Newbie Questions

Puerh and other heicha
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Janice
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:11 pm
Location: New Jersey

Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:05 pm

I hosted my book group last month. The book I chose was the Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, in which the protagonist’s life is interwoven with the rise in popularity of Puerh. I invited anyone who wanted to arrive early, see a bing with its wrapper, a tuocha, a brick and loose puerh. I brewed some puerh for everyone to taste, None of my tea had the life-changing impact that’s discussed in the book!

My puerh collection dates back at least 6 years and has been very casually stored, most of it in a plastic bin with a snug lid. I was Inspired by the discussion to begin tasting the tea that I own. I haven’t made much headway because of temporary circumstances at home which mean it’s impossible to get through a session with introspection and without interruption. I did fall in love with a sample from Bana Tea, possibly because of the detailed brewing instructions. I ended up ordering a cake of that tea, 2008 Bana Tea Company Limited Edition Raw Pu-erh Tea (200 grams), and a second cake just based on the description of its properties, 2015 Speechless Euphoria Raw Pu-erh Tea (100 grams).

Finally the questions.

First, I’m not expecting to age the tea but I’d like to store it properly for the next year or so while I drink it. The larger cake arrived in its wrapper inside a resealable bag that’s plastic-lined. The smaller cake is in its wrapper in a kraft cardboard box. Do I leave them like this or move them to something better? My old puerh is in brown paper lunch bags and I’m not sure the tea benefited from that.

Second, I’ve been opening the tea cakes just about every day to break off a chunk for brewing. Should I break off a larger chunk and store it separate from the rest of the cake for daily drinking?

Third, I have an EOT cake that’s been sitting in its wrapper in a lunch bag. I feel as if it has the same off putting storage odor/taste as it did when I purchased it. I have an unglazed porcelain tea caddy made by Hong Seong-il. Would some time in there be helpful?
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pedant
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Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:54 pm

You didn't mention your climate, but basically, you want to just try to maintain their aroma. Airtight storage helps (but no smelly containers), and hydration level seems to make a difference as well. Try to keep the RH above 60% or so if possible.

Since you only have a few cakes and plan to drink them all soon, i'd just break them all up into 3-6g chunks. Get all the 'work' out if the way. You could then store the broken up tea in something like one quart (1L) mason jars. I'd use new jars and lids but wash them out well first because IME new jars can be smelly from the factory. Store those in a dark place or at the very least out of sunlight.

Or you could use tea caddies if you have suitable ones. Or large aluminized mylar bags.

If you suspect the tea has dried out, then maybe also put a boveda pack in each jar/bag and see if the aroma livens up after a while.

Edit: if you're satisfied with your tub with tight lid, you could keep the teas in that. Maybe broken up for convenience and in lidless containers in that tub. Could also add a small saucer of water to the tub. Or buy or make a salt pack.
Janice
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:11 pm
Location: New Jersey

Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:54 pm

@pedant thanks for the detailed advice. I’m moving my “old” Puerh into double lidded tea caddies which I believe are air-tight. I’ve been experimenting with my brewing technique and tea ware and the tea I bought in bulk years ago is all drinkable, although I’m enjoying some more than others. I suppose that’s par for the course.

I’m still hesitant to destroy the wrappings of the two “new” cakes purchased from Bana last month. One is from 2006 and the other is from 2015. I’ll probably just break off pieces to work from and keep the bulk in the original wrappers for the time being. I don’t see a pumidor in my future. As for climate, my house is humid in the summer and dry in the winter.
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pedant
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Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:17 am

Janice wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:54 pm
I’m still hesitant to destroy the wrappings of the two “new” cakes purchased from Bana last month. One is from 2006 and the other is from 2015. I’ll probably just break off pieces to work from and keep the bulk in the original wrappers for the time being.
you don't have to destroy the wrappers. you can save them. some people collect them (i don't).
for me personally, the wrapper often ceases to be a useful tea 'container' once i break into a cake. too much hassle with re-wrapping it, and the paper can get worn out with repeated use. especially when the cake gets sharp/pointy as you remove material from it.
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phyllsheng
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Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:17 pm

@Janice,

Collect the wrappers if they are to your liking. I flatten the wrappers by placing them under a large, heavy book (or books) for a few days. Afterwards, I roll the wrappers and place them in a kraft storage/mailing tube.

Or, it's perfect to line your metal tea canisters/caddies with :)
Janice wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:54 pm
pedant thanks for the detailed advice. I’m moving my “old” Puerh into double lidded tea caddies which I believe are air-tight. I’ve been experimenting with my brewing technique and tea ware and the tea I bought in bulk years ago is all drinkable, although I’m enjoying some more than others. I suppose that’s par for the course.

I’m still hesitant to destroy the wrappings of the two “new” cakes purchased from Bana last month. One is from 2006 and the other is from 2015. I’ll probably just break off pieces to work from and keep the bulk in the original wrappers for the time being. I don’t see a pumidor in my future. As for climate, my house is humid in the summer and dry in the winter.
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phyllsheng
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Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:52 pm

Or,... :geek:

Image
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Bok
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Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:28 pm

phyllsheng wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:52 pm
Or,... :geek:

Image
That wall is brilliant! Very nice!
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phyllsheng
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Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:41 pm

Thank you, @Bok. It's probably somewhat kitschy to most :roll:
Each framed wrapper means something more to me, sentimentally, but such things can't be captured by a camera :geek:
Pete
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:27 am

@andrew sweet
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Baisao
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:18 pm

Janice wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:05 pm
None of my tea had the life-changing impact that’s discussed in the book!
Fifty to sixty year old puerh can definitely be a life changing experience. A friend bought over 12 grams of puerh from the 1960s (sorry, I can’t remember more details than that since it was about ten years ago) and it stole my words! It felt profoundly ancient and had the most round and unassuming flavor— all the edges had been chipped of over the decades to reveal the smoothest tea liquor I’ve ever tasted. It had a potent body feeling too. My body felt like a large bronze bell that had been struck and I vibrated for days. It’s hard to put all this in words but I’ve done my best. Yes, puerh can be life changing!
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