Pumidor discussion

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OldWaysTea
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Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:53 pm

I've used baking soda to remove odors, but always by washing down the entire inside with baking soda. I don't think just leaving it in there will do anything.
Cwyn
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Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:40 am

The original post here is about storing shou, rather than sheng. Metal tins work fine for shou cakes, unless the teas need airing (long or humid storage). Shou is finished with fermentation unless you have one of the few lightly fermented shou teas on the market, and the focus is more about preserving than humid storage.
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tealifehk
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Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:19 pm

Cwyn wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:40 am
The original post here is about storing shou, rather than sheng. Metal tins work fine for shou cakes, unless the teas need airing (long or humid storage). Shou is finished with fermentation unless you have one of the few lightly fermented shou teas on the market, and the focus is more about preserving than humid storage.
I've found shou to improve dramatically with good storage, and even traditional storage! I used to think the same thing too, but experience over the last few years has shown me otherwise. Shou can get really, really smooth with age, and develop pleasant, sweet flavors as well.
JimMinor
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Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:03 am

What do you thin about storing Dry Storage Pu' with young (0-3 years)?

I like mostly the aroma of young pu, but sometimes i want something old, so i'm wondering about this question
Teachronicles
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Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:46 am

JimMinor wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:03 am
What do you thin about storing Dry Storage Pu' with young (0-3 years)?

I like mostly the aroma of young pu, but sometimes i want something old, so i'm wondering about this question
Marshaln, a pretty respected blogger, either in a blog post or comment somewhere, said that storing young and old sheng together could be beneficial for the aging of the young sheng. In terms of preserving aroma I would guess it's not the best method.
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Shine Magical
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Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:13 pm

When you're using a fridge or cooler as a pumidor, is there a faint smell before you start putting tea in or is the goal to have no smell whatsoever inside?
Cwyn
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:40 am

tealifehk wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:19 pm
Cwyn wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:40 am
The original post here is about storing shou, rather than sheng. Metal tins work fine for shou cakes, unless the teas need airing (long or humid storage). Shou is finished with fermentation unless you have one of the few lightly fermented shou teas on the market, and the focus is more about preserving than humid storage.
I've found shou to improve dramatically with good storage, and even traditional storage! I used to think the same thing too, but experience over the last few years has shown me otherwise. Shou can get really, really smooth with age, and develop pleasant, sweet flavors as well.
Anecdotally, shou tea (or any tea) is likely to taste more pleasant the longer it is in one's possession, and climate, especially coming from a warehouse. The longer shou is stored, as you know the wo dui disappears. I prefer older shou for this reason, because flavors emerge that are masked initially by the strong pile flavor. Certainly a tea can open up more. But science does not support actual development in a finished shou. For example, see here, p. 23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918958/
Last edited by pedant on Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: mod edit: fixed malformed [quote]
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tealifehk
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:45 am

On my way back to Hong Kong from Guangdong with some incredible 2006 Dayi shu! Would be happy to send you some tasty dry storage shu if you'd like to see what good storage can do for it! :) I can smell active yeast in my shu in my own dry storage. It smells like freshly baked bread! The tea gets much smoother with age too. I'll check out the study later but I know for a fact now that aging does incredible things for shu pu.
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Shine Magical
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:09 am

tealifehk wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:45 am
On my way back to Hong Kong from Guangdong with some incredible 2006 Dayi shu! Would be happy to send you some tasty dry storage shu if you'd like to see what good storage can do for it! :) I can smell active yeast in my shu in my own dry storage. It smells like freshly baked bread! The tea gets much smoother with age too. I'll check out the study later but I know for a fact now that aging does incredible things for shu pu.
Sounds great, I’ll try it.


I decided to get rid of the mini fridge I had because I couldn’t get rid of all of the smell inside. Will look for another one or get a cooler of some sort.
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tealifehk
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:39 am

Is it a used mini fridge? If so, you may have yourself a microbiota in there, or is it a chemical odor?

Interesting study @cwyn. From page 23:

"An interesting finding is that the most sought-after tea, aged raw Pu-erh, has a fungal community more like ripened than young raw Pu-erh, and a similar trend was seen for the bacterial community (Fig 3). This result indicates that the accelerated microbial fermentation of ripened Pu-erh, encouraged by the addition of water and the warmth generated by microbial fermentation, results in a microbial community composition similar to that found in much older, raw Pu-erh. It also provides an ecological explanation for the rapid acceptance and widespread use of the ripened Pu-erh process.

We sought correlations between four variables in tea production and microbial community composition, age of the tea, producer of the tea, whether the tea was pure or contaminated with other plants, and whether the tea was left loose or pressed into cakes. Age of tea showed significant correlation with fungal and bacterial community composition only for raw Pu-erh (Table C in S1 File). From this result, one might infer that raw Pu-erh is a robust but lengthy method of making the product, and that making ripened Pu-erh is a more demanding process, but one that does not benefit from aging. This result also seems to support the speculation that the long transport of raw Pu-erh from Yunnan to Tibet and other remote destinations in ancient times contributed to its maturation [8]. Aging does not significantly affect the communities of ripened tea, suggesting that aging ripened tea is unnecessary. The other three variables did not have a significant effect on microbial communities (Table C in S1 File)."

This doesn't seem to correlate with my own experience. I have shu pu that has aged since the 90s and you can tell stuff has grown in (and on) it (visibly) in traditional storage and then in dry storage in the decades since then. The tea has a light basement odor, but most of the traditional storage aroma has aged away. The tea is super, super smooth, which is the characteristic old school pu drinkers look for, and Southern Chinese dry storage aficionados look for the same thing. Similarly, in dry storage, I get flavors that are definitely very different in years 3 onwards than they were in year 2. By year two, there is no wo dui left in most of my factory shu, but year 3 onwards, the tea gets progressively smoother and more aromatic. There is definitely something at work here, and the fresh bread notes, to me, indicate fungal activity.

Also:

"An interesting finding is that the most sought-after tea, aged raw Pu-erh, has a fungal community more like ripened than young raw Pu-erh, and a similar trend was seen for the bacterial community (Fig 3). This result indicates that the accelerated microbial fermentation of ripened Pu-erh, encouraged by the addition of water and the warmth generated by microbial fermentation, results in a microbial community composition similar to that found in much older, raw Pu-erh. It also provides an ecological explanation for the rapid acceptance and widespread use of the ripened Pu-erh process."

This would indicate aged raw would age no further if the fungal communities are identical. I've had 50s raw and believe me, it's very different from early 2000s sheng that has been stored (either traditionally or dry)!
Cwyn
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Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:53 pm

There are some other articles around showing the decrease in bacteria in shou over a couple of years after heavy fermentation. The tea "clears" and activity dies down. This happens just as easily broken up in a tin or ceramic caddy. As long as it doesn’t dry out or get additional fungus or mold as any household surface can get given too humid conditions, the tea will be fine in just maintenance conditions.

The situation is different for teas that are a blend of shou with unfermented raw tea. I don’t see as many of these teas around anymore to buy, but Yunnan Sourcing still had a few in recent years.
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tealifehk
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Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:21 am

Cwyn wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:53 pm
There are some other articles around showing the decrease in bacteria in shou over a couple of years after heavy fermentation. The tea "clears" and activity dies down. This happens just as easily broken up in a tin or ceramic caddy. As long as it doesn’t dry out or get additional fungus or mold as any household surface can get given too humid conditions, the tea will be fine in just maintenance conditions.

The situation is different for teas that are a blend of shou with unfermented raw tea. I don’t see as many of these teas around anymore to buy, but Yunnan Sourcing still had a few in recent years.
Much of the shou produced by factories which previously supplied CNNP contains a little sheng. Classic Dayi and Haiwan recipes, for example. It seems the bacteria die down, but fungi keep doing their thing after the bacteria is gone, both on aged sheng and shu. What the study says is the fungal population doesn't change (as far as species). The same species keep doing their thing. There definitely is continuous activity on shou though. If you compare a 1993 7572 to a 2005 7572, stored in the same exact warehouse, the two teas would be VERY different. This is due to fungal decomposition IMO.
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Shine Magical
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Sat May 05, 2018 2:53 pm

I wasn't able to get rid of the cheap plastic smell in the mini fridge after 2 months so I bought a cooler instead. I got rid of any trace of smell in the cooler in under a week. The cooler was a lot easier to clean due to its smaller size and softer surface so I was able to place it inside my shower/tub without it scratching anything. I just kept rinsing the inside and letting hot water stand inside it. Currently this is my setup, the crocks are placed somewhat precariously inside but I am already very optimistic about this setup, smells great. I'm banking on Atlas' advice that you only need a small air hole for humidity to get inside and do it's thing. Most of the crocks are porous anyway.

I do not recommend using crocks if you live in NYC.
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Once I drink down some of this stash I will stop breaking it up and get rid of the crocks too and just place bricks and cakes inside.
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Shine Magical
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Wed May 23, 2018 7:44 pm

The shou leaves are looking plumper after getting some 80% humidity at 75'F for 3 weeks.
One thing I noticed is that the smell inside the cooler does not seem to be as strong as it was in the first week. I wonder why that is?

After taste testing one of the teas I'm familiar with, the taste is not as good as it used to be. Is it because it was damaged due to a prolonged very low humidity (sometimes it got to 15% humidity during the winter)? Or maybe 3 weeks is not long enough to recover? The main flavor I used to taste in the tea is not really there anymore. However, the tea has a certain new brightness to its core that wasn't previously apparent. It's also a more juicy mouthfeel. It seems that the new storage brought that out in it.
Teachronicles
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Wed May 23, 2018 7:50 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 7:44 pm
The shou leaves are looking plumper after getting some 80% humidity at 75'F for 3 weeks.
One thing I noticed is that the smell inside the cooler does not seem to be as strong as it was in the first week. I wonder why that is?

After taste testing one of the teas I'm familiar with, the taste is not as good as it used to be. Is it because it was damaged due to a prolonged very low humidity (sometimes it got to 15% humidity during the winter)? Or maybe 3 weeks is not long enough to recover? The main flavor I used to taste in the tea is not really there anymore. However, the tea has a certain new brightness to its core that wasn't previously apparent. It's also a more juicy mouthfeel. It seems that the new storage brought that out in it.
Careful with mold with that temp and rh. I assume your checking it pretty regularly. Is that just the ambient temp in the room or are you adding heat?
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