'Oolong Puerh' processing


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

Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 27th, '13, 13:48

brandon wrote:
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.


lol!
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby gingkoseto » Feb 27th, '13, 21:17

Tead Off wrote: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.

This method is quite popular in humid regions in southern China too, and they even gave it a honorable title :D Probably they learned of it from Southeastern Asia. Many puerh sellers in China sell the ziploc like bags too. But even long-term users of this method would say it's a double-edged sword. What protects the tea might also be what causes mold, if the user fail to give the tea full attention and cautious, frequent examination.

On the other hand, this is by far not the same as vacuum seal. Sealed plastic bag can suffocate humans, but leaves abundant air and constant air flow for microbes.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby wyardley » Feb 27th, '13, 22:23

It seems unlikely to me that individuals or tea vendors would have had easy access to vacuum sealers in the 1960s or 1970s; correct me if I'm wrong here.

I have had old tea which have supposedly had only purely natural storage (though not in sealed bags), and even some of these are a bit too aggressive tasting for my taste sometimes, even after 40-50 years. Given a) how many teas would have been warehouse stored in HK before export to SE Asia in those days, and b) how little of a concept of so-called dry-storage existed before the mid to late 1990s, not to mention the fact that from what I understand, pu'er wasn't really thought about in the terms it's thought about now back then, I'm a bit skeptical about how many such teas exist (teas which have been collected without any period of intensive storage).

I have heard of sealing tea in cellophane bags after the point where it's already ready to drink, as a way of preventing the tea from losing strength. This is what I do as well, for the few teas I have which are old enough where this is a concern. But for everything else, I really think that some airflow and some amount of heat and humidity is better.

I know that now, there seem to be some SE Asian tea people who are really into dry-storage teas, which is odd to me, since my past experience with Chinese teas sourced via SE Asia (whether aged oolongs, liubao, or pu'er) mostly skews towards fairly mellow and funky flavors.

But, I agree this is OT for this particular thread.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 27th, '13, 22:41

Thank you all for a very interesting discussions on this issue. Appreciate if there is no name calling in the discussion, please.

Frankly, I always reserve this thinking privately as it is very controversial. Again it is a personal experience and shared and thought to me by many old but forward looking traditional tea masters. Right or wrong, believe it or not it, it is a personal choice. For me eventually, the truth is in the taste. To understand, we must taste it. With the experience we can deduce what is right or wrong for us. We are all free to do what we like with our tea, as long as we enjoy it.

On the experience of the 05, and 07 that Tead Off has, I like to share my experience of a late 1970s, genuine Guangyun Tribute tea, which was stored in sealed dry condition since then. It was stored by a late 60 year old tea master and subsequently by me in the same condition. We brewed it last month and it was really really excellent. The leaves is still unbelievably greenish and the brew is dark reddish. The flavour, aroma is still fresh and super smooth and comforting. The yun of course is lengthy and mesmerising.

Attached are the photos.

Again, this is just to share a personal experience, rightly or wrongly, believe it or not, it is your personal choice. I am really very reluctant to embark on this issue, but for the benefit of those who is curious or just for knowledge, at least it is one of the method of storing PuEr tea. If we do not have the experience of the real thing, the rest are endless debates of words without meaning that lead to nowhere.

Thank you for having a thought on this issue.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby gingkoseto » Feb 27th, '13, 23:20

wyardley wrote:I have had old tea which have supposedly had only purely natural storage (though not in sealed bags), and even some of these are a bit too aggressive tasting for my taste sometimes, even after 40-50 years.

This is a bit surprising to me. Most dry-stored tea of 15-20 years old would taste mild enough for me. So either we have very different tastes or the 40-50 years old tea you had was rather an outlier?
In 1960s some Palace Museum experts found some forbidden city tea and casually tasted some (hehe i know... :mrgreen: ) Their comment was, the tea had dark red liquor, but barely any taste of tea. To their opinion, the tea was over-aged to lose all the strength (but then, I guess these people were not Cantonese, so there might be different taste standards). The tea was supposed to be from late Qing, and was a little over 50-70 years by 1960s.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 27th, '13, 23:44

Teaism wrote:Thank you all for a very interesting discussions on this issue. Appreciate if there is no name calling in the discussion, please.

Frankly, I always reserve this thinking privately as it is very controversial. Again it is a personal experience and shared and thought to me by many old but forward looking traditional tea masters. Right or wrong, believe it or not it, it is a personal choice. For me eventually, the truth is in the taste. To understand, we must taste it. With the experience we can deduce what is right or wrong for us. We are all free to do what we like with our tea, as long as we enjoy it.

On the experience of the 05, and 07 that Tead Off has, I like to share my experience of a late 1970s, genuine Guangyun Tribute tea, which was stored in sealed dry condition since then. It was stored by a late 60 year old tea master and subsequently by me in the same condition. We brewed it last month and it was really really excellent. The leaves is still unbelievably greenish and the brew is dark reddish. The flavour, aroma is still fresh and super smooth and comforting. The yun of course is lengthy and mesmerising.

Attached are the photos.

Again, this is just to share a personal experience, rightly or wrongly, believe it or not, it is your personal choice. I am really very reluctant to embark on this issue, but for the benefit of those who is curious or just for knowledge, at least it is one of the method of storing PuEr tea. If we do not have the experience of the real thing, the rest are endless debates of words without meaning that lead to nowhere.

Thank you for having a thought on this issue.


What brew was that image taken? Very interesting, and how many brew did you and your tea master had? Thanks in advance. ~ Toki
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 28th, '13, 00:13

TIM wrote:
Teaism wrote:
What brew was that image taken? Very interesting, and how many brew did you and your tea master had? Thanks in advance. ~ Toki


Thank you Toki.

I think it was 4 or 5th brew on the photo. We had about 10 brews on this but it definitely can go further. It was a casual and spontaneous brewing sessions as we had a lot of other tea to explore that day. It is usually like that for tea sessions, casual and friendly but focus, and lengthy discussion on all topics, for all we knew, many hours, days, weeks and years just passed by.
One thing I learn about tea is don't get cheated twice....first by tea vendors then by yourself by saying it is good when it is not.

Ooopss! OT again. :wink:

Have a great day my friend.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby wyardley » Feb 28th, '13, 01:49

gingkoseto wrote:
wyardley wrote:I have had old tea which have supposedly had only purely natural storage (though not in sealed bags), and even some of these are a bit too aggressive tasting for my taste sometimes, even after 40-50 years.

This is a bit surprising to me. Most dry-stored tea of 15-20 years old would taste mild enough for me. So either we have very different tastes or the 40-50 years old tea you had was rather an outlier?

Well, I definitely prefer older tea which is smooth and has lost its bitterness and astringency, and where the tastes start to become integrated. That doesn't seem to happen without at least some period of humid storage to one degree or another.

Depends on the tea, I guess, but I generally don't enjoy drinking 15-20 year old tea (i.e., mid to late 90s) which has been purely dry stored for its entire life. Some can taste good if the tea was pretty smooth to start with, but they don't taste "aged" to me, and some of it can be quite harsh, especially anything with tight compression (Xiaguan tuo, tiebing).

With older stuff, I've noticed that some huangyin, in particular (the purely raw ones) can be fairly bitter even after quite some time.

I have tried certain pu'ers (generally lower grade stuff) which have been stored sealed (though not vacuum sealed) to one degree or another, for example, late 80s / early 90s fangcha, mid-90s tuocha, and none have been pleasant experiences.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Tead Off » Feb 28th, '13, 02:34

I wonder if there is a trade off of the aggressiveness that wyardley speaks of that is tamed with humidity and the loss of flavor that exposure to humidity also brings about as Teaism mentioned in his storage method. In tasting the LBZ which was sealed stored, it was a beast for the first several brews and then slowly started to change into something wine-like after about 15 brews. I could discern the taste of age, and the color of age both in leaf color and liquor color. This was only a 6 year old cake but there was distinct aging going on and nothing like a young sheng any longer, yet it retained a freshness and aliveness that was admirable. It's interesting to me how people form their 'views'.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby MarshalN » Feb 28th, '13, 09:24

Tead Off wrote:I wonder if there is a trade off of the aggressiveness that wyardley speaks of that is tamed with humidity and the loss of flavor that exposure to humidity also brings about as Teaism mentioned in his storage method. In tasting the LBZ which was sealed stored, it was a beast for the first several brews and then slowly started to change into something wine-like after about 15 brews. I could discern the taste of age, and the color of age both in leaf color and liquor color. This was only a 6 year old cake but there was distinct aging going on and nothing like a young sheng any longer, yet it retained a freshness and aliveness that was admirable. It's interesting to me how people form their 'views'.


By the way, didn't you say in another thread recently that you prefer paper to plastic for storage? So how does that work with storing these cakes in plastic?

If they're just shrink wrapped, then the seals break all the time, as we all know, so they don't really slow down the storage much. If they are vacuum sealed, as Hojo suggests, then we've got a whole different issue, and I suspect is something that has never been done before for very long - as WYardley said, vacuum sealers were not commonly available 30 years ago.

Also, non-sealed storage does not mean open-in-the-air, exposed-to-the-elements storage. When you stick the teas in a box packed full of it, have the box closed, stick the box in a closet, and close the closet door in a room that is also mostly closed (and filled with tea) the difference between having a plastic wrap and not having a plastic wrap may not be nearly as great as we imagine it to be.

But anyway, if we want to talk storage, someone should go make a new thread.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Tead Off » Feb 28th, '13, 12:18

MarshalN wrote:
Tead Off wrote:I wonder if there is a trade off of the aggressiveness that wyardley speaks of that is tamed with humidity and the loss of flavor that exposure to humidity also brings about as Teaism mentioned in his storage method. In tasting the LBZ which was sealed stored, it was a beast for the first several brews and then slowly started to change into something wine-like after about 15 brews. I could discern the taste of age, and the color of age both in leaf color and liquor color. This was only a 6 year old cake but there was distinct aging going on and nothing like a young sheng any longer, yet it retained a freshness and aliveness that was admirable. It's interesting to me how people form their 'views'.


By the way, didn't you say in another thread recently that you prefer paper to plastic for storage? So how does that work with storing these cakes in plastic?

If they're just shrink wrapped, then the seals break all the time, as we all know, so they don't really slow down the storage much. If they are vacuum sealed, as Hojo suggests, then we've got a whole different issue, and I suspect is something that has never been done before for very long - as WYardley said, vacuum sealers were not commonly available 30 years ago.

Also, non-sealed storage does not mean open-in-the-air, exposed-to-the-elements storage. When you stick the teas in a box packed full of it, have the box closed, stick the box in a closet, and close the closet door in a room that is also mostly closed (and filled with tea) the difference between having a plastic wrap and not having a plastic wrap may not be nearly as great as we imagine it to be.

But anyway, if we want to talk storage, someone should go make a new thread.

Agree that a new thread should be started on this topic.
Makes sense what you say about non-sealed cakes stored in the way you describe. This is probably a lot different than many who are storing teas unsealed and keeping an airflow going in and out of the room. Please keep in mind that I am not the one that actually has the experience of storing cakes this way. I did say I preferred paper to plastic. But, my view is changing regarding this as the proof is literally in the tea that I drank not the words of anyone else. I have no idea of the outcome of Hojo's vacuum sealing attempts nor could recommend it. But when someone speaks about their own experience over time and says that others they know have come to the same conclusion after years of experimentation, I will definitely listen. Maybe Chip can clip out the relevant posts here and simply move it to its own thread as Tim has wisely suggested.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Chip » Feb 28th, '13, 12:58

If the OP (Nada) would like for me to split the topic, I will be happy to oblige!
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Drax » Feb 28th, '13, 13:41

Chip wrote:If the OP (Nada) would like for me to split the topic, I will be happy to oblige!


I accidentally started the derailment a couple pages back... (sorry! :oops: ). I'll throw in a request to break off this discussion from the "instigator" side of things... :D
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby BioHorn » Feb 28th, '13, 13:51

Yay. Another storage thread! Please do split. It is always lively and educational. I for one, would love to hear diverse opinions.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby 135F2 » Feb 28th, '13, 16:08

BioHorn wrote:Yay. Another storage thread! Please do split. It is always lively and educational. I for one, would love to hear diverse opinions.


+1
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