How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

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Jul 20th 17 1:45 am
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How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by Shine Magical » Jul 20th 17 1:45 am

As I get deeper into shou, I realize there could be improvements in some of the ways I drink it.
Specifically how do I know if the cake is ready to drink, attained it's peak flavor?

I have read that shou should always be broken up and aired out for half a year for it to "settle."

I've also read that some shou like Dayi productions are fine to drink right away and don't really need breaking up or a settling time, because they air out the aroma in the process. In cases like this, is there still a benefit for having the cake settle?

Some shous that I receive taste a bit flat and lacking in flavor. Does this indicate that the tea may need some airing out or could it mean something else?

Unfortunately, I do not have a pumidor and have no plans to get one so I cannot make my cakes better in that way. I look forward to hearing how you treat your ripes. :o

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by stevorama » Jul 20th 17 3:08 am

I think the answer to your question varies depending on a few factors such as how the tea was produced, how the tea was stored and your personal preference. Your personal preference is perhaps the most important and will likely vary over time.

Personally I prefer shou pu er that is 10 years or older. There are a very few that I enjoy younger. Newly produced shou I generally only drink to sample the quality. I tend not to prefer the "wo dui" or pile fermentation taste.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by tingjunkie » Jul 20th 17 9:00 am

I think most shou should lose it's funky wo dui aromas within the first 1-3 years. After that, some will age better than others (proven recipes from big factories probably being top of that list), and it's just a matter of trying them out.

As far as Menghai/Dayi cakes being ready to drink right away, I haven't found that myself. They need some time to air out as well. Breaking up a cake will certainly speed up the airing out process, but it will also make the tea a little flatter if you're not planning on drinking it all right away.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by kuánglóng » Jul 20th 17 9:16 am

Shine Magical wrote: As I get deeper into shou, I realize there could be improvements in some of the ways I drink it.
Specifically how do I know if the cake is ready to drink, attained it's peak flavor?

I have read that shou should always be broken up and aired out for half a year for it to "settle."

I've also read that some shou like Dayi productions are fine to drink right away and don't really need breaking up or a settling time, because they air out the aroma in the process. In cases like this, is there still a benefit for having the cake settle?
It all depends, as usual - material (leaves), production, storage, ....
In my house the air is too dry and if the wodui or storage funk (from more humid, tropical storage) is too heavy I remove the wrappers and throw those cakes into a quarantine pumidor (large, clear plastic boxes with humidifiers). I have two of them, one for shu and one for sheng and air them out on a regular basis! Usually a couple weeks up to a few months in those boxes do the trick but you can speed up the process if you pry the cakes apart beforehand.
Some shous that I receive taste a bit flat and lacking in flavor. Does this indicate that the tea may need some airing out or could it mean something else?
It could as well mean that you got some lesser quality shu or something that hasn't been stored properly.
Unfortunately, I do not have a pumidor and have no plans to get one so I cannot make my cakes better in that way. I look forward to hearing how you treat your ripes. :o
Depends on the atmospheric conditions where you live. I keep my shus in those large, clear plastic boxes with humidifiers and hygrometers, I got other boxes (and bags) for my shengs, taking great care that they age properly and don't dry out.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by kuánglóng » Jul 20th 17 9:21 am

Shine Magical wrote: As I get deeper into shou, I realize there could be improvements in some of the ways I drink it.
Specifically how do I know if the cake is ready to drink, attained it's peak flavor?

I have read that shou should always be broken up and aired out for half a year for it to "settle."

I've also read that some shou like Dayi productions are fine to drink right away and don't really need breaking up or a settling time, because they air out the aroma in the process. In cases like this, is there still a benefit for having the cake settle?
It all depends, as usual - material (leaves), production, storage, ....
In my house the air is too dry and if the wodui or storage funk (from more humid, tropical storage) is too heavy I remove the wrappers and throw those cakes into a quarantine pumidor (large, clear plastic boxes with humidifiers). I have two of them, one for shu and one for sheng and air them out on a regular basis! Usually a couple weeks up to a few months in those boxes do the trick but you can speed up the process if you pry the cakes apart beforehand.
Some shous that I receive taste a bit flat and lacking in flavor. Does this indicate that the tea may need some airing out or could it mean something else?
It could as well mean that you got some lesser quality shu or something that hasn't been stored properly.
Unfortunately, I do not have a pumidor and have no plans to get one so I cannot make my cakes better in that way. I look forward to hearing how you treat your ripes. :o
Depends on the atmospheric conditions where you live. I keep my shus in those large, clear plastic boxes with humidifiers and hygrometers, I got other boxes (and bags) for my shengs, taking great care that they age properly, don't dry out and lose too much of their volatile goodies.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by jayinhk » Jul 20th 17 6:20 pm

I wait until the tea is pleasant to drink after storing in my pu room! This usually takes 2-3 years IMO, although some ages faster. I buy aged pu to drink and age further, and also drink my own as it comes of age! When there is no unpleasantness left and it's enjoyable to drink without discomfort, it's ready. Sweet date/jujube notes and easy on the tummy mean it's ready in the case of my own dry storage.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by Shine Magical » Jul 21st 17 6:07 pm

jayinhk wrote: I wait until the tea is pleasant to drink after storing in my pu room! This usually takes 2-3 years IMO, although some ages faster. I buy aged pu to drink and age further, and also drink my own as it comes of age! When there is no unpleasantness left and it's enjoyable to drink without discomfort, it's ready. Sweet date/jujube notes and easy on the tummy mean it's ready in the case of my own dry storage.
How about if you bought a shou from 2010?
How would you know if it is ready to drink once you've received it or if you should store it/do something else with it before drinking?

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by andresito » Jul 21st 17 7:20 pm

jayinhk wrote: When there is no unpleasantness left and it's enjoyable to drink without discomfort, it's ready. Sweet date/jujube notes and easy on the tummy mean it's ready in the case of my own dry storage.
+1 to sweet date/jujube notes and easy on the tummy...I think that also answers your question below
Shine Magical wrote: How about if you bought a shou from 2010?
How would you know if it is ready to drink once you've received it or if you should store it/do something else with it before drinking?
just sample it and see if the taste/feel is pleasant and enjoyable. I'd let it rest a week or two after you get it in the mail before you brew it, teas often taste flat for a week or two after being mailed.

if you don't want to invest in a pumidor, perhaps an inexpensive crock/clay jar is worth getting to let the tea develop in...can read about it on Cwyn's blog "Death By Tea" and the related Teachat discussion. but its kinda similar to plastic bins mentioned above too:
http://deathbytea.blogspot.com/2014/10/ ... crock.html
viewtopic.php?t=21607

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by stevorama » Jul 22nd 17 4:57 am

Shine Magical wrote: How about if you bought a shou from 2010?
How would you know if it is ready to drink once you've received it or if you should store it/do something else with it before drinking?
Tea can be ready to drink anytime. If you enjoy it then consider it drinkable. If you find it too strong (aroma, taste, etc) then store it away for a while or perhaps put it in a tea caddy broken up. If you find it mild or weak then store it well wrapped up in whole form. If you don't like it then store it away for a while and see if it tastes better later or give it away. If you really like it then buy a bunch of it. If you think it doesn't taste good from shipping then let it rest for a few weeks. Store it in a clean place with no bad smells and without much light exposure or airflow. A cabinet works well.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by jayinhk » Jul 26th 17 4:37 pm

stevorama wrote:
Shine Magical wrote: How about if you bought a shou from 2010?
How would you know if it is ready to drink once you've received it or if you should store it/do something else with it before drinking?
Tea can be ready to drink anytime. If you enjoy it then consider it drinkable. If you find it too strong (aroma, taste, etc) then store it away for a while or perhaps put it in a tea caddy broken up. If you find it mild or weak then store it well wrapped up in whole form. If you don't like it then store it away for a while and see if it tastes better later or give it away. If you really like it then buy a bunch of it. If you think it doesn't taste good from shipping then let it rest for a few weeks. Store it in a clean place with no bad smells and without much light exposure or airflow. A cabinet works well.
I had a cheap 2007 tea that improved dramatically in HK dry storage. It was lacking in depth in 2012; it has aged to something much nicer to drink, IMO, but with poor longevity

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by stevorama » Jul 26th 17 10:50 pm

jayinhk wrote: I had a cheap 2007 tea that improved dramatically in HK dry storage. It was lacking in depth in 2012; it has aged to something much nicer to drink, IMO, but with poor longevity
You've got a good environment to age pu erh! My climate is mild and not really suited to dramatic changes. I've seen good things with my tea though. I have a 2006 coarse leaf shou brick that really improved after a couple years broken up in a tea caddy.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by jayinhk » Jul 27th 17 9:19 am

stevorama wrote:
jayinhk wrote: I had a cheap 2007 tea that improved dramatically in HK dry storage. It was lacking in depth in 2012; it has aged to something much nicer to drink, IMO, but with poor longevity
You've got a good environment to age pu erh! My climate is mild and not really suited to dramatic changes. I've seen good things with my tea though. I have a 2006 coarse leaf shou brick that really improved after a couple years broken up in a tea caddy.
Mild is better for more subtle teas, IMO.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by chrl42 » Jul 27th 17 4:02 pm

Shou is originally invented to be drunk right away..it's not so difficult tea when it comes to drinking..easier to store, easier to spend..

I too think 3~4 years is enough for wo dui to go gentler..one thing noticeable about older Shou is its brewed color..more comfortable to eyes, also more comfortable to throat..

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by jayinhk » Aug 3rd 17 10:08 am

chrl42 wrote: Shou is originally invented to be drunk right away..it's not so difficult tea when it comes to drinking..easier to store, easier to spend..

I too think 3~4 years is enough for wo dui to go gentler..one thing noticeable about older Shou is its brewed color..more comfortable to eyes, also more comfortable to throat..
Well aged HK traditional storage shu is is as smooth as water! Fresh shu can actually be a bit rough. Other fresh shu can be amazing! It's all about the fermentation process and how tea is stored after.

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Re: How do you know if a shou is ready to drink?

by Teasenz » Aug 4th 17 7:18 am

It's quite personal though. I personally like shou that's young. With many of those aged shou cakes I feel the taste is a bit too smoothened out for me.