One of the cakes I bought as part of the MX group buy has a lot of white sprinkles on top, which I suspect is mold. While the total volume is small, they are too widespread to remove. I’m concerned about 1) Is it OK to drink and 2) will it contaminate other teas in my pumidor?
Brush off and continue! Plenty of mold on traditional storage pu erh here in Southern China. We brush it off and keep right on trucking.
If you are worried, you can isolate it in its own container and air it for 6-12 months. The mold will die off. It doesn’t really need to be in the pumidor.
I did this with the very wet stored 7581 I mentioned in the other thread; it is now much more drinkable and no longer has any visible mold. It only took 3-4 months to get to that stage and with further airing out, should further improve. I don’t know what would happen in a dryer climate though—I’d worry the tea would go bland.
It really doesn’t. I’ve done some push humidity experiments to get to mold on purpose. It dies out shortly after the humidity is withdrawn.
Cwyn is so experimental… you can get a story on how to tumble dry your pu’erh or how to make wrappers out of shed skin snake
I thought the little specks were a good thing… I guess I need to read more, I know yellow ones are what some people look for
I’ve also heard there has been at least one death from mold on very wet stored pu erh in HK, so there’s that. An elderly woman, apparently. I can’t find anything about it online, though, but I know I’ve read it somewhere. Probably TeaChat.
Yellow and white molds on pu can be beneficial (e. cristatum), innocuous or can irritate your throat or give you an upset tummy…or worse. I noticed they like to rinse the heck out of their pu erh in Kunming, even with the dryer storage, so I’d give the tea two or three rinses to clean it up. It’s probably harmless mold, but I’m no microbiologist and I have no idea what the mold you’re looking at is.
I’ll drink it first, which one is it?
I already tried some (from the bottom of the cake, which was mold-free. Not much there. It seems like it was given very dry storage to stop the mold and just dried out. I’ll try letting it sit in the fairly humid New England summer then maybe try to create a pumidor-like environment and see if it comes alive.
I tried doing a mold-ectomy with an exacto knife, but the cake is dry and springy, and little bits of mold popped around. I shook the loose stuff into the trash, and there are no longer visible signs of mold. I’ll give it a while and try again in a month or two. Will also post review
Here we go.
If anyone wants a sample let me know :)
(I may have gone breakage happy )
I’m getting some nice thickness out of this and a more developed flavor at this point. I did rinse it with boiling water as a ‘wake the hell up’ technique and let it sit for a few minutes. I’ll go another 10 steeps and let you know with an actually review; unless I die
mold is not something I’d mess around with, not to be an alarmist but unless you know what it is, or if you’re even skeptical, then I would not put it with the other teas to avoid possible contamination, until you’re sure.
I’m keeping it separate from my other puerh, but I’m the kind of guy that just scrapes the mold off cheese and then eats the rest of the brick.
Looking at this mold closely, it doesn’t look intimidating. Not fluffy or hairy. Is yours white or yellow? I keep hearing some are not bad… seems to be an up in the air type of discussion though.
That is barely any mold at all. I’ve seen bricks coated in white fluff and still drank ‘em after airing out for a few months. Still, anaphylactic shock is a thing, so make your own decisions, ladies and gentlemen! Shu is processed with all manner of microflora, so if you’re scared of that kinda thing, you should probably avoid shu entirely too.
@Liquid Proust: Mine looked like your pictures, except that there were about 3 larger spots (1/4" or so in diameter) that I tried to cut out with an exacto knife. The tea was springy and I think I just sprinkled the mold, which was powdery, around the rest of the cake. Mold was only on the beeng-hole side, so I drank from the other.
Is there any chance of a refund from MX Tea. I know any reputable EBay vendor would give you a refund if you sent a photo. In fact that’s just what happened when I got a moldy puerh from Berylleb King Tea.
Well… from what I can tell, these cakes seem to be fine. However, let’s say they are not.. I highly doubt anything would happen as you go through a middle man to go through mxtea…
When you get “real China prices” you also get “real China customer service”. I’m fine with what I got. Part of the fun is the journey.
I actually think it’s still good. I also learned that Taobao has a statewide 7 day return policy which nobody here will be able to work with :)
I don’t think it is mold. It seems like bamboo or paper (bugs eating the wrapper) to me.
I thought it was mold but it was paper powder left by bloody paper eating bugs (at least they don’t eat tea):
I thought this one 2011 tuo was moldy but it was just the powdery broken tea, after I opened it forcefully with tea knife
If you are in China and let any reputable vendors know that’s the tea is moldy as soon as you receive it, you would able to get a refund or exchange. However, if you are using an agent and it takes time for them to process and send the tea to you, it might be a bit long for their liking.
To my best knowledge, MX’s tea storage is “natural Southern China” storage and I have never come across any moldy tea. I haven’t never tried their lowest tier stuff though.
Someone else said it could be bamboo… That just seems so odd but your picture looks like ours so that really intrigues me to learn more.
the top one? it was the neifei (the white stamp/ticket in the cake).
That’s why I suggested to tip the powder in the water. Water will make them expand and you will have a better idea.
I think you are right about the paper. I looked at my cake again and it only had the white powder on one side and the paper on that side had dozens of small circular holes on the order of a few mm in diameter (presumably from insects: they are too regular for me to believe they are from mold). My cake also looks very much like your first photo.
Thanks very much for the advice. I feel much better about the tea.