Aging oolong? How to do it?

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aet
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Sun Apr 10, 2022 9:15 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience.
The one of the reason I'm asking is also coz want to know how should I "treat" the oolong as a vendor?
With green tea , we discount it 2nd year and 3rd year taking off the shop and give it free to friends / family.
I don't know how the green oolong should be sold? I can look up on sites of other vendors, but I prefer to ask community first.

I just drink drink some green oolong from @Bok I got as a tea exchange we did probably year ago. The tea is still very drinkable despite not being in vacuum pack but just had it closed by pin and stored in natural storage ( not in fridge ) beside our puer.
I do not stock much oolong , but this year have left few boxes from 2021 and 2020 because business is just too slow ( since Covid and now Ukr ) .
So I was wondering if I should sell it with discounted price or just take off the shop and try to keep it for long time storage?
Any suggestions?
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Baisao
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Sun Apr 10, 2022 9:41 pm

@aet, are you able to roast it? This has been what was suggested to me but I am in the US and don’t have access to the tools to do it properly.
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aet
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Sun Apr 10, 2022 11:30 pm

Baisao wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 9:41 pm
aet, are you able to roast it? This has been what was suggested to me but I am in the US and don’t have access to the tools to do it properly.
not really , unless doing homemade on pan.
Kunming is not humid environment . I thought that roasting is done for removing ( keep in control ) moisture in leaves of oolong which is not stored in vacuum but just simply TW way of storage , where some outer humidity is involved.
But KM is relatively dry and tea I'm talking about is in 8g vacuum sealed packs.

The info about TW storage I sourced here, I don't know how accurate it is.
http://archive.globalteahut.org/article/652
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Baisao
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 12:50 am

It was suggested to me not because of humidity issues but to add complexity and hide defects in an old green oolong, since it is going to be in a less than ideal state.

FWIW, I’ve had 60s & 70s aged green baozhong and found both repulsive. I’m not sure how well these age without additional treatment such as roasting. I’ve also had a mid-roasted TGY pressed into a toucha (80s?) and found it was drinkable but more of a curiosity than a tea I crave.

I also had a sencha from the early 2000s, a Shizu-7132. I’m unsure if it had been vacuum sealed before sale. The qi was icky and the flavor was also bad. I should’ve tried roasting it to fix the flavor but I threw it away in the moment because of the qi.

This isn’t to say that all greens and green oolongs age badly. I had an aged sencha given to me as a gift that’s quite delicious but I don’t know how old it is. I’m guessing 2-3 years.
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aet
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 5:38 am

I believe I'd messed up with roasting. The last moisture in leaves would get roasted out and I'd end up with coal taste something ;-)

Anyway, I just cleaned up our storage a bit and found 2 bags of 2019 Dan Cong ( 400g each approx. ) . I think one is some mediocre Song Zhong.
They were just in paper bag with alu. inner layer , folded over top closing ( so not even air tight ) .
I was surprised, that original notes still there but with combination of "fruity" transformation ( like in sheng puer ). I remember when we got it new, it was sort of astringent after 2nd infusion , so we didn't even put in in the shop. It was "blind buy" from one farmer. 2 x 500g ( I gave out some free samples back then and offering it for cost price , no body was interested ;-) ) ...not selling it now for sure ! ;-D
I sealed them into the alu. foil bags and threw them somewhere back shelf in storage where I find them after 5 years or so.
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Baisao
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 10:03 am

@aet, what a treat! I love it when things like that happen. I’ve found dancong usually ages nicely without vacuum or oxysorb. I simply keep mine dry with some desiccant.
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LeoFox
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:10 am

mbanu wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:20 pm
Another part is, "How would someone find this unsold tea?" To me, this must mean that some of this tea was not in warehouses but in teashops, where space is at even more of a premium. Of course, not all teashops are run in a rational way (MarshalN's series of blog posts on his 2007 vacation to Taiwan which he seemed to spend almost entirely hunting for old oolong was helpful to me for providing context), but normally businesses discard what they can't sell unless it serves a purpose, such as for advertising.
Just some links to those 2007 posts by marshaln

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/12/wednesd ... r-19-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/12/monday- ... r-17-2007/ (he drinks moldy oolong here and liked it)

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/12/thursda ... r-13-2007/ (read this one second)

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/12/saturda ... er-8-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/12/saturda ... er-1-2007/ (Aged green oolong)

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/11/thursda ... r-29-2007/ (read this one first and make sure to read comments)

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/11/tuesday ... r-27-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/11/tuesday ... er-6-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/11/friday-november-2-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/10/monday-october-29-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/10/friday-october-26-2007/


http://www.marshaln.com/2007/10/wednesd ... r-17-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/10/tuesday ... r-16-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/10/saturda ... r-13-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2007/09/thursda ... r-20-2007/

http://www.marshaln.com/2009/04/wednesd ... l-15-2009/ (Possible mixture of new and old leaves)

http://www.marshaln.com/2016/05/confusions-of-the-aged/ (Pricing issues)


Some quotes from the posts:



I’ve been trying to get my hands on a wide variety of aged oolongs and drink them, becuase I think that’s the only way I can learn about them properly. What other people tell you is all fine and good, but nothing replaces actual drinking experience.

Aged teas (oolongs, puerh, you name it) has one common characteristic — the longer they’re aged (presumably no serious wet storage in the case of the puerh) the longer they last in a drinking session. Even when the colour of the tea fades while brewing, the taste continues. Now I’m drinking probably the 35th or even 40th cup of this tea, and the colour of the tea is very faintly yellow, but when I drink it — it still tastes like tea, not water, and it still stimulates the senses in a positive way. That is not something you can fake, no matter what you do.

There are roughly three types of aged oolongs, I think. One is your “often reroasted” kind. Liquor from these will be dark and sweet, mellow, not too floral. One is the “dry stored from strong roast”, I think anyway, with a more puerh-like flavour and a residual note of floral quality. Then you have the younger, “still kinda green” aged oolongs. Those are actually nicer than current year stuff, I think, but I’m not sure how viable they are for long term storage. More honey like, some floral notes…. still quite nice.

This is, of course, discounting the fourth and most common kind – oolongs turned sour. These are teas that are usually stored improperly — picked up moisture, or itself had too much moisture when stored. Reroasting will take care of it, sometimes, but not always. There will also be people who tell you that some sourness is natural in an aged oolong, and some might even say it’s the mark of a good aged oolong. Take that with many grains of salt. A hint of it can be a nice thing, but…..

And… there are also the fakes. Since there is simply no way for you to tell with certainty (at least I haven’t discovered a surefire way) just by observing the dry leaves if the tea really has been aged or not, fakes happen. Most often, they are just heavily roasted teas that have been, one way or another, doctored to make them seem aged. I’ve been to stores that gave me a few aged oolongs that are obviously just roasted oolongs with no age behind them. I’ve managed to avoid most of those, but still, a few slipped through because I couldn’t taste the tea or because I wanted to make sure. For people who haven’t had a lot of exposure to this type of tea, it’s an easy trap to fall into.

Because of aging, firing, etc, no two aged oolongs are exactly the same. Especially since there are no identifying marks of an aged oolong — there are no wrappers, neifeis, etc (unless your tea came from a competition with the accompanying documentation) so stuff from store A will always be different from store B.

This gets us to the question of price. Prices for these things vary wildly. Among the types of teas I’ve tried, they range from something like $50/600g to $300/600g. Yet, stuff that are on opposite ends of this range can taste remarkably similar. I’ve also had stuff that taste better but are cheaper than the more expensive counterparts. Obviously, taste is taste, and some others might disagree with me with my preferences, but generally speaking, when the price difference is, say, 3 or 4 times, and when the tastes are very similar…. one starts questioning whether the more expensive tea is worth the extra cost. 

(From the mandarin - in a comment to a post)
First one: If the master intent to age and refine roasting every 2 years. The tea should be sweet without any sourness. The key is to maintain the floral, young quality of a fresh oolong, but without the harsh green character thru aging. Turning the oil of the tea to caramelize goody. This is a very labour intensive process and only done by special order. I am testing a 16 yrs old, refined 8 times at the moment and is very interesting.
The normal kind of “aged oolong” is heavily roasted every couple of years, I call it “left-over”. The re-roasting take away the moisture due to bad storage, but it then turn sour…. You are basically drinking a blend of different years and type of oolong, with a lot of fire, charcoal and “vinegar” in it.

Second one: As I mention before, from Master Chan BTH. These are done by refine roasting for at least 4 days to 1 week. Mostly the highest grade maocha. Harvested in May, first roasting to stabilized, store and re-fine roasting in Oct. Then steeled and dry storage. These will maintain some sourness, but will taste like wine. Very close to aged puerh.

The dry leaves’ physical appearance will rarely tell you anything too useful. Colour of the leaves are almost always dark. Sometimes it’s darker than others, but that in and of itself is a very useless indicator of anything. The shape of the tea might tell you something about what it could be, but even then — not a very useful indicator.

The smell of the dry leaves, however, can. For teas that have turned somewhat sour, you can sometimes smell a sour note in the aroma of the dry leaves. If you want to cheat, you can always breath into a little leaves (that you of course placed in your hands and don’t really intend on throwing back into the bag). That way you can smell the aroma much more clearly. Sour? Give it up already, it’s not worth your time.

For the really roasted stuff, you have to feel the body of the tea to see if it’s aged or not. Sometimes that charcoal taste masks a lot of things, including age. A highly roasted but not very aged tea will lack that nice sweet note at the end, and it will also be less thick, at least in my personal experience




Last edited by LeoFox on Tue Apr 12, 2022 5:15 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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Baisao
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 12:23 pm

@LeoFox - Good old days
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