I first put tea in my parents’ place in Hong Kong in 2006, and have been adding to it ever since. This is the first time I am checking on the tea since I started storing tea there. I took everything out and cleaned the shelves on which they’re placed, checked a number of cakes, and then put them all back in.
Honestly, I was a little worried. Hong Kong is, after all, quite humid. I put the cakes on the top shelves on a bookcase that is partially covered, so it was the maximum protection I could find in the entire apartment from light while avoiding the problem of smelly wood. Air condition is often on during the summer months, so it probably helps alleviate terribly soaked cakes, but I remember coming home one spring and could feel that some cakes were somewhat wet.
Thankfully, when I opened the cakes, none of them were moldy in any way, shape, or form. In fact, they all seem to have aged somewhat, with the silvery tips now gaining a somewhat brownish tint, and the leaves turning dark instead of staying green. Stuff in a tong are greener than stuff outside of the tong, as one would expect, but in general there’s aging going on here.
I tried some of the tea too — by taking the shavings from a number of cakes, I’m essentially doing an “average” taste test. Results are encouraging, with the tea tasting strong and smooth(er). So far, so good.
So, I put them back where they belong, and hope that next time I check them, a few years from now, they would have aged even more.