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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Brilliant (?) Idea

I've been contemplating an idea, and I hope that I'm not being too ridiculous about it...but please bear with me dear readers

The Background

So I still have a good amount of young sheng samples just lying around. It's mostly stuff from my Yunnan Sourcing last year, and I've only tried these samples only once or twice, since it was pretty clear to me whether I liked them or not. Anyway, I have most of the samples (the ones I don't want to try again) mixed together in as a "house blend." It's sitting in a paper bag in my humidor, maybe aging, maybe not.

The Plan

So I've seen videos of how puerh is compressed, and I'm thinking maybe I can consolidate my samples into a "house blend" cake, which might actually make it more likely to age properly. In these videos they basically steam the maocha until it's soft enough for compression. Maybe I can do the same thing. I think one of the things I have to be careful of is making sure that it dries completely and there's no excessive moisture hanging around inside the cake. I'm also thinking about how exactly to compress it. I don't think there are rocks large enough in my backyard to serve this purpose, but maybe compress it using two boxes, one smaller than the other, and compressing it that way, kind of like those onigiri molds you see in the Japanese markets (see here). I've seen wooden ones (see here) which is more along the lines of what I might try to do. I'll also need to sew together a cotton bag to hold the maocha in after it's been steamed. Maybe I can give this more thought after I come back from my trip back east.

Comments? Has Maitre_Tea gone crazy, or is this the best way to "get rid" of bad samples.


Brett said...

crazy or not, that sounds like a real fun experiment!

Zero the Hero said...

Ha, that sounds like a great idea. I'll wager it's one of those things with a multitude of variables that you don't consider until you're actually in the midst of it. I would be most worried about the steaming--will it cook or semi-steep the leaves at all? Compressing seems like it might not be too tough as long as you're using something that's really hard, like not cardboard. I think drying would be pretty easy--just set it out in open air, maybe with a window open and a fan? How are you planning to blend the samples?

Maitre_Tea said...

I think steaming it for a few minutes shouldn't be too much of a problem, since that's what they do in the videos that I've seen. They don't seem to do anything "special" after it's been compressed so maybe I can pull this off. I've actually seen this idea on the Puerh LJ (in one of the older posts) , but the person doing it was using cooked puerh, which is probably easier.

As for blending, it might a little tough since there are chopped leaves, whole leaves, fannings, etc. I'm hoping to just mix it using my hands (hopefully whatever fungi/bacteria on my hands will contribute to the aging process) and hoping that it blends evenly.

Bret said...

The bacteria on your hands is not the same thats in the tea. Some bacteria can be dominant over other types and can kill them. If I were you I wouldnt risk introducing a bacteria that isnt already present in the tea.

Maitre_Tea said...

Oh I jest about using unclean hands...I'm probably going to go all-sanitary and use gloves of some kind, which is more than I can say for sanitary conditions in most tea factories I think.

I should probably try some of the house blend before I press it to see how it tastes...but it looks awfully intimidating

TeaCast.net said...

Go ahead, do it! Sounds like a really neat idea! The blend would be quite interesting, no doubt about it :)