Aging question


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Aging question

Postby tecnanaut » Jan 25th, '14, 19:37

Hi Guys!

About a year back I brought a sample of Dan Cong Oolong, and I loved it. To my great horror, when I bought a 50g bag a while later, the taste just wasn't the same. It had a sparkly water sort of quality and was just generally diluted. This when using the same water and brewing techniques etc.

Quite disappointed I put the bag away. After about 6 months I found it again and thought to myself 'oh what the heck, might as well drink it'. To my surprise it had changed and was the wonderful tea from the sample!

Now I'm a complete noob when it comes to ageing, but can tea really age even in a zip-lock bag? Would it be a good idea to age this type of Oolong in the future, perhaps in a more adequate container?

Thanks
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Re: Ageing question

Postby Teaism » Jan 25th, '14, 23:09

Yes Dancong will aged well. Put them in airtight tin and away from heat. They will definitely taste much better when aged provide you store them well.

Cheers!
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Re: Ageing question

Postby TIM » Jan 25th, '14, 23:33

Until oolong are process in a certain way, they will go stale.
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Re: Ageing question

Postby Teaism » Jan 25th, '14, 23:56

Oolong is a general classification. Dancong is part of Oolong. Tim and I is right in a certain way. Some oolong can go stale but most Yancha incl Dancong can aged well. Others like Tie Kwan Yin if process in certain way can go stale. A lot depend on how you store them.

Personally from experience, I find most tea incl white to black will aged well and drinkable if stored well. Probably the only one with aging issue would be Longjing. I have oolong and many aged tea from 1950s to present and they are definitely drinkable and really very nice.

Well if you have issue with aged tea, I will be glad to take over your old tea for free in the spirit of recycling. Don't trash it. :lol:

Cheers!
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Re: Ageing question

Postby tecnanaut » Jan 26th, '14, 05:52

Interesting Thanks! For some reason I had assumed ageing was something that came out with contact with air and that it would be inhibited in an airtight container.
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Re: Ageing question

Postby Tead Off » Jan 26th, '14, 14:16

tecnanaut wrote:Interesting Thanks! For some reason I had assumed ageing was something that came out with contact with air and that it would be inhibited in an airtight container.

Exposure to air is what usually depletes the tea of taste and aroma. You want to inhibit oxidation by storing in containers that have minimal exposure to air. Teas that have been depleted are usually referred to as 'flat'.
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Re: Ageing question

Postby miig » Jan 26th, '14, 14:41

Hm, maybe a few basic guidelines as far as I've understood and experienced these things. I'll say before that these are rules of thumb and there are numerous exceptions for every one of them, but basically, you might say:

- Air exposure for maturation is only relevant for Pu-Erh. The other tea varieties should be stored without air contact.
I'm gonna be beaten up for this, but: Even for Pu there are some who think that it should also be stored without oxygen; e.g. Hojo and the Tea Urchin.

- You might say that most 'greenish' teas don't age well. That means most of the green teas, but also green style Oolongs.
- Everything that has more roast and/or oxidation will age better: Especially darker (traditionally made) Tie Guan Yins, Dan Cong and Yancha. (especially of DC there are also green varieties made now).

Many exceptions here too! E.g. many japanese greens neeed some time after production, the more deep-steamed, the more quickly they're ready.

But what I think might be the explanation for your case: Most Oolongs that have been roasted to a larger degree should have at least a couple of months to rest for the roasting aromas do disappear. The teas will not be so very pleasant before that has happened. Maybe you got a very freshly made one?
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Re: Ageing question

Postby tecnanaut » Jan 26th, '14, 15:22

Thanks all, very helpful :D

miig wrote:But what I think might be the explanation for your case: Most Oolongs that have been roasted to a larger degree should have at least a couple of months to rest for the roasting aromas do disappear. The teas will not be so very pleasant before that has happened. Maybe you got a very freshly made one?


I guess it is quite possible as well.

The idea of things silently getting better by time is very appealing :mrgreen:
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Re: Ageing question

Postby miig » Jan 26th, '14, 18:28

Yes, absolutely.
I love Dan Cong very much, and hence a little tip: Next time you stock up on DC, buy some bags of decent or good quality (not light-roasted, a normal variety like Huang Zhi Xiang or Mi Lan Xiang), put them in a cool place and forget about them for 2-5 years.

After that time, get back to them and I promise you won't regret it :)
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Re: Ageing question

Postby tecnanaut » Jan 26th, '14, 19:35

I will try that :mrgreen:
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Re: Ageing question

Postby chrl42 » Jan 27th, '14, 01:03

TGY is most horrible without treatment stored for long time, followed by greens

whites get fantastic after ageing, some people prefer long-stored Wuyi/DC as well, although I like within 3~5-yr range. :D
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Re: Aging question

Postby tecnanaut » Jan 27th, '14, 12:09

Follow up question, I have an old matcha can lying around which I think is just perfect for 'forgetting' some Da Cong in. I washed it out with plain water and dried it out, it just has a slight matcha odour to it left, I was thinking about 'seasoning it' with a gram or two to absorb the odour before I store a substantial amount in it?
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Re: Aging question

Postby Teaism » Jan 27th, '14, 12:14

You can try soaking it with baking soda to see if you can remove the smell. Make sure it is airtight when you store your tea. You can tape the gap to ensure better seal.
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Re: Aging question

Postby ABx » Feb 16th, '14, 16:01

Something to keep in mind is that tea doesn't really travel well, and will take some time to acclimate after you first open it. Doubly so if it was vacuum packed. This may have been what you were experiencing, because 6 months is more "rested" than "aged." Depending on the tea, it can take a number of years to actually start aging.

Almost any tea with roast (including dancong) will improve over the course of the first 1-3 years as the roast settles. If you get a tea in the fan qing stage, then it might be really surprisingly off. Good shops don't sell teas with much roast until they're at least a year old (although this applies to high fire more than something like dancong, but dancong is often better after resting some time).

Leaving leaf out to breathe before steeping can help, although if it's vacuum packed then it really needs to rest for a while first (e.g., put it in a tin, open the tin every day or two and shake a bit to exchange the air; 3 or 4 times usually does it). This doesn't really help as much with teas still going through initial changes from roasting, though.
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Re: Aging question

Postby jasonowalker » Apr 25th, '14, 17:17

There are opinions on ageing oolong, and there is actually some published research on the topic.

I posted on a LinkedIn forum a scientific study that analyzed the components and changes that take place in aged Taiwan oolong. Generally, the re-firing or re-roasting process converted alcohol and acid chains, and created nitrogen compounds. The study didn't rule out the impact of time, but found that the roasting/firing created more measurable change in aroma/flavor.

As such, you could do a little experiment. If you have a ceramic crockpot, or maybe a metal rice cooker, put your teas in for 30 - 60 mins at the "Keep Warm," or lowest heat setting. See if you notice any improvement in your dancong.
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