I was examining the few cakes I have here that I keep as “taster” cakes, and noticed something funny — one of them, namely the Fuxing Zhangjiawan, has a little bit of mould on it.
It’s been pretty rainy here the past few weeks and I have paid very little attention to these cakes. In fact, I haven’t really bothered with them for a while now, and have just left them alone. I looked at all the cakes I have in the same area, in my living room (the non-taster stuff are kept up in a little loft). It seems like the Zhangjiawan is the only one with any noticeable mould. I think this makes sense. The Zhangjiawan was covered by the other cakes, and sat at the bottom of the pile. I suppose what happened is that any moisture accumulated in it was not easily dissipated, and so whereas the other cakes dried out a little when the weather turned drier, the Zhangjiawan never did. None of the other cakes had a problem, and the ones up in the loft do seem a little drier — I suppose moisture is heavy.
The other thing is that the mould is growing in one paritcular type of place on the cake — at the end of the stems. They’re not all over, nor are they on the leaves. They are at the end of the stems where the leaf was plucked. Could it be that the stems retain moisture the best, and therefore makes the best place for mould to grow?
YP told me that she noticed that aged oolongs are often very sour when it was never de-stemmed. She thinks the stems do retain moisture better and thus turn the tea sour faster. Perhaps the same effect is seen here?
Either way, this is pretty interesting. I am almost tempted to let the mould grow uncontrolled and see how the cake fares in a month’s time. But then…. maybe I should let it dry out a bit. I only have one cake of this with me now, and I’d rather try it as it ages slowly.
I think I made the right decision to store my tea in Hong Kong on shelves that are near the ceiling rather than near the ground.