Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?


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

Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 2nd, '12, 23:16

Hi guys,

Two days ago I was trying a sample of sheng pu with the only friend, who drinks tea, that I have (sad but true) and while he was separating the chunks he saw a very small white insect (like a very small dot) inside the chunks. Unfortunately we couldn't take any pictures of it since it got inside the leaves and couldn't find it again.

We drank the tea anyway and it was quite good IMHO. :lol:

I told the vendor about it and he said that is quite normal in pu and that it doesn't cause any harm to human body nor tea and it even help to promote the tea aging process.

Honestly speaking I haven't ever seen any bug in my pu. My only concern is buying whole cakes and getting them with these insects and that they cause any damage to the tea or my health. And also that these spread to my other cakes at home.

Have you ever heard/seen this kind of insect?
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby MarshalN » Dec 2nd, '12, 23:44

They do exist. Did you just get this tea? Usually if you've had the tea for a while the bugs will disappear
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 3rd, '12, 00:05

Hi Marshaln!

Thanks for the reply.

I got this tea last Thursday and tried it on Saturday. Haven't tried the other samples yet.

Is having these bugs actually good for aging as indicated by the vendor?

Do you think that having them could also show that the tea is free of pesticides or not necessarily ( I wasn't suggested this by the vendor, just my doubt)?
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby bagua7 » Dec 3rd, '12, 01:11

If I tell you that I have seen those tiny insects crawling on my pots, you wouldn't believe me, would you? :lol:

Last year was very humid here and I guess their eggs resisted the brewing temperature, got attached to the pots' walls and somehow the creepy-crawlies just bred in the pots and survived by eating mould.
Last edited by bagua7 on Dec 3rd, '12, 22:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 3rd, '12, 01:22

:lol: lovely creatures indeed
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby MarshalN » Dec 3rd, '12, 01:45

They are indicative of a wetter storage environment.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 3rd, '12, 02:02

They are indicative of a wetter storage environment.


Make sense, the tea showed some signs of shicang but not overly wet. Good storage iMHO.

Came from Malaysia.

Take care.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby TwoDog2 » Dec 3rd, '12, 02:48

I think what you are describing is not silver fish - they are pretty big, not like the little white dot bugs. Although silverfish can show up from time to time, but mostly to eat the paper wrappers.

Like Marshaln said, they are indicative of a wetter storage environment. I have also seen them on some fresh (one year or less) ripe teas, left over from the humidity of the pile. Only in one case can I remember their presence being so severe that I abandoned a cake.

If you keep the cake for long enough, they usually just go away. Another method I have heard, is to break off a chunk of cake and toss it in the freezer for a little bit to kill them, and then brew. Not sure if that effects the flavor and in what way - I imagine a brief snap of cold would not destroy a tea, as many green teas are refrigerated for extended periods of time without folly. Then you will be brewing with some small bugs, but if you are into puer, such things probably don't bother you anyhow.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby wyardley » Dec 3rd, '12, 03:36

I also think they are not silverfish. I'm not sure if the white dots are the bugs themselves, or larvae (or excrement). I have seen the bugs go away but the white dots persist. They can be brushed off the surface with a toothbrush if you want.

I could be wrong, but I think the bugs that are seen as a sign of good aging are different ones (the ones that produce the 'poo' tea).
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby jayinhk » Dec 3rd, '12, 07:25

Here in Southeast Asia, we have bugs everywhere. I get huge silverfish in my bedroom every year, but from reading up on them they are harmless.

The only time I've seen bugs in pu, it was some really bad mini tuo shu my brother was given. The bug free tuos were pretty bad, so I binned them all!
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 3rd, '12, 19:35

Thanks for the feedback guys!

From my friend description and the picture you showed me in the wiki link it is definitely not silver fish. Since my friend described the bug to me as white dot moving.

However, I do have silver fish in my building!! I didn't even no the name of the bug. Apparently because the wooden floor, I hope they don't eat my pu wrappers then :O.

Thanks to all again!
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Catfur » Dec 3rd, '12, 20:40

White dot moving is probably a mite or a springtail.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Maxwell2079 » Dec 3rd, '12, 21:22

Hi Catfur,

These bugs sound less friendly! :(

Will have to give it a thought before getting whole cakes.

Take care.
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby bagua7 » Dec 3rd, '12, 22:41

I checked this morning and saw another tiny creepy-crawly running in one of my pots, one that haven't used now for nearly a year. I don't have a macro lens or a decent setup capable of taking such photos, but if I could I would do so. :(
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Re: Have you heard of Silver fish in puerh?

Postby Catfur » Dec 4th, '12, 00:01

Nothing could be less innocuous than a springtail, they eat decaying vegetable material, and might be the most numerous animals on earth, all are tiny and pretty much harmless.

For that matter, most mites are harmless, anything that would be terrifying probably wouldn't be scurrying around in your tea cakes.
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