low-tech pumidor


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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby jayinhk » Jun 27th, '13, 06:05

Another concern without air exchange is anaerobic bacteria...you must have some air exchange or you will definitely have issues.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby SFLouis » Jul 2nd, '13, 19:04

So, there has been no mold whatsoever, but I did notice that one of my cakes turned a lot darker in a very short period of time, and I found this somewhat unsettling. Combining this observation with all the well-intentioned scolding from all the wonderful people here at TC, I decided that 84% humidity in an airtight container was a bit extreme, so I changed it. I've found that by unplugging the hole in the lid and only halfway sealing the lid closed, I can reduce the humidity of the storage container to 69%. There is some (very little) airflow, and the temperature hangs just below 80F. I will of course keep checking on things.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tst » Jul 2nd, '13, 19:28

Can't remember the specifics of your storage setup (and too lazy to go back ... haha, please don't judge me :( ), but one thing I added to my "pumidor" a few weeks back was some small, CPU fans.

My impression? The make a major difference in the Rh of the storage area. Really increases the Rh, but also provides a more consistent Rh throughout the enclosure. I bought a pack of 4 fans and a power adaptor from Fry's for around $20-$30 USD. They run a little noisy and I still need to get a timer to turn the fans on/off at specific times of the day. Still working out the kinks.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Maitre_Tea » Jul 3rd, '13, 01:28

I actually use a couple of Oust fans without the scented oil. They turn on/off in 5/15 minute cycles. It's worked well for me and they run pretty quietly. Can't find them in stores since they're discontinued, but you can find them on Ebay.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby MrEffendi » Jul 11th, '13, 21:37

It might just be me but 82 degrees F sounds a little on the hot side. You don't want to denature those nice psychoactive alkaloids in the leaves. You want taste but you want that good cha qi too!

Just move on down to the Florida subtropics and don't worry about building a humidor. The humidity comes naturally :D Mind the mosquitoes, 'gators, and invasive anacondas though.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby whatsinaname » Jul 12th, '13, 10:39

I've been futzing with my storage lately. Got some home hygrometers.

Looks like my rubbermaid setup (copy of Tim's blog post) keeps things at around 72F/72% +/-5F/%.

Ain't no traditional storage, but they ain't ruined either (at least not yet).

Given my enthusiastic naivety, I'm happy that my cakes are not dead.

My puerh procurement strategy has changed over the last five years, however.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby Exempt » Jul 12th, '13, 13:11

whatsinaname wrote:I've been futzing with my storage lately. Got some home hygrometers.

Looks like my rubbermaid setup (copy of Tim's blog post) keeps things at around 72F/72% +/-5F/%.

Ain't no traditional storage, but they ain't ruined either (at least not yet).

Given my enthusiastic naivety, I'm happy that my cakes are not dead.

My puerh procurement strategy has changed over the last five years, however.


Are you using TIM's setup that has the wet bamboo tong wrappers below the cakes?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby whatsinaname » Jul 12th, '13, 13:45

I use humidification beads rather than soaked bamboo wrapper, but the effect is the same. Airing the boxes and moving the beads around occurs naturally in the course of my regular rummaging for something to drink.

I would love to hear an update from Tim on this approach as he has been using it for a several years from what I gather.

The more I learn, the less I know...
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tst » Jul 12th, '13, 15:22

My only concern with using this sort of setup would be a lack of fluctuation in temperature and humidity (since it is essentially a closed system). We don't know how tea will age long-term without fluctuation.

Does tea need the natural, seasonal changes in temp and Rh in order to age properly?

Does this system (closed and relatively consistent as I understand it) allow the tea to age properly?

I'd be very curious to hear thoughts on this, as I do not know. I also want to be clear that I have zero experience with the tupperware storage method (another concern of mine since plastics can leach unnatural odors over time), and only state that these were some of my thoughts when I chose the type of storage I wanted to design.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby TIM » Jul 12th, '13, 16:00

tst wrote:My only concern with using this sort of setup would be a lack of fluctuation in temperature and humidity (since it is essentially a closed system). We don't know how tea will age long-term without fluctuation.

Does tea need the natural, seasonal changes in temp and Rh in order to age properly?

Does this system (closed and relatively consistent as I understand it) allow the tea to age properly?

I'd be very curious to hear thoughts on this, as I do not know. I also want to be clear that I have zero experience with the tupperware storage method (another concern of mine since plastics can leach unnatural odors over time), and only state that these were some of my thoughts when I chose the type of storage I wanted to design.


Why do we need fluctuation?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tst » Jul 12th, '13, 17:50

Exactly. That's what I asked.

tst wrote:We don't know how tea will age long-term without fluctuation.

Does tea need the natural, seasonal changes in temp and Rh in order to age properly?


My thought process is that historically puerh has been aged with fluctuation of these variables. Never (as far as I understand it) has puerh been stored with consistent temperature and Rh values over significant periods of time.

However, I agree. Perhaps this consistent, non-variable storage will produce better results than the way tea has always been stored, since there was never the technology to maintain constant conditions. I'm just stating that storing tea in "closed-system pumidors" (without seasonal fluctuation) is not representative of the environment tea has been stored in historically (again, this based on my understanding, which could very well be incorrect). Am I wrong here?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby TIM » Jul 12th, '13, 18:09

tst wrote:Exactly. That's what I asked.

tst wrote:We don't know how tea will age long-term without fluctuation.

Does tea need the natural, seasonal changes in temp and Rh in order to age properly?


My thought process is that historically puerh has been aged with fluctuation of these variables. Never (as far as I understand it) has puerh been stored with consistent temperature and Rh values over significant periods of time.

However, I agree. Perhaps this consistent, non-variable storage will produce better results than the way tea has always been stored, since there was never the technology to maintain constant conditions. I'm just stating that storing tea in "closed-system pumidors" (without seasonal fluctuation) is not representative of the environment tea has been stored in historically (again, this based on my understanding, which could very well be incorrect). Am I wrong here?


How about traditional Hong Kong storage?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby tst » Jul 12th, '13, 18:22

How about it?
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby TIM » Jul 12th, '13, 18:31

tst wrote:How about it?


Traditional Hong Kong storage is a technique for aging puerh in an enclosed, controlled multiple levels environment for a long period of time, usually until it passes the first sick period. The temp/humidity are control to a certain level to create micro climates within the large sum of cakes. Only because of the volume so that it could archive this enclosed mature stages. The tea are closely monitored by a "Storage Master" and rotate or move to different levels.

These practice were refined from the 50's and on in Canton.
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Re: low-tech pumidor

Postby MrEffendi » Jul 12th, '13, 19:15

TIM wrote:
tst wrote:My only concern with using this sort of setup would be a lack of fluctuation in temperature and humidity (since it is essentially a closed system). We don't know how tea will age long-term without fluctuation.

Does tea need the natural, seasonal changes in temp and Rh in order to age properly?

Does this system (closed and relatively consistent as I understand it) allow the tea to age properly?

I'd be very curious to hear thoughts on this, as I do not know. I also want to be clear that I have zero experience with the tupperware storage method (another concern of mine since plastics can leach unnatural odors over time), and only state that these were some of my thoughts when I chose the type of storage I wanted to design.


Why do we need fluctuation?


Just a guess, but I'd imagine you'd want the tea to rest a little bit after being stored under high humidity. Maybe just to air out those unpleasant wou dei characteristics that come with wet storage.

I've had tea that had a strong wou dei sort of taste as it was stored in HK for quite some time, but after airing it out in my closet for a few months the unpleasant tastes disappeared and I was left with quite a tasty cake.
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