Topic: aging oolong

Hello there...


on the different pages about tea-knowledge and online shops, "aged oolongs" have a special position, concerning the quality and tast that develops during a long term aging process. So I asked myself about storing oolongs by myself.
To get sure, not to do the worst mistakes, I want to ask you about the basics of a right storage.

Sometimes I heard that moisture and oxygen are bad for any kind of oolong, so you have to roast the stored oolong every year (or two...). In this case, I was wondering, that just high-fired and/or strong oxidized oolongs were able to age well. Especially I´m thinking about to store an oolong called "fancy oolong old style", which I like very much. Does anybody know something about this tea and it´s special treatment??

For myself, I just started to develop some tea knowledge. So I´m very thankful for any information.


Best wiches,


tropheus

Re: aging oolong

Since it's a very generic name, I don't think anyone will be able to tell you much. If you post some pictures of the brewed tea leaves and the dry leaf, that might help a little. Assuming it's a heavily roasted and somewhat oxidized tea, you should be able to age it for quite a while without re-roasting.

As long as the tea isn't starting to develop sour tastes, and as long as the storage environment is pretty dry, I don't think you have to re-roast it too often. And even when you do, it can be just something very mild to get the moisture out (like heating in a rice cooker on "keep warm"). One other trick I've heard to tell how moist the leaves are is to see how easily they crumble in your fingers. If they're very dry, they should crumble easily.

It also depends on your taste. Personally, I like the taste of oolongs which have been aged without much / any re-roasting.

Re: aging oolong

I don't know much about the tea you describe.  I also have never aged oolong, and have only aged Pu-erh for a few years, so I'm really a complete novice and most of what I would have to offer is from reading others' experiences.

But my impression is that you want to start with a stronger-tasting tea as the flavor will mellow with age.  I have tasted a fair amount of Pu-erh of different ages, a lot of non-aged oolong, and a few aged oolongs, and I definitely have a sense of how the flavor in general changes.  Think of sheng Pu-erh; some of it can be so strong before being aged that many people find it unpleasant.  It then becomes gentler over time.  It also acquires new characteristics which often have a more earthy quality.  Compared to Pu-erh, however, I've found that aged oolong has less of the original oolong aromas, and more of newer aromas it has acquired.  But I haven't sampled enough to know if it's really a trend or just a function of the particular teas I tried.

For aging teas you don't want to use an airtight container like you would for green or black teas.  An unglazed ceramic container is probably porous enough.  I've also seen the recommendation, if you use a glazed or non-porous container, to place the tea in it loosely and leave the top open, covering it with a cloth.

You can take two possible routes: aging the tea in as neutral an environment as possible, or aging it in an area where it is exposed to some sort of aromas that you think will impact it in a positive way.


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Re: aging oolong

But my impression is that you want to start with a stronger-tasting tea as the flavor will mellow with age.

I think there's some truth to that. But one big plus of aging more delicate tasting (or at least less roasted and / or oxidized) oolongs is that they tend to change more and in more noticeable ways.

For aging teas you don't want to use an airtight container like you would for green or black teas.  An unglazed ceramic container is probably porous enough.  I've also seen the recommendation, if you use a glazed or non-porous container, to place the tea in it loosely and leave the top open, covering it with a cloth.

I think many people would disagree with you w/r/t airtight containers, but I think it really depends on the specific tea, your climate, whether you're planning to re-roast the tea or not, and what kind of result you're trying to get (i.e., whether or not you like sour, musty, and / or "medicinal" tastes).

I have heard of people doing half and half (at least for Fenghuang dancong), aging the tea in unglazed pots that aren't sealed that tightly for 5-6 years, then sealing them for more storage.