92

Still loving it. In later steepings, I’m getting fresh spearmint notes and a bit of a tingling sensation. Interesting. On a side note, I’ve been thinking that for every pu-erh I get, I’m going to save just a little bit of each kind and store it somewhere and then drink it a few years down the line to see how it affects the characteristics of the tea. Does anyone know what the ideal environment would be to properly age it in? (It’s not like I have a cave in my backyard). :)

Thomas Smith

For aging puer it is more a realm for shengcha than shu, which mostly just mellows and balances out over time. Heavily compacted examples can benefit, though. A cave actually isn’t the best for storage except in the tunnel-like effect of being able to rotate from rear to front for reliable condition differences. You need to alternate humidity and temperature over time in not-necessarily a regular cycle. Temp increase can help force elements to the surface but puts the extremities at risk of staling by driving off aromatics and if humidity isn’t kept in check then microbes can attack (mold isn’t a good thing, ever, whatever marketing spin someone tries to sell you). Likewise, cooling down will retard microbe action but cool, dry conditions will slow or halt the tea’s aging just like how these conditions will prolong the fresh character of other teas for the longest time. “Hong Kong Storage” is just shy of “wet storage” and a bit more extreme than “Xishuangbanna Storage” – all three refer to storing in high humidity and high heat for a prolonged time, accelerating changes in the tea but also inviting all kinds of microbial action. When done briefly, a touch of warmer temperature and raised humidity can help the tea along without risking mold or producing musty characteristics, but I’d discourage anyone from going too high in humidity unless you are really keeping close watch (and smell). If your area is naturally prone to high heat and humidity (or if climate control breaks down for whatever reason) it is very useful to wrap a bingcha or zhuancha up in a brown paper bag or a very clean cardboard box to help wick moisture and provide a buffer while not sealing up the thing in plastic.
I judge that a tea needs to be pulled from warmer areas when surface luster is really high, fragrance is obvious from just smelling through the wrapper, and the compaction is somewhat more pliable when inspecting the cake. I rotate out of cooler areas when surface goes back to more matte appearance and it becomes more difficult to pick up dry fragrance from the cake even when unwrapped.

I’d say others might give you other advice in conflict with what I’ve said here, but the whole reason I’m commenting is ‘cause I saw you posed a question and hadn’t gotten an answer. I’m not really hard-core on aging puer, as I enjoy young tea as well and the only way they escape me to get any age on ‘em is when I’m bogged with samples and overabundance of wholesale lots. Plus I’ve only been at it since 2005, so I’m a bit of a n00b at it and ever-inquisitive about others’ methods and suggestions when I manage to grab more experienced folks’ ears. That said, I’m open to questions, comments, concerns, and critiques if you’ve got any!

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Thomas Smith

For aging puer it is more a realm for shengcha than shu, which mostly just mellows and balances out over time. Heavily compacted examples can benefit, though. A cave actually isn’t the best for storage except in the tunnel-like effect of being able to rotate from rear to front for reliable condition differences. You need to alternate humidity and temperature over time in not-necessarily a regular cycle. Temp increase can help force elements to the surface but puts the extremities at risk of staling by driving off aromatics and if humidity isn’t kept in check then microbes can attack (mold isn’t a good thing, ever, whatever marketing spin someone tries to sell you). Likewise, cooling down will retard microbe action but cool, dry conditions will slow or halt the tea’s aging just like how these conditions will prolong the fresh character of other teas for the longest time. “Hong Kong Storage” is just shy of “wet storage” and a bit more extreme than “Xishuangbanna Storage” – all three refer to storing in high humidity and high heat for a prolonged time, accelerating changes in the tea but also inviting all kinds of microbial action. When done briefly, a touch of warmer temperature and raised humidity can help the tea along without risking mold or producing musty characteristics, but I’d discourage anyone from going too high in humidity unless you are really keeping close watch (and smell). If your area is naturally prone to high heat and humidity (or if climate control breaks down for whatever reason) it is very useful to wrap a bingcha or zhuancha up in a brown paper bag or a very clean cardboard box to help wick moisture and provide a buffer while not sealing up the thing in plastic.
I judge that a tea needs to be pulled from warmer areas when surface luster is really high, fragrance is obvious from just smelling through the wrapper, and the compaction is somewhat more pliable when inspecting the cake. I rotate out of cooler areas when surface goes back to more matte appearance and it becomes more difficult to pick up dry fragrance from the cake even when unwrapped.

I’d say others might give you other advice in conflict with what I’ve said here, but the whole reason I’m commenting is ‘cause I saw you posed a question and hadn’t gotten an answer. I’m not really hard-core on aging puer, as I enjoy young tea as well and the only way they escape me to get any age on ‘em is when I’m bogged with samples and overabundance of wholesale lots. Plus I’ve only been at it since 2005, so I’m a bit of a n00b at it and ever-inquisitive about others’ methods and suggestions when I manage to grab more experienced folks’ ears. That said, I’m open to questions, comments, concerns, and critiques if you’ve got any!

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My name is Kyle. I love good tea, a good book, the great outdoors, and I am passionate about music. I also find enjoyment in writing and mountain biking here in beautiful Central Oregon.

Tea is a hugely misunderstood and under-appreciated gift in the western world, and my hope is to spread the gift of quality tea. It is communion between the passion of man and the raw beauty of nature. It is art, and it is therapy. I hope you enjoy my writings.

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