Storage is important, I think that’s a point that has been hammered home many, many times by now by a wide variety of people, on or offline.
How important is it, exactly?
I went to the City today, and in the afternoon met up with a few tea friends at The Tea Gallery. Among the teas we had was a side to side comparison of a cake that Michael, the proprietor of the place, that are of the same batch. Except — although it was one batch of tea, some stayed in Hong Kong for an extra three years while the others he brought with him three years earlier to New York.
While we brewed it a little too heavily, so it was rather difficult to swallow, it did, in some ways, accentuate the differences between the two teas. It was immediately obvious that the New York cake brewed a lighter colour, and the leaves of that cake is also of a greener hue, while the Hong Kong one is darker overall. The Hong Kong cake tastes a bit older, especially if you drink it side by side with the New York one, and less green — it has something extra. The three years definitely made an impact.
What was rather interesting was that the last cup, Michael mixed the two — and the tea was actually more interesting, although, it was also weaker, and having endured a number of rather bitter cups, maybe it just wasn’t as strong? I’m sure he’ll be brewing it tomorrow (because the leaves are hardly spent), and I might hear about it again.