Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor


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

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby futurebird » Apr 15th, '13, 19:05

^ wisdom
futurebird
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Feb 12th, '
Location: South Bronx, NYC

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby wyardley » Apr 15th, '13, 22:49

gingkoseto wrote:Nowadays among Chinese drinkers, many people denounce humid storage like there is no tomorrow. But among the knowledgeable Chinese tea people I know, few of them would denounce the real professional humid storage - although most of them prefer dry storage, they have respect to professional humid storage.
On the other hand, I've never drunk a tea stored in desert. So I don't always understand what people mean by "too dry" storage.
[...]
Besides, not everybody in the dry-storage camp has had excellent dry-aged tea, and not everybody in the humid storage camp has had excellent humid-aged tea, let alone excellent stored tea of the other camp.

Totally agree with all of this.
But, even in the case of what's generally referred to / agreed upon as as "dry storage", we are not talking about tea that's been vacuum sealed or individually wrapped. Even "dry stored" or naturally stored tea has mostly been stored in relatively humid places like HK, Taiwan, SE Asia. In the case where the tea is stored in collectors' houses individually, you might have some individual cases where the tea is stored this way. I have tried some teas allegedly stored this way; personally, I prefer my tea with a little more cockroach flavor.

Given the style of teas that are mostly preferred by Malaysian Chinese (mostly fairly heavy / dark teas, such as heavier fire oolongs, liubao, liu'an, etc.), I really find it hard to believe that so many Malaysian collectors have been storing their teas in sealed bags since the 1950s or 1970s when "dry storage" as such did not exist, pu'er was not at all expensive, and presumably air conditioning and vacuum sealing devices (or even zip-lock bags) less common or non-existent.

Storing the tea in a humidor with reasonable humidity settings is not trying to simulate a tea warehouse -- it's just trying to boost the humidity to a high enough point where the tea doesn't dry out completely.
User avatar
wyardley
 
Posts: 1933
Joined: Jan 11th, '
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby theredbaron » Apr 15th, '13, 23:02

gingkoseto wrote:On the other hand, I've never drunk a tea stored in desert. So I don't always understand what people mean by "too dry" storage.



Try teas stored in dry continental climates, such as Bejing. Then you know what too dry means. Also most Kumning stored teas have very little of the desired change.
There is a middle ground - in natural storage there are huge variations, depending on local climate and storage conditions, and there is also too dry and too humid. In extremely humid climates tea can become moldy even without accelerated artificial aging (such as in Singapore and Malaysia, for example).
theredbaron
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 15th, '13, 23:42

theredbaron wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:On the other hand, I've never drunk a tea stored in desert. So I don't always understand what people mean by "too dry" storage.



Try teas stored in dry continental climates, such as Bejing. Then you know what too dry means. Also most Kumning stored teas have very little of the desired change.

Why do I ever want to buy tea stored in Beijing :mrgreen: And why would anybody store tea in the city with the most expensive real estate?
I do enjoy a lot of Kunming stored teas of 10-20 years of age. And it ever puzzles me why Kunming is considered a "dry" place.
User avatar
gingkoseto
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24th, '
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby Tead Off » Apr 15th, '13, 23:44

gingkoseto wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:On the other hand, I've never drunk a tea stored in desert. So I don't always understand what people mean by "too dry" storage.



Try teas stored in dry continental climates, such as Bejing. Then you know what too dry means. Also most Kumning stored teas have very little of the desired change.

Why do I ever want to buy tea stored in Beijing :mrgreen: And why would anybody store tea in the city with the most expensive real estate?
I do enjoy a lot of Kunming stored teas of 10-20 years of age. And it ever puzzles me why Kunming is considered a "dry" place.

Not to mention one of the most polluted places on the planet.
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3440
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 15th, '13, 23:59

wyardley wrote:But, even in the case of what's generally referred to / agreed upon as as "dry storage", we are not talking about tea that's been vacuum sealed or individually wrapped.

This method is very popular in south China. But most people I know who do this, live in places where the tea is in great danger of mold. I think if one likes mold, it had better be professionally grown mold. There is no point growing it at home. I guess most SE Asian guys who do this are for mold prevention. Some Cantonese guys I know who don't use ziploc bag method have their tea feet away from the wall and from the floor, and at least on the second floor. Not everybody could afford this kind of tea storage room at home. Ziploc bag method is a relatively inexpensive solution. However, people who consciously use it may also find that ziploc bag could even promote chance of mold in certain conditions, although generally it's protective.
I don't personally know anybody who live in dry/safe enough place and still want to use ziploc bag.

wyardley wrote:Storing the tea in a humidor with reasonable humidity settings is not trying to simulate a tea warehouse -- it's just trying to boost the humidity to a high enough point where the tea doesn't dry out completely.

This I do agree. But this is in the most ideal situation. It only takes one accident to ruin the tea. I have some teas from Guangzhou that I think are nicely dry-stored yet enjoyed good level of humidity. But in my eyes, it takes Kunming only some more years, but there is a lot more safety. If a dealer sells tea in Guangzhou and never had a mold attack, chances are he has a powerful dehumidifier and/or he has 2nd-floor storage. There are many such good dealers in Guangzhou. On the other hand, it happened for multiple times in the past that many first-floor stores in Guangzhou "tea city" were flooded over night after some big storm/flood. Probably not all those stores would throw their cakes away. They will find some way to sell them eventually, that's me thinking cynically :mrgreen:
User avatar
gingkoseto
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24th, '
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby BioHorn » Apr 16th, '13, 00:11

wyardley wrote:Storing the tea in a humidor with reasonable humidity settings is not trying to simulate a tea warehouse -- it's just trying to boost the humidity to a high enough point where the tea doesn't dry out completely.

Hi Will,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

While this may be true, there is a big difference between storing 2-5 cakes in a humidor and higher numbers. My experience has been that once above a certain number the pumidor creates a certain critical mass akin to a nuclear reactor turning on.

In my case this has been an unintended consequence. My initial motive was as you state just not letting the cakes dry out. Now it seems there is something more to it.
User avatar
BioHorn
 
Posts: 528
Joined: May 2nd, '1
Location: Shaker Heights, Ohio USA

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby wyardley » Apr 16th, '13, 01:08

BioHorn wrote:While this may be true, there is a big difference between storing 2-5 cakes in a humidor and higher numbers. My experience has been that once above a certain number the pumidor creates a certain critical mass akin to a nuclear reactor turning on.

Oh, I definitely agree that having more quantity and / or having the tea packed together makes a difference (in fact, many articles I've read about storage make note of that effect, and it's one reason why storing tea on your own at home is hard, compared to in a tea warehouse).

The tea and its wrappers does hold a lot of humdity on its own -- if I turn off the humidifiers in my tea cabinet, the cabinet will hold its humidity fairly steady for quite a long time - maybe weeks or months, even if I air it out fairly regularly.

Personally, though, even though I have most of my tea in somewhat humidified storage at home, I don't know that my tea will age well in this environment -- I think of it more as an experiment than anything else. That's one reason why I buy very little young / new tea now, and try to focus on some tea that's either ready to drink, or has already had some more intensive humid storage -- because I know that this is the tea that's likely to age to have a little bit more smoothness and more of the taste I'm looking for.

I haven't had a lot of Kunming stored tea, but I have not been a big fan of the stuff I've tried that's said to have been stored there.
Assuming this data is more or less correct:
http://www.kunming.climatemps.com/
I would say that the temperature range overall seems lower there than in South China (ave. 61 F, highest 77 F), so this may be partly why tea stored here seems fairly dry, not just the actual RH itself, as the effective RH depends greatly on the temperature.
User avatar
wyardley
 
Posts: 1933
Joined: Jan 11th, '
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby yanom » Apr 16th, '13, 02:14

The anti-pumidor people who always pop up whenever there's a discussion about adding humidity and say 'ooh I wouldn't do that if I were you' need to understand that people aren't always adding humidity because they want to make their tea even better, they're adding their tea because if they don't it will spend 10 or 15 years indoors in a centrally-heated house in a cool climate getting completely dried out. If you love extremely dried-out tea then that's great. But for anyone else, people with preferences ranging from regular dry-storage to super-wet and covered in mold, extremely dried out tea won't taste nice.

Why? Isn't it because the biological processes (fermentation? I don't know) inside pu'er need to happen for it to taste nice and aged, and they need at least slightly warm and slightly humid conditions to do so.

If there's a choice between letting young pu'er dry out over 10 years until it's horrid and undrinkable, or adding some humidity and hoping for the best, isn't the second choice the only sensible one?

To be honest, probably the best thing is not to buy young pu'er if (i) you like aged pu'er and (ii) you don't live somewhere hot and humid. But in that case, the anti-pumidor brigade who live in hot and humid places should basically just come out and tell the rest of us that we are daft for buying young pu'er and expecting it to be drinkable in 10 years time.

EDIT: "anti-pumidor" is obviously an exaggeration, there are plenty of serious causes out there I'm not for a second suggesting that ideological opposition to the concept of pumidors is one of them! :D
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby theredbaron » Apr 16th, '13, 02:47

yanom wrote:To be honest, probably the best thing is not to buy young pu'er if (i) you like aged pu'er and (ii) you don't live somewhere hot and humid. But in that case, the anti-pumidor brigade who live in hot and humid places should basically just come out and tell the rest of us that we are daft for buying young pu'er and expecting it to be drinkable in 10 years time.




This anti-pumidor terrorist here ( :wink: ) would not go so far as to say that you guys are daft. But buying young Pu Erh to age when living in a very dry climate is slightly problematic.
I would suggest a safer and easier to be controlled option could be to use a room humidifier in a room designated to store Pu Erh, which will be aired out as normal, and will be in a slightly raised humidity, which will enable (hopefully) aging, without the risks of high humidity in small and confined spaces.
Also in more humid climates there is no constant in humidity and temperature - there are seasonal changes, changes of day and night, weather changes, etc. There are more knowledgable people who argue that Pu Erh needs a certain amount of exposure to these seasonal and climatic changes, resting periods, etc.

But what do i know, i just express my doubts over pumidors based on many stories in which things went wrong. But what do i know?

Has anyone here in this discussion any positive longer term pumidor experiences (5 years +, better 10 years) that he/she can share? All i have read here is experiences of people that have used such devices for one two, or three years tops. How much wishful thinking -that aging processes of more humid climates can be replicated - is involved there?

Is there anyone here who has used a pumidor for a long period and can clearly state that tea stored such has developed similarly to teas naturally stored in humid climates?

As long as we don't have that, we can only state that the use of pumidors is in an early experimentation stage, in which we are far from knowing the end result, but have had along the way many documented failures.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Pu-Erh Placement in Pumidor

Postby futurebird » Apr 16th, '13, 08:18

What is really needed is control cakes. So that one could directly compre the impact of the pumidor with the impact of not using it.

Otherwise it will not be possible to say, if the cakes do age well if it was the pumidor or not.

And this whole topic will keep going in circles.

To prov the worth of this device one needs to show that not using it is worse than using it.
futurebird
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Feb 12th, '
Location: South Bronx, NYC

Previous

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation