I opened a bottle of spoiled wine yesterday. It was not a great loss, as it was only a cheap Cotes du Rhone that I had kept for a few years. It went through various types of poor storage, including a year and half in a U-Haul storage facility. The cork probably dried out at some point, and nature took its course and turned it into vinegar.
This reminds me of the risks inherent in storing tea as well. Humidity, for the most part, is not a risk factor in much of the US, but depending on the environment in which you store the tea, it can affect the tea negatively, perhaps fatally. I am always reminded of this accident and wonder if the tea I have stored in my parents’ home in Hong Kong is safe and sound. Granted, it’s not a shed on the hill, and so it’s probably not nearly as humid as the storage conditions of those tea, but Hong Kong can get somewhat wet at times, so it’s still a bit of a risk factor. I tried to minimize the risk by having the teas stored on a few shelves near the ceiling and away from the windows and light, so that they are, for the most part, shielded from excessive moisture, heat, and sun. Yet, since I am not there, it does worry me that some, if not all, of it might turn out badly.
This is of course one of those risks that we all have to take when we decide to keep things like tea or wine at home. They can age poorly. If you leave it to others, they assume the risk, but then you have to pay them for assuming that risk in the form of higher prices. Nothing is free in life, after all.