; Cwyn's Death By Tea: Shelf Stash Update #2 ;

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Shelf Stash Update #2

Example of shelf stashing.

This year my stash goal is to deal with the little bits and bobs of tea I have stored on my tea shelves, in every sort of container imaginable, including inside teapots and other teaware. These are mainly remainders of samples, the last bits of a beeng, or abused tea experiments. My stash behavior is a form of squirreling that I need to get in check. I am tired of the crowded shelves and the dusting work. Some experiments were left to sit and need checking on, like teas I deliberately composted and brought back from Mold City. 

I need to get a handle on the behavior and reduce the number of tea samples not in bags, but in containers, little micro-biomes. What will in fact happen is that I will likely shuffle things, drink up a few, and probably stash a few more. The big mental hang-up with most of these squirreled teas is that I saved them for a reason. This thought prevents me from just dumping all of them out. That sample could be a thousands of $$$ tea I can never afford in a million years. Or it could be something humid and I was testing the container material for storage, the 3 or 4 Inge Nielsen sample clay jars are one such experiment. 

To add further complexity to the matter, I didn't always label the stashes. I would say maybe 50% of the time I put a slip of paper in with the tea, or I cut out a label or logo from a wrapper or baggie. But I have many that I didn't label, instead I thought "oh I will remember what that is," with the notion of checking on it in 6 months or a year and I never did, and now it's years too late to even know what it is. If I IG'd the tea or blogged it, well then I can try and find it. These are the teas I will be sure to mention. 

I felt so enthused in January starting off tackling the top shelf. I put maybe 4 teas on the radiators with some moisture to wake them up. And then I got the CSH box in the mail, and my nerve injury, and gut issues from the nsaids which stopped my project and most tea drinking for 6 weeks. Now I am varied by the day with either one or two doses of nsaids, but this is not nearly as bad as every 4-6 hours. I have been able to finish a bunch of samples/projects.

Okay, so the first sample of note is the left jar in the above photo. The jars are where, in 2018, I put two samples sent to me by blogger Wilson from his own collection. I tried one of the samples and put something on IG maybe, but did not try the other, so this is the one I targeted first. It is a Green Mark 7542 recipe, but I don't know what year, and not sure he told me. Maybe early oughts, but I am not a jerk to ask someone their tea secrets. I think he trolled me by saying I should try an aged 7542, but really turns out to be "taste the storage." :P

Wilson's Green Mark ??

The storage on this tea is perfection. First steepings have a slight humid note that is mostly mineral but not too much, a small TCM whiff, but not too much, these will go to a powdery note the longer they sit. So, this tea had some brief heat and humidity years and years ago (leather texture), and then natural dry storage after that. This tea is completely changed, it just needs long storage to get that ancient-shelf little bit floral dustiness. So I covered it with paper toweling for air circulation and to prevent mold, it could also be wrapped in plastic to preserve it now. It's really done, and in the best possible way. 

First steep

So at the start, first steep the mustiness whiff and TCM, the next few steepings note of root beer, wood, a little bit plummy. The taidi tea leaves are chopped, but more sturdy than we see now in similar factory teas. Really a very mild tea that anyone can drink. 

Steep 5

When cooled, the mineral note is little tending toward bitter but never gets there, the stage is passed. I couldn't push it past 8 steeps, it really fell off. With the leathery texture, sometimes you can rest it a day or two, or do a boil and get more out of it, but I did not do so. I congratulate Wilson yet again on his storage.

Steep 8

Next, I found a 2016 Hekai from Chawangshop, in a cloth bag from same. I have written about this tea a lot for its diuretic effect. I switched prescription diuretics in maybe 2019, so I stopped drinking this so often. I owned a tong plus one, and have 2 1/2 cakes left. This is a half I kept in the bag, uh...in a linen closet shelf. Soooo.....

2016 Chawangshop Hekai

My photos are bad, but it was winter when I took them. 

The tea is quite brown compared to fresh spanking green in 2016. I didn't photograph the session because orange-y yellow is orange-y yellow and I have written about this tea plenty. The big change is Steeps 1-5 are now rather sweet and honey/floral. Where is the daisy/tomato vine I used to love, the kidney clean-erator? It is still there, at steep 5 the sweetness is off the top and I get the green savory notes back that I like. Note to self to get cracking on the Hekai habit again, the aging is well and good, but in this one case I'd rather drink this green. The vendor should feel pleased at the changes on the tea. The remaining two whole beengs from the tong are in a tin, which is good for what I want, in not aging it much more.

Then I found a tin of loose shou puerh from an American vendor called Leaf and Spoon. I tracked an old url for them and they are now mainly a coffee company with a new name and logo. They were a company that some of us on Steepster tried to support with an order. As I recall, I bought green teas from them that I drank up, and this tin was either free or I tacked it on my cart to get free shipping, or something just extra. It was just under half full. 

Tiny gong ting leaves brew crazy amount.

Well, this turns out to be a gong ting shou, the tiny spring tips of puerh tea. Just amazing to think this was considered just a basic tea then. Today a good gong ting will cost you, and the vendor knows this is what they have and charge accordingly. 

I did 15 steepings of this tea, and the tin had 3 sessions left in it, so drinking this up took nsaid February. And 15 steepings wasn't enough, the tea still was going and easily could be boiled after 20 steeps. Unreal to think a meh ordinary vendor shou more than 10 years ago is this good. Juicy cherry with a little dusty fermentation flavor. 

One more session of note that I did not photograph was the remains of a sample of white2tea's 2015 72 Hours. This was a sample I squirreled in a gaiwan and drank to test the aging of the one intact beeng I have left. Like the Hekai, I have written about this tea quite a bit, and will do so again when I crack into the last beeng. The tea blend is supposed to mature in 6 years, and we are well past that. I don't remember what I thought of it other than the same as last time, there is something of a white2tea house flavor, some leaves that get in other teas as well. 

As of now I have four more orphan squirreled teas sitting ready to try. I am in for a long project.

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