Storage Failure

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aet
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Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:01 pm

I would be interested to read some bad experiences with your storage. Not because want to laugh at you , but I think it could be very educational for all community members who buy tea for storing / aging. The success has been discussed a lot everywhere , but for some reason people not much talking about the failures. I know there are also negative experiences somewhere between the positive in some storage threads, so the point of this thread is to focus ONLY on mistakes and together search for solution. Hope you all understand the whole purpose of doing / filtering it like this.

To make it bit organized / structured , lets put it in points:

1. details of tea it self - year , shu/sheng , size, shape, pressing ( hard / soft )
..also can include any other details like type of the tea (bush/arbor) , too many stems or huang pian , wild variety ...etc.
2. in what storage condition ( location ) tea was purchased..no need to name the vendor, just like KM. GZ, HK , MAL ..etc.( I'm aware that storage also can vary within same location )
3. conditions stored ( location ,how stored ( box, zip lock ..etc. ) and all parameters available like humidity, temp.
4. time of storage ( when you started experienced some defect )
5. type of defect ..visual , taste , smell ( can also attach img if visual ) .
6. conclusion ( what you think caused the failure and if thought of any solution to prevent it next time )

I assume that brewing / tasting before and after home storage was done same way in order to compare it proper way.
Not sure if I forgot something, if yes, feel free to add more points.

If you feel that I'm repeating something what was done before , please note the admin to delete this thread and link me to the thread where similar topic was discussed.
Cheers!
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Bok
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Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:20 pm

Very nice idea of a topic! Looking forward to it.
tolean
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:04 am

Sad that there are not to many replies.
Would be nice to find out some basic, common and not only mistakes.
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Youzi
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:43 am

If you do high humidity storage, don't let the temperature fluctuate.
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Bok
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:38 am

tolean wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:04 am
Sad that there are not to many replies.
It might be that pride and self-fulfilling expectations get in the way of admitting storage mistakes – if I invested that much time and likely money into it, it has to taste nicer than before, right?

I think the biggest mistakes often starts at the conception: choosing teas to store which are not worth storingto begin with, as they won't improve. Or put bluntly: shit tea will only turn into old shit. :lol:

I have done so myself, to be a cheapskate and putting away an urn of 1200g of roasted Oolong which in hindsight wasn't to great a tea to start and will not improve much. Has so far not turned into much better tea, after 6-7 years (and already 6y of age when I bought it).
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mrmopu
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:10 am

Don't recharge your Bovedas. The salts seem to get out of the package and into your tea.
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Youzi
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:02 am

mrmopu wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:10 am
Don't recharge your Bovedas. The salts seem to get out of the package and into your tea.
I recharged them many times. Never happend with me.
.m.
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:21 pm

Youzi wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:02 am
mrmopu wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:10 am
Don't recharge your Bovedas. The salts seem to get out of the package and into your tea.
I recharged them many times. Never happend with me.
I've been there, luckily noticed it before it got in contact with tea. Sometimes the pack has a faulty seam, which only becomes apparent once one soaks it in order to recharge it, and the salts escape. [This is easy to detect by tasting the water in which one soaks the pack :D ]

Other issue: the recharged packs sometimes develop salt crystals inside which don't dissolve anymore (it happens with the RH69 packs) -- these crystals could easily pierce the bag, but more importantly, i suspect that the crystallization might get to the point where the the RH is no longer correct (i.e. if some component of the salts is all crystalized and the liquid in the bag contains only other components).
faj
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:45 pm

.m. wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:21 pm
Other issue: the recharged packs sometimes develop salt crystals inside which don't dissolve anymore (it happens with the RH69 packs) -- these crystals could easily pierce the bag, but more importantly, i suspect that the crystallization might get to the point where the the RH is no longer correct (i.e. if some component of the salts is all crystalized and the liquid in the bag contains only other components).
I am not a heavy user of Boveda packs, and have only recharged a couple. They had been left in ziploc bags that should have been sealed but were not, in an air-conditioned office. They had crystallized quite badly.

I did not want to dip them into water, and tried a gentler method. I put water at the bottom of a large bowl, then an upside-down strainer at the bottom of that bowl. I but the packs on the strainer (not touching water), and then sealed the whole thing with plastic wrap to keep moisture inside.

It took something like two weeks, and the last crystals took several days to fully dissolve, but the packs came out feeling like new in the end.

I did not test the bags afterward to see if they still kept the expected level of humidity, however.
Andrew S
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:01 pm

Interesting topic, and until @Bok mentioned his experience above, I had simply assumed that this would only be about puer storage.

I don't have any outright 'failures', but perhaps a few regrets.

Getting some cheap, heavily wet-stored loose Vietnamese 'puer' and leaving it around in the hope of it somehow improving. Of course, it did not.

Getting some decent quality yancha a decade ago and keeping it in a little jar just to see what would happen to it. It was nice to drink recently, and an interesting experiment overall, but I regret getting so little of it. Now it's all gone after just a few small sessions, and it would take me another decade to replicate the experiment.

I don't age puer, because I like traditional storage, and I simply can't replicate that at home. But I think that I have had some slight success in accidentally aging some yancha over the years (not as much as I'd like, though).

The key seems to be to buy the best tea that you can afford at any given time, but keep on buying more and more every year. If you buy more than you consume, then, eventually, you'll forget about something nice, and rediscover it years later. Hopefully it's improved, or at least aged in an interesting way, and not simply gotten old and stale.

And hopefully we do actually get around to drinking it ourselves while we can; it would be a shame for nice old tea to outlive us, but that's probably what happens to a lot of it. And I'd hate to know what 'some old tea' would sell for in an estate sale outside Asia...

Andrew
Ethan Kurland
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:17 pm

KItty litter that looks like crystals works as well or better than boveda packs for less $. (Use the unscented litter only.)
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Bok
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:43 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:01 pm
but I regret getting so little of it.
That is a very good point! And a common one. For example from my anecdote above – got two jin of cheaper tea and only a jin of the one I should have aged in larger quantity...

If you do it – go all in.
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wave_code
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:38 am

if you live somewhere that isn't particularly humid, make sure you have your storage worked out in general and do not underestimate how quickly tea can dry out. make sure you have storage space for anything you buy BEFORE it arrives. It takes exponentially longer to rehydrate and recover a tea (assuming you aren't too late) than it does for it to loose something.


so far I've had no issue with rehydrating Boveda packs, but I can see how long term they could soften/weaken and it can be good to swap them out to prevent leaks. I've heard water TDS can play a role in how well they rehydrate though- if you have harder water its probably a good idea to use distilled water, but if you have good tap water it doesn't seem to be such an issue. I try not to keep mine with any direct contact with tea though unless it something that was stored dry and I'm trying to really get the tea to take up moisture. Otherwise I'm just having a couple big ones in each plastic bin with a cheapo temp/rh monitor - if its holding the entire container at around 65% I figure that should be decent as long as I open any mylar bags now and then to get a bit of a rush of fresh oxygen and humidity in.
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Youzi
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:29 am

faj wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:45 pm
.m. wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:21 pm
Other issue: the recharged packs sometimes develop salt crystals inside which don't dissolve anymore (it happens with the RH69 packs) -- these crystals could easily pierce the bag, but more importantly, i suspect that the crystallization might get to the point where the the RH is no longer correct (i.e. if some component of the salts is all crystalized and the liquid in the bag contains only other components).
I am not a heavy user of Boveda packs, and have only recharged a couple. They had been left in ziploc bags that should have been sealed but were not, in an air-conditioned office. They had crystallized quite badly.

I did not want to dip them into water, and tried a gentler method. I put water at the bottom of a large bowl, then an upside-down strainer at the bottom of that bowl. I but the packs on the strainer (not touching water), and then sealed the whole thing with plastic wrap to keep moisture inside.

It took something like two weeks, and the last crystals took several days to fully dissolve, but the packs came out feeling like new in the end.

I did not test the bags afterward to see if they still kept the expected level of humidity, however.
I do these most of the times. Never had a problem.

But just a couple days ago I tired the soaking in water method and it did indeed fail and the inside crystallized.
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mbanu
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:32 am

Probably obvious to everybody posting here, but also good to remember that pu'er storage requires many opposites, in that it needs things to thrive (such as higher humidity) that can cause other teas to suffer. That took me a little while when I was first introduced to pu'er, and tried to store it using the good practices used for other teas.

My struggle with all teas is underestimating the risk of taints, packaging taints being a big one. Tea that tastes like cardboard boxes, paper wrapping, or wooden shelving. Or early on, not realizing that Lapsang Souchong and Earl Grey must be kept away from the other teas -- this one I learned from a teashop that had a flavored tea section next to their ordinary teas. The closer you got to the border between the sections, the more the packaging smelled like a spice shop, and the higher the risk that the tea would too, even if it was not supposed to. :)

I think that part of the problem is that a lot of different types of things are hidden under the terms "cardboard", "paper", and "wood", so you can have one box, or wrapping, or shelf, that taints, while another does not, yet they would normally be described using the exact same words.
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