Might as well do something with this lot, there are actually two quantities which I'm not going to bother to weigh. This tea is two different batches I've decided to just mix together. We have a 2013 Zhanglang Gushu, and a 2012 Spring Bada mountain. Both teas arrived very dried out in plastic bags. I don't expect crock storage to improve these very much, if the tea had been fairly fresh with some moisture in it, I might be able to fast-ferment it. But the tea is dried and reconstituted with a bit of water now, at best my goal is to see if I can darken it up a little.
This is actually a very large crock bread bowl, an American Watt #14 Ovenware bread bowl to be exact. The finish is crazed from years and years of use.
|Old stoneware bread bowl|
|Kinda hard to see the crazing on the glaze.|
But now the bowl will come in handy to see if I can do anything with this tea. My house is currently boasting an RH value of 30% in midwinter, rather desert-like, so I must keep tea in storage with some sort of humidity, either crocks with humidity devices or my puerh fridge with a jar of water. I will use the sauerkraut method of storage which is to use a stoneware crock bowl covered with a wooden lid.
I rinse the maocha and soak it in water for about 5 minutes, turning the tea until it absorbs the water. You can see the after photo of dried, wet tea.
|Would you do this with YOUR gushu? Didn't think so.|
|Rinsed/soaked dried maocha before first brew.|
|First steep. Drank two steeps in all.|
In North America we know so little about storing fermented tea, any data is at least a start. I really appreciate the emails I'm getting from other tea heads who are using stoneware crocks to store some of their tea. This week I received another one:
"I thought I would drop you a line cause I'm also attempting puerh crock storage in a very dry region. I'm in KY, and right now the humidity in my tea closet is only about 38%!! I have been having decent luck using crocks, my tea stays pretty okay as long as I keep checking on it regularly and keep the tobacco pouch buttons fresh. Lately I've also been using clay shards from those terra cotta pots which has also been working ok."
Great hearing from all of you!