Shortly: -online tea meditation -Sunday 7.2.2021 at 14.00-16.00 (Please join latest at 13.45) Finnish time. -using zoom
The goal is to have a nice tea meditation and connect with other tea people. Come as you are, you don’t need to brew tea in any specific way or have specific tea or teaware. For example a thermos and a mug are good enough a tea set 🙂
Time & date Sunday 7.2.2021 at 14.00-16.00 (Please join latest at 13.45) Finnish time. The joining link will be closed at 14.00, because joining after the ceremony has started would disrupt the atmosphere.
If you are new to tea meditation or want tips on how to brew your tea please come a bit earlier around 13.30 so we have time to go trough them.
Using zoom should be pretty straightforward but if you haven’t used it yet please familiarize yourself with it and test your camera and microphone before the session.
General preparation 1. Reserve a peaceful and clean space. 2. Reserve enough time and arrive on time so the session can start calmly. This session is going to be around 1,5h from which about 1h is in silence. 3. Set up the necessary tea and other equipment close by. Your water kettle / boiler, brewing equipment, candle etc. 4. Choose a tea suitable for tea meditation. 5. I recommend eating something small before drinking tea.
Technical preparation 1. Test that your camera and microphone are working in zoom before joining the session. 2. Make sure you you have enough power on your device. 3. Put your phone notifications and other things off so they won’t bother during the session
Recommendations for the ceremony itself 1. Drink many cups / infusions (minimum of three). 2. Put mindfulness on brewing the tea. 3. Invite curiosity and attention to the tea and the effects to your mind and body. 4. Relax and enjoy. Don’t force anything. This is a time for yourself without having the need to plan the future or worry about the past.
Questions/problems? Any problems or questions contact me (whatsapp +358443519993 or tertti[only @ here]liquidmetta.com).
Back in the early days (2015?) often I got super excited and carried away when I saw an interesting tea somewhere on the web and bought a cake or two straight away. I told myself a story that I must get the tea before it runs out or gets much more expensive or something. Usually this story was not accurate which caused waste of money and unnecessary accumulation.
At some point I figured out I should take it easy and buy only a sample first and start getting to know the tea calmly. If that tea runs out from the seller or gets more expensive in the meantime it will not be a catastrophe. There will be other good opportunities in the future since sellers and wholesalers are constantly looking for new teas. And it’s not like pu’er production will stop suddenly. Or if it does stop then you can start hoarding with good conscience. In the meantime I should get to know the tea calmly and properly before buying a big amount of it.
Downsides of getting in a pu’er craze (in a nutshell): You might accumulate unnecessary objects at home Spending unnecessary money Adding complexity in your life (how to get rid of them?)
There are many ways to live life and spend hard earned money. I like to do it in a way that has a small risk of wasting money and accumulating non essential stuff. You can’t remove risk completely but you can mitigate it. This is what’s this post is about.
Buy only a small sample (15-30g) first when you encounter an interesting tea! Don’t buy a cake. Yes you read right. Not even from me. Don’t buy a whole cake without sampling it first. If that’s not possible for some reason weigh your decision carefully.
Buy only a cake or slightly bigger amount (not two cakes or a tong!). Individual teas are like people. It takes time to get to know them. When you have the tea in different ways, occasions and states of your mind & body you start to understand better what are the particular tea’s character and effects.
If you still think the tea is very good after drinking a cake or half it’s time to move forward.
Go crazy! Now it’s time to hoard the best candidates if you feel like it! At this point you can be quite sure what you are getting yourself into. So you can get a few cakes or tongs. If you went through the first and second step properly it’s hard to make a “bad” purchase at this point.
Ways to skip steps
1.You trust the seller IMMENSELY. In other words your guess (it’s always a guess more or less when buying stuff online) about what you are getting and how are you getting are very rarely or never wrong in a big way.
Let’s say you have bought tea from a particular seller for many years and know when they will describe a tea in a specific way you will get a specific thing. In this situation your guess what you will get from the seller’s description is very accurate (most of the time). From public online tea shops I have this kind of trust only in the Essence Of Tea.
2. You have a good and easy way to get rid of the excess teas. Maybe you have a friend who will gladly accept your excess teas? I haven’t found a good way so far. Let me know if you have good ideas! 🙂 My best attempt so far was the tea flea market. I had some extra tea which I had bought for about 200 euros. I got maybe 60 euros from them and the rest I gave away for free. I’m quite happy how it turned out. I’m not sad about “losing” that money because that’s the price of finding the gems out there.
Store your tea away from strong smells (e.g. incense, cooking smells or spices in the kitchen)
Minimize air flow and excess air in the “big amount” bag
Take a smaller amount of tea from the big amount bag to the “daily use” smaller bag which I sent you (send me a message if I forgot).
Take tea from the daily use bag when you want to drink that tea
Refill the daily use bag from the big amount bag when it’s empty so you avoid opening the big amount bag unnecessarily
Like this you can keep your teas pretty good for a long time without any extra gadgets or complex systems.
Read further if you want to learn more of the reasoning and about tweaking your tea storage.
Storing vs. aging tea
First of all an important distinction to keep in mind! This guide is not about aging tea in dry climates. With aging tea I mean deliberately storing tea decades with the goal being that the tea changes much better as a whole. I will make no attempt to know how that is done.
The main point of this guide is to share my thoughts on how to preserve the original character of the tea and not let it dilute or change radically worse when you are waiting to drink it. Although I think that if you follow the “advanced” recommendations below your teas will age better than not paying attention at all to storage parameters.
If you would be interested in long term aging storage for your teas in Taiwan with a monthly payment please send me an email with topic “taiwan tea storage” and I will inform you if and when it’s possible.
Basic storage parameters
Pu’er tea and liubao tea are microbially fermented and/or fermentable types of tea that keep and develop their good flavors and aromas best when they’re stored a bit differently compared to other teas. Most teas are best kept in an airtight container with dry air, and very little air to begin with. Pu’er and liubao need some more humidity, for example. Let’s talk more about it.
Pu’er and liubao need a somewhat high air humidity and preferably a normal room temperature or higher to keep their microbial activity up and running. In room temperature 50–70 % relative humidity (RH) is a good, safe range. 65 % RH should still have no mold risk at all. A higher humidity than 70 % seriously increases the risk of mold formation on the tea, especially if the temperature is around 24 °C. Interestingly if the temperature is around 40 °C the mold risk is minimal even with 75 % RH. My guess is that lower than 50 % RH dries up the tea, slows down the fermentation, and can make the tea lose some of its magic.
For more information about mold risk (dew point) and how relative and absolute humidity work from these resources:
A “pumidor” is a humidity-controlled storage space for tea, usually a plastic box but sometimes even a sealed shelf or a repurposed refrigerator. The name of course is a pu’er-fied version of humidor, the storage box for cigars. I guess they are a good thing, but keep the risks in mind. There are many many examples of pumidor storage gone bad. Often they also need a lot of work. I like minimalism and passive systems.
There is a mold risk if you don’t have two-way humidity control which means a system to prevent the relative humidity from increasing too much (e.g. boveda). RH increases when temperature drops in a closed system. And on the other hand, RH decreases when temperature increases. Let’s think about a scenario where you have 70% RH in your closed pumidor and no two-way humidity control. If the temperature drops 5 degrees the relative humidity increases to 93 % !
Tea is incredibly sensitive to absorb any smells into it. So it really makes a lot of sense to avoid unwanted smells in your tea storage.
Sadly every single plastic container I have smelled or tried had a strong plastic smell. A plastic box that I had, the same model which some people use for storing tea, was still too smelly for me even after two years of use with dry kitchen goods. So I think that cleaning and airing those plastic boxes for tea storage are a lost cause. I’m quite sensitive and want to preserve the original essence of the tea as well as possible, so plastic boxes are not good enough for me.
If you are using an old fridge for a pumidor, I doubt you can get the old fridge smell out completely. And that smell will eventually get into the tea.
Things which I have seen to have little unwanted smells are older cabinets or wooden boxes. Basically you could make a wooden box from unprocessed wood and cover it with a non smelly oil or other suitable lacquer. Even so, I would let it air out quite a while still, like a year or so before using it for tea storage.
My ideas and suggestions
Avoid airflow and excess air
I live in Finland where the relative humidity indoors varies around 30-50 % and temperatures are 22-24 °C. In the recent years, I’ve found that airflow, especially into and out of the storage container, has “diluted” some of my teas. I’ve kept my loose-leaf pu’er and liubao teas in brown paper bags, and those bags have been inside big 8 liter airtight ziploc bags. I’ve kept humidity control packs (Boveda or similar) inside those ziploc bags to keep the moisture up inside. But even with this somewhat good setup, the teas started to dilute within a few years because I opened the big ziplocs too often (1-2 times a month).
A lot of pu’er storage guides emphasize airflow’s importance, but I think it’s quite overrated here in the dry west, if the temperature and humidity are already within reasonable parameters. I guess that in Asia, airflow is a bigger factor since ambient humidity and temperature can increase dramatically at some points during the year, and the risk of molding increases unless there’s airflow. Usually, Asian tea storers don’t have a system to decrease humidity except with airflow.
How should I store my pu’er and liubao?
If you have only a little pu’er & liubao tea (a kilo or less) just keep these few things in mind and your teas will be fine for a surprisingly long while.
Keep them away from direct sunlight
Keep them away from unwanted smells (e.g. kitchen, incense, different kinds of tea)
Keep minimal air inside the tea storage (e.g. ziploc) and avoid airflow.
Separate your teas to “easy grabbing” and “big amount” bags.
Take an “easy grabbing” amount (50g?) from a big cake to a smaller bag. When you want to drink that tea you don’t have to open the bag with the cake. Like this you can avoid the cake getting too much air every time you want to drink that tea.
I have had 75 gram bags of tea sealed in good “kraft” bags for 1-2 years without noticeable deterioration. I think the biggest factors were that I didn’t open them at all, there was enough tea in the bag and not much excess air. I’ve also had smaller ~15g amounts stored in the same bags and they deteriorated heavily in a year or two.
If you have a bigger amount of tea here are my suggestions in addition to the basics.
Have your teas in a big (e.g. 8 liter) double seal ziploc. Put only similar teas into each big ziploc. Separate the individual teas by non smelly paper bags or wrappers.
Have two-way humidity control with 65-70 % RH inside both of the big ziplocs (e.g. boveda)
Use two kinds of big ziplocs: have one for “longer storage” and one for “easy grabbing”. Open the “longer storage” rarely (1-2 times per year?) when you take tea to the “easy grabbing” or put more tea to the “longer storage”.
In addition to the “easy grabbing” and “longer storage” big ziplocs have an “easy grabbing” small bags (50g?) as described in the basics.
You could also use airtight crocks or jars instead of ziplocs but beware of excess air and unwanted smells.
How to rescue your dried-out teas?
The “advanced” storage method described above should work fine to revive your dried teas. For cakes and bigger amounts, the remoisturizing might take a while, like a month.
For smaller amounts which are in kraft bags, I would just put a boveda in for increased moisture or use ghetto style and just sprinkle some water drops inside the bag (use at your own risk).
Thanks for reading. Did you find this guide helpful? Is there anything you would like to be clarified? Any ideas how to improve my storage setup? Please let me know if something comes into your mind in the comments below.
I was recently playing around blending teas since I haven’t bought any new teas in a while. So might as well blend some of my old ones and see if it turns out interesting. This idea like most of my (tea)ideas came while my morning tea meditation. It’s funny how my brain is just firing and developing new exciting things to do.
So my idea was to mimic an old pu’er which is very vibrant, diverse, strong aged taste and has a good deep “aged” energy.
I started the blend with Water Lily (~20yr brick shou) since it has a strong aged taste and very calming character. It’s very hard to blend teas if the biggest portion tea is strongly specific in another way. So the watery/calming/harmonizing tea is a good tea to start. A few years ago I was making five element blends and watery/calm teas were good for the base (as Wu De suggests in February 2016 GTH issue). If interested in blending teas I recommend checking the issue out.
Also recently I tried out a blend with 90/10 ratio super calming liubao/super strong 5yr old old tree shou. It didn’t work in harmony and the mere 10% of the strong tea was overpowering the blend. So the taste profile and energy were not in balance.
For this blend I wanted to get some vibrancy, upliftiness and nice medicinal taste more. So I chose “normal” liubao #1 since it’s quite uplifting and has a diverse taste profile. It’s not too overpowering compared to the other teas either.
Finally I added a 60-80s “voodoo aboriginal blend” to give more aged taste, character and deep energy.
Of course I had to play around with the ratios to get the blend in harmony. Too much any tea and it would have not be “in sync”. The ratios in the final blend were about 70/18/12 Water lily/nlb1/voodoo
At least for me this blend was a success. Very harmonious energy with lots of aged taste, vibrancy and aged tea energy. I shared it with a few friends and i’m now waiting for their impressions of it. The price of the blend turned out to be about 10% more than only Water Lily. So this blend made a lot of sense also for the price since with small price increase there was a lot more quality increase.
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