Sealing bings in plastic


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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby solitude » Apr 26th, '14, 15:10

I exchanged some tea samples with Kyrazen so I had a chance to try some of his sealed cakes and I must say that I was impressed. The teas I tried so far were from 07, 08, 09 and they definitely aged, the liquors were brown-orange, the spent leaves were dark green-brown as well the taste doesn't feels young (0-3 years). The difference is that the taste is clearer and often with some (dried) fruit notes and so. The bottom line is that the sealed storage seems to works for a humid place like Singapore. The question is that how is that possible, the trapped humidity is enough to age?
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby shah82 » Apr 26th, '14, 15:32

Alright, let's just stop right here:

1) The original posts ask whether sealing in plastic can preserve the tea in a newish state and how is it done.

2) A sharp reply was that you shouldn't be shrink-wrapping your tea in plastic.

And things spilled on from there.

First of all, I'm entirely dubious about the virtues of shrink-wrapping, especially against simply putting them in ziploc bags. Doubly especially since there is no consistent method or materials used. Some plastic will degrade, and they will degrade in a way that emits a nasty umami smell that will get into your tea. I've had some old samples entirely ruined by sitting in the wrong sort of plastic sample baggies. I don't doubt that people can get results that makes them happy with their storage, but there are a lot of factors that are involved in how well a puerh does, and shrink-wrapping is not a silver bullet to whatever aim you have, even if it's attempting to preserve a newish state or the aroma.

Onto motives:

In the case of aroma--Puerh is not a tea where the aroma is genuinely a serious component of enjoyment. If you want strong aroma, buy a tea crafted for aroma, like green tea or green (non-winter) oolong. If you like a strong puerh aroma, then buy it as you would a green tea--some maocha every year or so. Buying a cake and shrink-wrapping it out of some desire to preserve the aroma rings very silly (no offense at all to those with different experiences). I have a number of cakes, stored different ways before they get to me, processed different ways, etc.

The '02 Tai Lian and the '07 XZH Yiwu ChaHuang both were processed a little green--this tends to promote aroma. However, both of them still has a good aroma despite not being shrink wrapped. Many puerh teas that are processed green will lose it anyways. Moreover, the '02 Tai Lian tastes substantially better, and more mellow and aged after a year in Atlanta climate without plastic barriers--and I tend to care about the taste/qi/aftertaste far more. And I still didn't lose very much in terms of aroma.

The '03 Menghai ChaChang Bulang Boutique (fake) was not processed green, nor was the '01 Dayi Simplified 7542, but both of them have stronger aromas than many fairly new factory teas made in the last few years. Moreover, they both have an *aged aroma*, that's different from what is trying to be preserved. Frankly, nine times out of ten, a good aged puerh aroma is better than a good new puerh aroma because they tend to have far more complexity and personality. I want my tea to age so that I can get this sort of aroma, if I should care about it.

A good aroma is a property of the tea. So long as you aren't abusive, like putting tea in a breezy hallway, a tea with genuine character in the aroma (best informed by a brew that will keep up an aroma for a long time, and coats surfaces like cups with it), will maintain that quality. If you want to keep a high quality aroma newish and strongish, knock yourself out, but if you have a good tea, it's not going to make a huge difference, so far as I'm aware.

Now, onto tea soup quality. First of all, shrink wrapping is not some sort of entropy stopping machine. It's not a refrigerator, or anything like that. Volatiles have half-lives, and they have relatively short ones. All non blended teas are going to become flat eventually, no matter what you do. Trying to stop the process will only slow it somewhat. If you want a tea to taste youngish for as long as possible, you can shrinkwrap it, you can buy bricks or magnum cakes, or whatever. However, if you're on the typical puerh journey, this is only going to make it longer and introduce additional risks, and I don't think it's a compromise that's really worth making, as opposed to simply buying fresh tea for consumption every year. I think of those '06 Sanhetang maocha and it's botox'd youth, and I tend to then think that's not worth it. I'm also not tremendously sympathetic to how BTH does desert storage to all of the cakes that haven't had a bit of warehousing first.

Of course, there are individual circumstances, like the intense humidity in SE Asia, or the nature of crowded housing in places like Singapore. People should adjust as well as they might, and I'm certainly interested in the results of what people do--shrink-wrap in humid climes, shrink-wrap in dry climes. However, I tend to follow the example of people who I know and trust (and who's been at this a lot longer and better than Akira Hojo), and none of them are into shrink wrapping for store or personal storage. Sanhetang might talk about bagging on their blog, but they do not shrink-wrap their cakes or tongs in storage as a rule apparently, and they definitely lose cakes to mold on occasion. If this was such an attractive idea, more of the people that I know would have met more serious people who dig that sort of thing. So I never do anything but put some teas into ziploc bags, which, ultimately doesn't do much. The 2010 Fall YS Xikong lost the strength of aroma pretty much as it would have outside of the ziploc. Maybe it's a bit better than it otherwise would have, I don't know, since I never kept one out and the other in. But still, for me, in Atlanta, marginal, especially compared to the original quality of the tea.
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Postby bonescwa » Apr 26th, '14, 15:38

That's what my original question comes down to. If the tea is put in a ziplock bag, will the residual humidity present in it be enough? humidity + stagnant air = fermentation?
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby shah82 » Apr 26th, '14, 15:45

Ziploc bags are very permeable.

wait, edited to add...

It's a lot like double wrapping a cake, which some makers will do for their premium cakes. It will add a bit of insulation and regulation against the outside element, but it will eventually stabilize with the outside element too. So if your storage space has a long time of dry air all of a sudden, then the cake will take longer to dry. If your storage space is dry all the time, then the cake is effectively in the same situation as if it wasn't in a ziploc bag.

Presumably, this factor is a big part of why we're talking about sealing bings rather than a ziploc story.
Last edited by shah82 on Apr 26th, '14, 15:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby bonescwa » Apr 26th, '14, 15:46

bonescwa wrote:That's what my original question comes down to. If the tea is put in a ziplock bag, will the residual humidity present in it be enough? humidity + stagnant air = fermentation?



shah82 wrote:Alright, let's just stop right here:

1) The original posts ask whether sealing in plastic can preserve the tea in a newish state and how is it done.

2) A sharp reply was that you shouldn't be shrink-wrapping your tea in plastic.

And things spilled on from there.

First of all, I'm entirely dubious about the virtues of shrink-wrapping, especially against simply putting them in ziploc bags. Doubly especially since there is no consistent method or materials used. Some plastic will degrade, and they will degrade in a way that emits a nasty umami smell that will get into your tea. I've had some old samples entirely ruined by sitting in the wrong sort of plastic sample baggies. I don't doubt that people can get results that makes them happy with their storage, but there are a lot of factors that are involved in how well a puerh does, and shrink-wrapping is not a silver bullet to whatever aim you have, even if it's attempting to preserve a newish state or the aroma.

Onto motives:

In the case of aroma--Puerh is not a tea where the aroma is genuinely a serious component of enjoyment. If you want strong aroma, buy a tea crafted for aroma, like green tea or green (non-winter) oolong. If you like a strong puerh aroma, then buy it as you would a green tea--some maocha every year or so. Buying a cake and shrink-wrapping it out of some desire to preserve the aroma rings very silly (no offense at all to those with different experiences). I have a number of cakes, stored different ways before they get to me, processed different ways, etc.

The '02 Tai Lian and the '07 XZH Yiwu ChaHuang both were processed a little green--this tends to promote aroma. However, both of them still has a good aroma despite not being shrink wrapped. Many puerh teas that are processed green will lose it anyways. Moreover, the '02 Tai Lian tastes substantially better, and more mellow and aged after a year in Atlanta climate without plastic barriers--and I tend to care about the taste/qi/aftertaste far more. And I still didn't lose very much in terms of aroma.

The '03 Menghai ChaChang Bulang Boutique (fake) was not processed green, nor was the '01 Dayi Simplified 7542, but both of them have stronger aromas than many fairly new factory teas made in the last few years. Moreover, they both have an *aged aroma*, that's different from what is trying to be preserved. Frankly, nine times out of ten, a good aged puerh aroma is better than a good new puerh aroma because they tend to have far more complexity and personality. I want my tea to age so that I can get this sort of aroma, if I should care about it.

A good aroma is a property of the tea. So long as you aren't abusive, like putting tea in a breezy hallway, a tea with genuine character in the aroma (best informed by a brew that will keep up an aroma for a long time, and coats surfaces like cups with it), will maintain that quality. If you want to keep a high quality aroma newish and strongish, knock yourself out, but if you have a good tea, it's not going to make a huge difference, so far as I'm aware.

Now, onto tea soup quality. First of all, shrink wrapping is not some sort of entropy stopping machine. It's not a refrigerator, or anything like that. Volatiles have half-lives, and they have relatively short ones. All non blended teas are going to become flat eventually, no matter what you do. Trying to stop the process will only slow it somewhat. If you want a tea to taste youngish for as long as possible, you can shrinkwrap it, you can buy bricks or magnum cakes, or whatever. However, if you're on the typical puerh journey, this is only going to make it longer and introduce additional risks, and I don't think it's a compromise that's really worth making, as opposed to simply buying fresh tea for consumption every year. I think of those '06 Sanhetang maocha and it's botox'd youth, and I tend to then think that's not worth it. I'm also not tremendously sympathetic to how BTH does desert storage to all of the cakes that haven't had a bit of warehousing first.

Of course, there are individual circumstances, like the intense humidity in SE Asia, or the nature of crowded housing in places like Singapore. People should adjust as well as they might, and I'm certainly interested in the results of what people do--shrink-wrap in humid climes, shrink-wrap in dry climes. However, I tend to follow the example of people who I know and trust (and who's been at this a lot longer and better than Akira Hojo), and none of them are into shrink wrapping for store or personal storage. Sanhetang might talk about bagging on their blog, but they do not shrink-wrap their cakes or tongs in storage as a rule apparently, and they definitely lose cakes to mold on occasion. If this was such an attractive idea, more of the people that I know would have met more serious people who dig that sort of thing. So I never do anything but put some teas into ziploc bags, which, ultimately doesn't do much. The 2010 Fall YS Xikong lost the strength of aroma pretty much as it would have outside of the ziploc. Maybe it's a bit better than it otherwise would have, I don't know, since I never kept one out and the other in. But still, for me, in Atlanta, marginal, especially compared to the original quality of the tea.


Thanks for your input. This is a helpful perspective from someone who is obviously experienced but has a similar climate as I do, just a beginner trying to determine the feasibility of hoarding tea before putting out the money.
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby chrl42 » Apr 26th, '14, 20:03

yeah..

I also don't believe in plastic, this tea I got fantastic result come from a paper container..

IMHO Puerh is produced to be aged, that's how it seperates from green tea..small-ish porous containers might sound ok than completely exposed to air though.........and those shrink-wrapped antiques...wouldn't they better be consumed right away if they don't wanna see further aging then? :roll:
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby Tead Off » Apr 26th, '14, 23:34

Personally, I don't shrink wrap my cakes. I put them in food grade zip locked bags. Why do I do this? Because I've noticed in the past that some teas became flat and lost both flavor and aroma.

For me, the aging process is desirable and still takes place within a zip locked bag. I've seen it for myself. Teas have changed within the bags, but they haven't lost what drew them to me in the first place, aroma and taste. My goal is to preserve as much flavor and aroma as possible while having the aging process bring the tea into that 'glory' state. It's possible it could take longer to achieve this, but I don't see a sacrifice of flavor and aroma. Perhaps the flavor and aroma will not be exactly the same as when the tea was new, but it will still be resident in the tea making it a more complex drinker rather than 'smoothed' over as so many of these warehoused teas are leaving no real character.

I don't see much down side to putting them in zip locked bags. I also don't see myself moving to shrink wrapping. I think personal comfort with whatever method one chooses in accordance with your climate is probably the way to go. I just know that I'm not going the way of HK or Taiwan. So many ruined teas, IMO.
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby kyarazen » Apr 27th, '14, 04:00

the best material is not shrink wrap but cellophane (cellulose material). but that is another matter all together. the bottom like is if you want the taste of pu-erh that is aged with nice warehousey notes, get it done in a warehouse, not at home. you have to distinguish "aged smell" from "warehouse smell".

the paper that is used to wrap the tea also has impact on tea aging. there are experiments in malaysia right now but some of the results are not talked about/published because the merchants want to get it right, so that they can make money in future.

sealing is not to preserve the newish aroma, it is to allow the volatile molecules to oxidized without diffusive loss. there is a relevant image here : www.kyarazen.com/wp-content/uploads/201 ... dation.png

i used to stay at 10th street when i went to Gatech. i wonder if actually GA's weather be great to have the tea exposed all year round?

shah82 wrote:Alright, let's just stop right here:

1) The original posts ask whether sealing in plastic can preserve the tea in a newish state and how is it done.

2) A sharp reply was that you shouldn't be shrink-wrapping your tea in plastic.

And things spilled on from there.

First of all, I'm entirely dubious about the virtues of shrink-wrapping, especially against simply putting them in ziploc bags. Doubly especially since there is no consistent method or materials used. Some plastic will degrade, and they will degrade in a way that emits a nasty umami smell that will get into your tea. I've had some old samples entirely ruined by sitting in the wrong sort of plastic sample baggies. I don't doubt that people can get results that makes them happy with their storage, but there are a lot of factors that are involved in how well a puerh does, and shrink-wrapping is not a silver bullet to whatever aim you have, even if it's attempting to preserve a newish state or the aroma.

Onto motives:

In the case of aroma--Puerh is not a tea where the aroma is genuinely a serious component of enjoyment. If you want strong aroma, buy a tea crafted for aroma, like green tea or green (non-winter) oolong. If you like a strong puerh aroma, then buy it as you would a green tea--some maocha every year or so. Buying a cake and shrink-wrapping it out of some desire to preserve the aroma rings very silly (no offense at all to those with different experiences). I have a number of cakes, stored different ways before they get to me, processed different ways, etc.

The '02 Tai Lian and the '07 XZH Yiwu ChaHuang both were processed a little green--this tends to promote aroma. However, both of them still has a good aroma despite not being shrink wrapped. Many puerh teas that are processed green will lose it anyways. Moreover, the '02 Tai Lian tastes substantially better, and more mellow and aged after a year in Atlanta climate without plastic barriers--and I tend to care about the taste/qi/aftertaste far more. And I still didn't lose very much in terms of aroma.

The '03 Menghai ChaChang Bulang Boutique (fake) was not processed green, nor was the '01 Dayi Simplified 7542, but both of them have stronger aromas than many fairly new factory teas made in the last few years. Moreover, they both have an *aged aroma*, that's different from what is trying to be preserved. Frankly, nine times out of ten, a good aged puerh aroma is better than a good new puerh aroma because they tend to have far more complexity and personality. I want my tea to age so that I can get this sort of aroma, if I should care about it.

A good aroma is a property of the tea. So long as you aren't abusive, like putting tea in a breezy hallway, a tea with genuine character in the aroma (best informed by a brew that will keep up an aroma for a long time, and coats surfaces like cups with it), will maintain that quality. If you want to keep a high quality aroma newish and strongish, knock yourself out, but if you have a good tea, it's not going to make a huge difference, so far as I'm aware.

Now, onto tea soup quality. First of all, shrink wrapping is not some sort of entropy stopping machine. It's not a refrigerator, or anything like that. Volatiles have half-lives, and they have relatively short ones. All non blended teas are going to become flat eventually, no matter what you do. Trying to stop the process will only slow it somewhat. If you want a tea to taste youngish for as long as possible, you can shrinkwrap it, you can buy bricks or magnum cakes, or whatever. However, if you're on the typical puerh journey, this is only going to make it longer and introduce additional risks, and I don't think it's a compromise that's really worth making, as opposed to simply buying fresh tea for consumption every year. I think of those '06 Sanhetang maocha and it's botox'd youth, and I tend to then think that's not worth it. I'm also not tremendously sympathetic to how BTH does desert storage to all of the cakes that haven't had a bit of warehousing first.

Of course, there are individual circumstances, like the intense humidity in SE Asia, or the nature of crowded housing in places like Singapore. People should adjust as well as they might, and I'm certainly interested in the results of what people do--shrink-wrap in humid climes, shrink-wrap in dry climes. However, I tend to follow the example of people who I know and trust (and who's been at this a lot longer and better than Akira Hojo), and none of them are into shrink wrapping for store or personal storage. Sanhetang might talk about bagging on their blog, but they do not shrink-wrap their cakes or tongs in storage as a rule apparently, and they definitely lose cakes to mold on occasion. If this was such an attractive idea, more of the people that I know would have met more serious people who dig that sort of thing. So I never do anything but put some teas into ziploc bags, which, ultimately doesn't do much. The 2010 Fall YS Xikong lost the strength of aroma pretty much as it would have outside of the ziploc. Maybe it's a bit better than it otherwise would have, I don't know, since I never kept one out and the other in. But still, for me, in Atlanta, marginal, especially compared to the original quality of the tea.
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

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

there's aged dongding, there is nice gaoshan tea that can be aged.
but fresh dongding, top quality gaoshan tea is favoured for its fragrance and 高山韵 that is extremely enjoyable. expose the tea to air over time, you lose that valued note, if mild exposure it may oxidize and turn into different fruity flavours, but once you miss that point and allow it to "ferment" by microbial action, then you add in the damp notes that almost result in the tea not being able to "recover" anymore. you cant turn rotting cheese into fresh cheese, you cant turn cheese into curd, neither can you reverse it into milk or butter. one speck of rat poop destroys a pot of porridge.

in history tea used to be boiled, cooked into a soup, is historical ways or tradition always the best? if not why arent people doing it now with their best tea leaves?

when pu-erh started using real gushu material in the early 90s and not old qiao mu material, there is a lot of refined aromas, 高山韵 that comes into the tea cakes. to get the best grapes and make them into vinegar might be what some would do. i wouldn't. i prefer them as wine. tea constantly evolves, market constantly becomes stirred, new methods, new storage techniques is all aimed at creating new delicious brews. but if you want to stop there and do things by tradition, its your choice.

i have 5 kg of air exposed unsealed pu-erh and about 5 kg of sealed stored ones personally kept. if anyone wants the unsealed air exposed traditional home stored stuff from 03, let me know :) hmm.. i think 50 cents or a dollar per gram for the whole load isnt going to be that bad or would it since i meticulously had them aired for more than 10 years ? shipping not included. (just kidding Chip, dont ablate my membership over this post).

sealed stored ones..for sale??! over my dead body! will continue to enjoy them over the years, and perhaps only giving samples to friends or people that would appreciate them.
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Re: Sealing bings in plastic

Postby kyarazen » Apr 27th, '14, 04:20

solitude wrote:I exchanged some tea samples with Kyrazen so I had a chance to try some of his sealed cakes and I must say that I was impressed. The teas I tried so far were from 07, 08, 09 and they definitely aged, the liquors were brown-orange, the spent leaves were dark green-brown as well the taste doesn't feels young (0-3 years). The difference is that the taste is clearer and often with some (dried) fruit notes and so. The bottom line is that the sealed storage seems to works for a humid place like Singapore. The question is that how is that possible, the trapped humidity is enough to age?


thanks for appreciating the tea, i was wondering for a while whether the sealed stored tea would taste bad to the western palate or not :(
I apologize for not having sent you the best samples as i hadnt opened my 07' sealed stored cakes until last week.. they will be in the mail to you soon.

from a chemical perspective, we shouldnt perhaps refer it to humidity of the cake but the total water content within it. if a cake of 100 grams, contains lets say 10% water, or 10 grams of water, what would matter if its sealed with that amount, versus having 10grams of water and exposed in an humid environment that allows the cake to maintain 10% water level? the eventual difference is whether the cake under goes diffusive loss or not.

the next level of experiments for me is sealed stored at the right "water content" with oxygen filled mylar bags. i have had tried using chemical oxidants in lab on sheng pu-erh before and explored the olfactory changes over a few days.. pretty interesting but not conclusive at the moment :wink: i think oxidation and hydrolysis are both important reactions. by right i should push the brews through the HPLC and into 2d NMR but since we're in a big phase of protein work now i dont want to contaminate the system.
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