Accelerating Sheng Aging


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby thanks » Sep 21st, '09, 03:44

betta wrote:
zhi zheng wrote:This is why factors to do with the size, shape (brick,cake,etc.) and the degree of pressure used in compressing the cake (a basic differentiation is between machine and stone pressed, though with either method pressure can vary considerably) are all important and will have an effect on the way the thing ages.


I understand the logic of doing stone pressing, which results in rather loose cakes good for aging and it maybe the technique available widely before machine-pressing was introduced later on. But what is the logic behind doing iron-pressing and other tight pressing?


You bring up an interesting question. All the things I've read online about these topics and what makes sense to me boils down to aging environments. Logic tells us that loosely stone pressed cakes would age faster than iron cakes, which makes sense to me, but remember an iron cake in Hong Kong can age faster than a stone pressed cake in Kunming.

I'm personally interested in whether or not stone pressed teas produce a better aged tea than other compression methods, simply because they age faster. Does it make a difference to the actual aging of the tea besides speed?
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby oldmanteapot » Sep 21st, '09, 07:02

thanks wrote:Logic tells us that loosely stone pressed cakes would age faster than iron cakes, which makes sense to me, but remember an iron cake in Hong Kong can age faster than a stone pressed cake in Kunming.


Pu generally ages faster in HK due to it's high RH levels as compared to Kunming where it's generally dry most of the time. Also note that Pu stored in HK generally has a common character. The tea broth is smoother, but lacks strength. Pu stored in Kunming seems to age slowly, to an extend that it seems to stand still in time. The low RH levels leave the tea with a 'hard' tea broth which, IMO, is not pleasant to the tongue.

thanks wrote:I'm personally interested in whether or not stone pressed teas produce a better aged tea than other compression methods, simply because they age faster. Does it make a difference to the actual aging of the tea besides speed?


IMO, stone pressed tea doesn't produce better aged tea. It does affect the rate of aging, but doesn't necessarily mean it will age well. Every Pu is ageable, but it's what you get at the end of the aging process that counts. You won't want to have a bunch of expensive "compressed grass" at the end of the day. ;-)

IMO, it lies in the quality of the leaves and also the process which the Pu was made, be it stone pressed, iron, beeng, brick or tuo. The blend of leaves that are used also matters. It doesn't mean if it's 100% BanZhang, it will turnout to be a superb tea! As a matter of fact, we don't know how much of the material used is in fact BanZhang, and if really so, what grades were used? BanZhang from different altitudes yield different results. Again, this is subjected to personal preferences. Some might prefer their Pu from a specific mountain. There's no right or wrong answer here. It boils down to your personal preference.

There is a old Chinese saying, translated, it says... "Tea doesn't fool or bluff men, but, it's men who fools and bluffs men." So, nothing can fool your tongue. Your tongue is your judge.
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby betta » Sep 21st, '09, 10:27

Thanks, OMTP and thanks for stepping in and comment on it. As you said, at the end only the taste of the particular cake is the most important.
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby TomVerlain » Sep 21st, '09, 17:33

I have never tried an "iron cake" or discus cake, but I have tried various levels of compression. I have no idea on if the compression changes the tea - or - if so, to what extent. You would need to take the same leaves and compress one, one way, and another, the other way, place side by side, wait 20 years and check.

I just know I like loosely compressed cakes better. I have had some decent brick tea, but overall, I think too much compression makes breaking the tea apart harder, and ends up with dust and fractured leaf.

It might depend on the leaf sizes, how the maocha is prepared, how it is layered or arranged to make the cake, etc, etc.

Meng Hai recipes seems to be more cut up, so tightly pressing is not as deleterious to the leaf, as it is already fractured. My 8582 (802) cakes from last year could give corian a run for it's money.

The half dipper blog shows the 801, which looks very different than the 802. His leaves seem to come apart better and still retain some large, fairly intact bits.

http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2009/03/2008-menghai-8582-801.html

I wonder how the 801 will compare to the 802 as we go forward ----
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby TomVerlain » Sep 21st, '09, 17:33

I have never tried an "iron cake" or discus cake, but I have tried various levels of compression. I have no idea on if the compression changes the tea - or - if so, to what extent. You would need to take the same leaves and compress one, one way, and another, the other way, place side by side, wait 20 years and check.

I just know I like loosely compressed cakes better. I have had some decent brick tea, but overall, I think too much compression makes breaking the tea apart harder, and ends up with dust and fractured leaf.

It might depend on the leaf sizes, how the maocha is prepared, how it is layered or arranged to make the cake, etc, etc.

Meng Hai recipes seems to be more cut up, so tightly pressing is not as deleterious to the leaf, as it is already fractured. My 8582 (802) cakes from last year could give corian a run for it's money.

The half dipper blog shows the 801, which looks very different than the 802. His leaves seem to come apart better and still retain some large, fairly intact bits.

http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2009/03/2008-menghai-8582-801.html

I wonder how the 801 will compare to the 802 as we go forward ----
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby TomVerlain » Sep 21st, '09, 17:35

I have never tried an "iron cake" or discus cake, but I have tried various levels of compression. I have no idea on if the compression changes the tea - or - if so, to what extent. You would need to take the same leaves and compress one, one way, and another, the other way, place side by side, wait 20 years and check.

I just know I like loosely compressed cakes better. I have had some decent brick tea, but overall, I think too much compression makes breaking the tea apart harder, and ends up with dust and fractured leaf.

It might depend on the leaf sizes, how the maocha is prepared, how it is layered or arranged to make the cake, etc, etc.

Meng Hai recipes seems to be more cut up, so tightly pressing is not as deleterious to the leaf, as it is already fractured. My 8582 (802) cakes from last year could give corian a run for it's money.

The half dipper blog shows the 801, which looks very different than the 802. His leaves seem to come apart better and still retain some large, fairly intact bits.

http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2009/03/2008-menghai-8582-801.html

I wonder how the 801 will compare to the 802 as we go forward ----
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby TomVerlain » Sep 21st, '09, 17:37

just trying to get my post count up :lol:

kept getting


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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby oldmanteapot » Sep 21st, '09, 21:33

TomVerlain wrote:I wonder how the 801 will compare to the 802 as we go forward ----


You will only know when you've sampled both and had a thorough evaluation of both.

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :D :D
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A nod to Hobbes

Postby Intuit » Sep 21st, '09, 22:32

No. 3, Difficulty at the Beginning:
"Difficulty at the beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken.
It furthers one to appoint helpers."

Interpretation:
Receiving this hexagram indicates that a new process of natural growth is underway, but just because it is "natural" does not mean that it will be easy. "When it is a man's fate to undertake new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark." [Wilhelm]. In other words, you are just at the very start of something that has the promise of supreme success. You need to go slow, don't bite off more than you can chew, and look for friends who can help and support you.

Gee, the IChing seems to work pretty good for figgering out mysterious pu'erhs.

On iron pressing: if the leaves are fractured, and the maocha processing is careful, is there not much oil on the leaf surface ruptures? If you have an eclectic blend (as Hobbes notes), perhaps you are pressing to cause well-mixed leaf oils to intermingle, the older leaves to 'seed' the catalytic forms for the necessary condensation reactions in the immature leaves, sans moisture and air that might otherwise rob the cake of much needed light volatiles to 'grow' the complexes?

Just a guess. I had been wondering about this difference in compression and why it might be used.
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Re: A nod to Hobbes

Postby betta » Sep 22nd, '09, 15:54

Intuit wrote: If you have an eclectic blend (as Hobbes notes), perhaps you are pressing to cause well-mixed leaf oils to intermingle, the older leaves to 'seed' the catalytic forms for the necessary condensation reactions in the immature leaves, sans moisture and air that might otherwise rob the cake of much needed light volatiles to 'grow' the complexes?


This idea is interesting! I was thinking all the time that the younger buds and leaves contain more enzymes and bio-catalytical substances rather than older leaves. Which molecule is released in this condensation reaction?
It is important because we lost the intensity of aroma due to aging and many here would love to know how to improve the taste of pu without loosing the aroma.
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby zhi zheng » Sep 23rd, '09, 05:13

From what I can make out, there's no plausible benefit to be had from tie bing or from pressing cakes really tightly. But it's quick and less labour intensive than stone pressing for sure. It seems likely it was just a development - fad maybe - in Puer manufacturing. Not many people are using this method now.
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby kasey » Jan 3rd, '12, 02:18

Yours was probably the wisest advice. I received so many varied responses that I wondered if anyone really knew what they were talking about.
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby fracol » Jan 3rd, '12, 11:37

Logical fallacy :roll:
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby bagua7 » Jan 4th, '12, 20:04

kasey wrote:Yours was probably the wisest advice. I received so many varied responses that I wondered if anyone really knew what they were talking about.


It took you 2 years to draw this conclusion? :lol:

Regards. :)
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Re: Accelerating Sheng Aging

Postby Drax » Jan 4th, '12, 20:10

bagua7 wrote:
kasey wrote:Yours was probably the wisest advice. I received so many varied responses that I wondered if anyone really knew what they were talking about.


It took you 2 years to draw this conclusion? :lol:


That's what I personally enjoyed the most. Maybe you'll get a response to your rhetorical question in 2014? :D
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