Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby whatsinaname » Jun 18th, '11, 15:44

So, with an abundance of tea surrounding me I have begun to leave new teas vacuum sealed until use.

It seems that darker, roasted oolongs have a shelf life of several years when sealed properly.

However, I am curious if anyone has feedback on the effects of leaving a green high mountain tea in its original vacuum packaging for extended storage (more than 2-3 years)?

Is the clock ticking on vacuum sealed green high mountain tea, or does the vacuum sealing allow it to be stored for a few years with good results?

I've not been able to find reports of green oolongs stored for a period of three or so years in vacuum-sealed conditions. (Perhaps this absence of evidence is my answer...)

Trying to decide if I need to power through my cache of green oolongs or if I have some time for the sealed containers.

Any experience or advice welcome!
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby debunix » Jun 18th, '11, 16:32

I opened a couple of 2009 vacuum sealed green oolongs (TGY and Alishan) in spring 2011 and noticed no deterioration of flavor compared to 2010 versions of the same teas. That's as long as I've held them, though.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby Tead Off » Jun 18th, '11, 23:16

I've had friends give me vacuum sealed bags of Taiwan greener high mountain teas that were at least 5 years old if not older and they were not very good. Something had turned in them. Whether every tea will do this in the same way is hard to say.

I've also had opened bags of tea in containers and loose leaf in tins. After a number of years, they are not the same teas as when new. Invisible forces are at work. :D
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby David R. » Jun 19th, '11, 05:35

There are actually some very interesting theories about keeping one's tea airtight without oxygen (with a deoxydizer). It means preventing oxidation so that there is only fermentation taking place. It is a rather new approach, raising some skepticism.

As a matter of fact, I have just a bought a domestic vacuum machine and am beginning testing. We'll discuss it in a while. :wink:
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby edkrueger » Jun 19th, '11, 12:28

Honestly, I think that its self life may extend beyond yours. Sure the flavor might change a bit, but you will be dead then. :lol:

Bottom line :D : don't worry about it.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby solitude » Jun 19th, '11, 18:47

if you are sure that the package is really vacuum sealed than you can keep it in a fridge. no oxidation, no fermentation. like this it should survive at least for 1-2years with no change in quality.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby Proinsias » Jun 20th, '11, 15:19

first it becomes stale, then it becomes vintage
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby edkrueger » Jun 20th, '11, 21:54

Proinsias wrote:first it becomes stale, then it becomes vintage


Yeah. I'd say there is a rest/don't drink period. I would put it at 2-5 years. Assuming its sealed, if its less than two it is still fresh. If its more than 5, its on its way to vintage. There might be some other rest periods down the line, but I haven't been in the game for long enough to know.

If you lightly roast annually or bi-annually, then you will also get something that is drinkable or better– provided you don't drink it too close to the roast.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby debunix » Jun 20th, '11, 22:03

edkrueger wrote:If you lightly roast annually or bi-annually, then you will also get something that is drinkable or better– provided you don't drink it too close to the roast.


The roasting suggestion here would apply only to the traditional style oolongs, not the new style greener ones, right?
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby whatsinaname » Jun 21st, '11, 19:42

Two years for the green gaoshan seems to be a consensus broadly from my reading on the interwebs.

Roasted oolong is a different story, often better after a year to rest imho. For example, I still have some 2008 Taiwan Wuyi that I just opened. The roast has settled, and the tea is great three years on.

Hate the feeling of rushing through fine tea.
Hurry up and chug that Da Yu Ling!!!
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby edkrueger » Jun 22nd, '11, 13:20

debunix wrote:
edkrueger wrote:If you lightly roast annually or bi-annually, then you will also get something that is drinkable or better– provided you don't drink it too close to the roast.


The roasting suggestion here would apply only to the traditional style oolongs, not the new style greener ones, right?


No, it applies to the greener ones. Doing a refresh roast for years will eventually produce something more like the traditional style ones, but a little fuller with some aged characteristics.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby debunix » Jun 22nd, '11, 15:58

Interesting. So perhaps some of that losing-the-youthful-bloom green could be enhanced with different nuances....and I've got some that was not so thrilling that has sat around for a long time to use for experiements.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby whatsinaname » Jun 22nd, '11, 19:27

i was also unaware that reroasting a green gaoshan was a useful technique. home roasting sounds like a fun adventure regardless of the outcome.

here's hoping the end result is delicious. good luck and let us know what you do and how it goes!
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby debunix » Jun 23rd, '11, 00:50

Today, enjoying a 2010 spring Tie Guan Yin from Norbu, vacuum sealed until this weekend. Fantastic, sweet, floral, spicy, flavor that just keeps going mellow and marvelous. No evidence of storage damage at all.
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Re: Shelf life of vacuum-sealed oolong

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 29th, '11, 00:19

I think many of them, including light-oxidation ones, can last a long time if the bag is good. And of course there are some that can last for years.

For preserving the freshness of light-oxidation ones, the quality of the bag is probably more important than whether it's strictly vacuumed (given there are no holes on the high quality bags). If you examine a number of the typical 7g vacuum bags from different manufacturers, you may find a wide range of thickness and quality.
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