Aging shu?

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

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Aging shu?

by shogun89 » Nov 7th 09 6:51 pm

There is some really good aged shu out there as some of us know. While it dosnt change as much as a sheng might, it defiantly smooths itself out and takes on a nice creamy texture. My question is, does shu need the same conditions as sheng to age (high humidity and temp) ? Or can it simply be stored at say 60 degrees and 40-50% humidity and still take on the smooth taste and texture? Anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Aging shu?

by oldmanteapot » Nov 8th 09 3:54 pm

It takes the same parameters to age both Sheng and Shu.

Shu also changes as much as Sheng, but the changes during the first 5 - 8 years will be pretty much masked by the 'wodui' smell. Depending on the amount of 'wodui' smell that's in the Shu and it's storage conditions, it will take at least about 5 - 8 years before the smell starts to diminish.

Shu has a very calming property once aged properly under the correct condition.

Traditionally, Sheng was made to be consumed after some aging takes place, where as, the demand for a faster drinkable Pu gave birth to the Shu, which generally can be consumed at a younger age.

Cheers!!

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Re: Aging shu?

by nonc_ron » Nov 8th 09 6:01 pm

shogun89 wrote:My question is, does shu need the same conditions as sheng to age (high humidity and temp) ? Or can it simply be stored at say 60 degrees and 40-50% humidity and still take on the smooth taste and texture? Anyone have any ideas?
Haven't heard or read anything about different temps.
Whats good for Sheng should be good for Shu.
Store in the same room but in a separate box.Image

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Re: Aging shu?

by cha-fu » Nov 9th 09 3:41 am

+1 for oldmanteapot's comments

Check out this post about an interesting discussion on Pu-Erh storage on Cha Dao.

Perspectives on Storing and Aging Pu'er Teas (ii)

I would like to add a point about wet storage and taste, or rather some questions to be answered.

If high(er) temperature / humidity promote Pu-Erh aging process, how long should Pu-Erh be stored in the "wet storage" like environment to improve its taste? Definitely not forever, otherwise no one can enjoy the tea you store. :wink: Eventually all wet-stored teas have to be moved to a dryer storage to air out storage odor (revivify). Different duration in wet storage of the same batch of tea would lead to a (slightly) different taste. Is longer in wet storage the better? Not necessarily. Storing longer in wet storage will leave stronger wet stored flavor and take longer time to revivify. Taste of tea also varies depending on how long has been "dryer" storage and its storage environment.

So, what about dry(er) storage? I think the aging process will be a bit slower. But how much slower, I don't know, as my storage environment is more humid than yours. What about taste? Will it get similar taste as same batch of tea in a more humid environment? I don't know either. Some articles (found in Chinese tea forums) indicate dry stored tea will have a (slightly) different flavor.

This is very interesting, isn't it? :lol: So many variables, so much change of taste over time. Taste change in Shu might not be as dramatic (or unpredictable) as Sheng, but I have seen/tasted some of my Shu going through taste changing process. For example, my 20 yo Chung-Cha Shu changes from a hint of red bean taste (some call it steam rice taste) to a slightly sweet taste (like my 20 yo TuoCha). :D

Anyway, hope you find something useful.

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Re: Aging shu?

by Jedi » Nov 9th 09 5:53 am

Just had some CNNP early '90s shu last night and ahem, this morning.

Smooth, almost creamy, with a pleasant malted aroma, and hints of the 'aged' flavour emerging. This tea was dry stored in a non-climate controlled warehouse in Malaysia (tropical) with other bits and pieces like teak furniture for about 7 years. Since I've had the tea, it's been airing out in my living room in it's own wrapper and I do say it's coming along nicely.

Compared to say, a 2002 7581, it's miles ahead in terms of development.

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Re: Aging shu?

by oldmanteapot » Nov 9th 09 6:11 am

cha-fu wrote:+1 for oldmanteapot's comments

Check out this post about an interesting discussion on Pu-Erh storage on Cha Dao.

Perspectives on Storing and Aging Pu'er Teas (ii)

I would like to add a point about wet storage and taste, or rather some questions to be answered.

If high(er) temperature / humidity promote Pu-Erh aging process, how long should Pu-Erh be stored in the "wet storage" like environment to improve its taste? Definitely not forever, otherwise no one can enjoy the tea you store. :wink: Eventually all wet-stored teas have to be moved to a dryer storage to air out storage odor (revivify). Different duration in wet storage of the same batch of tea would lead to a (slightly) different taste. Is longer in wet storage the better? Not necessarily. Storing longer in wet storage will leave stronger wet stored flavor and take longer time to revivify. Taste of tea also varies depending on how long has been "dryer" storage and its storage environment.

So, what about dry(er) storage? I think the aging process will be a bit slower. But how much slower, I don't know, as my storage environment is more humid than yours. What about taste? Will it get similar taste as same batch of tea in a more humid environment? I don't know either. Some articles (found in Chinese tea forums) indicate dry stored tea will have a (slightly) different flavor.

This is very interesting, isn't it? :lol: So many variables, so much change of taste over time. Taste change in Shu might not be as dramatic (or unpredictable) as Sheng, but I have seen/tasted some of my Shu going through taste changing process. For example, my 20 yo Chung-Cha Shu changes from a hint of red bean taste (some call it steam rice taste) to a slightly sweet taste (like my 20 yo TuoCha). :D

Anyway, hope you find something useful.
+1 :mrgreen: Great insights!

Allow me to add.... Shu in dryer storage will tend to leave a dry and tingly sensation at the back of your throat. Hence, the need to "Xing Cha" or to awaken the tea by means of airing it out to allow the tea to absorb some moisture. "Xing Cha" is a very important process, more so for aged tea.

As for the Storage Odour or "Chang Wei" as it's called, which literally means storage odour... the "Xing Cha" process will definitely help reduce the odour from the tea. Of course, the reminiscence of it is left in the skillful hands of the brew master.

As a matter of fact, IMO, it's more difficult aging Shu compared to aging Sheng due to a simple fact that Shu comes with "wodui" smell. Knowing which batch of Shu to buy which is vital as every batch will have it's own unique "wodui" smell. A classic example is Dayi's V93 Shu Tuo. There are many batches produced, but only one batch was taken and was awarded for Best Shu. Knowing which one to buy is the key here... If you start storing a Shu with heavy "wodui", you'll find that it will take a very long time to eradicate the smell entirely. Hence, leaving an impression that Shu is not worth aging.

Hope I didn't add more to the confusion here.... Cheers!!

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Re: Aging shu?

by oldmanteapot » Nov 9th 09 6:40 am

Jedi wrote:Just had some CNNP early '90s shu last night and ahem, this morning.

Smooth, almost creamy, with a pleasant malted aroma, and hints of the 'aged' flavour emerging. This tea was dry stored in a non-climate controlled warehouse in Malaysia (tropical) with other bits and pieces like teak furniture for about 7 years. Since I've had the tea, it's been airing out in my living room in it's own wrapper and I do say it's coming along nicely.

Compared to say, a 2002 7581, it's miles ahead in terms of development.
Bro, 2002 - Kunming 7851 is no comparison ler... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :twisted: :twisted: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Re: Aging shu?

by Jedi » Nov 9th 09 6:52 am

one has to give a comparison for the education of our fellow tea drinkers...

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Re: Aging shu?

by cha-fu » Nov 9th 09 3:04 pm

oldmanteapot wrote:Hence, the need to "Xing Cha" or to awaken the tea by means of airing it out to allow the tea to absorb some moisture. "Xing Cha" is a very important process, more so for aged tea.
+1 strongly agree :D

I think this is one of the most steps to fully enjoy your tea and some people often neglect it. Without "Xing Cha", taste of tea is dull. Based on my experience, it takes about 4 weeks to fully awaken (15 yo) Shu after broken apart from its compressed form (beeng) and stored in a paper bag. If you shake the paper bag or stir the tea every other day or so, you can shorten the wait to about 2 weeks. Yeah, sometimes I am anxious to try out newly acquired tea. :lol: For 30+ yo Shu/Sheng, "Xing Cha" is usually not required, or only needs for a few days.

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Re: Aging shu?

by oldmanteapot » Nov 9th 09 3:41 pm

cha-fu wrote:If you shake the paper bag or stir the tea every other day or so, you can shorten the wait to about 2 weeks. Yeah, sometimes I am anxious to try out newly acquired tea. :lol: For 30+ yo Shu/Sheng, "Xing Cha" is usually not required, or only needs for a few days.
Hi cha-fu,

In fact, depending on the storage of the tea, the length of the "Xing Cha" period varies. The reason I said that the older the tea is, the more you'll have to air it is because of the length of time the tea was exposed to the elements. You won't know what sort of aroma or odour it has absorbed into the tea.

Therefore, I'd usually take an average of 2 - 3 months for the "Xing Cha" process and another few days to a week to allow the tea to recuperate. You'll find that you'll be able to bring out more of the original tea aroma this way. Of course, the final step is in the hands of the master brewer who has total control over how the tea will turn out.

Cheers!

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Re: Aging shu?

by Dizzwave » Nov 9th 09 4:59 pm

Wow, great topic. Thanks for the info, guys!

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Re: Aging shu?

by cha-fu » Nov 9th 09 7:30 pm

oldmanteapot wrote: Hi cha-fu,

In fact, depending on the storage of the tea, the length of the "Xing Cha" period varies. The reason I said that the older the tea is, the more you'll have to air it is because of the length of time the tea was exposed to the elements. You won't know what sort of aroma or odour it has absorbed into the tea.

Therefore, I'd usually take an average of 2 - 3 months for the "Xing Cha" process and another few days to a week to allow the tea to recuperate. You'll find that you'll be able to bring out more of the original tea aroma this way. Of course, the final step is in the hands of the master brewer who has total control over how the tea will turn out.

Cheers!
+1 Good points. :D

I should have mentioned most of my Shu were stored in dry/clean storage for 5+ years and it takes less time to "Xing Cha" than for the tea recently came out wet (or not as clean) storage. In my case, 4 weeks would be enough for tea to reach a "drinkable" (enough to enjoy its flavor) state. Now you mentioned "Xing Cha" for 2-3 months. Maybe I was too anxious and didn't wait long enough. :wink: BTW, I did experience some taste improvement from the 5th week to 8th week after starting of "Xing Cha". The change was not significant as far I can remember. It's kind of difficult to track all changes, since I have many Shu in the rotation. :lol:

This gives me an idea for an experiment. Maybe I can take some Shu (already broken apart and "Xing Cha" for about a month now) and split it into two parts. Store one part in a paper box (no shake) and shake/stir the other half every other day or so. Then compare their taste after a few weeks. This could be fun. :mrgreen:

Anyway, for those tracking this thread, here is another post on Cha Dao that covers "role of air" in taste (section II) for your reference.

Cantos of Mutabilitie: Or, The Varieties of Tea Experience

Hope you find something useful.

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Re: Aging shu?

by nonc_ron » Nov 10th 09 12:07 am

cha-fu wrote: Anyway, for those tracking this thread, here is another post on Cha Dao that covers "role of air" in taste (section II) for your reference.
Cantos of Mutabilitie: Or, The Varieties of Tea Experience
Hope you find something useful.
1+ Thats a nice link. Thanks for posting it.Image

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Re: Aging shu?

by Skippyandjif » May 27th 10 1:50 pm

Wow, thank you for this topic! I purchased an inexpensive "mystery beeng" of CNNP pu-erh-- I'm pretty sure it's shu, although I bought it in Chinatown and there was no English writing on it-- and want to age it. So, about a decade should be a good time?

Edit: Well, I feel like a moron... It's shu, it says so on a card if one unwraps the beeng. >.<

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Re: Aging shu?

by entropyembrace » May 27th 10 4:29 pm

the main point of aging shu to me is to get rid of the funky aromas from fermentation...so I try and buy shu that´s 5+ years old and described as dry stored.