17

I have been studying and researching different aged puerhs to see the effect storage type has on the tea and through my experience any aged puerh tea that has white specks of puerh mold which is called aspergillus like this Tuo Cha does means that it is almost impossible for it to be dry stored. You see, a good quality wet stored puerh tea might have a very small amount of these white specks because of the humidity in the air during wet storage and they should not take up a large surface area of the cake or tuo cha for if they do it usually represents that it was stored not only wet but too wet. So basically since this Xia Guan Tuo Cha is almost completely covered with white aspergillus specks I would have to say that the claim of it being dry stored would have to be a fallacy as it is more likely EXTREMELY WET STORED. This is not just my opinion either as I had a sample of this tea with me when I went to visit one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S. and when I brought it out to show it to him and the rest of the tea enthusiasts they refused to even put their nose up to the tuo cha to smell it for fear of breathing in the vast amount of mold on it. I am not saying this is the vendor’s fault as they were probably told this was dry stored but i just wanted to state what I have found through research and experience now that I understand puerh much better than I did when I first bought it.

Respectfully,
Nick-

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I respectfully disagree. I believe it’s not about who to disagree with, but what opinion to disagree with.

I can only guess the “white stuff” you are talking about is the crystallization on the surface of the tea. The formation of crystallization on the surface of old tea is significantly different from white mold. Even the crystallization is tiny and modest in my eyes, and probably one has to be very sensitive to feel the cake is “entirely covered” by it. This tea doesn’t have a taste of wet storage. In fact, that’s what some wet-stored-puerh lovers complain about this tea – they think the storage of this tea is too dry for their taste preference. To be honest, I thought it’s pretty easy to distinguish a purely dry-stored tea (like this one) and an “extremely wet stored” tea. And I had thought the major complaint received by this tea would be its “too dry” taste.

Mold is the number 1 thing we try to avoid for any of our puerh. Without being against wet-stored puerh, we choose to deal with dry storage puerh only. Although there are some wet-stored-puerh lovers, we choose to cater to dry-stored-puerh lovers.

MarshalN

Have you tried using a magnifier to look at the white specks? If it’s mold, you should see the little mushroom shape of the mold.

MarshalN

If the photos on the website are at all accurate, this is not extremely wet stored, at all. In fact, I wouldn’t say, based on those pictures again, that this is at all wet stored. Wet stored tea looks very different. Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?

Nick305

Let’s just say the last time I was in New Yor visiting my absolute favorite tea ROOM the proprietor and a fellow tea blogger both grabbed the chunk of Tuo Cha I had of this tea and refused to even put their nose close to it because it is covered in white specks and they said they wouldn’t even try it and told me not to as well because it’s almost certainly mold but then I told them it was sold as dry stored and they told me that there is no way. Perhaps i got one that didn’t match what was displayed on the website but I trust these two authorities quite readily about almost all subjects tea related and I think you should know who I am talking about by my language!

Nick305

By the way this is ImmortaliTEA from teachat nice speaking with you again MarshalN. I have been reading your blog for some time now and have learned so much from you! I will post the two names of the authorities that I met with in NY in person when they inspected my Tuo Cha sample if you feel it’s appropriate!

MarshalN

I think I know who they are. I just talked to one of them about this, in fact, and it seems like there may be a little bit of confusion here – could it be that you got the wrong thing in the mail? That person’s description is that it smelled bad, and since they had other things to drink, it’s not something they were too desperate to try. The pictures, however, don’t seem to suggest that it’s wet stored, at all, nor suggest that it would smell nast in any way (and the few other reviews floating out there suggest the same). So perhaps gingko can send you another sample and maybe it’ll all clear up (hope you’re still reading this thread, gingko). Sometimes mistakes do happen!

Nick305

It’s certainly possible that I got the wrong thing in the mail, however I still have the bag with part of the sample in it and it is labeled correctly as the 96’ Xiaguan Butterfly Tuo Cha. Since this website doesn’t appear to have many more Tuo Cha’s besides the one in question I highly doubt it’s a mistake but it definitely possible. I took some pictures of my sample that I would like you to see so whats the best way I can show them to you?

Nick305

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7873454116/in/photostream/
Here is a picture of the exact sample that they saw in New York and said what they said about!

MarshalN

Hmm, doesn’t look wet stored just from the pic. The white spots look more consistent with damage from using a pick to break the tuo apart than mold. Hard to say for sure, of course, without seeing it in person. Did you ever try drinking it? I noticed your initial comments didn’t include any notes from tasting it.

Nick305

Yes I tasted it and it seems to have some serious mustiness to it especially compared to other dry stored teas I have tried around this age. It does have some astringency still so perhaps the appearance just threw people off or I got a different piece than what is represented on the vendor’s website. I was not trying to discredit this seller in any way but just wanted to let other tea drinker’s know what was said about it!

Nick305

The only reason I decided to go with what was said is because I know those who gave their opinion have much more experience with everything tea related than I do. I apologize if it was out of line and I will make sure to take better tasting notes and get more opinions before posting another negative review such as this!

MarshalN

A few others have chimed in, here and there, about having tried the tea, and it seems like everyone thinks it’s very dry. So, it could be you got a bad piece, it could be you got the wrong thing…. either way, your piece seems an outlier of some sort or another

Ben1

Dear All, after purchasing a sample of this tea last year, I bought a whole Tuo. My Tuo is filled with mold, white spots everywhere. My sample was quite different. My whole Tuo is very mellow, like a wet-stored tea. the sample I first ordered had a lot more astringency. I am pretty sure that my Tuo was wet stored. I recently broke it up, and there is white mold, and some yellow too, all throughout the dense Tuo. I guess I am saying that Nick ain’t nuts, far from it…..Ben

Nick305

Thanks Ben1 I was beginning to feel like I got the wrong tea in the mail or that I was the only one who got an example with white aspergillus spots. Ok so perhaps what’s going on here is that the purveyor has different Butterfly Tuo’s that have varying storage types or perhaps some other explanation that could possibly explain why some feel it’s too dry and more than one have an example that is covered in white spots!

MarshalN

A most interesting case, since now we have two people getting moldy tea, not just one, which seriously diminishes the possibility that the moldy tea is a fluke. Hmmm

unfurl

Hmmmmm I was looking at Life in a Teacup’s page and found this. I just find it funny that the only person agreeing with ‘the mold’ is practically non existent in steepster and just agreed in this comment out of nowhere…

Nick305

Considering the fact that I have never heard from Ben1 prior to posting this review, I am going to have to agree with MarshalN in that since now it’s confirmed by two distinct separate intstances, the likelihood of moldy tea is much greater. I am in no way trying to “pull the wool over” anyone’s eyes, just trying to document my experience with this tea in particular. I have had nothing but great experiences with this vendor on all other products besides this tea and a mediocre Shui Xian, so I thought it interesting that the dry stored claim seems to be conflicted by the white specks. So I guess an appropriate question here would be, is it possible for completely dry stored tea to have white specks of aspergillus all too common in wet stored tea? Or how often has someone seen a completely dry stored tea with white specks? Thanks for your comments!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I removed my previous post from 7 years ago. If I had remembered it earlier, I would have removed it years ago. I no longer hold grudges against anyone or anything related to this. Many thanks to those who contributed to a number of good conversations surrounding this issue. And many thanks to those curious tea drinkers who made this tea a “best seller” for several months after the hot discussion. I always appreciate the support and friendship from the tea community, and will look for opportunities to make contributions to it.

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Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I respectfully disagree. I believe it’s not about who to disagree with, but what opinion to disagree with.

I can only guess the “white stuff” you are talking about is the crystallization on the surface of the tea. The formation of crystallization on the surface of old tea is significantly different from white mold. Even the crystallization is tiny and modest in my eyes, and probably one has to be very sensitive to feel the cake is “entirely covered” by it. This tea doesn’t have a taste of wet storage. In fact, that’s what some wet-stored-puerh lovers complain about this tea – they think the storage of this tea is too dry for their taste preference. To be honest, I thought it’s pretty easy to distinguish a purely dry-stored tea (like this one) and an “extremely wet stored” tea. And I had thought the major complaint received by this tea would be its “too dry” taste.

Mold is the number 1 thing we try to avoid for any of our puerh. Without being against wet-stored puerh, we choose to deal with dry storage puerh only. Although there are some wet-stored-puerh lovers, we choose to cater to dry-stored-puerh lovers.

MarshalN

Have you tried using a magnifier to look at the white specks? If it’s mold, you should see the little mushroom shape of the mold.

MarshalN

If the photos on the website are at all accurate, this is not extremely wet stored, at all. In fact, I wouldn’t say, based on those pictures again, that this is at all wet stored. Wet stored tea looks very different. Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?

Nick305

Let’s just say the last time I was in New Yor visiting my absolute favorite tea ROOM the proprietor and a fellow tea blogger both grabbed the chunk of Tuo Cha I had of this tea and refused to even put their nose close to it because it is covered in white specks and they said they wouldn’t even try it and told me not to as well because it’s almost certainly mold but then I told them it was sold as dry stored and they told me that there is no way. Perhaps i got one that didn’t match what was displayed on the website but I trust these two authorities quite readily about almost all subjects tea related and I think you should know who I am talking about by my language!

Nick305

By the way this is ImmortaliTEA from teachat nice speaking with you again MarshalN. I have been reading your blog for some time now and have learned so much from you! I will post the two names of the authorities that I met with in NY in person when they inspected my Tuo Cha sample if you feel it’s appropriate!

MarshalN

I think I know who they are. I just talked to one of them about this, in fact, and it seems like there may be a little bit of confusion here – could it be that you got the wrong thing in the mail? That person’s description is that it smelled bad, and since they had other things to drink, it’s not something they were too desperate to try. The pictures, however, don’t seem to suggest that it’s wet stored, at all, nor suggest that it would smell nast in any way (and the few other reviews floating out there suggest the same). So perhaps gingko can send you another sample and maybe it’ll all clear up (hope you’re still reading this thread, gingko). Sometimes mistakes do happen!

Nick305

It’s certainly possible that I got the wrong thing in the mail, however I still have the bag with part of the sample in it and it is labeled correctly as the 96’ Xiaguan Butterfly Tuo Cha. Since this website doesn’t appear to have many more Tuo Cha’s besides the one in question I highly doubt it’s a mistake but it definitely possible. I took some pictures of my sample that I would like you to see so whats the best way I can show them to you?

Nick305

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7873454116/in/photostream/
Here is a picture of the exact sample that they saw in New York and said what they said about!

MarshalN

Hmm, doesn’t look wet stored just from the pic. The white spots look more consistent with damage from using a pick to break the tuo apart than mold. Hard to say for sure, of course, without seeing it in person. Did you ever try drinking it? I noticed your initial comments didn’t include any notes from tasting it.

Nick305

Yes I tasted it and it seems to have some serious mustiness to it especially compared to other dry stored teas I have tried around this age. It does have some astringency still so perhaps the appearance just threw people off or I got a different piece than what is represented on the vendor’s website. I was not trying to discredit this seller in any way but just wanted to let other tea drinker’s know what was said about it!

Nick305

The only reason I decided to go with what was said is because I know those who gave their opinion have much more experience with everything tea related than I do. I apologize if it was out of line and I will make sure to take better tasting notes and get more opinions before posting another negative review such as this!

MarshalN

A few others have chimed in, here and there, about having tried the tea, and it seems like everyone thinks it’s very dry. So, it could be you got a bad piece, it could be you got the wrong thing…. either way, your piece seems an outlier of some sort or another

Ben1

Dear All, after purchasing a sample of this tea last year, I bought a whole Tuo. My Tuo is filled with mold, white spots everywhere. My sample was quite different. My whole Tuo is very mellow, like a wet-stored tea. the sample I first ordered had a lot more astringency. I am pretty sure that my Tuo was wet stored. I recently broke it up, and there is white mold, and some yellow too, all throughout the dense Tuo. I guess I am saying that Nick ain’t nuts, far from it…..Ben

Nick305

Thanks Ben1 I was beginning to feel like I got the wrong tea in the mail or that I was the only one who got an example with white aspergillus spots. Ok so perhaps what’s going on here is that the purveyor has different Butterfly Tuo’s that have varying storage types or perhaps some other explanation that could possibly explain why some feel it’s too dry and more than one have an example that is covered in white spots!

MarshalN

A most interesting case, since now we have two people getting moldy tea, not just one, which seriously diminishes the possibility that the moldy tea is a fluke. Hmmm

unfurl

Hmmmmm I was looking at Life in a Teacup’s page and found this. I just find it funny that the only person agreeing with ‘the mold’ is practically non existent in steepster and just agreed in this comment out of nowhere…

Nick305

Considering the fact that I have never heard from Ben1 prior to posting this review, I am going to have to agree with MarshalN in that since now it’s confirmed by two distinct separate intstances, the likelihood of moldy tea is much greater. I am in no way trying to “pull the wool over” anyone’s eyes, just trying to document my experience with this tea in particular. I have had nothing but great experiences with this vendor on all other products besides this tea and a mediocre Shui Xian, so I thought it interesting that the dry stored claim seems to be conflicted by the white specks. So I guess an appropriate question here would be, is it possible for completely dry stored tea to have white specks of aspergillus all too common in wet stored tea? Or how often has someone seen a completely dry stored tea with white specks? Thanks for your comments!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I removed my previous post from 7 years ago. If I had remembered it earlier, I would have removed it years ago. I no longer hold grudges against anyone or anything related to this. Many thanks to those who contributed to a number of good conversations surrounding this issue. And many thanks to those curious tea drinkers who made this tea a “best seller” for several months after the hot discussion. I always appreciate the support and friendship from the tea community, and will look for opportunities to make contributions to it.

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