Storing pu-erh tea
by Jane Price
How is pu-erh tea stored between steepings?
Thanks Jane, this is a very good question. Purchasing a good quality Puerh is not cheap. There is nothing worse than brewing a cup and finding the second or third cup tasting different than the first time you brewed a cup of Puerh.
With that said: Remember teas must be stored in an odor free environment.
Puerh come in two forms, loose leaf and cake.
Loose Leaf Puerh
Just like any loose leaf tea you need to store it in a dry container. Make sure to only ever put a puerh tea in this container. This
lovely tea will continue to age. Since it is a loose leaf it will age at a more rapid rate than it's cousin, Puerh cakes. You should be
able to keep this for a couple of years and still get the same great flavor at each steeping.
If you are investing in a good quality Puerh cake you want to make sure to store them so they will continue to age. You would want to
treat it much like you would a fine wine. Stored properly it will only improve with age.
There are three things to know to improve the aging process: Air circulation, Stable temperature, Appropriate humidity.
Air circulation is vital in aging the Puerh cakes. Lack of circulation can make the tea turn flat, which will turn the flavor
flat, causing a loss of aroma and taste. Make sure it is exposed to fresh air occasionally. Be careful to not store it in a
sealed container, nor in a cabinet that can become sealed.
Temperature needs to be kept between 68F to 86F (20c-30c). Make sure if there is a temperature change it does not occur to
drastic. The temperature fluctuations need to occur slowly.
Humidity-There needs to be an appropriate humidity level. These levels should be between 60% to 80%. Low humidity can stop or
hinder the aging process. High humidity can cause the tea cake to mold, making it very undrinkable.
If you live in a dry climate, like a desert or at a high altitude you may want to place a cup or bowl of water in with your stored tea
cake. Just make sure to check it regularly to insure it is not too humid. Purchasing a Humidity meter will help in knowing just what the levels are. That way you can make adjustments as needed.
There are places in your home you will not want to store you Puerh cakes. The kitchen or even close to your laundry room. Besides the
odors these rooms generate, there are also a greater fluctuations of humidity levels. Many have created a space in the home office or
library, in an enclosed book case or cabinet that allows air flow.
One last tip is to make sure you wrap Puerh cakes in a breathable material. Never in plastic or even plastic wrap.
Always take the time to enjoy a great cup of tea.