Aging Puerh.


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

Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby Teaism » Jun 17th, '14, 12:28

Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby puyuan » Jun 17th, '14, 14:02

An acquaintance in HK fell in love with teas stored "dry" in Xishuangbanna (I wonder how) many years ago and found a method to replicate that storage under HK's climate. The basic idea is to keep the teas packed in a small environment with humidity at 50, 60 at best. He seals tongs in large non-odorous food grade plastic bags with some amount of airspace inside and ties each bag up with a (not overtly strong) knot. Then he places them in a cardboard box and wraps it very loosely inside another large plastic bag, not sealed. Microcontact with the enviroment is still supposed to happen. He only unseals the tea for fetching pieces during summer and autumn, as to avoid too much moisture from entering, and prefers to keep it all closed up for the first 1-2 years undisturbed. During dry seasons he will open the cardboard boxes up and leave them in a shady place. He has compared his teas with others that went through the storage method he is trying to emulate, and it appears to be working very well for 6+ years.

Some of his collector friends have been doing tighter sealings with aluminum bags, but he doesn't mind the loss of aroma in his method -- and it happens rather fast. I'll ask permission to use the pictures he sent me as illustration and edit this post later, it could be of interest to someone in the future.

I won't replicate it, though, but I'm toying with the idea of vaccum sealing a good number of young teas as soon as I have a better grasp of the parameters. The rest of my tea is more normally stored in a single non-tightly-sealed cardboard box, packed full, with a bunch of odd little features that I regulate, like changing teas from tong to tong, creating paper "tongs" and other mini-seals when needed. I operate under the assumption that keeping aged teas that have suffered through the action of different microfauna in different environments and conditions etc. together is beneficial for the overall storage environment. I hope it works.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby AllanK » Jun 18th, '14, 18:54

Is bitter tea considered better for aging and does it apply to shu as well as sheng? I have read that this is true for sheng anyway.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby shah82 » Jun 18th, '14, 19:13

A certain kind of bitterness is a plus. It should be sharp, flavorful, and productive in causing lingering mouth aromas and aftertastes. It should not taste like overbrewed chinese green tea where it feels like a seal of acrid-tart-bitter over large parts of your mouth. Some regions like Lao Man'E, has bitter leaf that has an aspirin character, which is probably never going to age out and isn't that productive. In general, bitterness should be an indication of the potency of the tea, and should be easily handleable through lower temperature or shorter brewing time than normal. Then when it ages, much of the bitterness will go, along with some of the flavor (and browning the flavor), but leaves the sweet stuff that usually happens after the bitter, but there will still be plenty of flavor left in the tea, ten, forty years down the road.

It does apply for lightly fermented shu, in the sense that it's not really cooked enough to really be shu, and which has to age like sheng. If it's bitter when it comes to moderate or heavy fermentation...you're probably drinking some pretty out there shu. Bad shu is very bland, and funky when it's not bland, so you'd have to be drinking someone's more wilder and zestier ideas in order to drink shu with substantial bitterness. A few shu has light bitterness, but they go away after about four or so years.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby AllanK » Jun 18th, '14, 19:48

shah82 wrote:A certain kind of bitterness is a plus. It should be sharp, flavorful, and productive in causing lingering mouth aromas and aftertastes. It should not taste like overbrewed chinese green tea where it feels like a seal of acrid-tart-bitter over large parts of your mouth. Some regions like Lao Man'E, has bitter leaf that has an aspirin character, which is probably never going to age out and isn't that productive. In general, bitterness should be an indication of the potency of the tea, and should be easily handleable through lower temperature or shorter brewing time than normal. Then when it ages, much of the bitterness will go, along with some of the flavor (and browning the flavor), but leaves the sweet stuff that usually happens after the bitter, but there will still be plenty of flavor left in the tea, ten, forty years down the road.

It does apply for lightly fermented shu, in the sense that it's not really cooked enough to really be shu, and which has to age like sheng. If it's bitter when it comes to moderate or heavy fermentation...you're probably drinking some pretty out there shu. Bad shu is very bland, and funky when it's not bland, so you'd have to be drinking someone's more wilder and zestier ideas in order to drink shu with substantial bitterness. A few shu has light bitterness, but they go away after about four or so years.

I was drinking a shu earlier, an inexpensive mini tuocha, that was just a little bitter. I was not referring to the kind of bitterness you get with sheng.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby sung8891 » Jun 27th, '14, 07:31

Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby MarshalN » Jun 27th, '14, 08:49

sung8891 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it

+1
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby Tead Off » Jun 27th, '14, 10:55

sung8891 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it

In the processing of wine, for example, there is a period of time where the grapes ferment and change and are kept in wooden barrels. This period is not that long and then the wine is transferred to 'sealed' (corked) bottles. Now, the real aging process begins. What is already in the wine, bacteria et al, go to work, and the results will depend on the quality of the harvest and processing.

It seems quite similar to what Teaism is talking about. The processing and fermentation have already begun. The bacteria that is already in the cakes, go to work and aging begins. Oxygen is already within the cakes to catalyze the process. Putting wine in a bottle, or Puerh in a sealed bag, doesn't stop the aging process. Freshness may be prolonged a bit, but the aging process will overtake what you are calling freshness no matter what, I believe. Am I wrong?

If you are defining 'aging' by a certain taste or profile, this may not be accurate. Will that cake taste exactly the same aged 15 years in N.Y as it would in Kuala Lumpur?
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby kyarazen » Jun 27th, '14, 11:04

actually the benchmark for many people and for the general HK origin of pu-erh is for the tea to develop 陈味, or aged smell, like the smell of old books, old library, and the older the place/tea, the stronger the aged smell..

i recently blogged about the chemistry a little..

Tead Off wrote:
sung8891 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it

In the processing of wine, for example, there is a period of time where the grapes ferment and change and are kept in wooden barrels. This period is not that long and then the wine is transferred to 'sealed' (corked) bottles. Now, the real aging process begins. What is already in the wine, bacteria et al, go to work, and the results will depend on the quality of the harvest and processing.

It seems quite similar to what Teaism is talking about. The processing and fermentation have already begun. The bacteria that is already in the cakes, go to work and aging begins. Oxygen is already within the cakes to catalyze the process. Putting wine in a bottle, or Puerh in a sealed bag, doesn't stop the aging process. Freshness may be prolonged a bit, but the aging process will overtake what you are calling freshness no matter what, I believe. Am I wrong?

If you are defining 'aging' by a certain taste or profile, this may not be accurate. Will that cake taste exactly the same aged 15 years in N.Y as it would in Kuala Lumpur?
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby Teaism » Jun 27th, '14, 11:43

sung8891 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it


I just came back from Malaysia after 2 weeks of exploring tea there and there are growing trend of people storing tea in sealed condition. Most of them do that to preserve the flavour and aroma and the aging definitely happened in sealed condition. Definitely tea drinker can tell whether they are aged or not after few years and if compare to expose tea, most can easily differentiate the flavour profile of each storage method.

I am not saying I am right or wrong, but it is good for you to find out rather than dismissing this with a simple conclusion. It is for me to share the experience and for everyone to explore and share their thoughts again. There is no wrong or right in tea.

Have a good day!

Cheers! :D
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby AllanK » Jun 27th, '14, 12:39

Teaism wrote:
sung8891 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi AllanK,

I sealed them with shrink wrap food grade plastic like those they do in the shop for their prized old tea. I don't poke any hole but I am sure they are not 100% sealed due to the porosity and inherent character of the material. But for older tea, I use a 5ply vacuum food wrapper to vacuum seal them. For even older tea like those 70s, 5ply wrapper vacuum sealed and vacumm pack again in another 7mil mylar bag. (Double vacuum sealed)

We are treading on thin line in this issue, so I saying it for the purpose of explaining the method.

Cheers! :D


Sounds like you are trying to preserve your tea for freshness . Not aging it


I just came back from Malaysia after 2 weeks of exploring tea there and there are growing trend of people storing tea in sealed condition. Most of them do that to preserve the flavour and aroma and the aging definitely happened in sealed condition. Definitely tea drinker can tell whether they are aged or not after few years and if compare to expose tea, most can easily differentiate the flavour profile of each storage method.

I am not saying I am right or wrong, but it is good for you to find out rather than dismissing this with a simple conclusion. It is for me to share the experience and for everyone to explore and share their thoughts again. There is no wrong or right in tea.

Have a good day!

Cheers! :D

Maybe I will pick one tea in my pumidor and shrink wrap it for comparison, or better yet buy two of the same and shrink wrap one?
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby Teaism » Jun 27th, '14, 12:59

AllanK,
Well done! For trying out.

Tea journey is based on our experience. There are too many paths. It is for us to find out, rightly or wrongly, to accumulate our experience. With experience, knowledge becomes understanding. It takes a lifetime though.

Without experience, knowledge is just a textbook in the field.

Cheers! :D
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby wert » Jun 27th, '14, 13:04

AllanK wrote:Maybe I will pick one tea in my pumidor and shrink wrap it for comparison, or better yet buy two of the same and shrink wrap one?


Seek the truth from facts. 实事求是。
One thing I learn is not to take anyone's opinions, no matter how clever or famous the person as facts. What works for others might not work for you yet or at all due to the endless variables at play.
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby Teaism » Jun 27th, '14, 13:13

wert wrote:
AllanK wrote:Maybe I will pick one tea in my pumidor and shrink wrap it for comparison, or better yet buy two of the same and shrink wrap one?


Seek the truth from facts. 实事求是。
One thing I learn is not to take anyone's opinions, no matter how clever or famous the person as facts. What works for others might not work for you yet or at all due to the endless variables at play.


Very wise words, well done!
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Re: Aging Puerh.

Postby puyuan » Jun 27th, '14, 13:37

wert wrote:due to the endless variables at play.


I don't think this can be stressed enough in this matter.
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