Pumidor discussion

KKL81
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:52 pm

Atlas wrote:
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.
The slowness of diffusion may be a relevant point in before-drinking short term storage.
Atlas
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:24 pm

KKL81 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:52 pm
-snip-
Perhaps, but when I tested it, a single 60g 84% bPack in a half-full 24qt cooler in 35% ambient humidity equilibrated in 3-4hrs. Obviously that's going to be partly affected by the tea too. That's also one reason I prefer DIY salt packs to bPacks - you can increase surface area or use fan-forced air to increase recovery rate.

That's also an issue that wouldn't be changed much by the small increase in "path" distance caused by an open-top teacup as opposed to a mesh container, I wouldn't think. More a general issue with using bPacks to humidify environments that are flushed daily.
Teachronicles
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:37 pm

Atlas wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:24 pm
KKL81 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:52 pm
-snip-
Perhaps, but when I tested it, a single 60g 84% bPack in a half-full 24qt cooler in 35% ambient humidity equilibrated in 3-4hrs. Obviously that's going to be partly affected by the tea too. That's also one reason I prefer DIY salt packs to bPacks - you can increase surface area or use fan-forced air to increase recovery rate.

That's also an issue that wouldn't be changed much by the small increase in "path" distance caused by an open-top teacup as opposed to a mesh container, I wouldn't think. More a general issue with using bPacks to humidify environments that are flushed daily.
Atlas I'm sure your right about issues with boveda packs but I don't want shine to be turned off from them as they are a convenient solution for adding humidity, I'm not saying your diy packs arent easy and convenient to make, but imo boveda packs work well for that, without having to do too much extra work, other than changing them out every few months. Although your absolutely right in that there not the most cost efficient.

Edit: I wanna add that if your not going into your pumidor daily they should work ok yea?
mrmopu
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:07 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
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).
It isn't hard to get up and running. I am having luck or it seems so. The sheng has done some color changing and the shou seems to be hanging around the sweet spot so far. I haven't tried the Boveda packs but I do have some older China stored teas that I want to keep right where they are in mylar pouches.
Atlas
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:09 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:37 pm
-snip-
For sure - plenty of people seem to be using bPacks without issue. The reason I tend to push DIY so hard is because.

- If you're capable of pouring water and table salt into a glass/jar, you can make a DIY 74% pack of any capacity, no measuring required, which for me has meant an eqRH of 65-70% (which seems to be what most people go for).

- I live in CA and managed to kill $20 worth of Boveda packs in a couple of weeks at my new place (the packs lasted ok at my last place, no idea why).

That doesn't mean everyone should be using them, but I can't find a reason not to recommend them (or the ones doped with sugar for those who want lower humidity).

As to your question, I agree - for storage that's opened less often or containers that are almost full of something other than air, they're far more useful. They're also more useful the closer your ambient humidity is to the pack humidity, for obvious reasons.
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Shine Magical
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Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:00 am

Since I crave to drink shou and darker teas more during a cold winter, having good storage for them in the winter time by owning a pumidor may be better for what I need for my teas if they dry out a bit in crocks during the winter and get more humid in the summer.

So I think I've arrived at a conclusion for teas that I want to drink in the winter. So now the new question I am thinking about is this: if I am trying to age out a 2017 shou for 2 or 3 years, so that it becomes a better drink, I am not sure if crock or pumidor would be the way to go. Anyone have thoughts on this? I read that HK could reach 20% humidity sometimes, even though everyone online always says how low humidity in this region is something like 70% or something.
Last edited by Shine Magical on Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Atlas
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Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:18 am

Shine Magical wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:00 am
In response to putting Boveda packs inside crocks: I think with Boveda packs you are risking mold if you leave them in the crock for more than a day or so.
I tend to think cwyn errs on the side of excessive conservatism (but then I also went running to her when my stupid-aggressive storage showed signs of being too conducive to growth, and she has 10-20x the time doing this that I do and much relevant experience besides).

What I will say is that for the first year of my pu'er career, I was keeping everything in a cooler with an 84% pack or two, opened 1-2 times per day (when I'd grab something), with no mold whatsoever.

More recently, I've had can of saturated saline in my shou cooler (the minifridge is just for sheng and rehabbing new teas). That's been there for a couple of months, opened maybe once a week or two just to check that everything's ok. The only thing that's run me into issues so far is the hot-ass pumidor, which wasn't unexpected.
Teachronicles
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Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:30 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:00 am
I emailed someone who also does crock storage for shous, I am reposting what I consider the highlights of her response here:

In response to putting Boveda packs inside crocks: I think with Boveda packs you are risking mold if you leave them in the crock for more than a day or so.

In response to having dryer teas in crocks in the winter: It's not really necessary to have full-on Asian conditions year round. A few months dry won't kill your tea, it's years of dry that will. Even Hong Kong can reach 20% RH. The tea will just slow down and rest. Some people have theorized that a rest period is good during the year. My teas will crank up again soon enough.
She did also say she moistens the lids, which is something I do quite infrequently (no patience).

The first part worries me, as I just ordered a 10 pack of small Boveda packs in hopes of moistening my tea. I guess I will just try it out in one of my crocks: https://i.imgur.com/mD8wV4H.jpg

I find the second response interesting. I started the crock storage in September, so I only had the benefit of the end of a NYC summer.
The weather currently is 34F and 52% humidity in February. However in the summertime it averages 80F or 90F with 70% humidity. But I do not open the windows too much except in the springtime, since I live in a luxury high rise in Manhattan and have central air/heat. I don't have a humidity monitor indoors currently, but the humidity levels inside must be much lower I would think if there is always some form of heat/air conditioning on.
When I compared my teas to the ones mrmopar sent me from his storage this month, it was clear his were doing much better than mine. Since I crave to drink shou and darker teas more during a cold winter, having a good storage for them in the winter time by owning a pumidor may be better for what I need for my teas. If they will be dryer and not as good in the winter, then maybe crocks are not the solution for me since that is the time when I need them to be doing their best.
So I think I've arrived at a conclusion for teas that I want to drink in the winter. So now the new question I am thinking about is this: if I am trying to age out a 2017 shou for 2 or 3 years, so that it becomes a better drink, I am not sure if crock or pumidor would be the way to go. Anyone have thoughts on this? I didn't know that HK could reach 20% humidity, everyone online always says how low humidity in this region is something like 70% or something, heh.
I think a cooler is your best option, but I'm biased as that's what I use. I can't remember where but I remember reading crocks can be more condusive to mold growth (which is good in the case of pushing your teas, but probably has to be monitored closely), I might be wrong about this so don't take my word, maybe ask around or someone will correct me.

Going of what cwyn said It might be true that with crocks, that allow a little more interaction with the outside environment, your tea could be resting during the winter months and might not taste there best (jury speculation), again rest is ok, but for drinking during this period having a more sealed environment (Tupperware, cooler, minifridge) might be a better option.

Edit: I just realized what I wrote is basically the conclusion you came to, so I think you got the right idea, pumidor for shous in winter be better.
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Shine Magical
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Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:12 pm

Atlas wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:18 am
What I will say is that for the first year of my pu'er career, I was keeping everything in a cooler with an 84% pack or two, opened 1-2 times per day (when I'd grab something), with no mold whatsoever.
I bought the 72% packs. Based on your experience though I'm going to get the 84% ones once they run out as I now want to get as close to traditional storage as is safely possible.
KKL81
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Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:31 pm

You can recharge your boveda packs! Just put them somewhere moist and try not to make them a biohazard in the process. It's twisting and bending that wears them out.

The packs are probably ideal for smaller scales. The DYI solution is something that scales better upwards. It doesn't scale down very well to canisters and crooks. But yeah, for sealed storage in a larger space not completely packed with tea, or a space that is leaky, you need something more industrial, I agree with that.

Here is my point though: The hobbyist may never need a "pumidor" in the way it is discussed here: Multiple smaller storage units could be a reasonable alternative up to a hundreds of cakes at least.

There are all types of crooks that you can buy from china that is made to fit a tong or a smaller stack perfectly, even in fancy clays with nice decoration. The smallest ones fit a single cake. Similar to using canisters for sealed storage (periodically vented whenever you pick up tea at the very least) you can always operate at full packing rather relying on a storage space that is too big and airy until its too suddenly too small. Crooks and canisters can be bought as you need them. And the good news for people who drink for fragrance and aroma, is that you get to store all your teas separately with no cross-contamination. On a micro-scale, tea broken up before drinking and equilibrated against a boveda pack in a yixing crook simply taste better. It's true.

In these contexts, the packs cannot conveniently be replaced by anything DYI i think.
Atlas
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Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:21 am

Shine Magical wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:12 pm
I bought the 72% packs. Based on your experience though I'm going to get the 84% ones once they run out as I now want to get as close to traditional storage as is safely possible.
Traditional storage means getting your cakes wet and almost letting them mold somewhat out of necessity, from everything I've come across. "Humid" is the best you're gonna get, and that's not guaranteed. Just bear in mind that I'm not saying "84% packs are safe", just that I didn't have a problem. Don't risk anything you can't afford to lose if you fail to keep a close eye on it.


KKL81 wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:31 pm
You can recharge your boveda packs! Just put them somewhere moist and try not to make them a biohazard in the process. It's twisting and bending that wears them out.
Not quite - they will often crystalise to the point where large pockets develop which won't redissolve. In my experience this happens after 3-5 recharges.
The packs are probably ideal for smaller scales. The DYI solution is something that scales better upwards. It doesn't scale down very well to canisters and crooks. But yeah, for sealed storage in a larger space not completely packed with tea, or a space that is leaky, you need something more industrial, I agree with that.

Here is my point though: The hobbyist may never need a "pumidor" in the way it is discussed here: Multiple smaller storage units could be a reasonable alternative up to a hundreds of cakes at least.
For what it's worth, I've been at this for a mere 18 months, and I've already outgrown coolers to the point where I've filled 2/3 of a 5cuft minifridge. Using Boveda packs for anything that size or above if it's opened more than once a week/month is just nonsensical - nothing reasonable about it unless you're lucky with your ambient humidity (in which case you don't need bPacks either). Hundreds of cakes are gonna need what, $100 of packs every few months? Of you could just buy a pound of salt for five bucks and call it a day. That's all the packs are anyway. Scalability at low cost is definitely the primary (only?) benefit of DIY packs, but it becomes an optimal solution at far smaller scales than you seem to suggest.
In these contexts, the packs cannot conveniently be replaced by anything DYI i think.
I agree, if you're storing all your tea in many small containers then Boveda packs make sense.
KKL81
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Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:18 pm

Atlas wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:21 am

For what it's worth, I've been at this for a mere 18 months, and I've already outgrown coolers to the point where I've filled 2/3 of a 5cuft minifridge. Using Boveda packs for anything that size or above if it's opened more than once a week/month is just nonsensical - nothing reasonable about it unless you're lucky with your ambient humidity (in which case you don't need bPacks either). Hundreds of cakes are gonna need what, $100 of packs every few months? Of you could just buy a pound of salt for five bucks and call it a day. That's all the packs are anyway. Scalability at low cost is definitely the primary (only?) benefit of DIY packs, but it becomes an optimal solution at far smaller scales than you seem to suggest.
Hehe, I've only been storing for like two years myself, so I'm not going to claim some veteran guru status. My total stash is about 18-20 cakes now, and only the oldest tea in my sealed storage is two years at this point.

As for the depletion rate of the packs: at steady state, this rate is more or less determined by the dead volume in your storage vessel, not the amount of tea that you have. The tea may drink a lot when it arrives from Kunming, but once it is equilibrated it's all about replacing the vapour that gets flushed when you open the lid. Just pack the vessel to the brim with tea and this will be very close to nothing and maintaining the humidity can be done with one single pack even in my 8L canister.

It IS a bit stupid to humidify/dry tea using packs though, since in this case you need to transfer actual quantities of water. The scalable pumidor solution is obviously better in this context. But on the other hand, this is not something you need to do very often, most storage is just about maintaining the existing humidity levels.

My twenty cakes is stored in just four canisters, and I spend like one pack per month in total, or something like that. I open the canisters 3-5 times per week. I never deplete the packs fully and I throw them away when they get too wrinkly since I'm paranoid about them leaking. This whole set-up is EASILY multiplied by five. As for crooks, they do deplete the pack much faster than an impermeable canister, so this type of airy storage I just do for a few months.
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Shine Magical
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:20 pm

Atlas wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:18 am
Shine Magical wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:00 am
In response to putting Boveda packs inside crocks: I think with Boveda packs you are risking mold if you leave them in the crock for more than a day or so.
I tend to think cwyn errs on the side of excessive conservatism (but then I also went running to her when my stupid-aggressive storage showed signs of being too conducive to growth, and she has 10-20x the time doing this that I do and much relevant experience besides).

What I will say is that for the first year of my pu'er career, I was keeping everything in a cooler with an 84% pack or two, opened 1-2 times per day (when I'd grab something), with no mold whatsoever.

More recently, I've had can of saturated saline in my shou cooler (the minifridge is just for sheng and rehabbing new teas). That's been there for a couple of months, opened maybe once a week or two just to check that everything's ok. The only thing that's run me into issues so far is the hot-ass pumidor, which wasn't unexpected.
I'm going to start off with taping the small boveda packs to the tops of my crocks. I don't see why the should get moldy from that unless maybe the crock is filled to the top with tea. People seem to store their puer in plastic boxes with no issue and if anything a crock should be better for this as it should let some of the humidity out since its made from clay.

Also I can't find a mini fridge that I like on craigslist, and I'd rather wait another month or so to see if one I like shows up so that I can spend 1/2 the price. :D

When I get the mini fridge, I will try out your salt solution idea, as I can see why boveda packs would not be as good in that kind of environment. Although maybe I'll put one in there in addition to that, so I can worry less about maintaining somewhat constant humidity levels.
Atlas
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:42 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:20 pm
-snip-
Just be aware that if you have a salt pack and bPack in the same environment they're going to fight each other unless they're the same humidity rating - you'll eventually end up with a dry or saturated bPack. That might take so long that it doesn't matter, but it's something to be aware of.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:37 pm

Atlas wrote:
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.
Boveda packs are currently sitting on top of my teas in the crocks. Wouldn't the teas on top get more humidity than the ones at the bottom of the crock?
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