Aging puerh: what is your setup?

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gregcss
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Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:06 pm

tealifehk wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:49 am
At present, I'm aging tea in cartons and tongs, but eventually I transfer cakes to plastic zip-top bags with cotton on the outside. This makes the tea much more aromatic after the first two years or so of natural decomposition, and also stops the loss of aromatics into the atmosphere. There is still some air exchange through the seal on the bag. I've found this to be the best method for me after aging a lot of different tea (sheng and shu) in my natural environment here in Hong Kong. At present I have around 300kg of pu aging away.

Certain teas get more time: Xiaguan Teji and Jiaji and T8653 cakes are tightly compressed, so I let them do their thing. I still find aromatics rebound when I place these teas into the cotton/plastic zipper bags, so when I feel the teas are ready, into bags they go!
Such long experiments. Glad it's working out.
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teasecret
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Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:38 am

an update on my storage:
young sheng has been consistently frustrating - I've kept well within appropriate parameters and my tea is still going awry. I've aired it out for a day and am storing it now unhumidified for a while to settle. I don't heat my storage. Oddly, once the flavor and smell started to turn strange, the humidity wouldn't go up anymore.
I have two ideas:
1) run a small fan to circulate the air
or
2) store cakes in nylon-cotton zip bags: open for a couple weeks to get humid, then sealed once well-conditioned.
anyone with some experience with success or failure can give advice here?
Atlas
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Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:59 pm

teasecret wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:38 am
young sheng has been consistently frustrating - I've kept well within appropriate parameters and my tea is still going awry.
What is happening currently, and how does this differ from what you are attempting to achieve?

Additionally, how do you imagine your two ideas would improve the situation?
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teasecret
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Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:46 am

Atlas wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:59 pm
teasecret wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:38 am
young sheng has been consistently frustrating - I've kept well within appropriate parameters and my tea is still going awry.
What is happening currently, and how does this differ from what you are attempting to achieve?

Additionally, how do you imagine your two ideas would improve the situation?
It was at a steady 62% 70F recently (have had this storage for a year). Started smelling less pleasant, more sour. Tried a couple teas, they tasted way off, sweetness gone, more like sour and papery/musty, but unlike the typical "too-dry" sourness. I also noticed that smelling the pumidor made me dizzy in a way it didn't usually. I found no mold on any cakes, but I was able to brush them all with an unused toothbrush to remove anything I couldn't see. I aired it out for a day and now it's being sealed without any humidity for a week to settle down and to prevent the smell from leaking out.
I was just trying to keep my sheng in a stable, well conditioned state with moderate aging.
I would use a fan to circulate the air because apparently there can be pockets of too-high humidity in stagnant air.
Also, I would use zip bags to allow cakes to use their own humidity to age themselves once conditioned, and any problematic cakes would not affect the other cakes.
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Rickpatbrown
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:42 pm

Trying everything I can ...
15$ glass jars from Walmart with saturated NaCl solution in jar. These definitely dont have any smell. The lids fit tight enough to keep the humidity around 65%RH, but aren't airtight. These aren't as convenient as a minifridge (still need to get rid of plastic smell in the minifridge), since they dont have shelves. Getting tea out is not as easy.

The clear glass also makes it necessary to protect from sunlight.
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teasecret
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Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:46 am

As a quick update - all my cakes are now in their own cotton paper zip bags sitting in a 62% environment outside the bags to prevent drying over time. This should be a lot more stable and keep anything from growing while preserving aromatics and moisture. I've tried a couple cakes that were tasting musty and they seem to be recovering.
kurtotis
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:47 pm

What is a good storage rh% if I am not a big fan of really apparent wet storage? The cardboard box environment I am currently storing my young sheng in is at around 43-49%. Is this too dry for fermentation to even occur?
.m.
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Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:50 am

kurtotis wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:47 pm
What is a good storage rh% if I am not a big fan of really apparent wet storage? The cardboard box environment I am currently storing my young sheng in is at around 43-49%. Is this too dry for fermentation to even occur?
Yes, that doesn't sound good to me. The least thing, I'd recommend would be to try to get your RH to the 60's or low 70's for a couple of weeks to rehydratate the tea a bit, and then seal in ziplock bags and store in room temperature (a warmer environment is better than a colder one). As it is, forget about aging, just try to make sure the tea doesn't go stale. You don't need to worry about wet storage unless you live in a seriously humid place.
thommes
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:51 am

I never thought I'd write a post about this. I never had any intention of aging my tea. However, I bought a bing and a brick, both a shou and a sheng. Tried samples, found them less than impressive, and it's like, "I wonder what aging would do to this?" So I want to store some tea for aging. Not 70 years... not commercially... not for profit... for drinking later when the tea might be more impressive. So I've been reading articles online, might start watching some YouTube videos,etc. Looking for ideas, processes, how to's.

What I have:
a basement with constant cooler temps and stable humidity
knowledge and skills in wook working to build things

Here's some questions...

Is there any difference between storing pu and aging pu? I could see a need to store pu and not age it further if the tea has a good flavor. So you would likely want to stop any aging processes going on.
Is there any difference between aging shou and sheng? The articles I've been reading don't specify between the two types of pu. I know that you need to store shou and sheng separately so it makes sense that you would age them separately.
.m.
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:53 am

If the tea is not that great now the chances are it might not be great in future. But
- it may be in an "awkward stage" and need few years to get out of it.
- it may be the winter season: most of my sheng dosnt taste that great in winter, the air is too dry, the temperature is too low, or whatever is the reason.
- both shu and sheng like warm and humid climate, if the tea is too dry or cold it might not taste optimal. In my opinion shu is quite a bit less sensitive to this. The same apply to long term storage and aging.
- your preferences, knowledge, or expectations may change in few years, and you may find a tea that you initially thought to be boring quite satisfying.
In any case, if you are not short on storage space it's worth to give it a few years.
.m.
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:04 am

As for storage, if it's just one or two cakes i'd keep it simple. First rehydratate the tea (or not): put it a closed odorless container together with a jar of saline solution for a few days/weeks or with a boveda pack, then seal it in a big mylar bag or two and leave it somewhere in a room temperature.
thommes
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:20 am

.m. wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:53 am
If the tea is not that great now the chances are it might not be great in future.
No argument here. There's also the possibility that it could get worse! Either at no fault of mine or me not storing/aging it properly. But I figure might as well try.
thommes
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:29 am

.m. wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:04 am
As for storage, if it's just one or two cakes i'd keep it simple. First rehydratate the tea (or not): put it a closed odorless container together with a jar of saline solution for a few days/weeks or with a boveda pack, then seal it in a big mylar bag or two and leave it somewhere in a room temperature.
Ok this is the first I've read of rehydrating tea. Is this the same as acclimating the tea to the local environment, ie don't touch da tea from china until it's set around for 10 days? I googled rehydrating tea and all I found were articles on whether tea was a diuretic.
.m.
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Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:07 pm

The hydratation may completely unnecessary if the tea comes from a good storage environment and already has the right amount of moisture in it. The point is of storing the tea under a certain humidity (and temperature), and if you do sealed storage then you want the tea to have the humidity already in itself. So this only applies to cakes that are for some reason too dry. You can do that just by placing a Boveda pack with the tea in the same mylar bag for some time. As i said, dryness would hurt mainly sheng, so in case of shu i wouldnt worry about it too much.
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Ginpachi
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Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:06 pm

teasecret wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:46 am
It was at a steady 62% 70F recently (have had this storage for a year). Started smelling less pleasant, more sour. Tried a couple teas, they tasted way off, sweetness gone, more like sour and papery/musty, but unlike the typical "too-dry" sourness.
I had a similar situation with two tuos that I had kept in their individual original round boxes, not in a pumidor but simply in my music room at similar conditions of 60% RH at 21 °C.
After discovering the unpleasant smell, I took them out of their boxes and let them air out for some days, just in their paper wrappings. Then they smelled normal, again.
Maybe the cause is insufficient airflow, as you suggested?
Anyway, just adding this for others, to note that the issue seems not to be related to zip bags only.
If it is an "issue" at all, that is.
teasecret wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:46 am
As a quick update - all my cakes are now in their own cotton paper zip bags sitting in a 62% environment outside the bags to prevent drying over time. This should be a lot more stable and keep anything from growing while preserving aromatics and moisture. I've tried a couple cakes that were tasting musty and they seem to be recovering.
How did it go, so far? I hope your teas are still fine.
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