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    The Ideal Places and Methods for Storing Pu-erh Tea

    Pu-erh tea is a post-fermented tea that tastes delicious, mellow and earthy and is very famous worldwide for its distinctive qualities. Unlike other teas which degrade and lose their flavor and freshness with age, Pu-erh tea gets better over the years. Like a fine vintage wine, the fragrance and flavor of the Pu-erh tea will be improved and its monetary value will increase with age. Now, pu-erh tea is in high demand and some top graded Pu-erh tea can sell for $10,000 or even more.

    But Pu-erh tea can only improve with age when stored properly, so let us explore the most ideal ways to store your Pu-erh tea to ensure the highest quality possible.

    Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2014

    Where to store Pu-erh tea?

    Air and Humidity

    The quality of a Pu-erh tea can only increase over time when stored properly, according to experts, the ideal humidity of the storage place is around 50% - 70% with a temperature range between 20 ℃ to 30 ℃. Meanwhile pu-erh tea should be keep away from direct sunlight, for it will accelerate the oxidation of phenolic substance and chlorophyll, resulting with the change of tea leaves’ quality and color.

    Away From Odor

    Tea leaves, especially pu-erh tea leaves, have a tendency to absorb odors or harmful substances in the air. Therefore it is extremely important to store the pu-erh tea in a clean place where pu-erh tea won't absorb odors, humidity or other impurities in the air. Places such as pantries, kitchen cabinets or around other items that emit strong odors are not ideal for storage of pu-erh tea.

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    How to store Pu-erh tea?

    Indocalamus,an East Asian genus of Bamboo, is a traditional packaging for Pu-erh tea, it can filter impurities and improve the quality of Pu-erh tea during the post fermentation. On the contrary, plastic packaging is a bad choice for storage of Pu-erh tea, for it will usually produce mildew and ruin the flavor.

    Indocalamus Traditional Packaging for Pu-erh Tea

    Another good choice for the storage of pu-erh teas is using its original package, on which, there’re the place and date of manufacturing which is very important in Pu-erh vintage quality and value.

    Carton is the most practical and accessible method for pu-erh tea storage, especially for compressed pu-erh, but the carton must be clean and with no odor. And the raw and ripened pu-erh should be stored separately.

    Clean Carton Box for Storing Pu-erh Tea

    Zisha Tea Container A wonderful choice for storage of Pu-erh tea is to use a pottery or zisha container, especially for brick and loose Pu-erh teas. Zisha container has good air permeability and can also help to improve the quality of Pu-erh tea over the years. What’s more, the containers themselves have aesthetic value.

    Some tips of the proper storage of Pu-erh tea apply to other teas as well, however there is a big difference between fermented teas,like black tea, lightly fermented teas and non-fermented teas,like green tea.

    Teavivre’s Chinese Painting ZiSha Tea Caddy

    18 comments to The Ideal Places and Methods for Storing Pu-erh Tea

    • Mr Soo. :

      7/14/2017

      Hi, May i know if i use "slider freezer bag" to store my pu-er tea, is it still can keep the quality and taste? because i got termites eating the paper wrapping the teas. please advise. thank you.

    • TeaVivre response:

      7/17/2017


      Thanks for your question.

      Pu'erh tea should be kept in cool, dry place, away from sunlight and keep them ventilated. So I think the slider freezer bag is not suitable for store pu'erh tea, since it is sealed.

      Here I recommend you use a tea container, if the tea does not has the paper wrapping, or you can put them in a small carton.

      Hope this is helpful for you!

    • Onari :

      6/4/2017

      I purchased several beeng chas a long time ago and stored them all differently. I put two in a cardboard box with just the paper wrapping on them as they came, one I broke up and put in a glass jar, and two I stored in plastic bags. The one that aged best was in the glass jar. When I opened it up, the smell and look of it was best. After that, the ones I stored in plastic bags, were second-best. They had a good appearance, the smell was less strong, but they were intact with no moisture damage. Though, note that I did try to squeeze as much air out as I could when sealing them and made sure nothing was moist. The ones I stored in a cardboard box got visibly moldy. The area that I live in isn't even that humid. It's really in the middle. But, that was too much for the beeng chas. So, please be sure to take weather into account. Tea can be very sensitive when it comes to aging. If breaking up a beeng cha seems undesirable, there are glass tupperware that comes in large sizes that may be able to fit whole beeng chas in them.

      Good luck to everybody in finding the best methods for yourself and your climate. :)

    • TeaVivre response:

      6/5/2017


      Thanks for these experience.

      The best way to store cake tea is store them in cool, dry plac, away from sunlight, and keep them ventilated.

      Hope every tea lover can have their own well-stored pu'erh cake:)

    • Lee Mueller :

      5/4/2017

      I live in a rural area of Kentucky where obtaining unusual teas and pottery for them is difficult. Last winter, a friend in D.C. sent me a 2-ounce package of "aged pu-erh", lined with foil, that seals tightly. Is this adequate for long-term storage? Meanwhile, I looked up how to prepare the tea online, but the preparation is, as you know, much more complicated than I'm accustomed to. Also, I don't have any of the cups or pots or other dishware shown in the videos. I do have a few teapots and cups used in making traditional American & English teas Can you suggest ways, or short-cuts, in which to prepare the pu-erh, using my limited dishware? (I understand if you can't; I'm sort of a purist myself, but I'm at a loss here.) Thank your for your trouble.

    • TeaVivre response:

      5/5/2017


      Thanks for your question.
      Pu-erh tea is adequate for long-term storage with room temperature.
      If the traditional brew method is a little difficult for you, you can try the western way, which is much easier than chinese way. Here is a link of an article about how to brew Pu-erh by different way.
      http://www.teavivre.com/info/brew-an-enjoyable-pu-erh-tea/
      Hope it helps.

    • Gerelee :

      4/10/2017

      Hi there,

      I've just bought pu-er tea in Beijing and its small cubes and circles wrapped in golden wrap (like a chocolate wrap). It has 2003 date on it. They sales girl told me it's 10 years old. How do I know if it's good quality or not. But they smell like fishy when I brew them. Is it normal and safe to drink?

      Many thanks.

    • TeaVivre response:

      4/10/2017


      Thanks for your question.

      For pu'erh tea has a feature, which is "the aged the better". We can judge the quality by following aspects:

      1. Appearance: the good pu'erh has evenly, bright color of its appearance, without obvious mold on it.

      2. Smell: Bad pu'erh smells irritating and musty, while the good pu'erh smells fresh, fragrant. The ripe pu'er usually has a earthy smell while the raw pu'erh usually has pekoe and fresh leaves scent.

      3. Tea liquid: the liquid of good pu'erh is red (ripe pu'erh) or yellow (raw pu'erh), bright, clean and transparent. While the liquid of bad pu'erh is turbid.

      You can also taste that if the tea is fresh with out any other bad odors or flavors.

      Hope it helps, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

    • PeyFang :

      12/27/2016

      I bought pu-erh cake few years ago and I've broken it into small pieces. I put them in a plastic container and store in refrigerator. Can I still comsume it or should I just throw away?

    • TeaVivre response:

      12/28/2016


      Thanks for your question.

      The best storage way for pu erh is keep it in cool, dry place away from sunlight, and keep ventilated. On the contrary, the tea may mildew, or aborb other odor.

      Here I suggest you take the tea out of refrigerator smell whether there is strange odor, and you can brew them to confirm if it is good.

      Hope it helps.

    • Rashed Ahmed :

      12/11/2016

      Dear
      Some people says storing Green Tea in a cold room (using sandwich panels for the walls & ceiling and cooling system with compressor) if most important to keep its quality, flavor & test. I intend to know your opinion. Thanks, Rashed.

    • TeaVivre response:

      12/12/2016


      Thanks for your question.

      Firstly, since green tea has good ability of absorbing odor, so we need to store them in airtight place. Second, because green tea is non-fermented tea, and its leaves are tender, so it is better to keep them in cool enviroment, such as refrigerator.

      Usually, if the amount of your tea is not so large, you can just store them in airtight, opaque packaging, and keep refrigerated. But if you have large amount of tea, then the storage way you mentioned is professional.

      Hope it helps.

    • John :

      11/14/2016

      Could you tell me best way to store loose Pu-erh tea in a cardboard container or one of your tea tins

    • TeaVivre response:

      11/15/2016


      Thanks for your question.

      Carton is the best choice to store compressed Pu-erh tea.

      And the tea tin is the best choice to store loose Pu-erh tea.

      Hope it helps.

    • David :

      10/27/2016

      Hi TeaVivre,
      Back to my 1st question,

      As there are many articles and you mentioned as well that Pu Erh is allowed to age (i.e. the longer the better if conditions are right, am I correct to say this), than why there is an expiry date? Is it common to have expiry date as I have never purchase such tea before. If conditions are right, can store longer than the stated expiry date? Can we store say another 10 yrs passed the expiry date?

      Tks again.

    • TeaVivre response:

      10/28/2016


      Thank you for the question.
      This question involves the knowledge of laws and regulations.
      The shelf life of food must be indicated in most of countries. Such as China, It just allow tea factories indicate "the aged the better" as shelf life in last few years. If the tea made before that, there should be an expiry date for that tea.
      Hope it helps.

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