(This post is an answer to a reader in the USA, who is wondering where to store his young puerh).
Ceramic pots are not necessary for long term storage, only for shorter storage, after flaking part of a cake/brick for instance.
Your basement may be a good way to keep the humidity high, but I would be concerned with bad odors (I don't know your basement and it may be clean and smelling like daisies...) In that case, I would move the puerh up during the warm summer days (I guess the temperature stay cool and even during the whole year in the basement). This would also help to let it breath a little from time to time.
Too bad your puer cakes are not wrapped by 7 in their original large bamboo leaves. That would take care of the dust. So wrap them in a clean cloth, like a T-Shirt instead (the air goes through and the dust stays on).
Another thing you can do is to flake some puer and put it in the open for a couple of months in the basement and in your other alternative place(s). Then smell and taste the different samples to see which aged best over this period.
You are probably aware that puerh postfermentation takes place thanks to several microbes. Some of them only appear after a certain time. One way to speed up the whole process is then to have some older puerh around to interact with the new (as for homemade yoguhrt). A few manufacturers even will put a few older leaves in the cakes for that purpose. So, while, in theory, you don't want to mix all you puerhs together (they would absorb each others' smells and loose their purity), you may want to have some older puer around the young one to give them a boost.
For this purpose, I recommend my 1990 raw Menghai region Fang Cha Zuan. It's still affordable. You can drink it right away and see towards what your puers will evolve, and you can keep some close to your young puers.
Your basement could be a good place for long term storing for one reason: you will more easily forget about it and rediscover it by the time you are moving out or refurnishing the whole place. But that's also a drawback, because it could also provide some visual and smelling pleasure during the aging time if you stored it in a place you spend time. Just don't be tempted to try a piece all too often.
Also remember that the value of storing young puerh is similar to a financial investment. There are 2 important variables to consider: what you invest and for how long. Selecting an average puerh is like investing in fixed deposit. It will grow, but little by little by little. Best is to select top performers, high quality puer made from good leaves, well processed and from a reputed source. These are the ones that appretiate like stock funds. Then there is the question of your time span. The secret is compounding interest. The older and longer you store your puerh, the more it will appretiate every year. For this, best is to start early and young! An alternative for older tea lovers is to store now 10 to 15 years old puerhs that should still carry reasonable price levels.
Le temps d’infusion des Darjeeling de printemps
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