Four years of aging


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

Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 17th, '13, 14:39

I was inspired by Cloud's recent post that showed great comparison shots of a couple of cakes over ten years of aging.

I didn't think I had taken a lot of pictures where I could do comparisons like it, but I went back into my archives and I did manage to find some decent enough pictures.

In any case, I've been drinking pu'erh for a much shorter period of time, so my picture only shows 4 years of aging, but here is a comparison:

comparison.jpg
A comparison of just over 4 years of aging.
comparison.jpg (45.75 KiB) Viewed 1697 times


It's a 2008 tea, but I've decided not to name the tea for now, because I think it was (is?) a sort of controversial tea at the time. So rather than focus on that, I'd rather focus on the appearance.

I had to brighten the left image a bit because it was dark, but the coloring is pretty accurate (a vendor still sells this cake, and the pictures look quite green).

I'm enjoying a session with the tea right now. The first steep was quite smooth, a vague hint of wood on the edges, but also a hint of "black tea" in the aftertaste. The second and third cups have marked astringency and roughness. It's still has a lot of youth in it, which is not too surprising.

Time to go make the 4th cup. I'll see if I can get some good lighting to take a picture of the steep. I think I have a picture of the steep back in 2009, too...
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 17th, '13, 14:55

Okay, here's a comparison of the steeps.

I can't remember what number the steep was back in 2009 (left side); I used a flash for that photo, too. The steep for 2013 (right side) is number four; ambient daylight, photo sharpened.

steep_comparison.jpg
2009 on left (not sure # steep), 2013 on right (4th steep)
steep_comparison.jpg (21.69 KiB) Viewed 1691 times
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby futurebird » Mar 17th, '13, 15:00

How did you store this one?
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 17th, '13, 15:04

Oh right, I've got a "pumidor," or a dedicated pu cabinet. I keep the humidity at 65-72% RH and the temperature ranges with the seasons (usually 70F to 90F).
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby TomVerlain » Mar 17th, '13, 15:36

the pumidor is doing the job for you - looks good.
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 21st, '13, 09:18

Thanks! When I get time, I will do comparisons with other beengs of which I took early pictures.

I don't think that I really have any 'control' beengs -- that is, I don't have a beeng that I've kept in the cabinet and one that I've kept out of the cabinet for all four years (I actually have done that with some tuos that I have, but only within the last 2 years; and tuos are notoriously slow to age anyway).

In any case, I'm definitely optimistic. Things "seem" to be on the right trajectory. The ten-year point will probably provide the best comparison point to understand how all those new teas did over a decade. So I'll mark 2018-2019 on my calendar right now... :D
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Tead Off » Mar 21st, '13, 09:23

Drax wrote:Thanks! When I get time, I will do comparisons with other beengs of which I took early pictures.

I don't think that I really have any 'control' beengs -- that is, I don't have a beeng that I've kept in the cabinet and one that I've kept out of the cabinet for all four years (I actually have done that with some tuos that I have, but only within the last 2 years; and tuos are notoriously slow to age anyway).

In any case, I'm definitely optimistic. Things "seem" to be on the right trajectory. The ten-year point will probably provide the best comparison point to understand how all those new teas did over a decade. So I'll mark 2018-2019 on my calendar right now... :D

Why don't you try wrapping one of your cakes in a food grade plastic bag and sealing it and leave it in your pumidor to compare with the others? Could prove interesting.
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 21st, '13, 21:33

It's a little late, but still easy enough to try. I picked a cake that I have a tong of as well as a few extras, and I put on of them in a plastic bag and left it piled with the others.

Check back in 6-10 years! :D
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Tead Off » Mar 21st, '13, 23:25

+1
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Mar 23rd, '13, 15:55

Here's some comparisons of a claimed 2003 CNNP Yellow Mark that I picked up from Skip4Tea about 4 years ago (June of '09).

CNNP_2003_YM_front.jpg
Front comparison.
CNNP_2003_YM_front.jpg (42.52 KiB) Viewed 1373 times


CNNP_2003_YM_back.jpg
Back comparison.
CNNP_2003_YM_back.jpg (43.34 KiB) Viewed 1373 times


CNNP_2003_YM_steeps.jpg
Steep comparison (2013 is 1st steep; don't remember 2009 ones).
CNNP_2003_YM_steeps.jpg (33.88 KiB) Viewed 1373 times


As for the tea itself, my notes of the tea in 2009 say give it straw and other young sheng marks along with hints of the browner/carmely tones of ages. I also note 'tea,' which for me, means it has some qualities that remind me of a black tea.

My current session with this tea (I am also brewing it ~1.7x stronger than I did back then), it is very active and full. Not so much on the straw qualities anymore, but it still has a great strength and roughness to it. I get the occasional hint that reminds me of black tea. It's not overall spectacular, but, not terrible.
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby Drax » Oct 9th, '13, 18:46

I thought I would bump this post with a comparison of another tea (unfortunately, I did not take a lot of photos of my teas when I first purchased them!).

This tea was a supposed 2000 CNNP orange mark that I bought from skip4tea around June 2009. It's been in my pumidor for over 4 years, then.

orange_mark_2000_comparison_small.png
2009 and 2013 comparison.
orange_mark_2000_comparison_small.png (461.17 KiB) Viewed 1030 times


I haven't tried this tea since I first got it. Looking at my notes, I honestly can't say that it has changed much. It's sort of in that 'middle phase' -- brews amber-orange, has a middling quality. It's not spectacular, but then again, it was only $16...
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby chrl42 » Oct 9th, '13, 22:35

We are getting older...
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby MrEffendi » Oct 11th, '13, 22:43

I know this is a novice question but I never could find a clear answer. Is the darkening of the leaf caused by oxidation, fermentation, or both?
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby mr mopu » Oct 12th, '13, 20:44

MrEffendi wrote:I know this is a novice question but I never could find a clear answer. Is the darkening of the leaf caused by oxidation, fermentation, or both?

I think both. Each contributes to a color change.
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Re: Four years of aging

Postby quikstep » Oct 14th, '13, 07:22

another novice answer would be: the process of bio-fermentation causes the leafs to oxidize :D . so ultimately, the change in color is indication of both fermentation and oxidation.
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