Aging Puerh.

104 Replies

How should raw Pu’er tea be stored?

There are so many factors can affect the aging of Pu’er tea. The climate/location: temperature, humidity, variations in the season, the place where the tea is kept, the amount of tea, how tightly the tea was pressed, how frequently the tea is contacted, the shape of the compressed Pu’er, will all affect the aging process. Without being too difficult, allow a list of some more vague generalizations that may be helpful:

1) The tea should ideally be stored in a reasonably high humidity, around 60-80%, but more importantly it should be a constant humidity. A high humidity is also risky to your tea, especially where there is not sufficient airflow. In the nicer tea shops of China and with many collectors of high-valued teas it is not uncommon to see humidifiers much like collectors of cigars.

2) It should be stored at a reasonably high temperature – 70-80 degrees F is suitable and stability is important here as well. With both temperature and humidity, be conscious of anything you may have in your house that will affect the stability of either(i.e. Air conditioning or dehumidifiers).

3) It should be stored where there is a circulation of air, so of course a sealed box/container is not suitable nor is a place that is in direct sunlight. If you do keep it in a container of some kind, make sure it has good air circulation or is not sealed shut.

4) It should be kept away from strong smells – INCLUDING SHOU CHAA AGED/COOKED PU’ER. The kitchen is not a suitable place to age/store ANY tea, as the aromas of other spices and your own cooking will greatly affect the taste and aroma of your delicate teas.

5) Before going too much further in your aging of tea, consider also how much tea you will be aging and how often you plan to taste/use the teas. The more tea there is together, the better it will age. Just like with brewing a cup of tea, the smaller the container/box/pot the better. If you are only aging one Bing, best not to leave it in an open room on its’ own. For smaller amounts of tea, perhaps consider an earthenware jar, or perhaps a wooden box or cupboard. Consider the aromas of the woods/containers you store your teas in as well.

If you intend to drink a cake of tea in the near future, it may be useful to break it into smaller pieces that can fit into pots a bit easier that way more is exposed to the elements as it will age a bit more rapidly. Complete tongs in their bamboo wrappers(7 at a time), should not be opened until you wish to start consuming the tea. After its opened, it is still smart to reseal the tong as best you can.

6) If the amount of tea you are storing is really considerable, be sure to rotate the tea every few months or so. Bring the teas on the “bottom” to the top, and the ones that are closer to the wood or air, move them to a different area in the container, ect. Rotate, repeat.

Many people have their own methods of aging their teas, but there are certainly things they avoid in that process. If you have a few pieces of the same tea, perhaps try a few slight variations and see what you like. Access your teas often to see how they are doing, and be patient. Remember, before you start any of this, to have a good raw product(Sheng Chaa) that is going to be enjoyable today, or decades to come. Look to the Six Ancient Tea Mountains to find quality Sheng Chaa. Many prefer Yiwu, which is where our Sheng Chaa is from.

There is much more to be said about this; including WHEN to start enjoying your teas as well as HOW to pick a quality tea to begin with. We wrote about these two topics on our site :) Hope you enjoy and this answers some of your questions.

1. My storage is at 70%
2. Unfortunately temp is a bit low at a constant 68 F
3. There is a fan in the fridge and I open the door for a minute once a day to let in new air
4. There are no other smells
5. Currently I have about 30 beengs
6. I move the tea around the last day of every month

Thanks for your opinion. I purchased one of your cakes to try and will be storing it in my pumidor. I’ll put up a review once I receive it.

How wonderful, I love your fridge idea, very clever.

Will you be aging the tea or drinking it soon?

I don’t know yet. I will try it and if I feel it has the strength and qualities to age well, I may buy a few more for aging. What are your thoughts on aging it?

I highly encourage it. The farmer pulled out a batch that his father produced(using the same trees and the same process of course), from 1980. It was exquisite. Certainly a well aged and precious tea.

Yiwu is of the finest tea to age; you will be very happy with that tea over the years.

I just wanted to write this short review as an update on how some teas are responding to the pumidor. I first got this sample and the flavor intrigued me. It had a tobacco base but mainly tasted like spices and peppers. The best way to explain it is that it tasted like spilling every spice in your cupboard in some mole. I bought a couple cakes and when I tasted it, it still had the spicy flavor. According to my inventory app it says I bought the teas on February 7, 2013. Despite only having it for a month and a half a lot of change has taken place. The spicy, peppery flavors have mellowed out some and started turning into the underlying tobacco flavor. I don’t know if it’s because of being in the presence of other teas that aren’t “spicy” or just from sitting in the pumidor environment but it will be interesting to see how the other teas respond

Sammerz314 said

Interesting humidor design. I myself will look into something similar!

mrmopar said

Agreed the tea is changing and the smell is wonderful. The only variation I notice seems to be the humidity when I add cakes to the mix. It seems to take about a week for the humidity to come back up again, but I have added a lot to it lately. Almost out of room maybe i will try to get another fridge…. If I don’t get shot for it! guess I better make a will out to distribute the tea.

Sammerz314 said

Hahahha a lot of cakes, eh? Have you tried the Mengku Organic series by any chance? I am considering the 2006 cake!

Mrmopar: Regarding your storage space issue, I noticed that you have a ton of shu puerh but a fairly small amount of sheng. While there are some benefits to aging a shu for 1-5 years before drinking, mainly to get rid of any wou dui from processing, sheng is typically the puerh that is meant for aging. I would recommend taking the shu out and drink it now, while buying some high grade sheng to store in the rest of the fridge.

mrmopar said

Got all the sheng in the freezer part of the fridge with the same set up. I drink the shu everyday and have gotten some 2007 sheng just to age in the freezer part.

May I ask why you seem to enjoy shu so much more than sheng. I, too, started with shu but soon moved on to sheng. I find that all shu’s taste fairly similar and I haven’t found one that’s just blown my mind. Sheng, however, vary so greatly that they can taste like totally different kinds of tea. I don’t mean to bash shu I am just wondering why you seem to prefer it

mrmopar said

I think the ‘grassiness’ has kept me from trying it too much. I have some older sheng from 2006 that I plan to break into along with a couple of menghai cakes I recently purchased. I am letting the newest sheng acclimate in the pumidor for about a month to bring the tea back to proper levels before I get into them. Some shu is similar but if you were to put 3 cups of shu from the menghai, haiwan and cnnp in a blind test I would be able to identify each one. I may have you message me with your address one day and send you a couple to try that I consider to be pretty good.

Sammerz314 said

I also enjoyed shou initially. I now prefer the freshness of sheng.

If the sheng you’ve gotten is grassy you may have had some bad experiences. When I get a grassy sheng I usually just toss it. Many sheng have very deep flavors like tobacco and smoked wood, covered by light fruity and citrusy notes

tperez said

^Ooh! Toss it to me! lol

tperez, No sheng is better than bad sheng

mrmopar said

I think the grassy flavor will grow on me the more i drink it. I am partial to shou because it was the first pu’erh type I really tried. I think in time I will learn to enjoy sheng also. I think it is just part of the “learning curve” that I am going through. I agree the freshness aroma of the sheng i have is starting to “intrigue” me so I feel i will learn to appreciate sheng also. This is the exact reason I purchased the menghai mesong toucha for . It is a raw toucha and after the initial period in the pumidor it will be in my cup.

mrmopar said

I am currently working on a 2008 haiwan supreme cake for tonight’s tea. I have been on another site trying to find a 2007 cnnp 6581 brick.

Grace said

Do you mean 7581? I have not had 6581

mrmopar said

The 6581 is one I came across a day or two ago and am trying to find it again on the site. I agree the 7581 is a good one!

mrmopar said

Grace if I can find a 6581 I will share with ya!

Grace said

Thank you!!

I have not heard of that one before, if I see it I will let u know :)

I have never seen or heard of a 6581 cake. What website did you get it from and are you sure it isn’t fake?

Grace said

I thought the same, I do not think they had ripe recipes cakes in ’65 at least officially

And the 65 in 6581 would mean that it is a CNNP – because of the 1 – from 1965

mrmopar said

Trying to find it again on TaoFocus. It has perplexed me on finding it again, I should have saved it somewhere. The description looked pretty good I hope I can find it again. It has a cnnp quality seal on it. I hope it turns up again. I have a really good contact in mainland China and if I can find something I want they can source it and verify it for me. If you need a contact over there let me know. the only drawback is the shipping but we are working on a plan for that.

I’ll pm you

mrmopar said

Got ya!Maybe we can put something in. If you check my recently added items in my cupboard you may see some things that are new to you.

Grace said

I added you both too, and same to you, you can see what i have been drinking lately

mrmopar said

Cool thanks Grace will do the same.

Will said

Add me too if you’d like to come by for tea sometime.

mrmopar said
Grace said

I did not know this recipe before, but now i see the brick. Is it good?

mrmopar said

Have not tried it yet but I am looking at it with intentions to order.

Grace said

cool :) I will watch your ratings if you buy it

mrmopar said

Got to sneak it in ‘under the table’ you know. I have been told I have too much tea LOL!

Grace said

U just need to buy a warehouse :)

mrmopar said

Agreed or fix up another pumidor!

Bonnie said

Hi there Papa Pu! I thought that this should be your new name! Papa PU! You are the King of PU (Other than Garret, but it’s his business after all!).

mrmopar said

Ha ha Bonnie you are too much! I guess I will have to nominate you to Mama pu!

Sil select said

Bumping this as I’m tossing around the idea of buying or making a pumidor for puerh

Sammerz314 said

I am also in the process. Still in the designing stages.

I am in the process too…been researching. Seems like everyone does it a little differently. Not sure what I want to do at this point!

Brian said

so for the ones using small fridges….the fans used on the inside look like fans used in a CPU or something. is this true?

Psyck said

Yeah they look like standard desktop cabinet fans. It is not clear how they are powered though.

I bought new plastic storage tubs and have hygrometers on the way…that’s as far as I’ve gotten with my big plans, heh.

AllanK said

The fan is powered directly by a cord that connects to a smaller cord. Mr Mopar could probably tell you what they are called (the small cord that is). You simply plug it in to an outlet when you want to turn it on. It is exactly the fan used in a computer CPU.

mrmopar said

They are powered by an ac to dc converter via a molex hook up. I try to get the ones that move lots of air quickly. 100cfm or so. The fans generate heat while running so the quick burst of air for 20 minutes or so get the air moved quickly without raising the temperature too much. I shoot for about 70% rh and 70 to 73f temps. Those fans are the exact ones for cooling computers and high end amplifiers. They work well. I also try to keep all the cakes I can in puerh cake storage bags. they breathe and don’t allow excess condensation on the cakes. Added bonus is they catch any loose pieces and you can brew them when you shake the bag out.

Psyck said

OK, so you convert the case fan to molex by using a cable like this: and power the molex using an adapter like this:

Dr Jim said

This kind of fan is called a “muffin fan”. Don’t ask me why. You don’t need an AC to DC adapter; just look for AC powered fans. They are common. This means you’ll need to wire directly to AC, so be careful (lots of electrical tape or else a junction box. You can probably hide the connection where the fridge motor is located.

Psyck said
mrmopar said
Psyck said

I live in the tropics, so my whole house is a humidor :-) Today is a typical day & the temperature is now in the low 20’s C (mid-70 F) and the humidity in the low 70’s. So I guess all I need to do is toss the tea into the crockery cupboard or some such place with no smells…

mrmopar said

I wish I had your climate to store in my friend! :)

That is perfect!

Psyck said

Thanks, so I’m all set, except for the little trivial fact that I have no Puerh with me :-) It is something I want to get into, and hopefully will be able to build up a collection with advice from you folks.

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