Five More Things I Like & Dislike. Western Storage = Humid? YT Videos @ 1.5-2x Speed. Binghole Samples.

Things I like & dislike.

Western Pumidor Storage is Humid Storage?

I’ve seen this suggested a few times on facebook and reddit. The thought seems to be that pumidors will result in some sort of HK traditionally stored tea. I think this assertion exists because we are trying to alter the natural conditions in the west to be more humid than they otherwise would be. When made, this assertion is over-generalized, absurd and very inaccurate. If we omit the 1% fringe cases where temperature and/or humidity are intentionally inflated to extreme heights, most evidence points towards the majority of western setups result in dry-stored tea. Some of the evidence: (a) actual examples of different western storage (b) the default for pu’erh storage is more humid than most of the west (c) we are worried about dryness for a reason. There are a ton of western examples of tea being stored too dry. I can’t think of a single tea I’ve tried that’s been predominantly stored in the west that is too wet.

One counter-argument could be that western setups can get mold. This is absolutely true, but I think we shouldn’t reduce our thinking to a singular spectrum of wet and dry. There are a lot of ways to get mold, some of which can occur in what would otherwise be considered dry-storage. It’s unclear where exactly these storage setups will be in the spectrum, but the claim that these western pumidor storage as wet storage is highly questionable and does not have much evidence to support it.

Listening to Tea Videos in 1.5-2x Speed

I fully support this for those listening to our videos. I rarely watch our videos after they’ve been edited a few videos excepted. They’re not intensely visual and play out fine as podcasts. This means listening to them at an accelerated speed you don’t miss much substance.

I’ve recently had to re-watch a couple episodes and the speed is too slow for me! Watching in 1.5x or even 2x speed fixed this and made the episodes move much faster. The natural reactions and comedic timing end up a bit off, but if you are watching sheerly for information or tasting notes I think watching episodes at an increased speed works well. You have my permission to do so (not that you need it).

TeaDB Youtube Channel
Our Youtube Channel.

Binghole Samples

This sucks. For most people a 25 gram sample is 3-5 sessions. That’s a fair amount of drinking tea. The way a cake breaks it is quite possible to get stuck with the whole binghole as your sample. If this happens you probably won’t even have another piece of the cake.

Getting the binghole sucks if you’re trying to evaluate the tea for a future purchase. It also sucks if you are just drinking for pleasure with no intention of further evaluation. I don’t fault vendors but as a consumer it does really stink. It can be difficult to brew and isn’t necessarily representative of the whole cake, especially if it’s heavily pressed.

A couple possible solutions, both of which will make vendors grit their teeth. (a) The vendor breaks up the binghole more and spreads the burden around. (b) Separate out the binghole and sell it as a different and cheaper sample option, probably also marking up the normal 25 gram samples. This makes sense, because you’re kind of getting a different product.

  • Personally I think solution A is the better and more plausible solution.

People Willing to Share Bad Storage Experiences

A big thumbs up here for anyone willing to share about their storage experiences good or bad. A store like Yunnan Sourcing selling pu’erh to the west has existed for nearly 15 years now. This is a long time but the amount of datapoints of people storing pu’erh in the west are still limited.

Sharing of information is a good thing even when it comes out of a negative experience. It seems like most people that come out of the woodwork want to get a diagnostic on what went wrong.. But it’s also good if people are willing to share their experience even when they know what went wrong. It’s very understandable why people don’t come forward with these cases, but you may be able to help someone from making a similar mistake. Consider it a public service..

Dedicating a Pot to Something Overly Specific

This pot is dedicated to 7 year old Yunnan Sourcing brand that has been stored only in Kunming…

I think if you are prioritizing functionality, there’s no need to be so specific. If you’re a collector do whatever you like, but for a drinker a keeping it simple approach is best. Most veteran drinkers I know only use a handful of pots regularly.

Here’s the categories I think are worth dedicating a pot to, provided you drink that type of tea. Remove a category if you don’t drink it much (I only have pots for 4 of these 6 categories)..

  • Semi-Aged Pu’erh.
  • Ripe Pu’erh.
  • Traditionally Stored Pu’erh.
  • Wuyi Oolongs.
  • Roasted Oolongs.
  • Aged Oolongs.

Bought too many pots? I’ve found it’s pretty easy to unload these on the secondary market if you have to.

Yixing Pot.
My pot dedicated to 6.567 year old Seattle 66.5RH stored sheng. Unused.

6 responses to “Five More Things I Like & Dislike. Western Storage = Humid? YT Videos @ 1.5-2x Speed. Binghole Samples.”

  1. James,

    Another great article. It might make an interesting project to collect those data points on storage but I am not sure how reliable the inputs will be. In any case, I will volunteer my own opinions on my own storage.

    My storage is in a large antique icebox ~16 cf in size. I use a combination of a couple of large size cigar humidifiers and a number of boveda packs for humidity. Temperature varies between 68 and 75 degrees. I try and keep the humidity between 62 and 68 rh. This has been my storage solution for the past 8 years. Before then, I had my tea stored in cardboard boxes.

    My personal experience is that I have not seen any mold on my teas during this time. I have noted some aging taking place, primarily with a reduction in bitterness and some astringency in my more aggressive teas and some deepening of the tea liquor. It is worth noting that most of the teas that I have in my collection were several years old when acquired and so they had a jump on aging to begin with. In general, I quite like where most are now and can say that for the teas I have been drinking, they are improved from where they were originally. Take this for what it’s worth.


    • Hi Karl,

      Thanks for sharing.

      I recently typed up a post on how I’m storing and my own experiences. I’ll avoid totally spoiling the post, but so far I feel fairly similarly about my own storage. Change has been slow and not drastic, but overall positive and there is nothing obviously off or wrong that I’ve perceived.


  2. Everyone loves a good pot but I totally agree with the sentiment about “overly specific” pots. I generally have separate pots for shu, sheng and rock oolong however its unlikely that these get a proper outing frequently and its far better to ditch habits of pot collecting (unless this is your thing, as it definitely beats stamps its better to just get a couple of good sizeable gaiwans. Lets make 2019 year of the gaiwan!!
    Seriously though, from experience, pots look good on the tea table and a shelf, gaiwans look good when they are full of leaves.

    • Yeah, I have no issue with using pots. I quite enjoy using mine and use them maybe 80% of the time. Not much functional reason to have 300 of them and start dedicating them to crazily specific stuff though.


    • It can be difficult to brew and isn’t necessarily representative of the whole cake, especially if it’s heavily pressed. Often when you buy a sample and you end up with the binghole you won’t get any tea from other parts of the cake which can skew perceptions.


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