Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter 2007 Lishan Oolong storage experiment

2 years ago, I stored approximately 500 grams of lightly roasted winter Lishan Oolong in a porcelain jar. The leaves that didn't fit in the jar were kept in a vacuum sealed plastic bag (the golden bag in front of the jar).

I wanted to keep it closed for another 2 years. But my recent experimenting with storage made this jar too tempting not to check. Also, I remembered I had left the plastic foil under the lid. So, this would also be the opportunity to remove it, in light of my recent tests.

So, how did the storage impact this Oolong? To find out, I smelled the dry leaves and brewed leaves from both the jar and the bag with my gaiwan.

The tea from vacuum sealed bag have better preserved its freshness and fine osmanthus flower scents. The tea from the jar, on the other hand, feels a little bit more aged, darker and less intense in fragrance. The difference isn't very big, after 2 years of storage. I would have expected a bigger difference, given what I noticed on just 1 day of storage in my last article.

In terms of taste, I feel not just refinement, but also a little weakening. Maybe this is caused by the plastic foil under the lid or if it's the normal evolution of leafs over time (or both). A certain loss of strength is to be expected. That's why it's important to choose a very concentrated tea for aging. That's one of the reasons I had chosen this roasted High Mountain Oolong in the first place.

I have taken the foil away and placed the lid on the jar. According to Teaparker, this is enough protection for the leaves, if the jar is in a place with no air flow (or he also suggests to wrap the top with a cloth). "Don't keep the jar open too long when you're getting your leaves", he recommended.

Well, we'll see how this plays out over the next 2 years!


Kim Christian said...

My stored jars keep tempting me every day :)

Did you seal the lid with wax again ?

TeaMasters said...

No wax seal this time. Teaparker told me that it's not absolutely necessary IF the lid fits well enough and the jar is stored in a place with little or no air flowing. Instead, he recommended wrapping the lid of the jar with a cloth. That should be sufficient. And, not letting the jar open for too long when one opens it.

I think wax is best if you intend to forget about the jar (or if you want to protect it against 'temptation'!)

Zero the Hero said...

Maybe the 1-day storage experiment produced more noticeable results because more air was present in the jar compared with the Lishan? Also, Baozhong has a larger surface area than a pellet oolong. I've been loving these experiments.

TeaMasters said...

I agree with you, Zero the Hero. That's also why I chose Baozhong.