airing out cakes, wet storage, mold, etc

Puerh and other heicha
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wave_code
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Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:31 am

Thought maybe it would be good to have a general thread for discussing strategies for airing out cakes, getting rid of unwanted storage notes, mold problems, so on since I couldn't find a particular single one.

I opened up a cake today I was planning to finally dig into, 90s liu bao that I am guessing was produced by Three Cranes from the shape. I had a sample of it broken off another cake in a little baggie before and enjoyed it. The cake was wrapped in plastic with just a hand written sticker label- it came from a tea house in Taiwan via a friend, apparently the tea house was sold to them by a private collector so I guess it was a private order production. When I opened the cake though I noticed a fair amount of white frost mold on the outside of cake and hadn't seen any on my sample. I don't know the whole history of it but its obviously seen some damper storage at some point. I'm not terrified of musty smells or a tiny bit of mold or I probably wouldn't like liu bao in general, but I'm worried if I start to drink this cake too soon a lot of flavor will get masked by the mold and storage notes. It smells pretty musty, not offensively so but it might overpower other parts of the tea.

Now I have it loosely wrapped up in the plastic it came in and in a paper bag, but I'm not sure if that is enough or too much airflow?
I recall my friend who got the tea that the person who sold it recommended rather to break of a piece a day or two before drinking and to just let it sit out in open air - anyone tried this with more wet stored teas with any success? Or better to put the cake in a paper bag and let it slowly mellow out over some weeks? Or better to break it up?
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Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:29 pm

wave_code wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:31 am
Thought maybe it would be good to have a general thread for discussing strategies for airing out cakes, getting rid of unwanted storage notes, mold problems, so on since I couldn't find a particular single one.

I opened up a cake today I was planning to finally dig into, 90s liu bao that I am guessing was produced by Three Cranes from the shape. I had a sample of it broken off another cake in a little baggie before and enjoyed it. The cake was wrapped in plastic with just a hand written sticker label- it came from a tea house in Taiwan via a friend, apparently the tea house was sold to them by a private collector so I guess it was a private order production. When I opened the cake though I noticed a fair amount of white frost mold on the outside of cake and hadn't seen any on my sample. I don't know the whole history of it but its obviously seen some damper storage at some point. I'm not terrified of musty smells or a tiny bit of mold or I probably wouldn't like liu bao in general, but I'm worried if I start to drink this cake too soon a lot of flavor will get masked by the mold and storage notes. It smells pretty musty, not offensively so but it might overpower other parts of the tea.

Now I have it loosely wrapped up in the plastic it came in and in a paper bag, but I'm not sure if that is enough or too much airflow?
I recall my friend who got the tea that the person who sold it recommended rather to break of a piece a day or two before drinking and to just let it sit out in open air - anyone tried this with more wet stored teas with any success? Or better to put the cake in a paper bag and let it slowly mellow out over some weeks? Or better to break it up?
For wetter storage, there are several things you can try:
- store the tea in a non-sealed container (if humidity in the house is not extremely low)
- use a very porous teapot (like duanni)
- do two rinses instead of one
- you can also preheat the tea with a tea refreshener just before your session

I hope this helps!
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Stephen
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Location: Bay Area, California

Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:47 pm

For cakes that I want to air out I generally break them up and put them into ceramic jars. My preference is for glazed ceramic jars. My tea storage conditions are moderate so this works out well. The teas tend to mellow with time and strong storage notes diminish. If I can't do that then I'll put the cake in a brown paper bag and put it in my tea cabinet.
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