Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)


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Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby Ratbert » Feb 11th, '14, 22:25

I was at one of my regular "hangout" tea shops a couple of months ago, and the tea master there had been conducting an experiment on storing Wu Yi Yan Cha.

As there was a debate among people that paper (some even debated different varieties of paper) should be added when storing/aging the tea ,i.e. putting the paper below the lid or surrounding tea. She decided to find out for herself. I'm assuming the idea of adding paper is to absorb moisture from the tea or it's surroundings.

She used the same tin containers (similar to the kind that crackers usually come in), with the same tea leaves, all from the same batch, place in the same spot in her shop. Only major variable is the type of paper used with the tin containers. And of course, one container without any paper for a control sample.

When i found out about her experiment, it had already been going on for a few months, and i was fortunate enough to help her in tasting the results as of that point (about 3-6 months).

Varieties of paper she used included rice paper, standard paper that we use for printing documents, mahjong paper and a couple others. My memories' a bit vague on the exact variants.

The results were very interesting. It turned out that some variants of paper absorb the fragrance of the leaves, while some ended up turning the tea sour, and some of the teas ended up with the taste of the paper itself!

The best result (in both our opinions at least) came from the "control" container. The tea retained it's main characteristics with minimal loss comparing to the others.

I am looking forward to see how the experiment progresses in the coming months. and will try to get a more detailed account of things and also PICTURES! hehe :D
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby the_economist » Feb 12th, '14, 00:43

Very interesting, looking forward to hearing more!
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby jayinhk » Feb 12th, '14, 01:04

Very interesting. Here in Hong Kong, many old school dealers still sell oolong wrapped in paper; the DHP I've been drinking at the office comes in 10g bundles. While the paper packaging is quaint and looks cool, it sounds like tins are definitely the way to go!
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby Tead Off » Feb 12th, '14, 01:49

jayinhk wrote:Very interesting. Here in Hong Kong, many old school dealers still sell oolong wrapped in paper; the DHP I've been drinking at the office comes in 10g bundles. While the paper packaging is quaint and looks cool, it sounds like tins are definitely the way to go!

Here, too, tea can be sold wrapped in paper. But, they are stored in tin cannisters and not kept exposed to the air (hopefully)!
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby wyardley » Feb 12th, '14, 02:01

jayinhk wrote:Very interesting. Here in Hong Kong, many old school dealers still sell oolong wrapped in paper; the DHP I've been drinking at the office comes in 10g bundles. While the paper packaging is quaint and looks cool, it sounds like tins are definitely the way to go!

I think the OP is talking about putting paper inside a tin, not wrapping the tea only in paper. I could be wrong, but I think this is usually done out of concern that metallic tastes will get into the tea, or possibly as an extra moisture barrier (some old CNNP oolongs like Sea Dyke brand have a paper plug above the tea). I really wouldn't imagine that the paper at the top of the opening would make that significant a difference overall, especially in a relatively short period of time.

Testing storage of tea is tricky since tea tastes different at different points in time, and can go through awkward phases. Some teas also store better than others. Also, we all live in different environments and have differing taste. I do usually store my oolongs in sealed bags or pewter tins, but I don't do refresher roasts, especially considering I live in a fairly dry area. I know a lot of experienced drinkers who don't at all agree with the practice of re-roasting teas, even a gentle refresher roast to take out the moisture. I do think that a lot of people, myself included, like more sour or funky tastes in an aged oolong.
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby jayinhk » Feb 12th, '14, 03:20

Yes, I realize he meant using paper inside a canister, but I thought the results would be applicable to paper or paper covered in cellophane (as is common in HK nowadays). Some vendors store paper packages in large cans, while others store the plastic-wrapped kind in large cabinets.
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Re: Wu Yi Tea Storage Experiment (Container + Paper)

Postby wyardley » Feb 12th, '14, 14:14

The difference is, with paper-wrapped tea that's not also enclosed in plastic, there will probably be a lot more air exchange than in a thick, well-sealed, pewter tin.
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