Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aging Tea: An Introduction

Did you know that pu’er and sun-dried white teas are ageable, developing more depth and complexity over time? In this respect, a good ageable tea is similar to a good aged wine, increasing in value and complexity as long as it is stored properly.

These teas require special storage methods for aging. The aging of these teas is a type of fermentation called aerobic fermentation, meaning that oxygen is required. Wine, on the other hand, is an anaerobic fermentation. All ageable teas at Whispering Pines headquarters are stored using proper aging techniques, and we recommend that you do the same if you plan on aging your teas. 

Upon receiving your ageable tea, decide wether or not you want to age it or stop the fermentation process. To stop the fermentation process, simply leave the tea in our airtight packaging and store in a cool dry place. The fermentation process will be halted as long as the packaging remains closed.

If you would like to continue to age your tea and note the changes over time you must allow air to flow into and out of the package. Our favorite way to do this is to poke around 50 holes on each side of the packaging using a thumbtack. You can also simply open the package, though we believe that this method doesn’t give as much room for an even oxygen flow. After allowing your tea access to oxygen flow, you must store it in a dark area away from strong smells. A few things will decide how quickly your tea will age. A warmer temperature will increase the speed of aging, with the ideal temperature being around 78ºF. Do not age tea above 90ºF or below 70ºF, the former can destroy the tea and the latter causes very slow aging. Humidity plays a large factor as well. The higher the humidity, the faster the aging. In higher humidity, watch out for mold growing on the tea. Ideally 60-70% humidity is the maximum recommended humidity level. At Whispering Pines, we prefer aging tea in a warm and moderately humid environment.

Happy aging! =)

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