a simple puerh humidifier

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Sep 5th 16 6:03 am
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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by moot » Sep 5th 16 6:03 am

I just came back to post the same update: I had some batches of bamboo skewers be fine, and one batch go moldy. After some consultation with my chemists, I just switched to unglazed terra-cotta in bowls of water for a wick. I'll keep up the experiment and update.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by jayinhk » Sep 5th 16 6:20 am

moot wrote:I just came back to post the same update: I had some batches of bamboo skewers be fine, and one batch go moldy. After some consultation with my chemists, I just switched to unglazed terra-cotta in bowls of water for a wick. I'll keep up the experiment and update.
Try adding hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver to the water to prevent bacteria/fungi growth.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by CheekyChipmunk » Sep 23rd 16 6:28 am

john.b wrote:I just wrote a blog post on storing pu'er in sealed bags versus more exposed to air (just not sealed), related to that same issue, based on an earlier discussion here as a starting point:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... ation.html

Personally I can't really weigh in and say what is what from my own experience, so the writing was just sharing some ideas that turned up.

It seemed strange not to mention it here since a good bit of input is from Tea Chat discussion but this isn't a natural place to be adding blog links either. In some places I would pass on a short summary so someone could not read the link based on that, or decide to, but I won't clutter up this discussion with that; it says what you might expect it to say.
Hi fellow chatters,

I have been mulling this topic for a month or so as I am starting to build a bit of a collection and have enough money invested in it that I would like to protect my investment :? I have read up most of what I can and it seems like there is plenty of discussion on wetter climates but not much on dry climates. Unfortunately, where I live, the average relative humidity is around 50, with the summers being quite hot and dry. I am heading into spring here (down under) and am conscious that I will have to artificially increase the humidity somewhat to keep the tea in a good place. My current storage is a combination of cardboard boxes lined with bubble wrap, with the tea grouped in zip-lock bags (approx. 3 cakes/bag). The bags are currently slightly open, to allow some air transfer. Considering the dry climate and the approaching summer, would you think it best to fully close the bags to try and mitigate against the very hot weather (plenty of 35c+ days), or keep them slightly open and get water into the boxes whether it be terracotta/bamboo etc?

Cheers,

L

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Sep 23rd 16 9:36 am
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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by kuánglóng » Sep 23rd 16 9:36 am

CheekyChipmunk wrote: Hi fellow chatters,

I have been mulling this topic for a month or so as I am starting to build a bit of a collection and have enough money invested in it that I would like to protect my investment :? I have read up most of what I can and it seems like there is plenty of discussion on wetter climates but not much on dry climates. Unfortunately, where I live, the average relative humidity is around 50, with the summers being quite hot and dry. I am heading into spring here (down under) and am conscious that I will have to artificially increase the humidity somewhat to keep the tea in a good place. My current storage is a combination of cardboard boxes lined with bubble wrap, with the tea grouped in zip-lock bags (approx. 3 cakes/bag). The bags are currently slightly open, to allow some air transfer. Considering the dry climate and the approaching summer, would you think it best to fully close the bags to try and mitigate against the very hot weather (plenty of 35c+ days), or keep them slightly open and get water into the boxes whether it be terracotta/bamboo etc?

Cheers,

L
I don't think we'll ever arrive at a single ideal solution for everyone but anyway ... :)

Regarding your investments your best bet IMO would be to run some more or less controlled experiments - one step/parameter at a time - judge for yourself and learn from first hand experiences rather than from common, often unfounded beliefs.
The bags are currently slightly open, to allow some air transfer.
What for? No offence meant but is that something you've picked up somewhere or do you know exactly why this would be necessary? It isn't - read on :)

For a start you could take some (affordable) cakes, store them under different conditions (open/closed, different temperatures/moisture levels/bag materials,... see below) and compare the results here and there. That's what I've been doing for years with all sorts of tea and what has led to my preferred storage for pu's - keeping them in multilayer - NO simple PE foil ! - closed zip-loc bags.
I have to add that I keep my pu's at a certain moisture level (8% max. - more later) and more or less controlled temperatures, depending on individual teas and what I want to achieve. Some folks believe that keeping cakes in bags 'stops' their aging or maturation process. I didn't find that to be true at all - my cakes mature just fine. How can I tell? By storing other 'control' samples of the same tea under different conditions - i.e. different bag materials (multi-layer vs. single layer PE), dryer and colder, including deep frozen samples and doing comparative tastings, more often than not with some friends - my favorite way to evaluate and enjoy tea.
Another positive effect of storing tea this way is that multi-layer bags effectively block the loss of volatiles - if your schnotz works good enough you can smell most teas right through standard simple layer PE bags - mission impossible with proper multi-layer material - if in doubt try some heavily flavored jasmin tea or some drops of perfume on a cotton swab.
Under most conditions those volatile components will undergo oxidation (aka mature/age) over time anyway but at least they don't get lost into the atmosphere like in pretty much every other form of storage apart from deep freezing. Regarding the relative oxygen content in my bags, I guess my cakes get their fair share of O2 since I frequently revisit them, open the bags, take them out and make sure I securely close the bag after I put them back in.

In all those years (I started out with aging and revitalizing tobacco in the '90s) I haven't had a single issue with mold and I've learned a lot more from those ongoing experiments than what I would have got from blindly following trends, traditions or common, unproven beliefs.
Last edited by kuánglóng on Sep 23rd 16 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by Drax » Sep 23rd 16 9:48 am

Hi CC --

As I'm sure you've read, there's a variety of opinions on using bags. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from kuánglóng. I don't think they're necessary. And given the climate that YOU live in, I would recommend finding a way to increase the humidity.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by kuánglóng » Sep 23rd 16 11:17 am

Drax wrote:Hi CC --

As I'm sure you've read, there's a variety of opinions on using bags. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from kuánglóng. I don't think they're necessary. And given the climate that YOU live in, I would recommend finding a way to increase the humidity.
As I've said above - I don't think we'll ever arrive at a consensus on aging - luckily we don't have to, no matter what we do, all we end up with are nothing but compromises anyway and with that in mind I'd rather like someone to read my last post as encouragement to find his own solutions based on first-hand comparative experiences rather than following the herd or ... forbid me promoting some sort of an ultimate solution for everyone - there ain't no such thing - one man's nectar and so forth...
Anyway, regarding my major point in favor of multi-layer bags, their effectiveness in preventing the loss of volatile components is based on exactly this - uncounted experiments and comparative, often blind tastings - can't stress these latter points enough.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by CheekyChipmunk » Sep 23rd 16 5:32 pm

kuánglóng wrote:
CheekyChipmunk wrote:
The bags are currently slightly open, to allow some air transfer.
What for? No offence meant but is that something you've picked up somewhere or do you know exactly why this would be necessary? It isn't - read on :)
Well they are in the bags to begin with in order to try and limit the amount of moisture loss that may happen from exposure to the low RH air of my climate. They are slightly open to allow a small amount of airflow and keep the tea ticking over (closing the bags in a low humidity environment would not be great from what i can gather or is this misinformed?). I guess I'm trying to preserve a high tea/air ratio to try and preserve whatever humidity may be in the cakes currently and prevent them drying out.... As for your general advice about experimenting on my own, I will definitely take it on board, I guess I was just hoping for someone to give me a head-start on what looks to be a lifetime of learning :wink:

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Sep 24th 16 8:52 am
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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by kuánglóng » Sep 24th 16 8:52 am

CheekyChipmunk wrote:
Well they are in the bags to begin with in order to try and limit the amount of moisture loss that may happen from exposure to the low RH air of my climate. They are slightly open to allow a small amount of airflow and keep the tea ticking over (closing the bags in a low humidity environment would not be great from what i can gather or is this misinformed?). I guess I'm trying to preserve a high tea/air ratio to try and preserve whatever humidity may be in the cakes currently and prevent them drying out.... As for your general advice about experimenting on my own, I will definitely take it on board, I guess I was just hoping for someone to give me a head-start on what looks to be a lifetime of learning :wink:
Same here :) , still learning something new - each and every day.
Regarding airflow I don't see it as a necessary requirement but then, like with anything else there are many different experiences and takes - to each his own, but again, coming from a scientific/engineering background I rather walk the extra mile to find some factual or sensory evidence than blindly believing anything. My major issue with airflow is the loss of volatiles. With pu's it doesn't happen overnight but it will happen over time (think months, years, ...) if you expose your tea to the elements. How much and how fast depends on your individual tea and a number of environmental factors but higher temperatures, lower relative humidity and increased airflow are especially critical in that regard and rest assured I've done my comparative homework.
Re. the moisture content of your cakes, an easy way to check for changes would be weighing them on a digital scale from time to time, and if you find they're continuously losing weight (water content) it's time to act IMO. There are many ways to re-moisturize your cakes but once your volatile goodies are gone, they're gone for good and I'd hate to see that happen to my cakes.

More later ...

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by kyarazen » Sep 26th 16 5:40 pm

just adding some fun points for discussion

1) red mark does not have good leaf base, if you see any red marks with high quality leaf base.. it could be problematic.

2) there are two outcomes that people might expect from the aging of sheng pu-erh. the first milestone is a juicy, rather smooth, delectable thick, delicious, possibly mildly fruity, strong base of cup fragrance/experience that comes from intermediate aging of sheng pu-erh. this could be 3 years, 5 years? the second milestone is the holy grail of aged book/paper fragrance with date, lotus leaf, or medicinal/ginseng fragrance. what milestones are you looking for or what are you expecting your tea to turn into?

the first milestone never appeared for sheng pu-erh processed the traditional way. so sheng pu was never drank when a few years old, not in the 70s, 80s, 90s.

3) someone in china estimated that over 99.5% of the pu-erh tea produced today are being stored/aged, whilst 0.5% to 1% of the total annual produce is consumed. he warns of potential over-supply and changing tea trends as the youngsters of today dont appreciate tea as much as the senior/older fellows. 20-30 years time, what would the market be like?

4) oxidation is not the ultimate aim, you can blast a tea with ozone or infuse some tea into hydrogen peroxide to see if it becomes amazingly fragrant...

5) importance of a certain level of anoxic/anaerobicity, achieved either through storage means or compression (i.e. during compression whether the tea is heavily compressed or loose). if maximum air flow is what you believe it, why not dismantle your cakes into loose leaf and dangle them in porous mesh bags exposed to air? or why make it into a cake in the first place.. :D

6).. etc etc etc~~~

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by curlygc » Nov 6th 16 2:33 pm

stevorama wrote:I tried the bamboo skewers in water. Cool idea. Unfortunately they became moldy in under a week!
Same thing happened to me! Disappointing, because they had worked really well up until that point.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by gasninja » Dec 19th 16 4:44 am

To increase humidity I use a water container with a fish tank heater in it .

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by daotown » Feb 13th 17 5:34 pm

kyarazen wrote:just adding some fun points for discussion

1) red mark does not have good leaf base, if you see any red marks with high quality leaf base.. it could be problematic.

2) there are two outcomes that people might expect from the aging of sheng pu-erh. the first milestone is a juicy, rather smooth, delectable thick, delicious, possibly mildly fruity, strong base of cup fragrance/experience that comes from intermediate aging of sheng pu-erh. this could be 3 years, 5 years? the second milestone is the holy grail of aged book/paper fragrance with date, lotus leaf, or medicinal/ginseng fragrance. what milestones are you looking for or what are you expecting your tea to turn into?

the first milestone never appeared for sheng pu-erh processed the traditional way. so sheng pu was never drank when a few years old, not in the 70s, 80s, 90s.

3) someone in china estimated that over 99.5% of the pu-erh tea produced today are being stored/aged, whilst 0.5% to 1% of the total annual produce is consumed. he warns of potential over-supply and changing tea trends as the youngsters of today dont appreciate tea as much as the senior/older fellows. 20-30 years time, what would the market be like?

4) oxidation is not the ultimate aim, you can blast a tea with ozone or infuse some tea into hydrogen peroxide to see if it becomes amazingly fragrant...

5) importance of a certain level of anoxic/anaerobicity, achieved either through storage means or compression (i.e. during compression whether the tea is heavily compressed or loose). if maximum air flow is what you believe it, why not dismantle your cakes into loose leaf and dangle them in porous mesh bags exposed to air? or why make it into a cake in the first place.. :D

6).. etc etc etc~~~
1) why do you think that could be problematic? (I am assuming) But I can guess that whole leaves leave less sites for exposure (not to air) but surface area for the microbes to do their magic. In which case, whole "good" leaves will take even longer to mature.

2) For me (I have only been in the pu-erh market Since Feb. 2016 and storing cakes since then too), I don't have any idea of what I want them to turn into. More or less I just want to enjoy the flavor/profile that they become. My standards now are, complex flavoring, interesting mind/body feel, not bitter and drinkable....not very high standards for me.

3)I'm not sure if people would hedge their bets that hard, though it would seem likely that fads come and go and so maturing teas would be a good investment. Though, they are not really taking advantage of the fact that fresh cakes (IMHO) go for an absurd price nowadays and finding something "good" is at least $1USD/gm. Why would people not take advantage of this and store less for the future? Also I wonder where is all the tea that was grown from 60s,70s,80s for consumption now has gone?

4/5) well....a bit extreme but I completely agree with you. If an redox reaction was the answer it would have been discovered a long time ago and if immersing leaves with a heavy fermentation was the answer too then, again, we wouldn't be here. However it does seem that the play of aner/aerobic, rest/activity, and a lot of time is the answer. It is funny to see though that the microbial flora, do vary in consistency and makeup but it is the tea that changes.

6) to people who have mold problems, make sure your water is clean, your vessel is clean. Your container needs to be clean too! All of these things should be clean before adding it to your Pu environment. Removing something (pu-erh) from it's original source (China) and planting it to wherever you are is a shock to the system. It would be hard for any living creature on the planet to be picked up and forcibly moved to a new environment. So creating a clean environment where it (the pu microbes) don't have to complete with "foreign" bodies seems simple enough.

BTW I am new here, so Hello! I store my teas (mostly young sheng) in an igloo cooler, they seem to be changing for the better. Shou are in a cardboard box, they don't seem to change that much (might be the cardboard?).

Feb 22nd 17 1:47 am
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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by mr mopu » Feb 22nd 17 1:47 am

daotown wrote:
kyarazen wrote:just adding some fun points for discussion

1) red mark does not have good leaf base, if you see any red marks with high quality leaf base.. it could be problematic.

2) there are two outcomes that people might expect from the aging of sheng pu-erh. the first milestone is a juicy, rather smooth, delectable thick, delicious, possibly mildly fruity, strong base of cup fragrance/experience that comes from intermediate aging of sheng pu-erh. this could be 3 years, 5 years? the second milestone is the holy grail of aged book/paper fragrance with date, lotus leaf, or medicinal/ginseng fragrance. what milestones are you looking for or what are you expecting your tea to turn into?

the first milestone never appeared for sheng pu-erh processed the traditional way. so sheng pu was never drank when a few years old, not in the 70s, 80s, 90s.

3) someone in china estimated that over 99.5% of the pu-erh tea produced today are being stored/aged, whilst 0.5% to 1% of the total annual produce is consumed. he warns of potential over-supply and changing tea trends as the youngsters of today dont appreciate tea as much as the senior/older fellows. 20-30 years time, what would the market be like?

4) oxidation is not the ultimate aim, you can blast a tea with ozone or infuse some tea into hydrogen peroxide to see if it becomes amazingly fragrant...

5) importance of a certain level of anoxic/anaerobicity, achieved either through storage means or compression (i.e. during compression whether the tea is heavily compressed or loose). if maximum air flow is what you believe it, why not dismantle your cakes into loose leaf and dangle them in porous mesh bags exposed to air? or why make it into a cake in the first place.. :D

6).. etc etc etc~~~
1) why do you think that could be problematic? (I am assuming) But I can guess that whole leaves leave less sites for exposure (not to air) but surface area for the microbes to do their magic. In which case, whole "good" leaves will take even longer to mature.

2) For me (I have only been in the pu-erh market Since Feb. 2016 and storing cakes since then too), I don't have any idea of what I want them to turn into. More or less I just want to enjoy the flavor/profile that they become. My standards now are, complex flavoring, interesting mind/body feel, not bitter and drinkable....not very high standards for me.

3)I'm not sure if people would hedge their bets that hard, though it would seem likely that fads come and go and so maturing teas would be a good investment. Though, they are not really taking advantage of the fact that fresh cakes (IMHO) go for an absurd price nowadays and finding something "good" is at least $1USD/gm. Why would people not take advantage of this and store less for the future? Also I wonder where is all the tea that was grown from 60s,70s,80s for consumption now has gone?

4/5) well....a bit extreme but I completely agree with you. If an redox reaction was the answer it would have been discovered a long time ago and if immersing leaves with a heavy fermentation was the answer too then, again, we wouldn't be here. However it does seem that the play of aner/aerobic, rest/activity, and a lot of time is the answer. It is funny to see though that the microbial flora, do vary in consistency and makeup but it is the tea that changes.

6) to people who have mold problems, make sure your water is clean, your vessel is clean. Your container needs to be clean too! All of these things should be clean before adding it to your Pu environment. Removing something (pu-erh) from it's original source (China) and planting it to wherever you are is a shock to the system. It would be hard for any living creature on the planet to be picked up and forcibly moved to a new environment. So creating a clean environment where it (the pu microbes) don't have to complete with "foreign" bodies seems simple enough.

BTW I am new here, so Hello! I store my teas (mostly young sheng) in an igloo cooler, they seem to be changing for the better. Shou are in a cardboard box, they don't seem to change that much (might be the cardboard?).
Hi! Always nice to meet new people.

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Re: a simple puerh humidifier

by CheekyChipmunk » Feb 22nd 17 2:16 am

Hi Chatters,

This topic has been of interest to me as I have been looking for a simple solution for the dry climate where I live. I recently had an epiphany to try a storage company out for containers and sure enough they had some good plastic (food grade) tubs which I have been using. They are more or less airtight and because of the dry RH of where I live, I have added glass jars of water to the tubs to keep the humidity close to 70%. I ordered some cheap electric hygrometers from ebay and now I feel in control of my storage. The only problem is that the tubs are quite a bit bigger than the cardboard boxes I was using before. Guess I'll have to order some more tea... :wink:

P.S. I have been monitoring the jars for a couple of weeks and I am yet to see any sign of mold