Taiwan's summer is hot and humid. This is considered a good thing to age raw puerh. However, excessive moisture may also end up creating storage off smells. So, now that the weather is becoming drier, I air my puerhs next to my window. I do this one kind of puerh at a time, so that their smells don't mix up. I will take longer to air a tong than single cakes.
Regular checks of a puerh collection take time and effort. But it's also a pleasure to touch and smell a puerh collection, especially after summer. It also provides an important feedback about which leaves are doing best and which are flat.
Now, the whole rooms is filled with this nice woody, fruity and sweet fragrance!
In the mood for puerh, I brew a few leaves from my 2003 wild raw Yiwu cake. It's aging wonderfully: it has added depth and sweetness to its prune fruitiness. Bruno, a reader in southern France (Côte d'Azur), recently compared it with a piece of the same cake he had purchased in 2007: "Le résultat est assez flagrant, j’ai fait trois essais, en zhong, en théière en zhuni et en théière en hongni. A chaque fois on constate un vieillissement plus épanouis sur le pu ehr qui a vieillit chez toi, la maturation est plus avancée et les arômes sont bien plus en avant et long en bouches. Sur celle qui a vieillit ici, on dirait que les variations chimiques dues au temps ont étés figées, ou du moins ralenties au détriment du développement aromatique." Bruno feels that my cake has matured faster and better in Taiwan. The aromas are stronger and the taste is longer. In France, his cake seems to have slowed down and the fragrances are subdued.
Europe and North America may be better places to age Oolong than Puerh!... But if you try to age puerh in a cooler and drier climate, you may want to air your cakes not on a dry day, but on a humid day! I would also try to leave my stash in a sealed box, to avoid the loss of humidity. And I would recommend to store it in a warm room, but not under direct sunlight (which would dry the leaves). Most importantly, check your puerh regularly and make changes according to what you smell and feel. At the end, it's YOU who are going to drink it!
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