; Cwyn's Death By Tea: Still Crocking: The Puerh Report ;

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Still Crocking: The Puerh Report

Starting Photo from 25 January
Here is an update to the tea experiment I started back on 25 January. The tea is mouldering slowly along, much as olde Cwyn does, and I can safely say the tea is likely to overtake me at some point in the next month. The past week has been very interesting. After crocking up the wet tea on a Sunday, I left it alone until the next Wednesday.

Day 3

The rinsed and wet maocha appears to have absorbed as much of the water as it  possibly can. The tea has expanded and looks similar to the leaves I brewed two days ago. However, excess water has now drained to the bottom of the bowl and appears a cloudy yellow color, rather like yeasty beer. There is a light film of white mold along the top of the pile. I'm concerned about this excess water, it seems to be too much. Some leaves feel rather goo-ey. I don't want to end up with a rotting pile of goo. It's early days now, so I dump the excess water, wash out the crock bowl and rinse the tea one more time.

Day 4

Tea is still pretty wet but not as much mold as yesterday. I turn the tea and cover the bowl with a clean pillowcase to allow for some of the water to evaporate out.

Day 5

I turn the tea and notice that drying has occurred and some of the tea leaves along the bottom of the bowl are drier and sticking to the bowl. I don't want to break up the tea leaves too much. Some are starting to stick together in clumps, giving me visions of tea nuggets.

Instead of the pillowcase, I use the wood cover.

Day 6

Of course I'm feeling my way along here but today the tea feels kinda just right when I turn it. The wood lid kept more of the moisture in so the drier pieces that were sticking have been rehydrated, but the tea isn't drippy wet. I see just a little bit of frost on a leaf here and there. I know that mold is part of fermentation. Probably okay to see a little bit of it on top, and then it gets turned in.

The tea has receded in volume, it's not the normal looking rehydrated leaf I had on Day 3. I can see how a lot of tea is needed for this process because what's left here is probably going to end up less than 357g.

Am feeling like I need to add something, bits of an aged cake to serve as a kind of starter. Or perhaps just more tea to boost the flavor as well as the volume. The tea was rather on the light side anyway when I tasted it. Maybe I should break up something hefty like my New Amerykah 2, a very bitter cake I'll never live long enough to age out. But I suppose if I do that, my younger tea friends will complain that I should send them the cake instead. Or break up a smoky young Xiaguan tuo and throw that in there. But seems a bit sacrilegious to smoke up tender young gushu with pipe tobacco Xiaguan. I've got a tiepei 7542 I could toss in. Once done can't be undone though. As it stands now, I don't think the finished product, if drinkable, will carry much of a punch.

Old Cwyn will be the one tasting this rot. Perhaps I should stock up on antibiotics.

Day 7
Day 8

The weather has gone cold here, around -25C which means my iron radiators are blasting heat. The tea is really drying out now so I need to remove it and add water.

Day 10

Chinese squat toilets are brill. I'm thinking of installing one in the basement. Glen from Crimson Lotus Tea said his older mother had trouble getting back up from one of these, a problem old Cwyn is likely to have as well. Hence I've been envisioning a set of long leather straps and cuffs hanging down from one of the pipes. I think a squat toilet would increase the value of my home someday, expanding the potential pool of buyers. A family with a grandpa might move in here and see a familiar sight in the squat toilet. They will know the house is meant for them if they can get past the Feng Shui sloping hill in the backyard. Note to self: Make sure the squat toilet is installed facing the proper direction.

Day 11

Tea seems to have stabilized now. It's pliable and barely moist but not too wet. The color is kind of green/inky gray. The nuggets seem to be hanging together. In a 48 day fermentation this is almost 25% time elapsed.

I think I'm going to get less obvious change going on with the bowl off the radiator, but the radiators are just too hot. The weather is supposed to warm up this weekend closer to -5C outside, perhaps I can put the bowl back on the radiator when they aren't so hot. It needs a little heat but not too much. Of course in the summer time, the natural temperature would be just right. In the winter, however, I'm trying to duplicate conditions I just don't naturally have.

Day 11 in sunlight
Probably not the best idea to take a photo in natural sunlight, but I am trying to capture the color without flash which is more brown than it appears. But my photos lately are tinged with that bluish tone inherent in winter light, the sun is just still too much at an angle to get accurate daylight photos and the flash washes out the color.

Will report back more in a week or so.

Cwyn, Child of the Stone (ware)


  1. Hello Cwyn,

    Fascinating! I applaud your bravery and willingness to explore.

    I’m rooting for you and hoping the tea is at least drinkable and you stay healthy and well. That said I really don’t want you to feel obligated in thinking you need to drink this tea. If it takes a turn for the worst and triggers the “Eject Button” by your senses, I support reassigning the drinking duties to your garden plants so that they can also have a taste of puerh tea :)

    PS: Thank you and appreciate the link up.

    Best, VP

    1. I thank you sir for stopping by. Since I am past child bearing I will probably drink it anyway.

  2. Looks very interesting Cwyn. Looks like you are basically making a homemade shu of sorts. Keep up the notes and see how everything progresses.

    1. Yeah. I might be eating this on crackers instead of sauerkraut.

  3. If you ever felt the need to sample this out, you would be more than welcome to send some my way up in chilly Alaska. It looks like just the right kind of stuff for cold days:)