'Oolong Puerh' processing


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

Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Drax » Feb 26th, '13, 14:31

TIM wrote:From someone I admired greatly for his passion, sincerity and the love of the leaf.

"Enjoy these post, make sure to read all the way to last paragraph, more than you'll get out of most blogs! " Quoted from Mr. B.

http://teaurchin.blogspot.com/2012/04/w ... g-zhi.html

http://teaurchin.blogspot.com/2011/10/h ... ently.html


I enjoyed reading those stories. On the post about processing, the tea process information was useful, but some of the statements about chemicals ranged from correct to very incorrect. For example, chlorophyll does not break down into tannin (and certainly wouldn't do it just by heating). And at some point, I'll have to read more about the Hojo claim about vacuum sealing pu'erh... to be honest, it sounds very dangerous. Some microbes become quite deadly when put in an oxygen-free environment... (I know that wasn't the point of the blog post, but kind of hard to ignore).
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby MarshalN » Feb 26th, '13, 22:36

Drax wrote:And at some point, I'll have to read more about the Hojo claim about vacuum sealing pu'erh... to be honest, it sounds very dangerous. Some microbes become quite deadly when put in an oxygen-free environment... (I know that wasn't the point of the blog post, but kind of hard to ignore).


The whole point of buying puerh is so that they become something better - aged, they become more complex and more interesting teas. Putting them in vacuum bags completely defeats that purpose. You might as well go drink green tea.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Tead Off » Feb 26th, '13, 23:09

MarshalN wrote:
Drax wrote:And at some point, I'll have to read more about the Hojo claim about vacuum sealing pu'erh... to be honest, it sounds very dangerous. Some microbes become quite deadly when put in an oxygen-free environment... (I know that wasn't the point of the blog post, but kind of hard to ignore).


The whole point of buying puerh is so that they become something better - aged, they become more complex and more interesting teas. Putting them in vacuum bags completely defeats that purpose. You might as well go drink green tea.

In discussions with someone in Singapore, they told me that many long time collectors (20+years) there have been storing their cakes in sealed plastic food grade bags with great results. The protection against moisture and the loss of flavor/aroma are kept minimized. The theory is that there is enough oxygen within the cake itself to allow the continued fermentation/aging. Hojo goes one more step in vacuum sealing his cakes. These people insist their cakes are doing very well like this, some for more than 20 years! I sampled 2 cakes this week that have been stored like this. One was a 2007 LBZ, the other was a 2005 Daxueshan. Both were superb. These are not inexpensive cakes! When I was first told this, it went against everything that I have read and thought. But, I can't discount what I tasted and I can't dismiss the claims of these collectors who swear this is the best way to store Puerh here in SE Asia, at least.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby thanks » Feb 27th, '13, 00:39

Tead Off wrote:
MarshalN wrote:
Drax wrote:And at some point, I'll have to read more about the Hojo claim about vacuum sealing pu'erh... to be honest, it sounds very dangerous. Some microbes become quite deadly when put in an oxygen-free environment... (I know that wasn't the point of the blog post, but kind of hard to ignore).


The whole point of buying puerh is so that they become something better - aged, they become more complex and more interesting teas. Putting them in vacuum bags completely defeats that purpose. You might as well go drink green tea.

In discussions with someone in Singapore, they told me that many long time collectors (20+years) there have been storing their cakes in sealed plastic food grade bags with great results. The protection against moisture and the loss of flavor/aroma are kept minimized. The theory is that there is enough oxygen within the cake itself to allow the continued fermentation/aging. Hojo goes one more step in vacuum sealing his cakes. These people insist their cakes are doing very well like this, some for more than 20 years! I sampled 2 cakes this week that have been stored like this. One was a 2007 LBZ, the other was a 2005 Daxueshan. Both were superb. These are not inexpensive cakes! When I was first told this, it went against everything that I have read and thought. But, I can't discount what I tasted and I can't dismiss the claims of these collectors who swear this is the best way to store Puerh here in SE Asia, at least.


I've not heard this before, but I find it pretty fascinating. Is this way of aging almost exclusive to very high humidity areas?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 27th, '13, 00:50

Tead Off wrote:
MarshalN wrote:
Drax wrote:And at some point, I'll have to read more about the Hojo claim about vacuum sealing pu'erh... to be honest, it sounds very dangerous. Some microbes become quite deadly when put in an oxygen-free environment... (I know that wasn't the point of the blog post, but kind of hard to ignore).


The whole point of buying puerh is so that they become something better - aged, they become more complex and more interesting teas. Putting them in vacuum bags completely defeats that purpose. You might as well go drink green tea.

In discussions with someone in Singapore, they told me that many long time collectors (20+years) there have been storing their cakes in sealed plastic food grade bags with great results. The protection against moisture and the loss of flavor/aroma are kept minimized. The theory is that there is enough oxygen within the cake itself to allow the continued fermentation/aging. Hojo goes one more step in vacuum sealing his cakes. These people insist their cakes are doing very well like this, some for more than 20 years! I sampled 2 cakes this week that have been stored like this. One was a 2007 LBZ, the other was a 2005 Daxueshan. Both were superb. These are not inexpensive cakes! When I was first told this, it went against everything that I have read and thought. But, I can't discount what I tasted and I can't dismiss the claims of these collectors who swear this is the best way to store Puerh here in SE Asia, at least.



Tead Off,
You hit the jackpot for storing tea. I am very hesitant to talk about this but I think I should share my personal experience.

This is a personal experience and opinion which I am comfortable with and whatever debate that comes along after this, I will just acknowledge it as another personal opinion. :wink:
We are free to do whatever we want or believe with our tea collection.

Against all conventional wisdom that many believed, the final truth for me, is to taste tea that been stored in dry, seal food grade bag. Tea will aged well when sealed, just imagine the forgotten tea in the sealed tin can, they do aged very nicely whilst keeping all its flavour. Airing tea will lead to a lot of problem with tea. The main enemy is the moisture and also the surrounding odour when the tea is exposed to. In some humidity, tea can absord 10% of moisture in an hour. Moisture attract mold and more problems. Tea is also a magnet for surrounding odour too.

Storing tea in sealed food grade plastic aged the tea very well whilst keeping all its flavour. It will be, when aged, super smooth, sweet and aromatic when stored that way. I have tea from 1960s to present that has been stored this way and whatever advise I get against it, the final truth is to taste the tea. Rightly or wrongly, this is my personal experience, and I stick my neck out to stand by it and share with you all.

Hojo, went one step ahead, storing tea in Mylar bags and insert oxygen absorber in vacumn pack condition. Oxidisation can still happen but I think at slower pace but I am convinced that eventually when the tea aged, it will be fantastic too. That prompt me to move to this direction for older tea, like those in 60s -80s. From experience, the newer tea is fine and aged well in sealed food grade plastic as the main concern is moisture, rather that oxygen IMHO. I am repacking some my older tea now in 5mil Mylar bag without oxygen absorber, but in vacumn condition. There are still oxygen in between the compressed tea but the moisture out for good.

So the neck is out on the chopping board, the truth is out there, I am just sharing my personal experience, right or wrong, it doesn't matter. :roll:

Give it a thought and don't find out that this is the right way 10-20 years down the road. :shock:

Cheers!
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 27th, '13, 01:07

Just curious, how long have you been vacuum sealing your Puerh?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 27th, '13, 01:26

Hi Tim,

I have not vacumn sealed any tea yet, but I am going to do it for older tea. Most tea I have is sealed in food safe shrink wrap plastic. I think you can see it in some tea shop, especially the way they store their precious tea.


Cheers!
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 27th, '13, 01:31

Teaism wrote:Hi Tim,

I have not vacumn sealed any tea yet, but I am going to do it for older tea. Most tea I have is sealed in food safe shrink wrap plastic. I think you can see it in some tea shop, especially the way they store their precious tea.
Cheers!

"I have tea from 1960s to present that has been stored this way and whatever advise I get against it, the final truth is to taste the tea."


So are these still sealed in the original bags that you have from the 60's?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 27th, '13, 01:50

TIM wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi Tim,

I have not vacumn sealed any tea yet, but I am going to do it for older tea. Most tea I have is sealed in food safe shrink wrap plastic. I think you can see it in some tea shop, especially the way they store their precious tea.
Cheers!

"I have tea from 1960s to present that has been stored this way and whatever advise I get against it, the final truth is to taste the tea."


So are these still sealed in the original bags that you have from the 60's?



Those 60-80s I have are from collectors who store them in the sealed condition. The same aged tea, by different source, taste totally different based on their storing condition. So in hunting for older tea, the storing condition is a very important criteria.

It is just a personal experience to share, right or wrong, it up to anyone to belief. We are free to do what we like with our tea.

But if you have the experience of tasting and comparing a dry and wet storage tea of similar nature and age, you would have a better understanding, otherwise is just an lengthy arguments of words and opinion that leads to nowhere. :D


Cheers!.
Last edited by Teaism on Feb 27th, '13, 02:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 27th, '13, 01:57

Thanks for sharing Teaism. Can we go back to our Oolong-Pu subject please.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 27th, '13, 02:07

I personally think that this is a spectacularly bad idea that caters to the green tea huggers of North China. It might work well with certain Lincang teas that do not do much but mellow and add some camphor. Then again, most of those teas have astringency that would wind up never going away.

I would basically consider people plumb out of their minds if they tried that with Banna teas. I don't really like Yiwu tea all that much young, and I am very sure that Yiwu does require moisture to have some of those attractive aged characteristics. Why would anyone want to drink Bada like that?

Thing is, there is a great deal of sheng puerh tea out there that have found their way into sealed conditions for one reason or another. Especially loose maocha. If people generally liked the results, you would have found people hawking those bags and tins like nobody's business. As a practical matter, from what I read, you don't usually end up with good tea. It's fine for a few years, sorta, just like with any green tea you keep sealed. Maybe not the best, but drinkable. Doesn't stay that way.

By and large, the sort of tea that might do well in a vacuum pack or sealed tins are teas that are already heavily processed or fermented. Already aged-a-lot sheng, ripe tea, black tea, heavy fermented and/or well roasted oolongs.

Let's not be idiots, there are these kinds of discussions by fanatical nerds about the best way to preserve all sorts of things over the long haul.

Let's be real. If you want this sort of storage, you buy highly compressed bricks or multi-kilo bricks and cakes. You have the advantage of being able to enjoy some of your tea without necessarily "breaking the seal" for the rest of your tea. And your risks are limited to unpleasantly slow aging, rather than the kind of unpleasantness typical of poorly dry-stored tea.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Tead Off » Feb 27th, '13, 03:20

Let's be real? You mean real as in drinking the actual tea that has been stored this way vs. theoretically dismissing it? People thought the world was flat for a very long time.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 27th, '13, 04:11

::Heavily lidded look::

Educated people haven't thought the world was flat since ancient greek times. Columbus was an idiot and a charlatan who used fundie math to pretend that the world was what other than what it was, because to admit otherwise would be to admit that his enterprise was *much* riskier than people would normally be willing to accept. Queen Isabella didn't give a fig for his life, or the lives of his men, and she was flush with cash from plundering Muslim states as the last of them fell. So hey, why not? If all the sailors die of thirst because the ocean turned out to be much bigger than expected...they die.

If you wind up with tea you don't like, because it's like every other tea that's poorly dry-stored, Hojo will long be in the rear view mirror of your life. Look, the reality has always been about getting more out of your aging process than you lose from volatiles gassing out. There are some pretty tried and true methods to do that without sealing your cakes. Buy super-hard (or super large) bricks, discuses, and cakes. And the history of those things have been that you need plenty of humidity and time to get that awesome result. Even so, most boutique shops offer large bricks for such collectors. As you know, you and those you have met are not the first to encounter sealed puerh tea, especially loose sheng or shu. At best, that record is mixed in the case of sheng.

As far as dismissing it goes? Well, yes. A 2005 lincang and 2007 anything isn't long enough to say whether it was successful or not. And I've enough experience with cakes that haven't aged over some lengthy period of time to know that this probably would not be better than simple great care of storage conditions in the first place.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby brandon » Feb 27th, '13, 12:29

shah82 wrote:Well, yes. A 2005 lincang and 2007 anything isn't long enough to say whether it was successful or not.


Did someone from Lincang dishonor your family? :shock:
You bring it up pretty often.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 27th, '13, 12:49

I don't hate lincang, and I tend to like DaXueShan teas pretty consistently. I do find that lincang teas tend to age slowly when it comes to material changes in flavor (some are faster, but they don't tend to age into flavors I want to drink regularly). Therefore, I am inclined to think that vacuum sealing a Lincang probably does allow it to do what it's best at, mellowing with little chance of interference. Of course, I think that's a short-term benefit only, since even lincangs will change, eventually.

I just think the Hojo thing is just purity trolling and exasperating for all of that.
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