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Friday, March 13, 2015

mr. mopar's Puerh Storage


My friend mr. mopar aka mrmopu might be familiar to many of you who hang out on tea forums like Teachat and Steepster. He offers encouragement to new puerh drinkers, promotes discussion on puerh, and hooks up people with similar tastes in tea. He has a remarkable black cat known as "Chairman Meow" who has an odd interest in puerh tea cakes, and "picks" teas by putting her paw on a different cake every day. Very often mr. mopar will choose to drink the cake picked out by the "Chairman." I find it reassuring that I'm not the only odd puerh person of a Certain Age, and that the world holds so many of us. Anyway, mr. mopar sent me some tea recently when I developed a fixation on trying the 2011 Dayi "100 Year" Tribute Ripe cake, but didn't want to pay the $70 for a full beeng which is the current price at Berylleb. He generously sent me a massive sample of that cake and then some other teas to try. When I opened up a sample of a 2005 CNNP Nannuo, I couldn't believe how fresh and fragrant this tea is. The other teas he sent are also equally fragrant and very well preserved. Right away I wanted to share with others what he is doing for storage, because he is clearly doing something right.

To set the context, mr. mopar lives in Virginia, USA, which is generally a humid state in the summer time, but can be drier in the winter with house heating. I asked for a copy of the photo above so you can see the hygrometer settings which show Fahrenheit temp and humidity percentage. The fans he is using for air circulation might be important in the summer for him compared to the northern state where I live. I asked more questions about his storage.

1. Tell me about your set up!
Oh, I got a fridge, and mini fridge, and a wine cooler full with 4 puerh bags with 7 cakes each, and a stack of boxes and bins of samples. I catch grief about it everyday! 
I am using an old refrigerator with cigar humidifiers, electric ones and keeping moisture levels between 70 and 72%. That picture of the pumidor is one of three I have set up. That one is mainly white2tea and Hai Lang Hao and Yunnan Sourcing. I have another for Dayi, Xiaguan, Haiwan and CNNP.
2. How long have you been storing tea with humidity control?
I have been using them for about 2 years now.
3. What other solutions did you try?
I tried the [absorbent] beads but found out they give off ammonia as an after-effect. I do have separate areas for sheng and shou. Never mixed. Shou in the big area of the fridge and sheng in the freezer part. I do also have a mini fridge with just sheng and the humidifier with the computer fans. The fans move 1000cfm so 30 minutes run time gives me lots of circulation in the storage areas.
4. Do you do anything special in the summer?
Summer I just keep a watch and run the fans in the storage area twice a week instead of once a week in the winter, at least 30 minutes at a time.
5. How often do you rotate cakes?
I try to rotate at least once a month. The puerh storage bags make it easy. Pull out a bag, mix them up, and put it all back in. It does seem the fuller they [the fridges] are, the better the aroma, may be the microbes interacting with each other.
6. Are you collecting for the long haul, or mainly storing drinkers?
Oh I just have a small collection...I have some for now and some for the long haul. The newer shengs are aging away from 2008 forward. I do have some older stuff I keep in the same conditions as the stuff I'm aging. My guess is in my older years I will be a tea seller.

5 comments:

  1. I've been really curious about how Mr. Mopar stores his tea. Thanks to both of you for this post! Now to convince my boyfriend that I need a tea fridge...

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    1. I use a mini dorm fridge that doubles as an end-table, a lamp sits on top. Of course it doesn't hold much and I prefer my crock storage but it works until I get more crocks. I think the biggest objection to the fridge idea is how much space they occupy and aren't very attractive. Someone emailed me recently who is using coolers (like picnic coolers) and stacking them.

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    2. Trying to make a "celebrity" out of me huh? Nicely written, I am sure this will help others get a start.
      M

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    3. You were already well known. :)

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    4. Thank you Cwyn

      Great post! Great guy!

      The next great invention puerh collectors are waiting for is the tea humidor with a dual function for puerh storage and ripe puerh tea production. Both of you could team up :)

      Best, VP

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