Cake Storage

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

Aug 29th 08 8:05 am
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Cake Storage

by devites » Aug 29th 08 8:05 am

I live in Seattle; pretty cold basically year round and no humidity. Where in my house is a good place to store? Under my bed, on my tea shelf , or maybe in my closet?

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Aug 29th 08 12:39 pm
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Re: Cake Storage

by hop_goblin » Aug 29th 08 12:39 pm

devites wrote:I live in Seattle; pretty cold basically year round and no humidity. Where in my house is a good place to store? Under my bed, on my tea shelf , or maybe in my closet?
I would think that Seattle has tons of humidty with its avg rain fall. Rule of thumb, store pu in a dark area, away from odors in a place where the temp is constantly stable, with proper venilation. As for humidty, pu needs humidity 70%-80%.

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Aug 29th 08 4:25 pm
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by shogun89 » Aug 29th 08 4:25 pm

In your closet on a shelf will be fine. As long as your cakes are 5 yrs or younger they will be alright at low humidity levels. Once there in the 5-10 yr range you dont want it to get below 50% for over 5 months, this could kill the tea.

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Aug 29th 08 4:29 pm
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by Dizzwave » Aug 29th 08 4:29 pm

Yeah, devites, I live in Portland and for most of the year, the humidity is great. Actually I recently took my humidity sponges out of my cupboard, and it's holding steady at 66%. (When they're in there, lately, it's in the mid 70s.)
shogun89 wrote:Once there in the 5-10 yr range you dont want it to get below 50% for over 5 months, this could kill the tea.
Really? How does it kill it? I hadn't heard that.

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Aug 29th 08 4:47 pm
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by shogun89 » Aug 29th 08 4:47 pm

I read this in the CHA DAO article that Salsero kindly provided us with.


Storage aging without refinement can prolong the aging process. Raw-cake storage in NY can take up 3 to 4 times longer than aging in Hong Kong. The main hazard period for tea here is wintertime. The humidity can drop to 20-30% if you have a heater. This critical four-month period is always my concern. Being too dry will certainly hurt your tea, if not "kill" them. If this period of dryness continues more than 6 months, the tea will be in serious hibernation: a long sleep, from which they might never wake.

I have previously discussed the topic of tea aging, dividing it up into three major maturation periods:

First Maturation: around 5 years
Second Maturation: 15-25 years
Third Maturation: 50 years and up

If it is a newly-harvested puerh, the first five years is fine, even if it's stored in a prolonged (5 months) dry climate. But the effect might be a less lively brew, or the taste might not be as promising as the aroma.

If this is prolonged to the second period of 5 to 10 years of continuous dryness, lower than 50% humidity, the tea will be permanently affected.

If tea is in its second period of aging, and was kept in a pretty fine first period, it will continue to develop excellent characteristics which might not be detected in the first period. But if the storage condition deteriorates, then all the work will be spoiled. I have tasted good mature tea in its second stage which was stored badly; the taste came to a standstill as of a 10 to 15 years aged tea, but without life or youth. Many vendors try other ways to make badly-stored tea alive by introducing wet/dry storage depending where the tea stands, for a short period of time, and then to resell them. That could be a desperate attempt which will add only the first few brews with a better soup, but after the couple of brews, the falsity cannot be hidden.

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by Wesli » Aug 29th 08 5:20 pm

Store pu in a dark area, away from odors in a place where the temp is fairly constant, with some ventilation. As for humidty, pu needs humidity 60%-80%.

woot

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Aug 29th 08 5:32 pm
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by Dizzwave » Aug 29th 08 5:32 pm

shogun89 wrote:the tea will be permanently affected.
Cue Beethoven's 5th....
Thanks shogun, good to know!

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by ABx » Aug 29th 08 7:56 pm

shogun89 wrote:I read this in the CHA DAO article that Salsero kindly provided us with.


Storage aging without refinement can prolong the aging process. Raw-cake storage in NY can take up 3 to 4 times longer than aging in Hong Kong. The main hazard period for tea here is wintertime. The humidity can drop to 20-30% if you have a heater. This critical four-month period is always my concern. Being too dry will certainly hurt your tea, if not "kill" them. If this period of dryness continues more than 6 months, the tea will be in serious hibernation: a long sleep, from which they might never wake.

I have previously discussed the topic of tea aging, dividing it up into three major maturation periods:

First Maturation: around 5 years
Second Maturation: 15-25 years
Third Maturation: 50 years and up

If it is a newly-harvested puerh, the first five years is fine, even if it's stored in a prolonged (5 months) dry climate. But the effect might be a less lively brew, or the taste might not be as promising as the aroma.

If this is prolonged to the second period of 5 to 10 years of continuous dryness, lower than 50% humidity, the tea will be permanently affected.

If tea is in its second period of aging, and was kept in a pretty fine first period, it will continue to develop excellent characteristics which might not be detected in the first period. But if the storage condition deteriorates, then all the work will be spoiled. I have tasted good mature tea in its second stage which was stored badly; the taste came to a standstill as of a 10 to 15 years aged tea, but without life or youth. Many vendors try other ways to make badly-stored tea alive by introducing wet/dry storage depending where the tea stands, for a short period of time, and then to resell them. That could be a desperate attempt which will add only the first few brews with a better soup, but after the couple of brews, the falsity cannot be hidden.
I'd like to read that, can you provide a link?

The thing to keep in mind is that there is really no objective data about puerh storage or aging. There are as many opinions and experiences as there are experts and puerh drinkers. It will also depend on what one expects/prefers. I've seen people say that even a short period of wet storage will irreversibly change puerh (in a negative way), and those from Hong Kong or Taiwan consider dry stored puerh to be no good. I've even seen it said that "dry storage" was an idea cooked up by vendors to sell puerh to those afraid that it will just go bad in their home. Some have even speculated that extended dry periods (by season) may be crucial to good storage.

There's also no real data on how or why puerh ages, even less so on storage in the US. So there's no real objective reference that we can look at and definitively say that it will or won't do well in various conditions. There's so much ambiguity that while it is worth noting that some believe that storing below 50-60% for an extended period could "ruin" a piece, it's dangerous to speak definitively about what will or will not happen. There are just so many other potential variables involved that without testing and study in a controlled environment it's impossible to say much for sure (other than that higher humidity environments age puerh faster).

I am very interested to read the article, however :)

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Aug 29th 08 8:08 pm
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by shogun89 » Aug 29th 08 8:08 pm

Yes I agree with you ABx. Hers the link,

http://chadao.blogspot.com/2008/06/pers ... -puer.html

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by orguz » Aug 29th 08 10:52 pm

the chadao article lists 3 very different opinions regarding storage, all by well respected tea merchants like Abx said there is no objective set of rules for aging

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by teakid » Aug 30th 08 12:19 am

I can't explain why my 100+ pu cake collection always emit nice tea smell when it's raining outside even though my indoor humidity reading is between 50-60% @ 22 degrees celcius. It could be a balance between temp, humidity and something unknown. But when I pump up the humidity to 70%, I can't get the same nice tea smell. I have a feeling the cakes don't want to be PUSHED.

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by eanglin » Aug 30th 08 1:54 pm

High humidity, dark, free from objectionable odors... I'm of half a mind to try aging some bricks in one of my beehives next summer.

Temperature- around 90 degrees
Humidity- High, but the bees regulate it and fan their wings to keep air flowing and dry things out when the weather is damp or there is nectar being evaporated into honey.
Dark- yes, the bees seem to prefer it that way.
Sweet smelling? Yep- like beeswax and honey and a bit of animal musk. The inside of a healthy beehive is one of the best smelling places in the world, in my opinon.

I may just take a frame, put two or three bricks wrapped in linen and hardware cloth in it, and put it in one of my strongest hives to speed-age next summer.

Now to figure out something cheap but tasty for next summers experiment.
Any suggestions?

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by heavydoom » Aug 30th 08 3:07 pm

you want to order from china? or from the states? what's your budget?

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Aug 30th 08 3:09 pm
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by shogun89 » Aug 30th 08 3:09 pm

I think some nice blended cakes would be good for your experiment. They are cheap so you dont have to worry about loosing alot of money and they are meant for aging.

Try this one
http://cgi.ebay.com/2008-Menghai-Tea-Fa ... dZViewItem