Oolong Storage Time

Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.


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Jun 4th, '08, 13:29
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Oolong Storage Time

by TimeforTea » Jun 4th, '08, 13:29

I know greens should only be kept around for 3 months...what about oolongs? Also, is there a difference in recommended storage time between lightly oxidized vs. heavily oxidized oolongs?

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Jun 4th, '08, 13:45
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by tenuki » Jun 4th, '08, 13:45

Heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs last longer, some even in open containers, greens oolongs can go stale very quickly (notice I didn't say 'go bad').

The shelf life of good quality oolong is extremely long if you count the ability to refresh roast. I think any serious oolong drinker needs to know how to roast.
Last edited by tenuki on Jun 4th, '08, 13:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Jun 4th, '08, 13:47
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by ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 13:47

The thing about oolong is that most of it will actually age. The downside is that, AFAIK, there's no real way to know what will age well. Most of my tightly rolled ones are a year old or so (some spent an additional year in a vacuum sealed pack at the vendor) and still taste just as good, though. They may not have some of the characteristics of being super fresh, but still very good.

MarshallN and TeaMasters have some stuff on their blog about aged jade oolongs.
Specific example: http://www.xanga.com/MarshalN/658653186/item.html
More: http://weblog.xanga.com/MarshalN/tags/agedoolong
More: http://teamasters.blogspot.com/search?q=aged+oolong (It's been noted that Stephane at TeaMasters has changed his mind at some point in the past; that he once thought that only roasted oolongs would age but made a sudden turnaround).
Last edited by ABx on Jun 4th, '08, 14:06, edited 1 time in total.

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by tenuki » Jun 4th, '08, 14:04

You roast ABx? Any thoughts on roasting? I'm fairly new to it, but have had nothing but sucess with my Zoji 'fuzzy' rice cooker's reheat/keep warm cycle.

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by scruffmcgruff » Jun 4th, '08, 14:08

Wuyi oolongs, particularly high roast ones, are often much better with a few years of aging in an airtight container. I would actually be hesitant to buy a newly harvested Wuyi.

[Edit: I mention high roast Wuyi not because it's needed for aging, as ABx mentioned above, but because the age tends to mellow out the roast]

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Jun 4th, '08, 14:34
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by ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 14:34

You roast ABx? Any thoughts on roasting? I'm fairly new to it, but have had nothing but sucess with my Zoji 'fuzzy' rice cooker's reheat/keep warm cycle.
I haven't, but I do want to give it a try at some point. I don't have a rice cooker, but have considered using the oven. I went to buy the roaster that Hou De had at one point, but after eyeing it for months the last one finally sold just hours before I decided to finally get it - go figure.
Last edited by ABx on Jun 4th, '08, 14:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Jun 4th, '08, 14:36
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by ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 14:36

scruffmcgruff wrote:Wuyi oolongs, particularly high roast ones, are often much better with a few years of aging in an airtight container. I would actually be hesitant to buy a newly harvested Wuyi.

[Edit: I mention high roast Wuyi not because it's needed for aging, as ABx mentioned above, but because the age tends to mellow out the roast]
I agree - Wuyi's practically need age before drinking. Even when they're not highly roasted, I find the essential combination of flavors are really off-balance and seem to "compete". While not unpleasant, they don't have the characteristics of a fine Wuyi yancha. TeaCuppa's 2007 (that I had when it was new) is an example.

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Jun 4th, '08, 19:11
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by Geekgirl » Jun 4th, '08, 19:11

ABx, how do you age an oolong properly? Do you use an airtight container or ceramic jar? Do they need to breathe to age well?

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by scruffmcgruff » Jun 4th, '08, 19:50

GeekgirlUnveiled wrote:ABx, how do you age an oolong properly? Do you use an airtight container or ceramic jar? Do they need to breathe to age well?


I'll steal this one. :) Unlike puerh, you do not want oolongs to be exposed to air during aging. From what I hear, the ideal method for long term storage (10+ years) is to store it inside a ceramic jar and seal it with wax. For short term, your run-of-the-mill airtight canister should be fine.

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by Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 20:08

I was wondering if anyone tried using one of those food vacuum systems.
I have one I have never used.

I was thinking of keeping the tea in its original pouch but just open on the end, then putting that in the plastic sealing material.

What do you think?

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by Mary R » Jun 4th, '08, 21:05

I get a lot of oolong vacuum sealed from vendors. It might be a worthwhile thing to look into.

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by Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 21:12

Mary R wrote:I get a lot of oolong vacuum sealed from vendors. It might be a worthwhile thing to look into.


Yeah, that's what prompted me to think about that sealing machine I never have used.

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by chrl42 » Jun 5th, '08, 08:43

Misconception about storing/aging Oolong is that they believe it will age the way Puerh does.
But what's different is Puerh does not go through the stage of 'killing oxidation', or done very weakly. That's why Sheng is technically classified as 'green tea' and called 'after-fermented'.

So Oolong that's stored over 10 yrs will turn out to be just plain taste with lots of aroma gone.
What's called as 'aged Oolong' on the market actually go through the process of heating (Hong Bei) every yr or so not to lose its flavor.

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Jun 5th, '08, 09:45
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by TimeforTea » Jun 5th, '08, 09:45

Victoria wrote:I was wondering if anyone tried using one of those food vacuum systems.
I have one I have never used.

I was thinking of keeping the tea in its original pouch but just open on the end, then putting that in the plastic sealing material.

What do you think?


We use our vacuum sealer all the time...for food, that is. They work extremely well. We use them for everything--raw food, cooked food in the freezer, keeping nuts, grains, etc., fresh. I never thought to use it for tea. I think it would work very well.

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by edkrueger » Jun 27th, '08, 16:11

ABx wrote:
You roast ABx? Any thoughts on roasting? I'm fairly new to it, but have had nothing but sucess with my Zoji 'fuzzy' rice cooker's reheat/keep warm cycle.
I haven't, but I do want to give it a try at some point. I don't have a rice cooker, but have considered using the oven. I went to buy the roaster that Hou De had at one point, but after eyeing it for months the last one finally sold just hours before I decided to finally get it - go figure.


I wanted that roaster too.

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