the opened mylar bag into a clear food saver bag. Rolled oolong shouldnt get crushed.
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debunix
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Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:15 am

I also have worried about repeated vacuum sealing and volatiles from tea. I bought the sealing system mostly for use with grains and beans where I am not worried about loss of volatiles. For tea, I have used it to seal one time only: divide a large package of tea into smaller packages, each of which holds enough tea for a week or two's use; or seal individual servings' worth, e.g., when sending some 'tasting' samples to tea loving friends and relatives. I've not used it to reseal my 'working' batch of tea daily.
swordofmytriumph
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Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:20 pm

So I’ve been doing some research in the last week or so, and from what I’ve learned, for people who are doing long term storage, a combo of Mylar bag + oxygen absorber is favored because Mylar is completely impermeable to air. The plastic bags that are used for consumer grade teas do let a tiny amount of air in, and after a while they will reinflate, which is why it isn’t recommended to store food in vacuum sealed bags for more than a year unless you’re freezing it. Also they will let in other smells as well.

I’ve ended up deciding to go the Mylar route, plus that way I don’t have to worry about the volatiles of the tea as well. The only thing is I have to make sure to get absorbers which are the correct size for the size of bag I’ll be using. That’s next on my list of things to research.
Ethan Kurland
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Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:22 pm

Rickpatbrown wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:50 am


I've started to notice a drop off in my gaoshan's over the couple of weeks it takes for me to drink 150g. I think I'll start sealing half my bags when I open them. I'll just through the opened mylar bag into a clear food saver bag. Rolled oolong shouldnt get crushed.
150 grams of gaoshan consumed every couple of weeks! I want you for a customer!

At point of purchase my green gaoshan is vacuum-packed in sizes of 40, 50, or 60 grams. Other teas' packs are no bigger than 75 grams because I think once their packages are opened , the tea inside will eventually change. For your opened packs of green gaoshan. I suggest you get the tea tight at the bottom and clip just above it or roll the packet tightly and secure with bands. This can give you an extra week of peak results.
Rickpatbrown
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Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:30 pm

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:22 pm

150 grams of gaoshan consumed every couple of weeks! I want you for a customer!
I can quit ANYTIME I want!!

Actually, it's looking more like a month to finish 150grams. I drink about 10grams a day at work in a 150mL gaiwan.
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:58 pm

Rickpatbrown wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:30 pm
I can quit ANYTIME I want!!
That's funny! Even if use only 150 grams a month & you are not an addict, we want you..... Cheers
Last edited by Victoria on Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: corrected quotes
LuckyMe
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Mon May 13, 2019 8:26 am

I experimented with using a FoodSaver for tea a couple of years back and it did not go well. Consumer grade vacuum sealers don't have a way to adjust pressure so they end up crushing delicate tea leaves. Also, for certain teas where freshness is critical you need to also use those little oxygen absorbers in conjunction with vacuum sealing to ensure its 100% oxygen free.
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debunix
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Mon May 13, 2019 10:02 am

LuckyMe wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:26 am
Consumer grade vacuum sealers don't have a way to adjust pressure so they end up crushing delicate tea leaves.
Actually, the FoodSaver in the link I posted above CAN be used without crushing the leaves. There are two ways I can do with with my FoodSaver:

Watch the vacuum process and push the seal button before the tea is crushed. It will still be sealed, and depending on when you hit the button, more or less air is left in the bag. This depends on your sealer model, your speed on the buttons, and your tea leaf as to whether it is a reasonable option. This is what I have done with better results for sencha and gyokuro; would not trust it for twisted/non-balled oolongs or greens or white teas.

The second way is with a mason jar adapter to use standard canning jars without risk of crushing the leaves, in a very sturdy container, but at the price of a larger storage volume; and the seal is not quite as robust as the regular bag seal.

If you really want a superior seal and crush-proofing, you can put the tea in a jar, seal it with the lid adapter, and then seal that jar in a standard bag with full vacuum.
LuckyMe wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:26 am
Also, for certain teas where freshness is critical you need to also use those little oxygen absorbers in conjunction with vacuum sealing to ensure its 100% oxygen free.
If you're sealing half of one bag of tea that you won't be able to finish and chilling the sealed tea, it is way better than putting a clipped but unsealed bag into the refrigerator or freezer: no odor transfer, and less oxygen in the bag to react with the tea than in the case of the poorly sealed bag and the refrigerator. The canning jar seals are not 100% reliable since you're not using them with heat as the lids are originally designed for, but when done will with good fresh seals, can still hold a year or more, especially if not subject to a lot of temperature fluctuations. Sealing the jar in a bag again avoids that problem.

It's not as easy as purpose-built systems designed for commercial use, and I would not recommend it for a commercial seller, but it's quite good for occasional use when your supplier only sells a tea in a larger volume than you can comfortably use before it starts to go off--or to share a bit of special tea wtih my sister 2,000 miles away without having to ship her more than she will use either.

I bought this setup to store grains and beans to give them a longer shelf-life, because I prefer to start with a well-stocked pantry rather than to buy only what I need for a particular recipe--and some things in the bulk bins is already stale or rancid. I'm also lucky that I have the space to store the jars.
LuckyMe
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Mon May 13, 2019 2:51 pm

I'm familiar with the FoodSaver device, it's the same one I tried to vacuum seal tea using. I agree it should work better with finer/broken teas like Japanese greens but my whole leaf teas like dragonwell and dan cong didn't fare so well. Even rolled oolong leads to some rubble if you try to vacuum seal it completely. Commercial vacuum sealers have a manual pressure mode to carefully seal delicate foods. The consumer grade devices were designed for hardier foods like meat, cheese, and vegetables.

These days, I refrigerate my teas in foil ziplock pouches and have found that it works well with most kinds of teas. The one exception though are green oolongs which are highly perishable. Unless you have a machine that can nitrogen flush, vacuum seal, and remove humidity from the bag, vacuum sealing alone won't do much to stop the loss of flavor and aroma. For this reason, I purchase my Taiwanese oolongs in small quantities from vendors who use oxygen free packaging.
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debunix
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Mon May 13, 2019 10:18 pm

LuckyMe wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:51 pm
my whole leaf teas like dragonwell and dan cong didn't fare so well. Even rolled oolong leads to some rubble if you try to vacuum seal it completely.
I don't have time now to make and post videos, but it is absolutely possible to seal without pulling full tea-crushing vacuum (best use for flatter or rolled teas; or to use canning jars for twisty/irregular tea: it will not crush *ANY* tea if you use the canning jars as I described. The jars provide crush-proof protection unless you drop and shatter them.
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Dresden
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Tue May 14, 2019 8:33 pm

I haven't really vacuum sealed anything but if I know I am going to be storing something for a while I usually use Private Reserve Wine Preserver. It is an aerosol can of inert gasses that displace the oxygen. Closes thing I have on hand to nitrogen flushing.
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Tillerman
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Wed May 15, 2019 9:52 am

Dresden wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:33 pm
I haven't really vacuum sealed anything but if I know I am going to be storing something for a while I usually use Private Reserve Wine Preserver. It is an aerosol can of inert gasses that displace the oxygen. Closes thing I have on hand to nitrogen flushing.
Private Reserve is a blend of argon, nitrogen and CO2. It might actually be better than pure nitrogen at keeping oxygen at bay. I have found that pure nitrogen affects the aromas of a given tea.
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