Regarding long term storage


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

Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby edkrueger » Nov 11th, '12, 15:55

Drax is right. Q.E.D. doesn't make sense there. A " more colloquial vernacular" would have been a better choice. Especially when you don't know the meaning of the technical language you are using. If you want to be technical, "illogical" doesn't make sense there either –unless you are a Trekkie.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby solitude » Nov 11th, '12, 17:04

I am always confused after reading such discussions.
Some says that the humidity should be above 70% to have at least some ageing process otherwise the tea will go flat and lifeless with time. On the other hand there are statements that storing tea above 60-70% of RH can easily lead to mold.
Maybe the solution would be to keep the tea at 25°C and 75% RH for a week, so it can soak up some humidity, than open the cupboard and let the tea air for a day or two to prevent the mold formation, but who can do this for decades.
Another dilemma are the health risks of mold. Are they dangerous or not?
I think that also during the traditional storage some mold is forming, which after moving the cakes to a drier/cooler environment stops to grow and after several years-decade the tea is ready for consumption.

It is much simpler with green tea. It just have to be fresh and thats it :?
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby yanom » Nov 11th, '12, 17:09

Storing indoors in house with low humidity:
Option 1: bowl of water (i.e. low-tech pumidor).
Option 2: no bowl of water.
=>
1. Small possibility of death by mold.
2. Certainty of death by dry storage.

For my young bings, I'll take option # 1 every time.
Simples!
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby yanom » Nov 11th, '12, 17:13

On the other hand there are statements that storing tea above 60-70% of RH can easily lead to mold.

Yes, but it's the "can" in "can lead to mold" that's confusing: as someone mentioned earlier, you "can" be hit by a bus. How many people have had mold this way, and what was the temperature?
Everything else is just guesses, right?
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby Drax » Nov 11th, '12, 17:47

TRB, I made the mistake of not having a "control" tea (like the blogger was doing with the tuo he chose) -- that is, a duplicate chunk of tea that I kept outside of the pumidor.

I can tell that the tea is aging, but I can't say whether it has aged any faster than if I left it outside of the cabinet. I would like to assume it has aged faster, but I have no hard evidence -- and I try really hard not to make any claims without proof.

About a year ago or so ago, I realized this problem and I did an inside/outside thing with a couple different types of tuos. I'll probably compare them in a year or so to see if there's any noticeable difference.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby solitude » Nov 11th, '12, 17:49

yanom wrote:
On the other hand there are statements that storing tea above 60-70% of RH can easily lead to mold.

Yes, but it's the "can" in "can lead to mold" that's confusing: as someone mentioned earlier, you "can" be hit by a bus. How many people have had mold this way, and what was the temperature?
Everything else is just guesses, right?

Agreed Yanom, I am also using a variant of the "bowl of a water in a cupboard" setup for a year or so and I already see some aging, and no mold so far. If the disaster happens, I will try to stay calm, separate the infected cakes and leave them on room temp/humidity (50%RH, 18-25°C) and try to not touch them as long as possible.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby fdrx » Nov 11th, '12, 19:45

I think theredbaron just wants to say that a closet might be a bit too small for a good mold control, which is understandable in many cases... But the fact is that i'm using a humidifier in a small room and when it's too wet/hot bad odors come very quickly and i'm not shure there is such a big difference with a closet for that. Actually you can't push the humidifier too much in a room.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby gasninja » Nov 11th, '12, 22:11

theredbaron wrote:
gasninja wrote: I think your arguments against a pumidor are illogical. It is strange for you to to sit somewhere where you can leave your cakes out and they will age fine and say we are crazy for trying to create a similar environment.


Maybe i am illogical...

...but then, if you go up a few posts, you can see a link to some blog posts that show how such a pumidor experiment went wrong.

Q.E.D.

The issue seemed to be on two cakes which could have had higher moisture content to begin with . Plus he was not opening the space for up to a week at a time. I have to add that his pumidor consisted of drywall plastic cardboard a shelf as well as a sponge. I do not really need to say anything else as towhy that went was doomed to fail. But almost every pumidor disaster I have heard of involved a sponge. They are just breeding grounds for mold.

I sanatize my humidification set up every couple of weeks to prevent such an occurrence. There has been no new obvious mold in my setup. I have actually notice frosting disapating on a couple tradition stored cakes(for which I have a separate area for ) even though the rh almost never gets below 70%. I will say that if you are willing to put time and care into building and maintaining your storage place and monitoring your tea then you should not own a pumidor.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby theredbaron » Nov 11th, '12, 23:05

edkrueger wrote:Drax is right. Q.E.D. doesn't make sense there. A " more colloquial vernacular" would have been a better choice. Especially when you don't know the meaning of the technical language you are using. If you want to be technical, "illogical" doesn't make sense there either –unless you are a Trekkie.


Oh my...
No, QED is not technical language. It is short for the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum" and means "which was to be proved", may be used in mathematical arguments, or in philosophical ones, or also facetiously.
Latin, by the way, was a language used by the old Romans, around 2 millennia ago, and still is used as the technical language by the catholic church, though less so since the 2nd Vatican Council...
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby theredbaron » Nov 11th, '12, 23:27

fdrx wrote:I think theredbaron just wants to say that a closet might be a bit too small for a good mold control, which is understandable in many cases... But the fact is that i'm using a humidifier in a small room and when it's too wet/hot bad odors come very quickly and i'm not shure there is such a big difference with a closet for that. Actually you can't push the humidifier too much in a room.


Yes, thank you, that is more or less what i tried to say.

As to your small room, it depends, of course. Is it just a small windowless store room, which would indeed be a similar situation as a cabinet, just a slightly larger one.
You don't want to create a sauna.



And generally speaking, is there anyone here who has home aged tea for more than a few years, and brought that tea to a successfully semi-aged or aged status from a young green sheng? Or do you just argue based on what you have read somewhere else, or on what you speculate your apparatus might achieve one day?
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby edkrueger » Nov 11th, '12, 23:49

theredbaron wrote:No, QED is not technical language. It is short for the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum" and means "which was to be proved", may be used in mathematical arguments, or in philosophical ones, or also facetiously.
Latin, by the way, was a language used by the old Romans, around 2 millennia ago, and still is used as the technical language by the catholic church, though less so since the 2nd Vatican Council...


I should point out that many "latin" phrases were never used by Romans. They were in fact developed as technical terms in philosophy and mathematics during the middle ages. Perhaps you misunderstood the meaning of technical.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby theredbaron » Nov 12th, '12, 00:41

edkrueger wrote:
I should point out that many "latin" phrases were never used by Romans. They were in fact developed as technical terms in philosophy and mathematics during the middle ages. Perhaps you misunderstood the meaning of technical.


Do i really have to link to the urban dictionary now?

OK...

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=QED

:roll:
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby Tead Off » Nov 12th, '12, 01:05

theredbaron wrote:And generally speaking, is there anyone here who has home aged tea for more than a few years, and brought that tea to a successfully semi-aged or aged status from a young green sheng? Or do you just argue based on what you have read somewhere else, or on what you speculate your apparatus might achieve one day?


Although we live in the same city, what you describe is wildly different than what I experience. You live on the ground, I live in the air. I rarely experience heavy moisture buildup and have a pretty good airy location. I've been storing my cakes in an enclosed maid's room with only a door with some louvres in them. The door is shut 99.9% of the time. No aircon, no fan. I have never had any moisture build in this room. It is situated outside of our living quarters so the doorway is exposed to ambient airflow and temp.

Over a period of 6 years, without doing a thing to my cakes other than keeping them all in 2 different cardboard boxes, making no distinction between tea types, the difference is remarkable in the change that these cakes have undergone. None are later than 2006 with most being between 2002/2005. None have molded. All except for one shu showed a more desirable taste. Some of the cakes changed almost 'miraculously' into something so much more interesting than what I originally bought that it is like drinking a completely different tea.

I think airflow or at least some semblance of it is essential. Also, could the cardboard boxes account for the absorption of excess humidity in our humid climate? I think to answer your question more specifically, you would have to talk to some of the producers in Yunnan to see how one controls the actual storage of cakes there and try to duplicate the more successful techniques in a different climate. Even then, I don't think an American storage, for example, will necessarily produce a replica of a good stored cake in Asia. As in the case of cheese, the fermentation process is based on local bacteria to certain regions like Roquefort. A Dutch Camembert will not be the same as a good French one. So many variables to take into account. I think we can only experiment in our own way to achieve what each of us thinks of as a desirable result.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby theredbaron » Nov 12th, '12, 01:54

Tead Off wrote:Even then, I don't think an American storage, for example, will necessarily produce a replica of a good stored cake in Asia. As in the case of cheese, the fermentation process is based on local bacteria to certain regions like Roquefort. A Dutch Camembert will not be the same as a good French one. So many variables to take into account. I think we can only experiment in our own way to achieve what each of us thinks of as a desirable result.


Thanks for that.
Our different experience shows that local micro climate can differ even in the same general location.
When i lived a few kilometers outside Bangkok, at a canal, surrounded by orchards, my temperature was noticeable cooler than just 2 or 3 kilometers away where the concrete jungle started.

Similar to your example with cheese, there is a school of thought that exposure to local ambient airflow and climate is important in aging Pu Erh. I would not have any data to back this up, but to me it makes sense. Lacking air condition doors and windows in my house are always open, in my garden are trees and many plants (and some of the local vermin, such as a 2 meter waran i had to chase out of my garden a few days ago... :? ). How much effect does that on my tea? I would not know.

10 months ago i have tried a 4 year old Pu Erh stored in a farm in Germany, without any climate control, which has aged quite well, not as quick as comparable teas here may have, but still - there was noticeable change even though it's much cooler and less humid there.

Some of my teas change quicker than others. I have recently tried a 2009 Yunnansourcing "Wu Liang Lan Xiang" , and i was surprised how much it has aged in such a short time, while at the same time some blended cakes from 2006 and 2008 have still had much more green character than the aforementioned tea.

I think that there are many factors and variables involved, more than just humidity and temperature.
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Re: Regarding long term storage

Postby yanom » Nov 12th, '12, 05:45

Let's not pretend there's anything scientific here! The variables are so many and people have been storing puerh in non-humid places for such a short period of time, that any "proof" is going to be a very long time in coming. The only guys who really know are the pros who store tonnes of this stuff in HK, no?
TRB: it seems you're a bit dismissive of the whole idea of increasing humidity levels, but for those of us who live in centrally heated houses where humidity levels can be, say, 40%-50%, what's the alternative?
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