Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?


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Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby futurebird » Feb 16th, '13, 22:17

I'm still quite new to all of this and a bit bummed out that the (admittedly cheap, $18) cooked puer I bought today smells slightly of fish. I could not tell till I got it home and wet. I know this is common and it's drinkable enough, but the cheap (in fact MUCH cheaper, $9) ripe pu I got while in Hong Kong didn't have this issue and I just wanted to replace my daily tea. (I have located the exact brand via ebay, so I am hopeful that when THAT comes I'll be set again for daily tea... I drink a whole lot while working!)

Now I suspect that this tea was stored in close quarters with dried fish and that's where the smell is coming from. Is that how this happens? I got it from this jack-of-all trades dry goods and tea and ginseng shop in flushing (NOT Fang tea house, btw, I don't think they'd sell this!) And, eh, now I know. :roll:

Now, if the environment can have an impact on tea is there anything I could do to curb the fish aspect? I'm thinking of putting some chunks of active charcoal in to an enclosed space with it? Or maybe submerging it in dry rice? Or is this hopeless?

It's not horrible. I might just give it away for the cost of shipping in case anyone wants it. Once I get my hands on something I like better I'm putting it aside.

Unless it grows on me. I'm drinking it now and hmm... I don't know.

Fish tea. Why didn't I save the wrapper from the Hong Kong pu erh?? :shock:
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby Drax » Feb 16th, '13, 22:30

I would just try leaving the cake out in an open space (but not near any other strong aromas, like in your kitchen) for a few days. Fish aroma comes from amines (usually trimethyl amine), and most of them will dissipate into the air with time. In other words, the tea-aromas/flavors should outlast the fish aromas/flavors.

Should. I haven't had this problem, so it's just a theory. You might also try removing the wrapper and airing them out separately to help speed up the process.
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby Drax » Feb 16th, '13, 22:34

Sorry, I guess I should read things more fully, too.

Young cooked pu'erh has a high chance of having a fish-smell due to the process used to generate it (wo dui). The aroma will dissipate and lesson with time. But in this case, it will take much longer because it wasn't some odor it absorbed, instead, it's part of the tea right now. So, give it a couple of years (yes, years), and it will get better.
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby gingkoseto » Feb 16th, '13, 23:02

It's probably just the tea. Tian Fu (Ten Fu) is a relatively high-end store in China (in terms of price... but they do have some nice greener style oolong and they are one of the most expensive carriers of new longjing each spring), but their puerh doesn't match their overall level. If you can find some jin fan (gold sail) shu in Chinese grocery (there don't seem to be as many these several years but you may still find some), and if they have not been flooded in storage (which could happen for Chinese grocery), chances are it would be much better than Ten Fu and would cost less than $2 (100g).

What Drax said about airing should help to certain degree too. Ten Fu's tea is usually safe (if safely stored). When they are not good, usually they are not nasty, just mediocre and over-priced ($18 could be over-price too depending on how much it's worth).
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby TwoDog2 » Feb 16th, '13, 23:22

I have never had Ten Fu puer, but most of their teas are generally overpriced for what they are. I would just put this cake away in storage, call the $20 you spent on it tuition, and buy something good. Decent drinkable shu puer is not that expensive. You can find plenty of cakes between $10-$20 with no wodui taste that are drinkable right away.

Don't torture yourself through a fishy young cake, just wait and come back to it. It might be better in a year or two.
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby wyardley » Feb 17th, '13, 03:30

Give it some time, and / or break it up and let it air out a bit.
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Re: Can I impart new and better scents in to pu-erh?

Postby futurebird » Feb 18th, '13, 14:01

Just wanted to say thanks for the good advice. I have tucked it away where it can air out, I'll check on it in a few months. And call it an "experiment."
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