Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor


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

Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 13th, '13, 00:44

So I'm testing out a pumidor system, and so far so good. RH is between 72-79% and the temperature is around 22 Celsius. The humidification device is at the bottom and I have two racks for placing cakes. Should I put the younger puerh on the bottom shelf and older stuff on the top or vice versa?
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby tst » Apr 13th, '13, 02:35

I've only read about the Eastern (Chinese?) belief that older/aged is "heavy" while young is "light", therefore aged on top, young on bottom (might have read this on Teamasters blog?).

However, I personally think it's more about keeping them somewhat spaced out based on their age and previous storage condition rather than putting emphasis on placement above/below. Just my opinion ... and I could definitely be wrong.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby mr mopu » Apr 13th, '13, 08:46

I would think humidity and temperature levels would be important in storage along with some air flow and the occasional air exchange. I have an old refrigerator dedicated to this type of storage. Shou in the bottom fridge part and sheng in the freezer part. I have 70% r.h. beads in each one and computer fans in each one with hydrometer/temp monitors in each. here is a link http://www.flickr.com/photos/93298157@N02/
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby TokyoB » Apr 13th, '13, 08:50

Maitre_Tea wrote:So I'm testing out a pumidor system, and so far so good. RH is between 72-79% and the temperature is around 22 Celsius. The humidification device is at the bottom and I have two racks for placing cakes. Should I put the younger puerh on the bottom shelf and older stuff on the top or vice versa?


What type of cabinet are you using?
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 13th, '13, 12:18

It's made from non-smelling wood. I am wondering whether more humid air will be at the top of the cabinet or towards the bottom. I also have four small Oust fans in there to make sure there aren't zones of humidity building up which might cause mold.

I've had this system going for about 10 days and I've checked some cakes here and there...no signs of mold. While I'm testing this system out how often should I be checking for signs of mold growth?
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby tenuki » Apr 13th, '13, 15:44

Maitre_Tea wrote: While I'm testing this system out how often should I be checking for signs of mold growth?


Every 10 minutes.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 13th, '13, 15:51

tenuki wrote:
Maitre_Tea wrote: While I'm testing this system out how often should I be checking for signs of mold growth?


Every 10 minutes.


ha ha this is already kind of true. I'm checking it pretty often just to see how high RH can be, but if I keep opening it up the RH numbers will probably be screwed up because humid air is escaping every time I open it up.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby futurebird » Apr 13th, '13, 17:45

Hong Kong Humidity

Image

Hmmm. Science says open it more often in Dec and Nov. :)

But really, is the goal to have "wet storage" or just more humid storage? I'm very curious about pumidor this business.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Tatter » Apr 13th, '13, 23:07

Would be a very good idea to buy a couple of those cheap hygrometers and place them at different spots in your cabinet. Temp and RH can vary to surprising amounts, depending on how good or bad your air flow is. In general, it will be hotter and drier on the highest shelf, and cooler and more humid on the lower shelves (great conditions for mold). That is, unless you've got some decent air flow system to keep things more steady.

At 22 C and 72% RH, that puts the dew point at 17 C, meaning that if the temperature drops just a few degrees you will get wet condensation on your teas. At 79% RH the dew point is 18 C. Definitely want to keep a close eye on things.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 13th, '13, 23:31

The cabinet is 30" x 30" x 12" How drastically would RH vary from one point to another within the cabinet? I have my pumidor set up like solitude's on this thread (bottom of page two):

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16335&hilit=pumidor&start=15

Except there are actual doors and I have two metal racks. I have four oust fans on the bottom rack. Two are positioned to blow upwards and two are position to blow sideways. The fans blow for five minutes in 15 minute intervals. Hopefully this will prevent "dead zones" of excess humidity building up. As for the water I'm using distilled with charcoal bamboo, and I'm planning to change out the water every couple of months or so.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby futurebird » Apr 13th, '13, 23:44

Do you have any duplicate cakes that you could store one inside of the pumidor one outside sop that one could do a side by side comparison... or maybe break a cake in half?

I think it'd really help all of us who wonder just how much impact these things have. (I suspect they have some impact, but have no idea how much... I remember one member here got every good results)

That said, I have tasted teas that were aged in very dry (western) environments that also matured well.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby tst » Apr 14th, '13, 00:25

Tatter wrote:Would be a very good idea to buy a couple of those cheap hygrometers and place them at different spots in your cabinet. Temp and RH can vary to surprising amounts, depending on how good or bad your air flow is. In general, it will be hotter and drier on the highest shelf, and cooler and more humid on the lower shelves (great conditions for mold). That is, unless you've got some decent air flow system to keep things more steady.

At 22 C and 72% RH, that puts the dew point at 17 C, meaning that if the temperature drops just a few degrees you will get wet condensation on your teas. At 79% RH the dew point is 18 C. Definitely want to keep a close eye on things.


I'm not a physicist, but my understanding is this. 17C and 22C are 62.6F and 71.6F respectively ... 9F apart. I'm not sure about Maitre's findings, but my pumidor (similar design as solitude's) doesn't shift that much very often. One of the benefits I've found with this system is that the fish tank water heater helps keep a more stable temperature, decreasing the likelihood of any drastic temperature changes leading to condensation. And when the temperature does shift, the RH is shifting simultaneously, which in turn changes the dew point of the system.

My numbers since 2/22/13, have ranged anywhere from 68F and 77% RH to 79F and 65% RH ... and just about everything in between.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 14th, '13, 00:34

The temperature doesn't shift too often in the pumidor. It has varied between 71 F and 75 F, depending on the time of day. I'm guessing this has something to do with rising/falling temperature as the day goes on. I'm hoping that between the aquarium water heater and central heating/cooling there won't be too much variation in RH and temperature.

I am slightly worried that the RH might push past 80 (which is dangerous mold growing territory) but it hasn't happened yet.
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby tst » Apr 14th, '13, 00:37

If your RH starts climbing too high, you can try lowering your heater setting, or you can decrease the total amount of water in your "tank".
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Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Apr 14th, '13, 00:56

tst, how much wattage does your aquarium water heater have? Mine's only 50W. I'm curious about the amount of evaporation that's occurring, but that shouldn't be too complicated to calculate.
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