Aging tea in NYC


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

Aging tea in NYC

Postby futurebird » Mar 25th, '13, 15:34

Part of the problem is I don't have a perfect double-blind study. Nonetheless I'll describe my limited observation.

Before I knew what shen, shu or a bing was back in 2001 I bought some tea at "Perl River" a Chinese junk shop on Canal street in NYC's Manhattan Chinatown (there is a second bigger Chinatown in Flushing, but most tourists go to the one in Canal street)

I still have the box from this tea: It's round, green and reads "Yunnan Toucha: Yunnan Shengcha 100g" I think most people have seen these. It cost $1.95. Oh if I could go back in time and buy 10 more... I would!

On the back there is a date printed in blue ink in Chinese, I deciphered it: 1998.

So, this tea was made in 1998 and most likely spent two years on the shel on Perl River in NYC next to a stack of cheap resin "Feng Shui" Laughing Buddhas. (it looked like it had been there two years, I remember worrying if the tea was fresh when buying it.)

Over the years I drank this tea, and moved from place to place in NYC. Most of the time it was just sitting in my kitchen next to the spices (apparently a dumb place to keep tea) The tea became darker and softer over time.

Today I received an identical-looking "Yunnan Toucha" bought on ebay, sadly I can't seem to find the same year. This one is from 2005.

The 2005 pretty much tastes like sheng, young, a little astringent, with a mild tingle that lingers in a pleasant way after.
This is nothing like how my 1998 NYC-stored tea tasted. It didn't taste green anymore, I remember thinking how it was so much more calming than it used to be.

So, my observation is that cheap sheng will change with time in a "dry" home-stored environment.

Not scientific but enough to make me feel that keeping tea at home in "normal" conditions coud be worth it to expand that options I have in the future for drinking.

My first though was to but 10 2012 "Yunnan Toucha" ... but they cost $16 now... this is cheap tea. What specifically happened? Is this the famous "bubble" --
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » Apr 13th, '14, 10:15

futurebird wrote:Part of the problem is I don't have a perfect double-blind study. Nonetheless I'll describe my limited observation.

Before I knew what shen, shu or a bing was back in 2001 I bought some tea at "Perl River" a Chinese junk shop on Canal street in NYC's Manhattan Chinatown (there is a second bigger Chinatown in Flushing, but most tourists go to the one in Canal street)

I still have the box from this tea: It's round, green and reads "Yunnan Toucha: Yunnan Shengcha 100g" I think most people have seen these. It cost $1.95. Oh if I could go back in time and buy 10 more... I would!

On the back there is a date printed in blue ink in Chinese, I deciphered it: 1998.

So, this tea was made in 1998 and most likely spent two years on the shel on Perl River in NYC next to a stack of cheap resin "Feng Shui" Laughing Buddhas. (it looked like it had been there two years, I remember worrying if the tea was fresh when buying it.)

Over the years I drank this tea, and moved from place to place in NYC. Most of the time it was just sitting in my kitchen next to the spices (apparently a dumb place to keep tea) The tea became darker and softer over time.

Today I received an identical-looking "Yunnan Toucha" bought on ebay, sadly I can't seem to find the same year. This one is from 2005.

The 2005 pretty much tastes like sheng, young, a little astringent, with a mild tingle that lingers in a pleasant way after.
This is nothing like how my 1998 NYC-stored tea tasted. It didn't taste green anymore, I remember thinking how it was so much more calming than it used to be.

So, my observation is that cheap sheng will change with time in a "dry" home-stored environment.

Not scientific but enough to make me feel that keeping tea at home in "normal" conditions coud be worth it to expand that options I have in the future for drinking.

My first though was to but 10 2012 "Yunnan Toucha" ... but they cost $16 now... this is cheap tea. What specifically happened? Is this the famous "bubble" --

Has anyone from the New York area had any long term luck in aging Puerh? The one Puerh I had had for a number of years, a cheap shu bought at a Chinese grocery store and stored in a zip lock bag, seemed to age well when I broke down and tried it again. I have now been involved in an aging experiment of sorts for my year and half of buying Puerh. So far, it has mostly turned out well in the short term. Has anyone aged Puerh in the New York region in the long term?
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby bonescwa » Apr 13th, '14, 10:47

AllanK wrote:
futurebird wrote:Part of the problem is I don't have a perfect double-blind study. Nonetheless I'll describe my limited observation.

Before I knew what shen, shu or a bing was back in 2001 I bought some tea at "Perl River" a Chinese junk shop on Canal street in NYC's Manhattan Chinatown (there is a second bigger Chinatown in Flushing, but most tourists go to the one in Canal street)

I still have the box from this tea: It's round, green and reads "Yunnan Toucha: Yunnan Shengcha 100g" I think most people have seen these. It cost $1.95. Oh if I could go back in time and buy 10 more... I would!

On the back there is a date printed in blue ink in Chinese, I deciphered it: 1998.

So, this tea was made in 1998 and most likely spent two years on the shel on Perl River in NYC next to a stack of cheap resin "Feng Shui" Laughing Buddhas. (it looked like it had been there two years, I remember worrying if the tea was fresh when buying it.)

Over the years I drank this tea, and moved from place to place in NYC. Most of the time it was just sitting in my kitchen next to the spices (apparently a dumb place to keep tea) The tea became darker and softer over time.

Today I received an identical-looking "Yunnan Toucha" bought on ebay, sadly I can't seem to find the same year. This one is from 2005.

The 2005 pretty much tastes like sheng, young, a little astringent, with a mild tingle that lingers in a pleasant way after.
This is nothing like how my 1998 NYC-stored tea tasted. It didn't taste green anymore, I remember thinking how it was so much more calming than it used to be.

So, my observation is that cheap sheng will change with time in a "dry" home-stored environment.

Not scientific but enough to make me feel that keeping tea at home in "normal" conditions coud be worth it to expand that options I have in the future for drinking.

My first though was to but 10 2012 "Yunnan Toucha" ... but they cost $16 now... this is cheap tea. What specifically happened? Is this the famous "bubble" --

Has anyone from the New York area had any long term luck in aging Puerh? The one Puerh I had had for a number of years, a cheap shu bought at a Chinese grocery store and stored in a zip lock bag, seemed to age well when I broke down and tried it again. I have now been involved in an aging experiment of sorts for my year and half of buying Puerh. So far, it has mostly turned out well in the short term. Has anyone aged Puerh in the New York region in the long term?

I asked these types of questions regarding Ohio climate, which should be similar enough. Some people create humidor like boxes and artificially humidify the tea. Some have been happy with the result. I'm sure others with much more experience will contribute, but I've started keeping my puerh broken up in brown paper bags, very close to the humidifier I use throughout the winter. I try to minimize use of air conditioning in the summer for environmental and economic reasons anyway, so I feel the climate of our summer has to be hot and humid enough to have some effect on the ageing process. From reading Marshaln's blog, it helps to remember the fact that the vast majority of puerh, until very recently, was factory produced and stored in very hot, humid warehouses until it was determined to be ready for sale. There wasn't much of a market for new puerh, since nobody wanted to drink it new, and nobody really was interested in replicating warehouse conditions at home. So this is all a very early experiment. My main concern is putting out the money for a bing which then gets dry and weak from the low humidity. I'm wondering if the climate of the "dry storage" areas in China is comparable to the American Northeast. Then you can reasonably expect that if you enjoy the storage of these dry areas, you are safe to keep as much puerh as you want here without worrying as much that it's going to be a waste.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby TomVerlain » Apr 13th, '14, 16:24

Ahh, if we could all go back in time, knowing then what we know now ....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/181304346149

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200396279420

shou and sheng.

I just looked at my 2006 Xiagaun sheng and it is still hard as a rock, but has turned much darker than it was before and still smells lovely. I am in florida, and house is air-conditioned most of the time. So, it is aging, but not at the pace of a HK warehouse in the summer. I have toyed with the idea of a pumidor, but tend to buy more ready to drink shou and already aged sheng than try and guess how stuff will age. I did just buy a couple cakes of 2008 7542 to let sit for ten years at home, just in case miracles do occur.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby pookguy » Apr 26th, '14, 11:32

Maybe we should compare how teas age in New York. Bought in mid-90's. Aged in upstate new york. Now the tea is in NJ.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby chrl42 » Apr 26th, '14, 20:07

The weather in the US in general is pretty dry, that's due to country's heating system rather than continent's own. Better get a decent Pumidor :)
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » May 10th, '14, 00:59

I found that Shu puerh definitely ages well in the NY City region, which I live near enough to be the same weather. I had an old puerh tea cacke purchased from a supermarket some six or so years ago. I was blase then. It has improved remarkably even though I knew nothing about storing it then.

I have seen good early evidence that Sheng puerh will improve in this region as well. I broke out a Sheng puerh bought about a year ago and drank it. It seemed better. I had not thought of taking any pictures at that time. I have some 2013 Sheng bought from Yunnan Sourcing a month and a half ago. Sometime in the next two days I will photograph one and either just store the photos or post them here. I can ten check back in 6 months with another photo.

Aging tea in NYC is truly new ground. A few years ago I had never even heard of Puerh and neither had anyone outside the Chinese community.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Balthazar » May 10th, '14, 05:31

Out of curiosity: How will you be able to tell by a photo whether or not the tea has aged well? Will dry or humid conditions change how the tea material looks?
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Exempt » May 10th, '14, 11:20

Balthazar wrote:Out of curiosity: How will you be able to tell by a photo whether or not the tea has aged well? Will dry or humid conditions change how the tea material looks?

Yes, the temperature and humidity will change how the tea looks. However, you will not be able to tell whether a tea has aged well by a photo...
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Postby bonescwa » May 10th, '14, 11:49

I wonder if Northeast storage in general will produce results similar to dry storage in Yunnan, Kunming, etc.
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Re:

Postby Exempt » May 10th, '14, 12:30

bonescwa wrote:I wonder if Northeast storage in general will produce results similar to dry storage in Yunnan, Kunming, etc.

The average temp in new york is 47 F and the average humidity is 60%. The average temp and humidity in Kunming is 58 F and 71% respectively. So just based on that I would say no, the results would not be similar. Beyond that, the microclimas in each location, the types of bacteria and chemicals, and many other factors are completely different. The only way to reproduce Kunming storage is to store tea in Kunming IMO
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby bonescwa » May 10th, '14, 12:36

Exempt wrote:
bonescwa wrote:I wonder if Northeast storage in general will produce results similar to dry storage in Yunnan, Kunming, etc.

The average temp in new york is 47 F and the average humidity is 60%. The average temp and humidity in Kunming is 58 F and 71% respectively. So just based on that I would say no, the results would not be similar. Beyond that, the microclimas in each location, the types of bacteria and chemicals, and many other factors are completely different. The only way to reproduce Kunming storage is to store tea in Kunming IMO


Sounds close enough to me...
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Exempt » May 10th, '14, 13:43

bonescwa wrote:
Exempt wrote:
bonescwa wrote:I wonder if Northeast storage in general will produce results similar to dry storage in Yunnan, Kunming, etc.

The average temp in new york is 47 F and the average humidity is 60%. The average temp and humidity in Kunming is 58 F and 71% respectively. So just based on that I would say no, the results would not be similar. Beyond that, the microclimas in each location, the types of bacteria and chemicals, and many other factors are completely different. The only way to reproduce Kunming storage is to store tea in Kunming IMO


Sounds close enough to me...

Given the fact that a 10 degree change adds about 3.5 grams of water per cubic meter of moisture content, added to the 11% higher humidity? It's not close at all, and that's just looking at humidity. The totally different location in the world would create 2 totally different teas if stored the same amount of time in both locations.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby bonescwa » May 10th, '14, 14:08

Exempt wrote:
bonescwa wrote:
Exempt wrote:
bonescwa wrote:I wonder if Northeast storage in general will produce results similar to dry storage in Yunnan, Kunming, etc.

The average temp in new york is 47 F and the average humidity is 60%. The average temp and humidity in Kunming is 58 F and 71% respectively. So just based on that I would say no, the results would not be similar. Beyond that, the microclimas in each location, the types of bacteria and chemicals, and many other factors are completely different. The only way to reproduce Kunming storage is to store tea in Kunming IMO


Sounds close enough to me...

Given the fact that a 10 degree change adds about 3.5 grams of water per cubic meter of moisture content, added to the 11% higher humidity? It's not close at all, and that's just looking at humidity. The totally different location in the world would create 2 totally different teas if stored the same amount of time in both locations.

It's not going to create a detectable change over time, it's a placebo effect if you think you can really tell a difference.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » May 10th, '14, 15:57

Balthazar wrote:Out of curiosity: How will you be able to tell by a photo whether or not the tea has aged well? Will dry or humid conditions change how the tea material looks?

The only way to truly tell if the tea has aged well is to drink it, but sheng gets darker as it ages. Ergo, if I photograph it tomorrow and then again in six months, and then again in a year and it is visibly darker, it is evidence it is aging. The only way to know if it has aged well is to drink it. If I photograph it again in a year and it has not gotten any darker, it is not aging much at all. This is as I understand it, I may be wrong.
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