Aging tea in NYC


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

Postby bonescwa » May 12th, '14, 21:53

That sounds good shah. The theory of puerh aging as a dynamic process with intrinsic enzymatic breakdown of the leaf, along with oxidation (debatable as to the benefit), and microbial fermentation is the belief, right? Heat, humidity would help this process along. However, aging oolong is somewhat mysterious... The enzymes are deactivated, the oxidation should be minimized and humidity leads to a sour background that most people don't find desirable... so what exactly changes in an aged oolong? The dryness only leaves the oils, which oxidize? I guess we will see what natural, non-pumidor NYC storage does in about 20 years.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby kyarazen » May 12th, '14, 21:59

Balthazar wrote:I know very little about these things, but if puer and oolong is processed different, it is reasonable to expect that they behave to the same exposure over time somewhat differently? I always thought so, but then again I have almost no experience with aged oolong, so I'll wait for someone with more experience to answer...


so far aged oolong and aged pu-erh are all distinct to me.. even within aged pu-erh itself.

if an oolong is roasted, the water content in it will become extra low, and many times gongfu tea lovers like to age it in huge sealed metal tins/canisters for up to decades. in this process the yancha will have a decrease in bitter/astrigent base tastes over time, and the aroma relatively intact, heightening the tea quality/experience. heavy roasted TKY also ages much better than the lighter roasts.

oolong doesnt require microbial action, its not the aim for oolong to pick up damp, wet, mouldy, bacterial fermented notes in aging. there's a very good population of aged oolong on the market that tasted as though they had gone through a similar warehousing process as pu-erh to give it that characteristic "hk warehoused" smell taste. that's probably because the tea has gone stale and blend, and the only way to get a new aroma into the tea is to warehouse treat it.
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Re:

Postby kyarazen » May 12th, '14, 22:03

bonescwa wrote:That sounds good shah. The theory of puerh aging as a dynamic process with intrinsic enzymatic breakdown of the leaf, along with oxidation (debatable as to the benefit), and microbial fermentation is the belief, right? Heat, humidity would help this process along. However, aging oolong is somewhat mysterious... The enzymes are deactivated, the oxidation should be minimized and humidity leads to a sour background that most people don't find desirable... so what exactly changes in an aged oolong? The dryness only leaves the oils, which oxidize? I guess we will see what natural, non-pumidor NYC storage does in about 20 years.


the oils or aromatic compounds of tea is probably 0.1% content, trace content and not the bulk of the tea. the only aim for aging is to : enhance or render more complex the aromatics, allow the bitter/astringent compounds to degrade and fade, so the tea brew will have a nice body.

sour forms because of ketone/aldehyde oxidation to carboxylic acids. the oxidation of oolong is non microbial in nature, and best not to be, i've had tasted some really disgusting huang jin gui, leaf looks good but smells rotten. pu-erh tea has the bugs inside that will aid in fermentation, although natural oxidation will also take place.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby bonescwa » May 12th, '14, 22:09

kyarazen wrote:
bonescwa wrote:That sounds good shah. The theory of puerh aging as a dynamic process with intrinsic enzymatic breakdown of the leaf, along with oxidation (debatable as to the benefit), and microbial fermentation is the belief, right? Heat, humidity would help this process along. However, aging oolong is somewhat mysterious... The enzymes are deactivated, the oxidation should be minimized and humidity leads to a sour background that most people don't find desirable... so what exactly changes in an aged oolong? The dryness only leaves the oils, which oxidize? I guess we will see what natural, non-pumidor NYC storage does in about 20 years.


the oils or aromatic compounds of tea is probably 0.1% content, trace content and not the bulk of the tea. the only aim for aging is to : enhance or render more complex the aromatics, allow the bitter/astringent compounds to degrade and fade, so the tea brew will have a nice body.

sour forms because of ketone/aldehyde oxidation to carboxylic acids. the oxidation of oolong is non microbial in nature, and best not to be, i've had tasted some really disgusting huang jin gui, leaf looks good but smells rotten. pu-erh tea has the bugs inside that will aid in fermentation, although natural oxidation will also take place.


So the only mechanism of oolong aging is slow oxidation?
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby kyarazen » May 12th, '14, 22:17

bonescwa wrote:the oils or aromatic compounds of tea is probably 0.1% content, trace content and not the bulk of the tea. the only aim for aging is to : enhance or render more complex the aromatics, allow the bitter/astringent compounds to degrade and fade, so the tea brew will have a nice body.

sour forms because of ketone/aldehyde oxidation to carboxylic acids. the oxidation of oolong is non microbial in nature, and best not to be, i've had tasted some really disgusting huang jin gui, leaf looks good but smells rotten. pu-erh tea has the bugs inside that will aid in fermentation, although natural oxidation will also take place.


So the only mechanism of oolong aging is slow oxidation?


yes, oxidation, not fermentation. there are some pu-erh makers that innoculate their teas with microbes to help with fermentation, but in oolong, no microbes are ever added. you have to ask yourself why you're aging oolong in the first place though... and not drinking it when its new

if you want to keep the tea in its original condition as much as possible, vacumn sealing with a good dose of oxygen absorber is recommended. i recently popped 2 packs of 10 year old teas (one light oxidation, one mid oxidation heavy roast) that were kept that way, aromatics was almost similar to that of 10 years ago, except slightly heavier, thicker mid tones
Last edited by kyarazen on May 12th, '14, 22:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby bonescwa » May 12th, '14, 22:20

kyarazen wrote:
bonescwa wrote:the oils or aromatic compounds of tea is probably 0.1% content, trace content and not the bulk of the tea. the only aim for aging is to : enhance or render more complex the aromatics, allow the bitter/astringent compounds to degrade and fade, so the tea brew will have a nice body.

sour forms because of ketone/aldehyde oxidation to carboxylic acids. the oxidation of oolong is non microbial in nature, and best not to be, i've had tasted some really disgusting huang jin gui, leaf looks good but smells rotten. pu-erh tea has the bugs inside that will aid in fermentation, although natural oxidation will also take place.


So the only mechanism of oolong aging is slow oxidation?


yes, oxidation, not fermentation. there are some pu-erh makers that innoculate their teas with microbes to help with fermentation, but in oolong, no microbes are ever added. you have to ask yourself why you're aging oolong in the first place though... and not drinking it when its new

if you want to keep the tea in its original condition as much as possible, vacumn sealing with a good dose of oxygen absorber is recommended. i recently popped 2 packs of 10 year old teas that were kept that way, aromatics was almost similar to that of 10 years ago, except slightly heavier, thicker mid tones[/quote]

Well I drink it because I like it... I like it new but the older oolongs I've had remind me of expensive old puerh, which was the whole point of my comparison
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby kyarazen » May 12th, '14, 22:24

bonescwa wrote:Well I drink it because I like it... I like it new but the older oolongs I've had remind me of expensive old puerh, which was the whole point of my comparison


is there any company's product that you like, so that i can identify the taste/smell that you are looking for?

i reckon its probably taiwanese aged oolong with the hk style aging taste. rolled TKY age differently, so does yancha.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Exempt » May 12th, '14, 23:00

kyarazen wrote:
bonescwa wrote:the oils or aromatic compounds of tea is probably 0.1% content, trace content and not the bulk of the tea. the only aim for aging is to : enhance or render more complex the aromatics, allow the bitter/astringent compounds to degrade and fade, so the tea brew will have a nice body.

sour forms because of ketone/aldehyde oxidation to carboxylic acids. the oxidation of oolong is non microbial in nature, and best not to be, i've had tasted some really disgusting huang jin gui, leaf looks good but smells rotten. pu-erh tea has the bugs inside that will aid in fermentation, although natural oxidation will also take place.


So the only mechanism of oolong aging is slow oxidation?


there are some pu-erh makers that innoculate their teas with microbes to help with fermentation


From what I've read, the steaming of the puerh in order to compress it leads to the addition of many microbes that age in fermentation. If you believe that microbes are added during the process of steaming and compression, than by that logic every puerh maker inoculates their tea with microbes. Another way that I've read (I believe marshaln wrote an article about it) about people adding microbes and bacteria in their tea to age in fermentation, especially people that do home storage, is to add one or two old, wetter stored puerh cakes in with your young puerh cakes so that the mass of microbes will intermix and all of the tea will gain active microbes. I am experimenting with this, and I have added a few 10-20 year old cakes and tuos in the past year into my pumidor to (hopefully) increase microbe transfer and activity.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Tead Off » May 13th, '14, 05:56

Generally speaking, puerh processors are not adding bacteria cultures into their cakes or any kind of innoculation. The fermentation process uses the existing microbes in the micro-climate of where they are. This is similar to cheese making in the various regions of France. Originally, in a cheese like Roquefort, there are certain bacteria native to the region which helps produce this cheese.

The bacteria native to the Puerh region gets stimulated in the teas at the time of compression. That fermentation is sustained through proper storage conditions. The bacteria is already in the cakes when you buy them. I would think you would want to protect the cakes from all kinds of contamination and impediments to its natural aging process.

By all means, experiment with whatever makes sense to you. But, I would suggest having a good idea of what you are trying to achieve before doing anything to screw up the product.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » May 13th, '14, 19:43

mushucha1.jpg
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mushucha2.jpg
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As the original topic of this thread was whether Puerh Tea can be successfully aged in the New York City region of America I have begun my own experiment. I have photographed an Yunnan Sourcing Autumn 2013 Mu Shu Cha Raw Puerh tea cake. I will wait 6 months and photograph it again. If you can't tell a difference in the color then it is not aging at all. My gut reaction is that it will age well in this humidity.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby Exempt » May 13th, '14, 20:45

AllanK wrote:
mushucha1.jpg
mushucha2.jpg
As the original topic of this thread was whether Puerh Tea can be successfully aged in the New York City region of America I have begun my own experiment. I have photographed an Yunnan Sourcing Autumn 2013 Mu Shu Cha Raw Puerh tea cake. I will wait 6 months and photograph it again. If you can't tell a difference in the color then it is not aging at all. My gut reaction is that it will age well in this humidity.

You will definitely not be able to see a change in only 6 months of the low humidity and temperatures of NY. I have around 20 kilos of tea that are stored in a 70 F 75% RH pumidor and there is very little, if any, difference in color after 2 years. You won't be able to accurately judge storage conditions for 5-10 years and even then color change is not a good way to evaluate that.

Also, an addendum, you should buy a humidity sensor. Most likely your heating or AC will lower the RH to 20-40% which will definitely negatively affect the tea.
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby BioHorn » May 13th, '14, 23:50

Exempt wrote:
AllanK wrote:
mushucha1.jpg
mushucha2.jpg
As the original topic of this thread was whether Puerh Tea can be successfully aged in the New York City region of America I have begun my own experiment. I have photographed an Yunnan Sourcing Autumn 2013 Mu Shu Cha Raw Puerh tea cake. I will wait 6 months and photograph it again. If you can't tell a difference in the color then it is not aging at all. My gut reaction is that it will age well in this humidity.

You will definitely not be able to see a change in only 6 months of the low humidity and temperatures of NY. I have around 20 kilos of tea that are stored in a 70 F 75% RH pumidor and there is very little, if any, difference in color after 2 years. You won't be able to accurately judge storage conditions for 5-10 years and even then color change is not a good way to evaluate that.

Also, an addendum, you should buy a humidity sensor. Most likely your heating or AC will lower the RH to 20-40% which will definitely negatively affect the tea.

+1
Sounds like my experience here in Cleveland. Am now on year four. There is nothing like the rich smell from the pumidor!
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » May 17th, '14, 00:13

Starting about now the area is good for aging tea. The humidity has averaged 65 today, perfectly acceptable for puerh tea, maybe there is only the need for a pumidor in the colder months in New York.
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Aging tea in NYC

Postby Exempt » May 17th, '14, 02:24

65% is on the low end of the spectrum, also I'm assuming that was the humidity outside but if you ran ac or heat than it was probably much lower. You also have to take temperature into account, what was the average temp?
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Re: Aging tea in NYC

Postby AllanK » May 17th, '14, 14:52

Exempt wrote:65% is on the low end of the spectrum, also I'm assuming that was the humidity outside but if you ran ac or heat than it was probably much lower. You also have to take temperature into account, what was the average temp?

No, that was the humidity where my tea is. I have not yet turned on the AC, which only reaches 1/2 my puerh anyway.
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