First off: A reminder of the contest going on that I posted at the bottom of this entry. There’ve been some guesses, but anybody is welcomed to join. You have about 24 hours to do so :).
Last time I tried this tea, I felt it was a bit odd. It loooked strong, but it didn’t taste the way it looked. After the encouraging results from waking up my loose leaf puerh a few days ago, I decided to revisit this sample again today.
The liquor looks more or less the same
But this time, the tea tastes better. Sweeter, smoother, less bitter, overall a better, rounder tea. I really do think that perhaps the wettish environment the past few weeks has done something good to it. It was raining (or at least threatening to rain) for at least a week or more in the interim. Then, the northerly wind came in and dried everything. Perhaps having gone through that cycle, the tea improved. Either way — I know in this case it’s not placebo, because last time I wasn’t fully enjoying this tea, but this time I am. Since water didn’t change and vessel didn’t change, the only thing that changed, I think, is the tea itself.
The tea is obviously wet stored, but it isn’t very heavily wet stored.
The leaves are quite ok and probably good for some more aging.
So there’s a definite science involving the waking up of a tea. From what I was told anyway, the process of waking up a tea involves at least moving air, and a certian amount of moisture in the moving air. Bone dry air moving through the tea doesn’t make it better (or, I suspect, carry away the nasty bits). It merely makes the tea dry, as I’ve experienced before with deliberately dried tea left out in a desert weather warehouse (the owner of the cakes was precisely trying to improve the tea — but ruined them instead without realizing it, even after the fact). Breaking a cake up will obviously improve the process, and so will, I think, spreading the tea out. However, I suppose that too much spreading out might be bad. So, at the end of the day, it depends on what the purpose is and what time frame one’s working with. To make a tea immediately good for drinking, perhaps breaking a cake apart, spread it out on a plate and putting it in a humid climate will do best. If it’s just for short to medium term (within a year or so?) drinking, then perhaps sticking them in a jar will do. Long term storage, and you don’t break it open at all.
All of these, of course, without a whole lot of practical experience to back it up other than small experiments and bits of drinking experience here and there, along with information told to me by others who are indeed more knowledgable. But I think in this case it is possible to deduce these things…
Anyway, Lew, I think this tea is not a bad buy!