So I recently returned from Azerbaijan, and what was the first thing I did? Check my cakes...and nothing, no visible signs of aging of any sort. No mold though, which is the silver lining. Must move to an environment more conducive to agin pu-erh. Having been away from the tea world for two years, I immersed myself in old emails, written notes, exchanges, etc. and I noticed that I was really into tea. I also really knew my stuff back than, or at least I was able to fake it. I don't know if I'll be as enthusiastic about tea as I was before Peace Corps, but time will tell. Also, without a job to support a tea habit at the moment means that I am lusting after tea ware/tea without any real means of acquiring them.
I am, however, indulging myself happily in Taiwan. I have already acquired a lot of gaiwan, pots, tea, and other super important tea ware (which I tell myself so I don't feel any guilt). I've mostly been frequenting a store in Taipei that deals mostly in aged oolong. MarshalN is the expert in this field, and I scoured every mention on the subject to prepare myself. So much of the aged oolong people will first brew for you is usually super roasted to death, and when it's super roasted I find it harder to tell if it's been aged. I also suspect it has to do with the shop keeper's hesitance to brew anything too funky. I told the shop keeper I wanted something that "smells like it had been stored in a cabinet in an attic and forgotten about." She gleefully obliged and I scored some nice tea.
I don't know how much of this is true, but I was told that aged Taiwanese tea have certain characteristics: baozhong isn't sour, oolong a little, and TGY the sourest. When I inquired about the specific kind of oolong typically aged, whether it be dong ding, high mountain, jin xuan, etc. I didn't get a straight answer. I also couldn't get a straight answer when I asked if oxidation levels had anything to do with better aging capability. She wasn't witholding information, however, it was probably because of my American tinged Mandarin. Oh well, I'll ask again when I go back after Chinese New Year.
Quick question, is anyone still reading this blog? In a two year long absence I suspect I am considered "dead" in the tea world.