I want to do a little experimenting...


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

I want to do a little experimenting...

Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Dec 3rd, '08, 18:19

I pretty much just got this idea in my head so bare with me if I sound crazy :twisted:

I want to try a bit of an experiment with ageing oolong. I was thinking about using China Fine Ti Kuan Yin Oolong from Specialteas since its a pretty good tasting tea, and cheap so if I screw up or it just doesnt work I wont care much.

I know theres a handful of people here who do some of their own roasting and ageing so any pointers would be much appreciated. Perhaps I'll order a half pound of it, and if it turns out half decent I can send samples to teachatters down the road :D
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Postby ABx » Dec 3rd, '08, 18:43

You could also just get one of those ceramic canisters and seal it with wax. Eliminating any possibility of air getting in is probably the easiest way to age an oolong without having to roast. You can throw in a couple desiccants for good measure, if you like, too.

By the time that it might need roasting you'll probably have a much better idea of whether that tea would really benefit from it or not. It seems that some only do a refresher roast to drive off moisture (rather than change the flavor), which you might (big emphasis) be able to substitute with desiccants.

I'm trying this myself, actually :) I've got some very cheap oolong I got locally that I'm keeping in one of those latch-down glass kitchen jars. I'd probably throw it out otherwise, so I figure it's worth a shot. It was something like $10 for a half pound so it doesn't really matter. It's actually already a little better now (2-3 yrs old), but it's very likely due to my brewing being improved.
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Postby shogun89 » Dec 3rd, '08, 19:27

I put some cheap wuyi in a mason jar and sealed it and put it in my pu cave, We'll see what happens. For the desiccants, if you use the pellets that you get in shoes and all that stuff you need to take them out of their packets first, spread them on some Al. foil and put i t in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, this takes the moisture already soaked up by them out so you can reuse them, Otherwise they will not take any moisture out at all. I did lots of research on this last summer for ammo storage and I was able to get humidity down to 17% in a 50 cal. ammo can, 60% below outside humidity! Though this low of humidity would not be good for tea so only use a few packets. :D
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Postby ABx » Dec 7th, '08, 02:41

shogun89 wrote:I put some cheap wuyi in a mason jar and sealed it and put it in my pu cave, We'll see what happens. For the desiccants, if you use the pellets that you get in shoes and all that stuff you need to take them out of their packets first, spread them on some Al. foil and put i t in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, this takes the moisture already soaked up by them out so you can reuse them, Otherwise they will not take any moisture out at all.

Or you could just buy a pack on eBay for $10, and use the remaining to help keep your other wulong fresh.


Though this low of humidity would not be good for tea so only use a few packets.

Source?
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Postby shogun89 » Dec 7th, '08, 11:32

ABx wrote:
shogun89 wrote:I put some cheap wuyi in a mason jar and sealed it and put it in my pu cave, We'll see what happens. For the desiccants, if you use the pellets that you get in shoes and all that stuff you need to take them out of their packets first, spread them on some Al. foil and put i t in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, this takes the moisture already soaked up by them out so you can reuse them, Otherwise they will not take any moisture out at all.

Or you could just buy a pack on eBay for $10, and use the remaining to help keep your other wulong fresh.


Though this low of humidity would not be good for tea so only use a few packets.

Source?


I could buy a pack of the jars but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Dont have a source on the humidity thought, It just dosent seem like it would be good to take a tea to an artificial humidity.
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Postby edkrueger » Dec 7th, '08, 11:54

Cheap tea will NOT improve with age, it will start to taste like... dry mouthfeel.
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Postby thanks » Dec 7th, '08, 13:02

What about goashan oolongs? Do you have to roast them prior to aging them? I've never seen an aged gaoshan oolong.
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Postby ABx » Dec 7th, '08, 17:00

I've got a few aged gaoshan.. they're not that uncommon, it's just hard to find aged oolong much at all over here.

As for cheap wulong just tasting like 'dry mouthfeel' -- a lot of wulong goes through an akward 'stale' phase before getting better, but it should still age. Now a crappy wulong won't magically turn into a great one with age, but it can make a fun experiment and it might just turn out to be a drinkable everyday type aged wulong.

The stuff that I have actually isn't bad at all, it's just not terribly complex. It seems to be a highly oxidized low roast tea with some floral aroma. It's a lot better than grocery store type cheap tea, but it's definitely not top quality. I'd say it's on the low end of the mid-range teas; the store I got it from keeps low prices for almost all of their teas. Even their top grade jade Dong Ding is $134/lb, and is better than anymost I've gotten online for twice the price.

shogun89 wrote:Dont have a source on the humidity thought, It just dosent seem like it would be good to take a tea to an artificial humidity.

Ah, the way you stated it as fact made it sound like you had found some data that I didn't know about :) I've found (through experimenting) that it depends on the tea. Some like green teas don't do well when they're too dry but I've found that most wulong benefits from it (actually all that I've tried, though some didn't seem affected either way but will probably stay fresh longer). Humidity is going to make it go sour at best and musty at worst. I've actually successfully refreshed stale baozhong with desiccants.

Nigel wrote something about the subject of humidity at one point; maybe someone remembers it and can provide a link. He talks about the balance of humidity being important. I think he said somewhere in the range of 2% is good but at the vendor's place it equalizes with the ambient RH up to 10%. So especially with our favorite vendors in HK, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc., it often equalizes at about 10% before being sealed shut - this makes the tea go stale much faster. So while I wouldn't suggest putting one of the monster desiccants into a tin, I've generally found that 2-4 small packets in a tin (with wulong) often does some good.
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