Saturday, April 28, 2007


Here they slumber still
in darkness and humid air
'till the master calls
(thunder, lightning and sinister laughter!)

A snapshot of the offsite cellar (one of the corridors) where I keep my wine and pu'er tea. Contant temperature and humidity at 58°F and 65%, respectively.

Nothing inspiring, nothing fancy. The wines and teas can not see where they are anyway.


Hobbes said...

What a great idea! Is there room to lay the wine down, inside those cupboards?

How do you cope not having everything to hand for impulse consumption?! ;)



MarshalN said...

Could 58F be a little on the low side for tea? That's only about 13C.

MarshalN said...

Come to think of it

It might be a very worthwhile experiment to put two cakes of the same production, one in your home in your tea shelf (I'm sure you have one) and one in the storage, and compare them every few months.

Brent said...

It's funny that you should post about this, as it has been on my mind over the past few days. I was thinking of sending you an email to ask whether you thought wine and puerh could be stored in the same environment, but apparently you have ESP and posted about it before I got the chance. :)

I'm just starting to collect puerh (literally just starting-- I'm about to receive my first cake soon) and I thought I might try to "liberate" a corner of my dad's wine cellar if the conditions are favorable for tea storage.

The main concern most people I've talked to have had is the relatively low temperature at which wine is stored. I like MarshalN's experiment idea, and I think the results could be interesting.

~ Phyll said...

Hobbes -- The cupboards are designed with compartments to accomodate wooden wine cases, be they the standard Bordeaux case size or the slightly wider Californian case size. Carton box cases also fit nicely inside. They can be conveniently arranged so that the bottles lie down or stand up. I lay the bottles with cork enclosures and stand those with the stelvin screw caps.

This small facility (4000+ sq. ft.) has been in the business of wine storage since 1977. It is run by a kindly lady who originally was from Hong Kong (yesterday I gave her a beeng of pu'er and she was curious and happy to receive it).

I keep about 50 bottles in the wine fridge at home. Those at the offsite cellar are the ones that I only plan to open once in a while or on special occasions. Most are even too young to be enjoyed properly. And I keep about 12 - 15 different pu'er (beengs / tuos / bricks) at home. All green, oolongs, red and black teas are here at home, too.

Marshaln -- I have that concern as well. The other option is probably worse. It's very dry here in LA. A slice of white bread left in our dining room uncovered for a few hours becomes brittle dry.

Yeah, that is a good idea (to experiment every few months!) and I will do so. What is the humidity and temperature level in a "classic" or "standard" Hong Kong storage? Is 65% humidity considered a light wet-storage condition or "dry"?

Brent -- while a temperate temperature is likely preferable, my readings into the issue of pu'er storage is that humidity is the more important factor of the two.

By the way, Chan Kam Pong wrote a lengthy article in the 2nd volume of The Art of Tea mag about storing pu'er at home. My copy is in transit as I type this...let's see what he says when I get the mag.

Anonymous said...

Poor imprisoned bings. I can just hear them screaming to be let out.

"drink me! drink me! drink me!"

Steven Dodd said...

I know what this wine storage looks like. Now I just need to find out which locker is yours. Don't be surprised if your aging bings get replaced with 2007 bings without you knowing until it's too late. It will be the perfect heist!

MarshalN said...

I think classic wine cellars, the kind that are in a basement room of some home, has problems for tea, mainly in that they SMELL.

We had one of those in the rather humid Vancouver, BC, right under the bar (it was a nifty design -- the bar in the house, with no alcohol whatsoever, has a laddar down to the cellar, which also held no alcohol whatsoever as long as we were living there). I remember going down there and it always smelled musty. Most home wine cellars, I'd imagine, smell like that. It doesn't matter for wines, as they are well sealed, but for tea... bad idea.

I think 65% average might be a little on the low side for Hong Kong, but there is enormous fluctuation in humidity throughout the year, which I think is a key to tea aging, or at least that's what CKP will say in his article (guessing here). It might be worthwhile to take your tea out for a week or two and let them sit at home before sticking them back. That involves some major operation though with a jian of tea...