Pumidor discussion

Teachronicles
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:31 pm
Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:54 pm
Shine Magical wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:18 am

If you use these, do you also use a fan to circulate the air inside?
And also is there an air vent in your pumidor so that some fresh air can get in?
Do you use anything else inside the pumidor other than these packets?
Also how many packets do you use at a time?

And how can you regulate the temperature in a refrigerator that isn't plugged in?
Do you do something different for wet storage vs dry storage puers?
No fans, I place 5 or 6 boveda packs in different places in my cooler. As far as fresh air I'm not too concerned about that. I think it was marshaln that mentioned he didn't think air circulation as as important as some people think. I do open up my cooler once a week for a few hours to air out and once every month or two I will take all my cakes out to pry off some pieces to try and will lay them out to air out.

As far as temperature, that's something I'm still working on. Atm, it sits at ~60 degrees most of the year and in summer naturally my house gets into the 70-80s. Im experimenting with a heated blanket wrapped around the pumidor, which gets it up to 80° at the hottest temp and 70° at the lowest, but it's not a long-term solution. I think for the time being ill let the temp fluctuate naturally with the temp inside my house.

Wet stored gets aired out for a good while although I don't have any overly wet stored so all my sheng, wet or dry, sits together in the pumidor. I also have aged and young sheng stored together which marshaln says might actually be beneficial for the young sheng. I think with the lower temperature my sheng will mature slowly than a hk environment.

You also have to consider absolute humidity. Relative humidity of 70% at 60° is not the same as the same RH at 80°. The hotter the temp the more moisture it can hold so 70RH at 80° will have a higher absolute humidity than at 60°, which is why hot and humid is good for aging cakes quickly. I don't have a ton experience with aging puer or pumidors but have done a lot of reading about it on various blogs.
I am assuming you have a device also that can measure the humidity inside of your cooler?
6 packs seems like a lot to have to switch out every few months!
If you really don't wanna deal with storage you might wanna considering buying only for immediate consumption and not having too many extra cakes that would need storage. As far as I know if you seal the cakes in airtight storage they'll stay in their current state for a decent amount of time. It's only when you leave them out in open air that there's risk of them drying out, depending on the climate where'd their stored.
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mrmopu
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:19 pm

My set up is mini fridges or in case of my shou a full size one. I have been using the Cigar Oasis units minus the foam in them and distilled water for humidity. I do have high flow computer fans in there with a molex hookup. I will run them 2 or 3 minutes about twice a week. I do have to monitors in each one to measure the humidity. I try and open them up for a few minutes each week to get a little new air in there. I can also tell when I add a few in as the humidity drops for a day or so. As of yet, I saw Atlas's setup, I haven't added the heat element. I did buy a couple of grow mats that I may incorporate soon. I generally try for about 68-70F and at least 68% RH. It varies sometimes as the humidity will go higher in the Summer months if I am in there a lot. Aging seems to be maintaining with some results being shown more with the sheng.
I have tweaked a bit since this write up but it gives an insight on general storage.

https://deathbytea.blogspot.com/2015/03 ... orage.html
Atlas
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:20 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:54 pm
You also have to consider absolute humidity. Relative humidity of 70% at 60° is not the same as the same RH at 80°. The hotter the temp the more moisture it can hold so 70RH at 80° will have a higher absolute humidity than at 60°, which is why hot and humid is good for aging cakes quickly.
Do you though? I've seen this mentioned a couple of times but I've never seen any justification. Take a look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equilibri ... re_content

Image

Positing the idea that wood and tea behave similarly, the difference in EMC between 60% and 80% relative humidity in a normal storage temperature range is 5%, meaning that at 80%rh, wood contains almost 50% more water than at 60%rh.

Temperature, on the other hand, has a negligible effect on EMC by comparison - the difference between 20C and 30C (which is close to the widest range of conditions under which anyone would intentionally store pu'er) looks to be approximately 0.3%.

Looking at it from the other direction, given a constant EMC, from Marco Guiltieri's experiment here, a change from 24C to 32C (a large change from our perspective) is good for 3-5% difference in relative humidity (which is a much smaller change as a proportion of the "sane" range)

From a practical standpoint, it would appear that 70%rh at 60°F is pretty much the same as 70%rh at 80°F. Also of note is that that a cake sitting at a higher temperature and constant humidity contains less water, not more, even though the air itself can hold more water.

As for the primary reason that hot and humid storage ages faster than cooler and humid storage, that is almost certainly the fact that fungal activity and enzymatic reaction rates increase with temperature. In the case of fungi I think the increase is exponential up to the optimal growth temperature, though I can't seem to turn up anything to support that.
Last edited by Atlas on Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Teachronicles
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:39 pm

Atlas wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:20 pm
Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:54 pm
You also have to consider absolute humidity. Relative humidity of 70% at 60° is not the same as the same RH at 80°. The hotter the temp the more moisture it can hold so 70RH at 80° will have a higher absolute humidity than at 60°, which is why hot and humid is good for aging cakes quickly.
Do you though? I've seen this mentioned a couple of times but I've never seen any justification. Take a look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equilibri ... re_content

Image

Positing the idea that wood and tea behave similarly, the difference in EMC between 60% and 80% relative humidity in a normal storage temperature range is 5%, meaning that at 80%rh, wood contains almost 50% more water than at 60%rh.

Temperature, on the other hand, has a negligible effect on EMC by comparison - the difference between 20C and 30C (which is close to the widest range of conditions under which anyone would intentionally store pu'er) looks to be approximately 0.3%.

Looking at it from the other direction, given a constant EMC, from Marco Guiltieri's experiment here, a change from 24C to 32C (a large change from our perspective) is good for 3-5% difference in relative humidity (which is a much smaller change as a proportion of the "sane" range)

From a practical standpoint, it would appear that 70%rh at 60°F is the same as 70%rh at 60°F. Also note that a cake sitting at a higher temperature and constant humidity contains less water, not more, even though the air itself can hold more water.

As for the primary reason that hot and humid storage ages faster than cooler and humid storage, that is almost certainly the fact that fungal activity and enzymatic reaction rates increase with temperature. In the case of fungi I think the increase is exponential up to the optimal growth temperature, though I can't seem to turn up anything to support that.
Thank you for correcting and clarifying that atlas. That's interesting, and new info for me. I definitely need to find a solution for raising the temp a bit, but in such a closed environment I do worry about bad mold growing. Is opening the pumidor weekly and taking the cakes out monthly you think sufficient for preventing mold? I'll have to look into grow mats for the temp.
Atlas
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:09 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:39 pm
-snip-
I can't give you any reliable information of what's safe, not least of which because my conditions (31degC, 70%rh) have proven to support mold growth - last week I noticed the finest speck of "frosting" on a tuocha that was living in the minifridge door.

I suspect that the reason is a combination of the high internal temperature (which technically could produce condensation between wrapper and cake), the fact that that tuo is in the worst spot for experiencing fast cold swings (when the door is opened), and the fact that my humidifier almost completely restores the desired humidity in 15 minutes, reducing the ability of condensation to evaporate into the air once the door is closed.

All this is to say that I don't have the right to reassure anyone that anything is completely safe, and the only true safety measure is being vigilant if you are trying to push your cakes at all.

This study suggests that periodic exposure to a drier environment reduces fungal growth significantly, but how much and how applicable the 12/12 cycle results are to what we're talking about I have no idea.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25849091
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:47 am

I don't know anything about pumidors (yet!) but it seems like 31C seems like it would be pretty hot for the kind of artificial devices we're trying to create, even if that's what its like in Yunnan. I am not surprised that there is mold growing. Why not lower the temp by 10F? This is interesting but I'm not sure how helpful it is for puer: http://www.dpcalc.org/

What would happen if you didn't use a heating unit at all and just used boveda packs?

& I thought refrigerators had air vents inside them. Is this true? And do people here seal up the vents for their pumidors?

Could I still have good results even if I don't have a temperature control, if the temperature inside my apartment is between 60-85F throughout the year?
Last edited by Shine Magical on Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:04 am

mrmopu wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:19 pm
Aging seems to be maintaining with some results being shown more with the sheng.
Does this mean that the teas are aging?

Also, does the mini fridge work best for you or do you find one of the other storage solutions is giving the best results? Have you tried boveda packs? They are appealing to me because they seem very low maintenance, I don't want to worry about replacing water/having resting water in the cigar oasis units.

Maybe making a basic pumidor is not as hard as I had previously thought (one without temperature control).
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:50 am

Also does anyone have suggestions on how to store loose leaf puers that haven't been pressed into cakes in a pumidor? Would gently wrapping them in a fabric work? Or put them in some kind of mesh basket?
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:12 am

I also wonder if there would be a slight benefit or downside to using Boveda packs in crocks, which would allow some air flow exchange vs using Boveda packs in a fridge.
Atlas
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 am

Shine Magical wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:47 am
I don't know anything about pumidors (yet!) but it seems like 31C seems like it would be pretty hot for the kind of artificial devices we're trying to create, even if that's what its like in Yunnan. I am not surprised that there is mold growing. Why not lower the temp by 10F?
I'm intentionally trying to age, not just maintain quality of tea. I'm not a fan of green flavours in sheng but can't afford a bunch of aged stuff, so part of my approach is stocking up on some inexpensive but tasty tea and trying to age it myself over the next 5-10+. I also happen to like humid-stored teas when it's done well. It's a risk, but one I'm willing to take given that I can monitor it daily without much effort.
What would happen if you didn't use a heating unit at all and just used boveda packs?
They would age, but significantly more slowly, I suspect.
I thought refrigerators had air vents inside them. Is this true?
Not as far as I'm aware - kinda defeats the idea of thermal insulation.
Could I still have good results even if I don't have a temperature control, if the temperature inside my apartment is between 60-85F throughout the year?
Very probably.
Have you tried boveda packs? They are appealing to me because they seem very low maintenance, I don't want to worry about replacing water/having resting water in the cigar oasis units.
Avoiding resting water (ie not using a saturated salt solution) is wise, imo. If you're having to refill a salt-based pack with any regularity, then bPacks will get drained even faster and you'll be replacing stuff regularly AND paying out the ass for it.
Also does anyone have suggestions on how to store loose leaf puers
Mesh basket is fine. So is any open container. I use teacups to store <25g quantities of broken up tea in the door, so I don't have to rummage around every time I want some tea.
I also wonder if there would be a slight benefit or downside to using Boveda packs in crocks,
The air-exchange thing is... there are some relatively experienced people floating around, all with different ideas on whether it's desirable and how much. You really have to make your own call there.

In a dry-ish environment, bPacks will get depleted quite fast if exposed to more fresh air.
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:21 pm

Atlas wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 am
I use teacups to store <25g quantities of broken up tea.
Should you ideally be using some kind of mesh teacup, since it may be hard for the humidity to get to the tea if there's only one opening on the top?

My concern with using boveda packs inside a clay crock is that the crock is porous, so the humidity inside the crock may not get to be that high since it will always be leaking some out.
Teachronicles
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:31 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:21 pm
Atlas wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 am
I use teacups to store <25g quantities of broken up tea.
Should you ideally be using some kind of mesh teacup, since it may be hard for the humidity to get to the tea if there's only one opening on the top?

My concern with using boveda packs inside a clay crock is that the crock is porous, so the humidity inside the crock may not get to be that high since it will always be leaking some out.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe crocks, of course it will depend on the crock, are so porous that they will have a significant effect on humidity.

Edit: I'm unfamiliar with crocks, do they have a lid? If they are sealed, I think the humidity leaking from the porosity of the pot will be negligible.
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Shine Magical
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:53 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:31 pm
Shine Magical wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:21 pm
Atlas wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 am
I use teacups to store <25g quantities of broken up tea.
Should you ideally be using some kind of mesh teacup, since it may be hard for the humidity to get to the tea if there's only one opening on the top?

My concern with using boveda packs inside a clay crock is that the crock is porous, so the humidity inside the crock may not get to be that high since it will always be leaking some out.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe crocks, of course it will depend on the crock, are so porous that they will have a significant effect on humidity.

Edit: I'm unfamiliar with crocks, do they have a lid? If they are sealed, I think the humidity leaking from the porosity of the pot will be negligible.
Yes, they are made of clay and have loose fitting lids. Perhaps not a lot of humidity would escape, I'm not sure.
KKL81
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:28 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:31 pm
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe crocks, of course it will depend on the crock, are so porous that they will have a significant effect on humidity.
Edit: I'm unfamiliar with crocks, do they have a lid? If they are sealed, I think the humidity leaking from the porosity of the pot will be negligible.
Clay will buffer temperature changes better than most other materials (unless you add thermal insulation around your plastic tubs or whatever).

There are different types: Inner glazing, outer glazing and unglazed.

The glazed ones represent sealed storage for all intents and purposes. Inner glazing should be avoided if you intend higher humidity and changing temperatures as these crocks very easily nucleate condense on the inner walls. Outer glazing is better as the porous inner walls will wick away condense and represent a humidity reservoir in themselves.

Unglazed crocks leak quite a bit of humidity and are best suited for short to intermediate time storage as you need to replace the boveda packs all the time. Crocks with boveda packs are useful for clearing young ripe, airing out wet-stored tea or waking up tea from very tight compression or sealed storage.
Atlas
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:45 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:21 pm
Atlas wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 am
I use teacups to store <25g quantities of broken up tea.
Should you ideally be using some kind of mesh teacup, since it may be hard for the humidity to get to the tea if there's only one opening on the top?
Nope. That's not how diffusion works.

It could be a pinhole and the same thing would happen, just more slowly.
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