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13 May 2007 @ 11:45 pm
Proper aging environment  
I've noticed that my closet seems to maintain around 40% RH, which, from what I've read, is a bit on the low side for proper aging.  There has been a little discussion on RFDT about maintaining humidity/temperature/etc. but I have yet to find some definite information (which probably doesn't even exist).  Anyway, I've been throwing around the idea of purchasing some form of humidity control for my pu-erh box for a while now and finally decided on a few of these (the 72% RH - I expect it to be a bit less due to the permeability of the box).  What are everyone's thoughts on trying to maintain a certain humidity level? Bad Idea? Good idea? Should I even be worried about 40% being too low? I figure that I'm only out a few dollars if it doesn't work, so it's worth a shot (provided it doesn't somehow unexpectedly nuke my stash). I know Mike preaches "if its comfortable to you, its fine for your tea," but I would be a little more than disappointed if my tea still tastes green after 10 years. Any input is appreciated.


P.S. If this has been discussed in detail before, I apologize - I haven't the time to comb the archives.
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obdax on May 14th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
What about some air change?
The problem I see with your setup is that you don't allow your pu-erh to breathe - for the "humidifier" to work, you need to have an airtight box. From what I read, the "breathing" is quite important ...
anewbluezero on May 14th, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
Re: What about some air change?
What you've said is my only concern... At the moment I have the tea in a cardboard box which is plenty breathable. However, I'm unsure how well the humidity will be able to be maintained considering this porosity.

If the box turns out to not be able to hold the humidity at all, I have considered using a tupperware container and simply opening it from time to time (every few days) to flush in new air. Somehow I don't see that working so well though...

sjschensjschen on May 14th, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)
Or you can do the simple thing by leaving a noodle bowl filled with water to provide moisture. Only problem is that if you kick or accidentally move the box somehow the water may spill out.
anewbluezero on May 14th, 2007 08:03 am (UTC)
You know... I've actually tried that already without any significant results to speak of - the science behind why it didn't work is there, but I don't feel like going in to it at 4am :). Plus, with standing water at room temperature, I'd be worried about bacterial growth in the water itself.
marshaln on May 14th, 2007 10:31 am (UTC)
I've used the water bowls before and it does seem to work -- water evaporates fairly quickly, and when I return after a long absence, the humidity is much lower in the cabinet when the water's all gone...

I think 40% is a bit low. You definitely should try to find something to beef it up a little. I think even a humidifier in the room that the tea is stored might work?
(no subject) - anewbluezero on May 14th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - marshaln on May 14th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sjschen on May 14th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
walt_park on May 14th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
I use water crystals.

It's a plastic substance, that absorbs the water.
It's wet, but it's not runny. Should be safer than loose water.

Dry, they look like sand grains. Wet they swell up alot, and look like... crushed ice.

Seems to work ok for me. I keep my tea in a plastic drawers and open them up every once in a while, so it's like.... closed, but not sealed.
walt_park on May 14th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Just to be clear, I put these wet crystals in a plastic chinese take out tub, and that sits in the middle of 4 tongs in each drawer.

You dont want to just throw these in on top of the wrappers or anything.

A little bit goes a really long way. You can find them at garden shops as a soil replacement, or water retaining additive.

It's been in there over a year now, and it doesnt look like it's spoiling, and it ends up smelling like the tea.

It does dry up eventually, but not as fast as water. I have to add water like.. every couple months.
anewbluezero on May 15th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
If you checked it out, the product I'm about to try is along the same lines. It releases or absorbs moisture when needed to try and keep a set humidity. How have those salts been working out for you? Have you been able to maintain a stable humidity in your drawer greater than that of the room around it?

thsu on May 15th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)

This link might help. The only problem is if you keep adding moisture to a drawer with tea, the tea will keep absorbing until the surface are damp and inside at a different humid level.

The best is to have 2 container, control the empty one to a certain level, 65 the best. Then put the tea inside and reverse this every week until the humid level of the tea is stable. Make sense?
(no subject) - walt_park on May 15th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dorodango on May 17th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - walt_park on May 17th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dorodango on May 18th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - xcasperx on May 20th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dorodango on May 26th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anewbluezero on May 15th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - salsero_de_te on May 15th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dorodango on May 18th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thsu on May 15th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - marshaln on May 17th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thsu on May 17th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dorodango on May 18th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - marshaln on May 20th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
Dustinxcasperx on May 15th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
Is this what you speak of: http://tinyurl.com/2hxqhu
I need to increase the humidity in my Puerh stash as well.
jackpong2 on May 16th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Correct Humidity for Pu er
Hi every one ,
After reading the comments that you guys had posted. I have then realized that how lucky am to live in Malaysia in terms of puer storage .
The humidity and temperature is the most ideal for puer storage. The humidity is about 80% and above and the temperature here is about 23 to 30 Celcius all year round.
Not sure if the above statistic is the best for puer storage ,however my 3 to 5 year stocks have started to disperse the greenish taste.in fact the color of the liquor have stated to be reddish after the third year.There is a saying if puer store in a tropical climate like Malaysia the frementation rate will be twice as fast as those which store in temperate climate.
Therefore I think the best solution is still the humifier instead of just leaving a bowl of water near the tea.
If not rear a tank of fishes in the house with a water pump so that the water could be evaporated in a much faster pace.
iwachu on May 17th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
usefull or just crazy?!
what do you think, if i want to increase the humidy level of my tea cupboard, because i live in west germany where humidy and hot weather isn't as daily as in hong kong, would it be usefull or just crazy, to add once a week or so an tea pot filled with hot (steaming) water to my tea box, which is not air tight and is surrounded by an average room temperature (about 20°C)
i think this must have an higher/better affect than just adding a bowl of (not steaming) water and it won't lead to an wet storage area, just fasten up the dry storage, through a bit more humidy once a week, or?
marshaln on May 19th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: usefull or just crazy?!
I personally would be very careful with steaming anything. The problem is not so much the uncontrolled nature of it, but rather... steam can be very localized and only reach certain parts of your cupboard, thus directly affecting a few cakes (or a few parts of a few cakes) and not the rest of your stash. You can run into trouble with that, I think.
iwachu on May 19th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Re: usefull or just crazy?!
well, i haven't thought about this before, but of course your right with this problem of incompleate steaming, just some local parts of the cakes or cupboard...thanksfor pointing this!
and after all i am not quite sure about the effect of steaming them not constant.
perhaps this anti stable method would cause some kind of bad effects to the biological aging in the leaves?!
well, than i think it's the best thing just adding a bowl of (not steaming) water and therefore receive an compleate and more stable method of aging all cakes..
samuelr on May 21st, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of my Igloo Cooler Humidifier for cigars. Put florist green foam in a bowl, add propylene glycol (humectant) and water and shut the cooler. Coolers are not airtight and the relative humidity will not reach 100%, ~70% if my memory serves. Cheap and effective. Humectant not essential but cuts water loss since it is hygroscopic. Never had a cigar mold on me either.