Friday, February 12, 2010

Spring 2009 'Lily flower' Wenshan Baozhong storage test (2)

1 month later, I have retested the Spring Baozhong stored in 5 different containers. With more time passing the impact of the jar on the tea should be more obvious. (Also, I have kept the jars in a place in my apartment that has a rather strong airflow).

First, the smell from these 6 jars and 1 bag. I start from the left to use the plastic bag as a standard, since this is how Oolongs and Baozhongs are usually packaged

1. Bag: a plastic smell (of course!). As for the tea, it smells still fresh, strong and flowery.

2. Yixing jar: moisture and a weaker smell.

3. Pewter jar: strong metallic smell (sorry again for stating the obvious!). It feels not natural and 'green'.

4. Mini jar: big loss of fragrance

5. White jar: fine, but somewhat weaker smell.

6. Double Happiness jar: fine (refined) fragrance, ample and still concentrated,

7. Big Qinghua jar with plate as cover: similar to previous jar, but smell is a little more diffuse (probably due to the bigger opening).
Next, I brewed from the 5 most distinctively different jars. 3 grams in a competition cup:

1. Plastic: standard

2. Pewter: more intense, fresher and 'greener'. Even the brew was the greenest color of all 5.

3. Yixing jar: weaker taste, but sweeter and no astringency. No bitterness either this time. But fresh feeling was very subdued.

4. White jar: Loss of some freshness and fragrance. A little strange and artificial astringent taste. This jar (without the foil) isn't suited to store fresh Baozhong. (It was better with roasted Baozhong). Maybe the design of the lid explains the loss. It would help to keep it wrapped in some fabric to reduce the air flow.

5. Double Happiness qinghua jar: Conentrated and fine. The tea feels less fresh than from the pewter, but it is more refined, rounder and harmonious (natural). Possible explanation for this good result: this jar was wood fired and not made industrially.

Update: Here are the pictures that Chris requested in the comments section.
The lid of the qinghua and zisha jars are simple and cover the neck of the jar. I
The pewter has a two lids.

10 comments:

Karen said...

Stéphane, was the ratio of leaves to container the same in each case and if so, what was it?

Stephane said...

50% approximately for each. The pewter had a little bit more leaves (60%)

lastcoyote said...

Do you think the Pewter jar was the freshest due to it having a double lid? Keeping the leaves more protected from air flow.
Seems that the double happiness jar had the best results then.
I wonder why the mini jar peformed so badly?

Chris C. said...

Stéphane, Can you post pics of the container openings and lids (undersides)?

Stefan Kolodziej said...

Stéphane, if the ratio of leaves was about 50 % each, I understand that the absolute amount in the mini-jar is less than the amount in the double happiness jar. Couldn't it be that this adulterizes the results a bit?

Stephane said...

Lastcoyotte,
The double lid helped, but I think it's mostly the nature of the pewter to preserve freshness better.

I think that Stefan is right. The absolute amount of tea is also important. This must be the explanation why the small jar performed better than the mini jar.

Chris,
I will take the pictures in a week, after the Chinese New Year festivities.

Jerome said...

Stephan,
je ne suis pas très à l'aise avec la chimie, mais on peut supposer que l'oxydation de la jarre en métal protège les feuilles de thé en consommant une partie de l'oxygène. Les parois de la jarre agirait d'anti-oxydant et garderait les feuilles plus verte...

Michel said...

The fact that the double happiness and the old jar are not slip casted could have an impact on the tea.
As they are not electrically fired and mabye even fired in a reduction atmosphere this would transform the mineral quality of the jar.
A tighter organic structure (higher ion exchange?)

Stephane said...

Merci Jérôme pour ton commentaire. Cela semble logique et possible.

Thanks Michel for sharing your thoughts. The differences due to firing are very interesting.

icetea8 said...

I am very happy to see this experiment.
Factors to keep in mind are:
Inertness of the materials.
Porosity of the materials.
Lid airtight effectiveness.
---steven