When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?


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When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby yanom » May 26th, '12, 04:34

Until recently most of the sheng I've drunk has been either young (one or two years) or aged (around 20). I'll choose to drink the young stuff very occasionally but normally my preferred drink is aged sheng (or sometimes shu).

Recently I bought some samples from Yunnan Sourcing of sheng that is around 10 years old. I was surprised that what I think of as a "green" taste is still reasonably prominent.

By "green" taste I think I mean slightly higher, aggressive, grassy, punchy tobacco taste (does that make sense? so hard to write about flavours! ) -- which is strong in young sheng but I find absent in aged sheng.

My question is this: is it normal for this taste to fade away at, say, the 15+ year mark? Is it normal to still taste it at the 10-year point? And when people talk about speed of ageing, is the fading-away of this taste (or these flavours) one of the things they're referring to?

So: if something has been quite dry-stored for 10 years, would this "young" or "green" taste be more prominent than if the tea had been stored in say Hong Kong for 10 years?
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gingkoseto » May 26th, '12, 10:28

The green taste you mention here includes a lot of things hence could be complicated. :D

For the new tea's grassy taste, my experience is, if the tea is compressed new (in April-ish), and stored in non-humid condition, it will take about 2 years for the grassy taste to fade. But in recent years, I've tried a few teas that are spring tea rested loose through summer and compressed after autumn (it seems this is the traditional time of compression but most producers won't wait for marketing reasons). These teas, when I tasted them at their 1-year of age, don't taste grassy to me.

But it will take much longer for other changes to happen. And young sheng's don't have the same degree of aggressive flavors to begin with and some are quite friendly when new.

"if something has been quite dry-stored for 10 years, would this "young" or "green" taste be more prominent than if the tea had been stored in say Hong Kong for 10 years?"
I think oxidation happens definitely faster in more humid places than dryer places. But even different storage styles in the same place would lead to different outcomes. Besides, a tea storage may take 20 years to get the same oxidation level of what another tea storage that takes 8 years, but the same tea of same oxidation level doesn't necessarily mean the same flavor profile. So it depends on which "young" tastes you would like the tea to minimize or retain, and which "old" tastes you would like the tea to gain or avoid.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gasninja » May 26th, '12, 10:35

I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH. I have had twenty year old tea that( other than subtle diffences ) I would not have been surprised if I had been told it was a five year old tea.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gingkoseto » May 26th, '12, 11:41

gasninja wrote:I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH. I have had twenty year old tea that( other than subtle diffences ) I would not have been surprised if I had been told it was a five year old tea.


Then it will be helpful to specify definitions of "we" and "aged puerh"
:mrgreen:

US has all kinds of temporal zones. If you are looking for humidity, I think Huston is humid enough. It seems one of the highest levels of the US average relative humidity map. But last time I was there in November and complained about the humidity, my girlfriend, who grew up in Sichuan, said, "What's wrong with you? This isn't even the rain season!" :lol:
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » May 26th, '12, 13:04

gingkoseto wrote:
gasninja wrote:I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH. I have had twenty year old tea that( other than subtle diffences ) I would not have been surprised if I had been told it was a five year old tea.


Then it will be helpful to specify definitions of "we" and "aged puerh"
:mrgreen:

US has all kinds of temporal zones. If you are looking for humidity, I think Huston is humid enough. It seems one of the highest levels of the US average relative humidity map. But last time I was there in November and complained about the humidity, my girlfriend, who grew up in Sichuan, said, "What's wrong with you? This isn't even the rain season!" :lol:


My Chinese grandmother was born, raised, and died in Honolulu, HA. In her later years, probably around 70, shortly before she died of cancer; she took a plane to somewhere in Florida, 1st time to the south US. She complained how humid it was in Florida compared to back home. Hawaii has the trade winds that keep you feeling less hot in humid conditions.

Washington state has the highest aver annual relative humidity :mrgreen: , but I'd take that any day over Key West, Florida or Houston.

http://www.kunming.climatetemp.info/


On balance there are 116 days annually on which greater than 0.1 mm (0.004 in) of precipitation (rain, sleet, snow or hail) occurrs or 10 days on an average month.
The month with the driest weather is January when on balance 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain, sleet, hail or snow falls across 1 days.
The month with the wettest weather is August when on balance 220 mm (8.7 in) of rain, sleet, hail or snow falls across 14 days.
Mean relative humidity for an average year is recorded as 71.3% and on a monthly basis it ranges from 56% in March to 85% in May.
There is an average range of hours of sunshine in Kunming of between 3.3 hours per day in July and 8.3 hours per day in February.



Weather seems pretty nice in Kumming, not too cold, not too hot...not 'dry' by my thinking, not excessively humid like Singapore...so :p :

Kunming, China latitude & longitude; 25°2'N 102°43'E.
Altitude; 1893 m (6211 ft).
The average temperature in Kunming, China is 15.9 °C (61 °F).
The range of average monthly temperatures is 10 °C.
The warmest average max/ high temperature is 25 °C (77 °F) in May.
The coolest average min/ low temperature is 3 °C (37 °F) in January & December.
Kunming receives on average 1096 mm (43.1 in) of precipitation annually or 91 mm (3.6 in) each month.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby yanom » May 26th, '12, 14:00

gingkoseto, I guess we can't be talking about quite the same flavours because the tea I'm talking about is around 10 years old. If my idea of very young sheng is '1' on the scale and 20-year sheng is '100', then I would have assumed that 10-year old sheng would be in between the two, near '50', but for me it was more like '15', if that makes sense......

As for humidity I think you've got to assume that pu'er is being stored indoors, and therefore look at the humidity and the temperature it is stored in. Traditional storage in the south of China is hot and humid. I assume storage is Kunming is neither hot nor humid. I also assume that no matter where you are in the US, most pu'er drinkers there will have some form of aircon?

gasninja, if you're right it'll be pretty sad for people who like old/aged pu'er if they're trying to age a young stash in an unsuitable environment. Those people who've developed a taste for young sheng will be fine of course, but sadly I'm not one of them...

I probably I should check with Yunnan Sourcing if the 'default' for their non-new pu'er is the relatively dry storage in Yunnan; if so I should get some 10-year samples that have been stored in the far south of China & compare. As I say, up until recently I've either drunk new or 15-20-year old pu'er, not much in between.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby yanom » May 26th, '12, 14:08

gasninja: noticed in another discussion you mentioned 'Heng li chang bulang'. Assuming you mean the 1997 tea sold by Essence of Tea, I've drunk that too, really like it, and if I remember right it didn't have any of the 'green' flavours. I see it was stored in Taiwan, I wonder if typical Taiwanese storage is more hot/humid than would be the case in Kunming.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby wyardley » May 26th, '12, 14:32

yanom wrote:gasninja: noticed in another discussion you mentioned 'Heng li chang bulang'. Assuming you mean the 1997 tea sold by Essence of Tea, I've drunk that too, really like it, and if I remember right it didn't have any of the 'green' flavours. I see it was stored in Taiwan, I wonder if typical Taiwanese storage is more hot/humid than would be the case in Kunming.

Just keep in mind that, while Taiwan is quite humid, a lot of tea that is in Taiwan spent time in other storage before getting there.

It's not enough to know that the tea was most recently stored in such and such a place -- I think sometimes, people try tea which has been intentionally "traditionally stored" (or even, in some cases, just plain improperly stored), but because of the vendor's comments, assume what they're tasting is the result of natural humidity in [some humid place].
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gingkoseto » May 26th, '12, 18:26

Yanom, now I understand your question better. I haven't had any aged puerh from Yunnan Sourcing, but guess most of it is Yunnan-stored? I think the changes of puerh are not one dimensional. An abstract analogy is like this - humid storage is like going from Boston to Miami, and dry storage is like going from Boston to LA. If your preferred goal is Florida, but travel on the other route, you would feel you are moving south very, very slowly and actually will never get to Florida. By the same token, if one's preferred taste is dry storage, humid storage won't help them get there faster or get there ever.

Wh&yel, I love climate of Kunming. I feel that's a place where few people could complain (as long as there is heat in winter, as in the old times, they didn't). I had a bunch of Chinese friends who went to southern China for college from their Northern homes, or went to Northern China for college from Southern homes. They all felt tortured :lol:

Wyardley, yeah that's what I mean different storage styles in the same place would lead to very different outcomes.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gingkoseto » May 26th, '12, 18:44

Oh Yanom, it's a good point that humidity indoors and outdoors could be quite different, especially when the A.C. is on. But there is also a huge difference between household storage and professional storage. And the "traditional storage" (I feel the term is problematic but know what you mean) isn't really something to play at home anyway.

I know some people who live in humid cities in South China (Guangzhou, Shanghai, etc.) and store their puerh at home, usually 2nd floor or above, lifted up shelf to stay away from the floor, away from the wall, seasonal dehumidifying... If the city is humid and the tea is stored safe (mold free), their tea would turn out very well in several years. But compared with some other friends, those guys also sweat the most on their storage throughout the years, because humidity could be dangerous and one accident could ruin it all. So I guess everybody has his own troubles :mrgreen:
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby bagua7 » May 26th, '12, 23:57

gasninja wrote:I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH.


Well, then I am of that opinion too! :mrgreen:

See:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... 0214.shtml

Hot and humid.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby yanom » May 27th, '12, 02:57

bagua7, I may have misunderstood, but that link shows that the climate in Brisbane is not particularly hot and certainly not humid.

gingkoseto, I have to admit my knowledge of US geography is not great! But I think I know what you mean :D .

I was in Hong Kong for a few days recently and came across a small place in a backstreet in Central selling pu'er: I don't for know how long and where those bings would have been stored before they moved to the shop, but it was so simple: lots of bings for sale behind a glass counter -- no air conditioning, no hassle, just (so it appeared to me) letting the natural climate do it's thing. Yes, there's hints of white mould all over the outside of the bing I bought but I'm not sure that's a problem.

Anyway, if the theory about low-heat and low-humidity = slow ageing is correct then I don't see the harm in putting my dozen or so bings into a wooden box with a couple of bowls of water, in a warm part of the house, to go some way towards replicating conditions in HK. As long as I check it regularly hopefully the worst that will happen is I have to scape off some mould from the surface of a couple of bings and then rethink my plans. If the alternative is drinking 30-year old pu'er that tastes like five-year old pu'er, I'm happy to take the risk of a bit of mould!
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gingkoseto » May 27th, '12, 13:03

Yanom, Chinese people generally don't fear of molds. It was a thousand-year tradition to raise green mold (Penicillium) on left over steam rice to treat influenza, way ahead of Dr. Alexander Fleming :mrgreen:

But if you raise mold on your cakes, at certain point, you will have to discern which are ok molds and which are dangerous molds (systematic explanation and mechanism exploration is where Dr. Fleming was way ahead of the "rice doctors" in the past thousand years). And then you may find it extremely hard, without human subject experiment :mrgreen:

Besides, the "traditional storage" is a lot more than hot and humid. It requires constant decisions of when to raise mold, when to ventilate and dry it out a bit, when to change storage (you will surely need more than one warehouse), when to rotate locations of cakes within the same warehouse... I don't know much about this stuff but know it's more complicated than what I know of :mrgreen:
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby TwoDog2 » May 28th, '12, 03:00

gasninja wrote:I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH. I have had twenty year old tea that( other than subtle diffences ) I would not have been surprised if I had been told it was a five year old tea.



Interesting opinion! What are you opinions of indoor humidity control? Something like setting aside a temp controlled room with a fair amount of humidity, added via a humidifier or bowls of water? I think the location of the storage is not that important, if the conditions are controlled. You can make an artificially dry/hot/cold/humid environment as you please, if you just set up the right conditions.
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Re: When do the "green" tastes of sheng fade away?

Postby gasninja » May 28th, '12, 09:19

I guess let me clear this up what I :shock:
gingkoseto wrote:
gasninja wrote:I personally am of the opinion that cakes stored in dry climates lile kunming or virtually anywhere in the u.s. will never. Turn into what we currently think of as aged pu-ERH. I have had twenty year old tea that( other than subtle diffences ) I would not have been surprised if I had been told it was a five year old tea.


Then it will be helpful to specify definitions of "we" and "aged puerh"
:mrgreen:

Definitions
Aged -all the classic aged cakes up to the but not including 88 Qing bing. Or cakes that are starting to have similarities to these in flavor mouthfeel and thickness
We -people who have drank these teas or any traditionally stored pu-erh over fifteen years old.

We have to remember that cakes like the 88 Qing bing or even the thin paper 01 yyx ( famous dry stored cakes) where still stored in hot humid HK . I have yet to have an older kunming cake that I think of as aged or even making real progress in that direction. Yet this is just my personal opinion. I could be wrong as I am still fairly new to all this and have yet to make it to Asia.
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