Aging Experiment

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

Aging Experiment

Postby Catfur » Dec 15th, '12, 21:35

Having recently come into a small pile of 2012 8582 202, I am going to try and do a storage experiment. Two cakes are going to get dried the heck out (put outside in the extreme low humidity), and then stored in a sealed plastic bag; one marked to open in 2017 one in 2022. Two will be sealed in normal humidity (as it exists in my tearoom), again in plastic bags, again same aging. A final two will be sealed in with very high humidity before sealing, again, same aging. The rest will just go on the shelf/box with everything else.

We'll see how things go in a few years. Any thoughts?

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby MarshalN » Dec 15th, '12, 21:37

The high humidity ones, if put in plastic bag, will get moldy really fast.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby Catfur » Dec 15th, '12, 21:51

MarshalN wrote:The high humidity ones, if put in plastic bag, will get moldy really fast.


In that case I'm out like $15. That will definitely be a "result" though.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby Drax » Dec 15th, '12, 22:33

I think it really depends on how permeable the plastic bags really are.

If they are truly impermeable, then I would think that you would eventually kill any living organism due to lack of air exchange -- they will eventually use up their air supply (I assume by converting O2 to CO2 and H2O, but there will be nothing to convert the CO2 back to O2 because all of the tea plant's machinery is dead).

But, even things that seem air-tight may not actually be so in the long run. If that's the case, then they'd likely all become similar environments after some time, even if they started out differently. You wouldn't know until you opened them...

And, as MarshalN says, the humid ones will have a risk of molding before any of that happens, depending on how you do it.

That's all just a guess, though.

I've got a few "duplicate" items (mostly tuos) that I have some in my pumidor and others just outside in the room in order to do a similar comparison.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby Catfur » Dec 15th, '12, 23:05

I'm not really expecting great things here. It's just an experiment (with cheap cakes).

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby ChengduCha » Dec 15th, '12, 23:13

I'm not sure why you're sealing them as it prevents any kind of further aging, and trapping humid tea in a sealed bag also sounds like a recipe for moldy / musty tasting tea to me.

Storing tea in a humid place (humidor, your normal tea room etc.) and a dry place (cupboard with some stuff inside that can take out the humidity) is a better idea to find out what humid and dry storage will taste like as only constant oxidization results in aging (the oxygen is quickly used up in a truely sealed bag).

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby Catfur » Dec 15th, '12, 23:33

I have plenty of tea stored the normal way. I remember a while back (this year, last, don't really remember) that someone talked about Hojo saying that the best way to store pu was in a sealed bag (I may be misremembering). I didn't think that sounded like such a hot idea, but I figured may as well find out for sure.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby ImmortaliTEA » Dec 15th, '12, 23:47

Catfur wrote:I have plenty of tea stored the normal way. I remember a while back (this year, last, don't really remember) that someone talked about Hojo saying that the best way to store pu was in a sealed bag (I may be misremembering). I didn't think that sounded like such a hot idea, but I figured may as well find out for sure.


I believe they were referring to the high-quality bing aging process in which they are wrapped in what looks like plastic-wrap that's sealed around the edges. I recently received a cake from HK that was traditionally stored and arrived in a box and completely sealed in plastic inside and I believe Tim told me that this was the preferred aging method for cakes of the highest quality and for the longest term style of storage!

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby ChengduCha » Dec 16th, '12, 00:02

ImmortaliTEA wrote:I believe they were referring to the high-quality bing aging process in which they are wrapped in what looks like plastic-wrap that's sealed around the edges. I recently received a cake from HK that was traditionally stored and arrived in a box and completely sealed in plastic inside and I believe Tim told me that this was the preferred aging method for cakes of the highest quality and for the longest term style of storage!


Some of the plastic wraps in HK don't seem to be airtight, but some are fully sealed and I suppose it's mainly for maintaining the taste that made the shop owner buy them in the first place. Some shops also hang their cakes outside so that'd protect them against rain / splashes from the street / soaking up exhaust fumes.

Those are the only logic explanations I can think of. :D

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby ImmortaliTEA » Dec 16th, '12, 00:18

ChengduCha wrote:
ImmortaliTEA wrote:I believe they were referring to the high-quality bing aging process in which they are wrapped in what looks like plastic-wrap that's sealed around the edges. I recently received a cake from HK that was traditionally stored and arrived in a box and completely sealed in plastic inside and I believe Tim told me that this was the preferred aging method for cakes of the highest quality and for the longest term style of storage!


Some of the plastic wraps in HK don't seem to be airtight, but some are fully sealed and I suppose it's mainly for maintaining the taste that made the shop owner buy them in the first place. Some shops also hang their cakes outside so that'd protect them against rain / splashes from the street / soaking up exhaust fumes.

Those are the only logic explanations I can think of. :D


Tim,
We need your knowledge & experience here because I know for a fact you once told me that this was the best aging method and used mainly for the highest quality cakes, although, I'm not quite sure if you were referring to a completely air-tight seal on the plastic wrap or just wrapped and not sealed. Please inform us on your experiences and I'm sorry if you have already addressed this in a previous thread!

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby TIM » Dec 16th, '12, 02:06

Hmmm, let me ask you a question first IT:
Why do we seal up tea?

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby gasninja » Dec 16th, '12, 16:39

I think it is done ( completely sealed) with older cakes that have hit a desired maturity. I have recieved cakes from skip for tea that where plastic sealed. I thought at the time it was just for shipping. As these where 90s cakes and still had a ways to go. But I believe they where not sealed completely.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby shah82 » Dec 16th, '12, 18:00

Houde and YS have both sent sealed cakes before. In both cases, the '07/'09 DianGu and the '02 Tai Lian were lincangs, the object was to preserve fragrance when asked why.

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Re: Aging Experiment

Postby ImmortaliTEA » Dec 16th, '12, 18:05

TIM wrote:Hmmm, let me ask you a question first IT:
Why do we seal up tea?


I believe people seal cakes to limit the amount of airflow as much as possible but I heard recently that they also poke a few airholes in to make sure it's not completely sealed. So my theory is that they are trying to create a more "stable" environment for the aspergillus and by sealing the cake up it may take much longer to reach maturity, however, when it finally does it should be much more complex and have much more depth of character than a cake that was just stored in its regular paper. This is just what I believe and if I were personally to do this I would make sure that I either poke some holes OR open it once a year or so to allow some fresh air in there and then re-wrap!

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