low-tech pumidor


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

Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby TokyoB » Jun 25th, '13, 08:41

tenuki wrote:Doing the same thing but using humidification beads (hold at steady 65% humidity) and maybe a bit of ventilation. still dialing it it, will post picts and instructions when it's working to my satisfaction.


What type of container are you using?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby gasninja » Jun 25th, '13, 09:00

TokyoB wrote:Or put another way, I really think you're rolling the dice and sooner or later you'll roll snake eyes (= mold!!!).

82F and 84% humidity would really scare me... :shock:


For extended periods of time yes .

my pumidor fluctuates that high for short periods of time. I won't let it stay that high for more than 3-4 days though before making the rh decline.back into the mid to high70s. The most important thing you have to watch out for is condensation. The only issue I have had resulted from condenstion forming on the walls. Now all my cakes are off the ground on grated metal racks and at least an inch away from every wall.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby gasninja » Jun 25th, '13, 09:31

Duplicate post :?
Last edited by gasninja on Jun 25th, '13, 09:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby gasninja » Jun 25th, '13, 09:46

[quote="SFLouis]. Maybe I should build a chamber specifically for the purpose of generating the highest possible humidity and put one of my old 'tuition' cakes in there so I can find out exactly how high the humidity has to be in order to produce mold.

It's actually not that far of a jump to apply mycological humidification techniques to the purpose of storing tea. In either situation, one is trying to manipulate the temperature and humidity so that it will favor the growth of fungi. [/quote]
I think there are other factors at play than just humidity and temp. Involved in mold making its appearance. Such as sterility. Most importantly in my eyes how sterile is your humidification device. Most of the horror stories I have heard involve a sponge. Also what fungi are already present on your cakes. I try to sterilize my humidification system regularly.

Mycological techniques should work very well as you actually need a very sterile yet humid environment. Mold is as much an issue in growing mushrooms as it is in ageing puerh. Mold or other unwanted fungi will attackthe desired fungi if you do not have a sterile environment.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby BioHorn » Jun 25th, '13, 14:46

gasninja wrote:[quote="SFLouis]. Maybe I should build a chamber specifically for the purpose of generating the highest possible humidity and put one of my old 'tuition' cakes in there so I can find out exactly how high the humidity has to be in order to produce mold.

It's actually not that far of a jump to apply mycological humidification techniques to the purpose of storing tea. In either situation, one is trying to manipulate the temperature and humidity so that it will favor the growth of fungi. [/quote]
I think there are other factors at play than just humidity and temp. Involved in mold making its appearance. Such as sterility. Most importantly in my eyes how sterile is your humidification device. Most of the horror stories I have heard involve a sponge. Also what fungi are already present on your cakes. I try to sterilize my humidification system regularly.

Mycological techniques should work very well as you actually need a very sterile yet humid environment. Mold is as much an issue in growing mushrooms as it is in ageing puerh. Mold or other unwanted fungi will attackthe desired fungi if you do not have a sterile environment.[/quote]


GN:
Thank you very much for making that interesting point. Boveda Packs have been working quite well for me. While not the cheapest option, they have delivered consistant and apparently quite "clean" humidity. I have heard of people having problems with the "humidity bead" systems.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tenuki » Jun 25th, '13, 15:01

TokyoB wrote:
tenuki wrote:Doing the same thing but using humidification beads (hold at steady 65% humidity) and maybe a bit of ventilation. still dialing it it, will post picts and instructions when it's working to my satisfaction.


What type of container are you using?


food safe 5 gallon buckets from lowes - people use them for long term emergency food storage.

I'm experimenting with airflow and figuring out a cheap way to block light. My first try for light is using butcher/kraft paper to line the inside and for airflow punch some holes.

The humidity beads are essentially like cigar afficianos use - they max out at 65, which is perfect, and to get to that you have to add water to them fairly regularly - so it would be entirely possible to raise and lower humidity over time. I use kitty litter for the beads, that freaks some cigar folks out, but many of us have been using them for years in our cigar humidors with no discernible difference from the more expensive cigar focused ones. I'm guessing they are made in the same factory and just marketed different ($$$).

Current iteration the beads are held in some food mesh bags and set in round puer cake sized and shaped bamboo trays. This makes it easy to add to my existing yixing storage jars too, etc and fits in with the cakes seamlessly. Still dialing this in and finding cheap food safe off the shelf components that work as well.

I think a more sophisticated system is in the eventual works with humidity sensors, modular connectors for airflow/control between buckets and some fan run via embedded processor ( like an arduino ), but my side projects tend to take several years since I only occasionally work on them and have um, many... ;) cheap and easy first, then add controllable, etc later.

My goals are:

Inexpensive - each module should cost under 10 bucks
modular - grow as your collection grows, stackable, space efficient
easy - minimal build, setup and maintenance
simple design - fail-safe, minimalist

for eventual controller setup:

modular, easy, simple, stand alone
remotely monitor-able - humidity and temp, with alarms,etc
open source - there may be some stuff like arduino code, circuits, 3d printer files that are produced, they will all be open sourced and published for others to use/improve.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tenuki » Jun 25th, '13, 15:49

BTW - a conversation with a vendor in HK seem to indicate that temperature was a bigger factor that humidity alone - he said most of the good aging seemed to come in the summer, with wintertime being more of a 'o crap we got to keep mould off of these cakes' time. So I have been exploring ideas around temp control as well. I use reptile mats for my kombucha brewing and they work like a charm, there are also fish tank elements, and space heaters. Still thinking through the design matrix for the heat part of this project. Hacking one of those small solid state refrigerators to both heat and cool ( the element can do both, just needs new controls ) or making my own with a peltier element has also passed my mind...
Last edited by tenuki on Jun 25th, '13, 16:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Bad Jedi » Jun 25th, '13, 15:55

Summer is here :) Airing out my storage room every two days now .

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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tenuki » Jun 25th, '13, 16:13

Bad Jedi wrote:Summer is here :)


:shock:
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Exempt » Jun 25th, '13, 20:52

I guarantee that with over 80 degree temperature and 80 percent humidity you will have mold. Most people (myself included) try to build pumidors with little to no upkeep. At those levels I would be checking the tea everyday, because mold has happened to many with much lower temp and humidity. The stagnant air is also very worrying. There are many other threads about different peoples pumidor set ups, maybe you should check those out.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby ChengduCha » Jun 25th, '13, 22:50

For those unconcerned with mold growth and mold ingestion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold_health_issues
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Bad Jedi » Jun 26th, '13, 02:36

Exempt wrote:I guarantee that with over 80 degree temperature and 80 percent humidity you will have mold. Most people (myself included) try to build pumidors with little to no upkeep. At those levels I would be checking the tea everyday, because mold has happened to many with much lower temp and humidity. The stagnant air is also very worrying. There are many other threads about different peoples pumidor set ups, maybe you should check those out.


Same story every summer , never had mold , room size is 130ft² with sufficient air circulation. Humidity level is stable around 80% with some short spikes around 90 but that's manageable.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby theredbaron » Jun 26th, '13, 03:25

SFLouis wrote:Weatherbase.com has Bangkok's monthly average relative humidity ranges from 49-68 when measured in the evening, but it ranges from 84 to 92% (yikes) when measured in the morning. So it does indeed get WAY over 80%. In fact, the morning average relative humidity is lowest in December, and even then it is 84%, and that IS stifling. Wow.

http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weat ... C+Thailand

According to this 7-day forecast, the humidity in Bangkok tends to fluctuate between the high 40's and the mid 80's during the course of a day: http://www.tititudorancea.com/z/weather_don_muang.htm

Your point is still very valid. Unfluctuating humidity over 80% is a very different thing from humidity that may fluctuate by as much as 30% during the course of a day. I will check my cakes very carefully. Thanks for the good luck wishes!



Adding to Tead Off's post - the really high humidity we only have during the rain season, when it rains. There are also drier and sunnier days, and a dry season where the humidity is lower.

I have had Pu Erh's destroyed here which i have forgotten in enclosed spaces.

You are setting yourself up for growing mushrooms with that set up, with the Pu as a feeding ground.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Exempt » Jun 27th, '13, 01:00

Bad Jedi wrote:
Exempt wrote:I guarantee that with over 80 degree temperature and 80 percent humidity you will have mold. Most people (myself included) try to build pumidors with little to no upkeep. At those levels I would be checking the tea everyday, because mold has happened to many with much lower temp and humidity. The stagnant air is also very worrying. There are many other threads about different peoples pumidor set ups, maybe you should check those out.


Same story every summer , never had mold , room size is 130ft² with sufficient air circulation. Humidity level is stable around 80% with some short spikes around 90 but that's manageable.


I could see those temps and humidity working in a large room with good air flow. I was referring to the OPs setup where the air is stagnant and space is small
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tst » Jun 27th, '13, 02:12

tenuki wrote:BTW - a conversation with a vendor in HK seem to indicate that temperature was a bigger factor that humidity alone - he said most of the good aging seemed to come in the summer, with wintertime being more of a 'o crap we got to keep mould off of these cakes' time. So I have been exploring ideas around temp control as well ...


Both humidity and temperature must be considered imo, they go hand-in-hand.
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