Zack S. said

Storing my puerh samples?

I have bought a lot of puerh samples from white2tea and Mandala in the last couple years, and I’ve stored them all in the zip baggies they were shipped with. Is this a problem? They definitely don’t breathe since the bags are zip sealed and probably air-tight.

17 Replies
Dr Jim said

I’ve wondered about this as well. It seems like some of my older samples aren’t the same, though it is possible that I have changed (more experience, higher standards). At any rate I now try to keep the more expensive stuff in the pumidor and during the winter months I periodically humidify the samples by raising the room humidity to 70% and opening all the foil packs.

I honestly don’t know if any of this is real, but it makes me feel better to try to maintain the samples as best I can.

mrmopar said

I would open them up a week ahead for some air when you want to brew them. Most of those zips are mylar lines so not too much worry there. Just let it breathe ahead of time.

Zack S. said

Open them up and leave them open for a whole week? For both sheng and shou? Just making sure I’m reading that correctly, because this act would be suicide with some other types of tea =O

Rasseru said

Apparently its a good thing to do. If you can’t do that, like me sometimes i am in a rush and want that tea, then at least have aired your samples for a week when they arrive from china.

Psyck said

Open the puerh and store then inside a larger container to air them out for a few days before you drink it – you want to expose them to more air and humidity but still keep them away from light and odours.

mrmopar said

Sheng more so than shou. Sheng likes to breathe a bit. Shou you can give a rinse and a 10 minute wait and it should be fine.

Rasseru said

What does that actually do to the flavor, and has anyone tested it?

I just do it because you lot told me to

mrmopar said

It allows the water to penetrate deeper into the tea. A lot of times tea will take on almost its equal weight of water during the rinse. Letting it sit allows the water to get deeper into the tea. Especially with shou as it doesn’t break apart as easy as sheng.

Rasseru said

Ah that makes sense

Rasseru said

there is the viewpoint of actually keeping them in sealed bags so every tea has their own microenvironment. I have heard this today, as well as glenn from CLT, some people prefer to store like this. As MrMopar says open them up a week before to let them breathe a bit before brewing

Rob said

I keep all my cakes and samples sealed individually in zip lock bags. I used to wrap cakes in foil too, but i prefer being able to see them and i can leave a little bit of air in the bag. Opening up a sample a week ahead of time is viable, but would depend on the type of tea, age, storage, aroma. I have some strong pungent puerh that needs a week to breath, whilst more delicate tea might be ok with a day or two (or even straight out the zip lock)

Death Sips said

Great suggestions here. I never considered airing the tea from the bag before drinking it. I thought that leaving it in the original packing 2-4 weeks to rest before you receive it would be enough.

Another suggestion, taken from cwyn’s recent blog post would be to keep the tea in a humidified gaiwan a week before drinking. This brings a couple of problems though. First, many times you’re on the run or just want to try your sample now, not after one week. After all, you already waited for it to ship and to rest long enough. So this requires a lot of setup for possibly not that much gain. Secondly, it’s not very practical either; you’ll have your ware doing nothing for one week.

Wouldn’t leaving the zip lock open for a week or so do the trick as well?
Sometimes, in order to get humidity trapped in my zip locks I leave them with the mouth open in the steam of the kettle but I fear this might be a little too much.

Rasseru said

The main bad thing is light, remember that. Always keep your puerh covered properly! Was speaking to someone today who said he never has his in light at all. Even wrapped

This brings up an interesting set of considerations, doesn’t it? What does happen if a sheng completely stops fermenting (if the conditions for those types of micro-biology isn’t maintained); does the flavor go off over time, or would it just stay the same forever? It seems to overlap quite a bit with opinions and issues related to drier forms of storage.
I’ve read an opinion that pu’er stored without moisture allowing for continuation of fermentation does cause it to degrade, even descriptions of how it does, related to what conditions and aspect changes. But there’s a limit to how many abstract ideas stick in my mind, and those didn’t, with much reliability. Maybe the flavors were said to shift to tobacco and wood aspects?

The idea of aging samples of pu’er to allow them to continue to ferment is an unusual context, but the concern seems reasonable. I researched the subject of aging pu’er specifically related to the question of whether or not to wrap the cakes for a post last year. That was based on other people’s opinions, since I don’t really have much depth of experience with the type or subject to say. The main storage concern people raise is maintaining certain humidity levels, but along with that restricting air contact was a concern, for some. It’s a minority opinion that cakes should be wrapped in plastic or kept in ziploc style storage bags but some people do advocate that, with the line of reasoning described in that post.

Rasseru said

Dry does affect, for sure in my experience. I think part of the fruity flavor has gone in some of my puerh in a year in the dry. I’m now dark, sealed box, 60% humidity.

I have also left them out of their boxes in wrappers sometimes and the light still probably affected them

Drying out and losing some degree of flavor is one thing, but did you notice any flavor shift, beyond just losing some range, or vibrancy within a certain range?

I was just talking with Mr Mopar about how I really need to get in the game as far as trying and storing pu’er goes. I’ve bought a few sheng and shou cakes, maybe 8 of both categories together, and tried more than 20 versions in tuochas, samples, or ball shapes, and more yet in shops, but that’s all just scratching the surface. I really need to ramp that up, especially related to having more cakes tea around aging to experience that side of it, or I’ll never get past the “have tried some pu’er” stage.

Rasseru said

Yes, one of my nice cakes doesn’t taste the same as it did a year ago, and it is a pretty expensive one too.

So now when I get them they go in controlled micro environment

Login or sign up to leave a comment.