After setting up the Cloud's Tea Diary, Cloud often receives e-mails and private messages with questions related to Puerh tea. Those questions are good questions. Beginners may also have similar doubts when they start their Puerh tea journeys. Thus, Cloud decides to gather these Q&As to the Cloud's Tea Diary so that the later comers may make reference to my answers.
The Puerh tea lover, M, raised a question, "For newly made Puerh tea cakes (especially raw tea cakes), apart from hoarding them in purple clay jars, is there any other economic method for long term storage?"
Cloud is of the view that these Puerh tea cakes can be hoarded in cardboard boxes and paper bags. These paper materials are inexpensive and also will provide a suitable aging environment for them."
Storing Tea in Cardboard Boxes       Cardboard box is an ideal tool for a long term tea storage. Apart from blocking the dampness and odor effectively, it is also a light-proof container for Puerh tea aging. However, how to apply and use a cardboard box is one of the storage techniques.
What tea lovers have to pay attention is that: Tea will absorb odor easily. Odor means the pleasant/unpleasant smell not being the original fragrance of the tea itself. Many tea lovers understand that tea cakes should be not hoarded in the kitchen in order to avoid the situation that it may be stained by messy flavor. However, many beginners do not know that there will be problems if they put raw tea cakes and ripe tea cakes together. The reason is that the strong flavor of ripe tea is a kind of odor to the raw tea cakes. If they are put together for a long period of time, the raw tea cakes will absorb the ripe tea smell, and vice versa. The taste will be a little weird and not pure enough. By the same token, since the flavor of wet storage Puerh is differnt from that of the dry stroage Puerh, they should be stored separately. At least, they should not be directly contact each other unless there is something in between such as cardboard. All in all, the same kind of tea cakes, tea bricks and bowl teas should be put together rather than to be put together with other kinds.
If a tea lover does not store too many tea cakes such as storing 1 to 2 cakes for each kind, independant odor free paper bag can be used for wrapping up the tea cakes before putting them all together into a large cardboard box for a long term storage. The way doing so is to cut off the major diffusion of their flavor and fragrance (Photo A0288).
By experiences, Puerh tea of the same kind is good to be stored together. The more you put together (the same kind), the better the aging quality will be. Since the aging prerequisites of the same batch of tea are identical (fragrances, flavors and tastes), it will be the most ideal way to fill all of them into a single cardboard box.
Storing Tea in Paper Bags       After several years of hoarding some tea cakes in their original bamboo barks, these bamboo outer wrappers may wear and tear a little bit when these stacks were moved from one place to another. Then, Cloud will remove these bamboo bark wrappers and use paper bags instead. As shown by Photo A1172, a 12-inch diameter large paper bag can fit in around 14 standard pieces of tea cakes, which are equivalent to 2 standard stacks of tea cakes.
If you want to reduce the aging process (e.g. what you contain in the paper bags are aged vintages over 20 years of aging so that you don't want them continue to age too fast in the future), you may consider to use 2 or more paper bags to contain the tea cakes in order to preserve the best tea tastes and flavors at the present moment.
14 December 2008 wrote in Chinese
19 August 2009 translated into English
Cloud (Hong Kong)
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