storing and mold


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

storing and mold

Postby theredbaron » Apr 26th, '13, 12:53

I have just read an interesting article regarding mold development on food. It seems that there is right now an argument going on about possible preservatives in a 14 year old McDonalds hamburger that looks as if bought the the same day.
In this German language article a TV sender has made a comparative test between 3 burgers - a McDonalds burger, a bio-burger without preservatives, and a supermarket burger - which could be quite interesting regarding Pu Erh storage.

Here's the link, for German readers:

http://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article1 ... asser.html

and my quick translation of the for Pu Erh storage relevant passage:

"The result was clear. The burgers that were kept for 60 days in fresh air had no visible mold. All 3 were just dried up as were the objects of demonstration by the artist and now also by the young Davis Whipple from Utah.
Under the microscope microbes could be found in the bio-burger and the one from McDonalds (in comparable density), though so few that they could not affect the exterior view of the dishes. Alone the product from the supermarket, with preservatives, was free of microbes.
In a second test run the dishes were packed airtight, and after a short time mold developed - equally in all 3 samples."


This is not really a proper scientific test, yet the results could be quite important for Pu Erh storage. I was told quite early on in my Pu Erh ventures that a certain amount of airflow and exposure to climate is very important for healthy aging of Pu Erh, and have done that in the past 10+ years i have home stored my Pu Erh (with very good results). I just keep my teas on shelves in a spot in my house which has a bit of airflow, yet is not exposed to direct fans, and which has no direct sunlight.
Given the result of the 2nd hamburger test run, it seems that airtight packing can increase mold development - at least in the burgers. But given that Pu Erh tea is, especially when young, not completely dry, and organic matter, this may also occur with Pu Erh.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby apache » Apr 26th, '13, 13:31

I think water content play an important role in this case on how fast mould could develop. A lot of micro-organism can growth under anaerobic condition as long as there is water, and I think very often their anaerobic metabolism will produce some rather unpleasant by products ( or metabalic wastes ).
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Re: storing and mold

Postby Teaism » Apr 26th, '13, 22:54

Thanks for sharing the interesting article.

Tea and burger are both food item but I am just curious whether they are the same in character. Tea is hygroscopic i.e. has the ability to absord water from air. Not sure if burger has the same ability. Also for tea, it depends on the quality and dryness prior to sealing. Dry oven bake Puer will definitely has issue and goes moldy if sealed as they contain a lot of moisture. The cake absorb a lot of moisture in the cooling process after baking. Just like baking meat in the oven, we let it rest and cool down for 10-15 mins before serving to allow the meat to absorb the moisture.

Having said that , all are interesting points for discussion and learning. To satisfy out curiosity and learning process, various storing method can be tested, perhaps in small and different batch to see how they aged. From personal experience of storing sheng for many many years, in the hot and humid environment where I live, I find sealing works best so far. No apparent mold was observed or tasted in the tea, even for those 20-30 years old sheng. But it just a personal experience for sharing, I might still be wrong. :wink:
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Re: storing and mold

Postby theredbaron » Apr 27th, '13, 00:23

Teaism wrote:

Having said that , all are interesting points for discussion and learning. To satisfy out curiosity and learning process, various storing method can be tested, perhaps in small and different batch to see how they aged. From personal experience of storing sheng for many many years, in the hot and humid environment where I live, I find sealing works best so far. No apparent mold was observed or tasted in the tea, even for those 20-30 years old sheng. But it just a personal experience for sharing, I might still be wrong. :wink:


I would wish that there could be some more scientific research into storing Pu Erh under different conditions, especially regarding mold development and how to best avoid it yet have the best possible aging conditions.
What we have right now is mostly purely personal experience.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby lordsbm » Apr 27th, '13, 00:57

Teaism wrote: From personal experience of storing sheng for many many years, in the hot and humid environment where I live, I find sealing works best so far. No apparent mold was observed or tasted in the tea, even for those 20-30 years old sheng. But it just a personal experience for sharing, I might still be wrong. :wink:


I'm thinking of putting tea in cardboard box with silca gel inside, then food wrap the box. Wonder how that will turn out in a few year :lol:
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Re: storing and mold

Postby Teaism » Apr 27th, '13, 01:06

theredbaron wrote:

I would wish that there could be some more scientific research into storing Pu Erh under different conditions, especially regarding mold development and how to best avoid it yet have the best possible aging conditions.
What we have right now is mostly purely personal experience.


+1.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby Tead Off » Apr 27th, '13, 02:28

theredbaron wrote:
Teaism wrote:

Having said that , all are interesting points for discussion and learning. To satisfy out curiosity and learning process, various storing method can be tested, perhaps in small and different batch to see how they aged. From personal experience of storing sheng for many many years, in the hot and humid environment where I live, I find sealing works best so far. No apparent mold was observed or tasted in the tea, even for those 20-30 years old sheng. But it just a personal experience for sharing, I might still be wrong. :wink:


I would wish that there could be some more scientific research into storing Pu Erh under different conditions, especially regarding mold development and how to best avoid it yet have the best possible aging conditions.
What we have right now is mostly purely personal experience.

Why would you doubt your personal experience? Do you really think that a lab test makes anything more true than what you are experiencing? If your method works for you, I say amen. If Teaism's method works for him, I say the same thing.

One of the major differences that I have experienced from limited experience with storing Puerh, 6-7 years, is the loss of flavor and aroma in some cakes, not all. This is using Redbaron's method. All cakes have changed and become better but at some point, some will begin to lose flavor and aroma. The reason I am attracted to Teasim's method is just this. He is claiming no loss of flavor and aroma. I would venture to guess that many, many, drinkers have experienced loss of these qualities in aged teas. If the plastic wrap method works, it would be the best solution for me. In both methods, here in SEAsia, there is no wet stored qualities that develop.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby theredbaron » Apr 27th, '13, 03:23

Tead Off wrote:Why would you doubt your personal experience? Do you really think that a lab test makes anything more true than what you are experiencing? If your method works for you, I say amen. If Teaism's method works for him, I say the same thing.



Well, there is always the possibility that one's method can be improved upon. If there is scientific data available, especially regarding mold development in Pu Erh tea under different climatic conditions and varied forms of packages, it could help finding the best possible ways of storage.

These discussions gave me incentive to read about a lot of things i did not know about, such as dew point, etc., and looking at this, there are many variables that can make or break a Pu Erh collection, or just improve it.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 27th, '13, 10:35

I believe in science. But in this case, if one needs experiments, one had better specify what question is to be answered.

For some questions discussed, I think the mechanisms are already very clear and experiment may not give anything new. For example, if one uses plastic wrap in a very humid place, it helps to prevent humidity (and therefore mold). That's very straight forward. On the other hand, if one is not careful enough in a very humid place and let moisture leaks into the plastic wrap, then moisture is trapped in and the cake is prone to mold. That's also very straight forward too. The temperature and humidity conditions required for various mold growth have also been thoroughly researched.

I do agree with theredbaron that some controlled experiments would help to understand how different non-moldy situations (or no more than healthy-Hong-Kong-humid-storage mold situations) would lead to different aging outcomes. But still, what questions one wants to ask needs to be specified before any research is implemented. There have been some research on this topic already, but I guess until more professional puerh storage warehouses are developed (that might be a trend in future and is already being done in Malaysia) there is short of interest in this area.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby quikstep » Jul 16th, '13, 05:43

hi all. could someone kindly tell me if this is "mold"?

being in malaysia, i usually just store my tea in a A4 paper box. the cakes are zip-locked and stored in the box while the tuos are just in it original wrapping in the box.

this is reportedly a '99 sheng tuo from Tulin FengHuang. i only noticed this happening towards the end of the tuo (prolly 1.5 brews left)

here:
Image

no flash:
Image
full http://i.imgur.com/5hd3Q7h.jpg

flash:
Image
full http://i.imgur.com/09V6v2L.jpg
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Re: storing and mold

Postby Evan Draper » Jul 16th, '13, 11:34

Yes, all your tea is ruined and you should mail it to me. For, uh...disposal purposes.
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Re: storing and mold

Postby ChengduCha » Jul 16th, '13, 20:57

There's a big difference between burgers and tea though, as the burger contains plenty of moisture, while tea is processed to remove moisture / reduce it to minimum levels.

I my experience, zip locked storage in both humid and non humid conditions, doesn't lead to mold growth, but certainly not always to optimal aging.

The samples that tea sellers store in a legal envelope type environment always seem to taste best, however, I haven't done it myself yet to compare.


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