Aging Puerh.


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

Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby MarshalN » Jun 29th, '14, 10:12

kyarazen wrote:its all mirrored. its the same way that many are treating the sealed storers as blind, voodoo rituals, and that the exposed storers are the ones that know the truth. hasnt it been that way all the while?

its only that I'm interested in figuring out the differences, de-convolute. isnt that similar to an academic process of research where one collects data and information, rationalize it, provide new hypothesis? and then test the hypothesis? collect the views of people whom propose, and oppose, and do a synthesis on it?

i post here not to replace the main stream method, but to offer a rational alternative, and together with all the understandings that are becoming clear to be discussed. this is what a forum is about, not a cult gathering where people come together and sing "hail o'pu-erh and hallowed be thy age". similarly, i post here, so that people wont think that exposed storage is the way to get good aged tea.


just a question, why not throw your cabinet doors open and have it air-ed even more? a closed cupboard is a confined environment, and when stocked full enough with the doors closed is a form of controlled, semi-sealed environment.


First of all, while some of us might have cast doubt on the sealing theory (which come in different flavours) I think you're the only one who has approached using terms like "voodoo" in describing other methods. I do believe that Hojo's vacuum pack method is silly - that's stopping aging, not promoting good aging. That aside, other methods are differences in degree, not differences in quality. It's not always obvious who's promoting what kind of sealing - full, half, ziploc with air lock, or ziploc but open - the variations are endless and nobody is very clear at all times what's being discussed.

But you're the only one who claims others who adhere to the "non-seal" variety as voodoo - voodoo that, I might add, has resulted in decades worth of decent aged tea that we enjoy today - unless you think the aged teas we have now are all terrible voodoo products. If you are approaching it logically, then does the decades worth of experience in storing tea the non-sealed way be worth something in terms of the weight of evidence? You seem to think that we're starting with an equal footing here, but the fact is there are people who've been doing this for decades who have proven that storing without sealing works - the tea aged this way is good, often great, so long as the raw material was good. If you want to propose a new approach, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that your method is better - and better in all circumstances, not just better in the limited circumstance of your micro-climate.

I have merely pointed out that in places that are colder and drier, sealing would result in teas that barely age, if at all. People in those places are trying hard to make their tea age faster, not slower. Sealing would make it slower, generally speaking (and as your experience has shown). Sure, it might result in a fuller flavour, if your claim is correct, but a fully flavoured, barely aged tea after 10 years is no good if your goal is for the tea to develop aged tastes of various kinds. Thus - you can do whatever you want with your tea in your area, but I'm sticking with what's shown to work.

As for your final paragraph - yes, of course, it's not totally open. I never advocated open air storage with open shelves and open everything. I have always advocated storing in environments with minimal air exchange and fully stocked with tea. That's how vendors have always stored their tea - have a small storage space and fill it up with tea, and let nature take its own course. If you thought open storage means blowing air on the cakes with fans, well, that's your own assumption getting in the way. Maybe your friends open storage is flawed because he allowed too much air flow.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby kyarazen » Jun 29th, '14, 10:38

with your post its now so much clearer.

the use of voodoo here is figurative and not literal, it is just in representation of a group of rituals, processes that people engage in, just because it has always been this way for generations, without knowing the actual reasons for it, and not aimed as an insult.

i'm not ready to criticize hojo as i'm still investigating his stuffs, tasting some of his teas, but in an example, i had popped open 1kg of handmade oolong in vacumn, oxygen absorber sealed tea from over 10 years ago and it tasted the same as day 1. the moisture content in the tea was extremely low single digit percentage. but as always, i believe hojo approaches tea from a japanese perspective that tend to go for freshness over age/oxidation. so how that will end up in the long run, there are ongoing experiments myself too.

in the decades of storing tea observed from many merchants, each "tong" becomes a micro-environment of its own, the bamboo leaves are well lignified and if wrapped tightly, it does shield the tea cake from the external environment and minimize the strong fluctuations. if some of the bamboo leaf wrapping of liupao tea is added to be brewed together with the tea, it contributes to the taste.

on the compression, the tea "seals" itself based on how much compression you do, and the shape. melon will have less surface area. thin board like compressions have higher surface areas. extreme heavy compression to the core occludes air and moisture. 50s Qian liang tea is extremely heavily compressed, when broken up for sale it was sawed into slabs, and survived the sawing! which is pretty much as hard as wood..
and that was why this tea survived "exposed" storage

so in reality, in the hands of the hk merchants, they were already unknowingly doing some form of "sealed" storage. the quantities they handled are so large, so many, that every room, warehouse becomes a microcosm of its own. other types of sealing includes storing in ceramic containers, tea caddies,huge flower pots, cupboards, etc.

in the hands of tea drinkers, when quantities become smaller, single cakes sometimes, when it involves a plastic sheet, a shrink wrap, a food grade bag, or some similar material it ends up causing some aversion.

MarshalN wrote:First of all, while some of us might have cast doubt on the sealing theory (which come in different flavours) I think you're the only one who has approached using terms like "voodoo" in describing other methods. I do believe that Hojo's vacuum pack method is silly - that's stopping aging, not promoting good aging. That aside, other methods are differences in degree, not differences in quality. It's not always obvious who's promoting what kind of sealing - full, half, ziploc with air lock, or ziploc but open - the variations are endless and nobody is very clear at all times what's being discussed.

But you're the only one who claims others who adhere to the "non-seal" variety as voodoo - voodoo that, I might add, has resulted in decades worth of decent aged tea that we enjoy today - unless you think the aged teas we have now are all terrible voodoo products. If you are approaching it logically, then does the decades worth of experience in storing tea the non-sealed way be worth something in terms of the weight of evidence? You seem to think that we're starting with an equal footing here, but the fact is there are people who've been doing this for decades who have proven that storing without sealing works - the tea aged this way is good, often great, so long as the raw material was good. If you want to propose a new approach, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that your method is better - and better in all circumstances, not just better in the limited circumstance of your micro-climate.

I have merely pointed out that in places that are colder and drier, sealing would result in teas that barely age, if at all. People in those places are trying hard to make their tea age faster, not slower. Sealing would make it slower, generally speaking (and as your experience has shown). Sure, it might result in a fuller flavour, if your claim is correct, but a fully flavoured, barely aged tea after 10 years is no good if your goal is for the tea to develop aged tastes of various kinds. Thus - you can do whatever you want with your tea in your area, but I'm sticking with what's shown to work.

As for your final paragraph - yes, of course, it's not totally open. I never advocated open air storage with open shelves and open everything. I have always advocated storing in environments with minimal air exchange and fully stocked with tea. That's how vendors have always stored their tea - have a small storage space and fill it up with tea, and let nature take its own course. If you thought open storage means blowing air on the cakes with fans, well, that's your own assumption getting in the way. Maybe your friends open storage is flawed because he allowed too much air flow.
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