How to Store Puerh Tea at Home (Part 1) - By CHAN KAM PONG

How to Store Puerh Tea at Home (Part 1) - By CHAN KAM PONG

Chan Kam Pong is a lawyer living in Hong Kong. He has been an avid collector of Puerh tea for more than ten years. His personal experiences have benefited many readers of our Chinese magazines. He has published numerous articles and an English book, "The First Step to Chinese Puerh Tea." If anyone knows how a collector should store their Puerh collection it is Mr. Chan.

Normally, most tea drinkers buy tea when their stash at home is finished. It is the same for beginners who have started to enjoy Puerh tea. They may buy different kinds in small quantities to try different brands and varieties, but they do not drink that much tea. A small amount of each kind is reasonably enough for them. Eventually, some of these tea drinkers will fall in love with the elegance, rich depth and tremendous variety of experience that the Puerh world has to offer. They will become aficionados and will begin to drink Puerh tea every day. In fact, once hooked, the passion for Puerh rarely lets go. Many will drink tea for the rest of their lives. The change from interest to obsession is usually rather evident, as the collection grows and shelves so up, are filled, and so on - until a room or two is needed and there is Puerh coming out the cracks in the walls.

Why do we collect Puerh tea?

Once of the first realizations that person comes to when they start dabbling in Puerh tea is that the tea produced from a specific year, having its own special flavor, will not be available forever. Productions are limited, as Puerh tea is grown on trees. The harvest changes every year, even if the same factory gets its raw material from the same place. So any given Puerh tea, once out of stock, can never be replaced. And even if the same tea is still available, the price will be substantially higher every few years when one goes to purchase it; and sometimes the price will rise to a point that is higher than the collector's evaluation and appreciation of it, which only leaves him or her feeling frustrated. Therefore, most Puerh tea lovers choose to store their own Puerh tea at home in order to secure their future stock.

Sometimes, people buy Puerh tea in a particular year to commemorate something like a wedding or a newborn. Buying Puerh tea for your own baby or relative’s baby is very meaningful because the Puerh tea will be vintage when the baby becomes an adult. The Puerh tea grows with the baby.

Soon enough the Puerh tea connoisseurs have stacks and stacks of tea, and continue to buy substantial quantities of any tea that they found enjoyable. The cakes eventually begin to occupy a lot of space. Then they will have to delegate a certain space for "tea storage." This is similar to a red wine collectors setting up their own wine-cellars. They have to set up Puerh tea cellars. After some years of storage the collectors will quickly understand the many benefits that their "tea cellars" offer them.

Spreading tea cakes on a bamboo plate as shown in the photo increases the surface area, and that enhances the evaporation of excessive water trapped inside the tea cakes.

While others are complaining about the inflated prices of certain vintages, collectors have more than enough for daily consumption and often even enough to share with friends. Most importantly, these collectors' precious Puerh are usually well stored. The teas that one loved when they were young are much richer, subtler and more enjoyable when they are aged. And that is one of the many advantages of storing tea at home. Personally, I am proud of my collection. I bought many older vintages long ago when they were inexpensive and can now enjoy them on a regular basis; and meanwhile most Puerh lovers who do not store Puerh themselves are struggling financially just to be able to purchase a single cake. Also, as these teas appreciate, they represent some kind of financial asset that can be sold if the need arises, however, provided that the collector is willing to sell them.

Is it beneficial for everyone to store Puerh?

When an enthusiast reaches the point where he or she decides to set aside a space for the storage of Puerh tea, the first critical question is "How to store Puerh tea at home?" Some experts represent that Puerh tea is easy to store and there is no special skill involved - you just put stacks on a shelf, and voila! Others say that Puerh tea needs proper ventilation and exposure to humidity.

Actually, inappropriate storage methods or an unsuitable environment will be disastrous to Puerh tea, leading to deterioration rather than excellence. It would be a pity to discover several years later that one's tea is undrinkable. Furthermore, poorly stored Puerh tea is not only a waste of money, it is also a waste of time. One can always earn the money lost, but you cannot get back the misspent or squandered vintage in the tea. Sadly, one would then have to pay the market price for the well-stored Puerh tea, which is the same tea they themselves bought 10 years ago and wasted. Standing in the store amazed at the drastic increase in price in just ten years, the vision becomes even more distraught. Everyone of us would like to be spared from such a fate.

Even when the collector realizes that he or she should not just toss the tea onto the shelves, all kinds of important questions arise concerning what exactly a "proper storage" is. Humidity is needed, but how much? Exposure to oxygen, which means proper ventilation, but how much and what's the best way to achieve this?

Unfortunately, many experts have different answers to these questions. Sometimes certain aspects of storage are relative to the taste of the collectors. I hope that my experience storing Puerh tea at home will help those who are just beginning to create their own storage environment. I will divide the discussion into two parts. This first part will deal with the prerequisites for home storage of Puerh tea. In another issue of this magazine, I will offer Part II focusing on the details that one needs to pay attention to during the long period of storage.

A. Based on the outlook of these two cakes, the one placed in the right hand side seems that it has been in,
wet storage. In fact, it was just the result of improper storage.
B. Sometimes Hong Kong becomes the "city of fog." During such days, the relative humidity may reach as high as 90%.
C. Tea cakes will be left unprotected if the bamboo wrapping material is removed.

The Purpose of Storing Puerh Tea

It is important to understand more clearly why connoisseurs, collectors and vendors store Puerh tea. As mentioned above, this saves the collectors a lot of money on the Puerh they like, since they will appreciate in value over time. The financial investment also attracts many, including the vendors. But why are Puerh tea stored at all? Why did the practice even begin? In point of fact, Puerh tea is not drinkable when it leaves the factory, at least I cannot say it has aged taste. There are some varieties that offer a descent cup right away, and some occasionally are enjoyable to certain tea lovers, depending on taste. However, the most fascinating aspects of Puerh tea are the sensations offered in a sip of well-aged Puerh tea. The young Puerh cannot compare at all to the rich, smooth, elegant, sweet broth and comfortable aftertaste. Such an experience cannot be found in new Puerh. They must undergo a natural aging process that normally takes 15 to 30 years.

Connoisseurs are often not willing to buy a tea if it is not mature enough to drink. And that is the reason why vintage Puerh is so expensive. Because of the time factor, which incurs the cost of capital and interest, it would be impossible for Puerh tea vendors to survive if the stock in the warehouse could not be sold for a profit that validates the storage time. In other words, storing your own Puerh tea is actually saving you the "storage cost" that you would be charged had someone else kept the tea.

In short, the main reason for storing Puerh tea is that it is far more enjoyable when it is aged. Just like an old wine is more delicious than a new one, aged Puerh tea is the real reason that most of us started collecting in the first place. It was the rich brown cup and deep flavors and aromas of our first experience with aged Puerh that enticed us to start collecting, usually. Surely, buying a right Puerh tea cake for aging is the condition precedent because it will also be a waste of time if the raw material is not the type to become vintage. However, this is another huge topic to be discussed. I will leave it for later issues.

Basic Criteria for storing Puerh tea Even though you may only have a few cakes of Puerh, you still have to pay attention to your storage environment. Otherwise, a handful or many, your tea will degenerate. In order to age Puerh tea properly, we have to pay attention to the following basic criteria:

1. Humidity: 70% -80% (exposure to high or low humidity is not recommended)
2. Ventilation: Adequate
3. No odor: Regardless of whether it is pleasant or not
4. Temperature: 20cFJ - 30cFJ
5. Light: No exposure to visible light (a dark environment is

1. Degree of humidity

Humidity is perhaps the most important aspect of storage. Tea cakes stored in an environment with too little humidity will not ferment. On the contrary, if the humidity is too high the quality will decrease over time. It is consequently important for beginners to be able to discriminate the effects of different humidity levels. One way to experiment is to take out an inexpensive tea cake and expose it to humid air on a rainy or foggy day. Learning with your own senses will teach you far more than any amount of books or articles will ever be able to do.

On a very rainy day, with the windows open, the humidity will usually be around 80% to 90%, which is too high for Puerh tea. You will find that a tea cake exposed to humid air becomes soft and no longer crispy to the touch. If you break it down, you will find that the tea leaves are also soft and do not break apart as easily. This indicates that the tea cake is too damp. If one was then wrap up the cake in that state, the water would be trapped inside and would lead to a decline in quality over time. Feeling and drinking a damp cake in comparison with a dry one will definitely help the new comers to learn how to recognize the variations that excess humidity can cause. Leaving an inexpensive cake out on a rainy day teaches one about the effect of too much humidity and gives him or her some experience touching and handling tea which has been over-humidified.

However, if you buy more than a stack of Puerh tea、checking the extent of humidity absorbed by tea cakes will not be possible without removing the bamboo bark wrapping. Usually, Puerh tea lovers would like to keep the original outlook of the a stack (Chinese: "tong"). The value of a wrapped stack is worth more than seven individual cakes, especially when it is originally sealed.

Besides, the bamboo bark helps to protect the Puerh over time. It is unwise to remove that while the Puerh tea cakes have to be stored for many year. Therefore,it is not easy to tell whether there is anything wrong inside the tea cakes if the bamboo wrappers are not taken away when you buy the tea. In that case, the only way is to check the wrapping materials themselves, feeling whether they are still in good condition and crisp.

By check bamboo wrapper itself is not enough because some kinds of wrapping materials are more resilient than the tea cakes inside are. The tea might therefore be wet while the packaging is perfectly dry. So, we then have to smell the stack softly to examine whether there is any unpleasant odor. If there is water trapped inside a stack of Puerh tea, the smell of the stack will irritate the nose and be unpleasant.

Normally speaking, if the storage conditions are good, the aroma from a dry stack of cakes is very attractive and fresh. The longer the one collects Puerh, and the more they go into the storage room to touch and smell their Puerh collection gently, the more they will be able to notice even slight changes and correct them accordingly. Try smelling the damp and dry cakes with your senses and focus and drinking them and handling them repeatedly. One may perhaps smell the damp cake as it sits out, noticing the changes each hour of wet storage brings.

My Friend's Storage Mistake

I have a friend that stored a few tea cakes at home recreationally. One day, he brought over two interesting tea cakes. He had bought two identical late 1980's tea cakes which were clean and properly stored by the tea vendor. However, several months after buying the two cakes, my friend realized that one of them no longer had the same clean and dry character as the day he bought it. It was very musty and wet. He was surprised that the cakes' conditions would be so different after only some months, especially since they had both been stored under the same roof.

After I asked him for some more details, the picture became clear. My friend had left the tea cakes on a table for several days after purchasing them in order to look at them. He had bought the tea in spring. The humidity in Hong Kong at that time is higher than the rest of the year. Consequently, the elevated humidity had affected one of the two cakes. The other tea cake did not have the same character because the vendor had given him a paper box for each tea cake and he did not open one of them. It was the open one, exposed to the extreme humidity, that was not good.

However, I must emphasize here that leaving the opened cake on the table in spring was not ultimately what made the two cakes so different. If he had dehumidified the tea cake before repacking it would have corrected the exposure to higher humidity. His fatal mistake was that he trapped the excess water inside the tea cake by just simply wrapping it up without noticing the tea cake was being damp.

Hopefully my friend's experience helps to show that humidity is important during the course of Puerh tea storage. Even though the storage environment of Hong Kong is often too humid, the humidity can be controlled by the wrapping papers,materials and/or bags. These packaging serves to protect the tea cakes. One needs to be careful what wrapping materials are put on the tea and the condition of the tea cakes just prior to packaging.

Do you need a dehumidifier/humidifier?

Some people are of the opinion that the greater the humidity the better. They argue that a dehumidifier is not required because Puerh needs humidity to age. Of course Puerh does need humidity, but how much exactly is healthy. Also, fluctuations of humidity is a very relevant issue to those with a serious investment in Puerh.

As mentioned above, the optimum range of humidity is around 70% to 80%. It may be a good idea to get a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity in your storage area. If the humidity gets near 90% or if there is a lot of precipitation during a particular season, you will need a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier should not be overused. It would not be smart to run the dehumidifier constantly, creating an almost absolutely dry space. This is as undesirable as higher humidity. When the humidity gets higher, one can run the dehumidifier until the humidity returns to the desired range and then shut it off.

Tea collectors living in places like Beijing or Canada, on the other hand, may have a real hard time storing Puerh tea. On the contrary, it may be possible to use a humidifier, as long as it is not pointed at the tea, to generate more moisture. However, I must stress that areas like these with low relative humidity may not be suitable for Puerh tea storage. Puerh tea does need humidity. That is the reason why it has traditionally been kept in places like Hong Kong, Macau and Guang Zhou. Those living in such dry places may be better to purchasing vintage Puerh directly for appreciation or perhaps trying to find some space in a better environment.

Natural Correction of Humidity

A. A dehumidifier and cardboard boxes are necessary tools once you have collected a substantial amount of Puerh tea.
B. Even though tea cakes are stored in cardboard boxes, the aging process is not hindered. These are 2000 Yichang Hao 100g Mini Tea Cakes. I bought them in 2001.
C. Tea cakes manufactured by Xiaguan Tea Factory nowadays are packed in cardboard boxes together with a nylon bag wrapped.

Some places like Hong Kong which has evident four seasons with natural humidity variations are very suitable for Puerh tea storage. The usage of dehumidifier aforementioned is advised for better Puerh storage. It does not mean that it is a must. In the Puerh storage history of Hong Kong, those tea vendors just let the Puerh store naturally in the warehouse. As you may see the aged Puerh vintage from 1950's to 1970's which are almost all from Hong Kong's warehouse were just stacked in a natural storage environment. Certainly, the drawback of uncontrolled storage environment will result in over - humidified residue which are classified as the improperly stored tea cakes. The ideal geographical area for natural aging is that the Puerh tea can absorb moderate humidity for the internal improvement in spring and summer, and then release the damp during fall and winter, then that would be a good place for storing Puerh tea, for examples, Hong Kong, Macau and Guang Zhou.

How to Prepare Newly Compressed Puerh Tea Cakes for Storage

Much of what applies to tea cakes that have spent some time in storage also applies to newborn Puerh. The tea cake needs to be inspected to see how it has been stored and/or its moisture content. Even recently compressed tea cakes may have higher water content because steam was used in the processing in order to soften the tea leaves for compression. The tea cakes sometimes leave the factory without having been sufficiently dried. The compressed are dehydrated on large racks in a special drying room.

Generally speaking, this dehydration process takes several days normally. However, every now and then, the tea factory may have a lot of orders to handle. They therefore do not have enough time for proper dehydration. As a result, some cakes have high moisture content when they are wrapped up and shipped from the factory. This does not happen with tremendous frequency but it does occur.

If you have bought a compressed Puerh that is damp, or if you have purchased a tea cake that has been through some wet storage, one should treat it before putting it into your "tea-cellar". One can use a dehumidifier in a controlled space to decrease the humidity significantly. The tea cake should remain in this space with low humidity for several days in order to evaporate the water trapped inside. The wrapping materials are often partially waterproof. Therefore, it is a good idea to uncover the Puerh for the duration of this dry stage. This is, in fact, what the factory had already done in the dehydration room. The cakes are left opened and unwrapped on the racks as they dry.

In the absence of a dehumidifier, the next best thing is to wait for a clear day when the relative humidity is lower and place the cake on an open windowsill. This could even be done periodically until the cake is dry enough.

I must emphasize that not all wet stored Puerh are bad. Sometimes one may find a good deal on a tea cake with some slight wet storage. Perhaps some of the tea cakes that he or she has kept themselves has become a little wet. If there is any whiteness on the cake, it can be brushed off with a toothbrush to make it clean and beautiful again. After the cleaning process, the tea can then go through the same process mentioned here before storage or drinking.

2. Ventilation

Some experts suggest that removing the wrapping materials from the tea cakes will accelerate the aging process, i.e. to increase the ventilation. However, I am of the opinion that the risk of being exposed to excess humidity is not worth the potential benefits.

On the other hand, removing the wrapping may end up being detrimental to the aging process. Puerh tea does need adequate and appropriate ventilation; but like most other aspects of the storage process, there must be a balance between too little and too much oxygen. If Puerh tea is exposed to a lot of moving air, the tea will become weak. The sensations, tastes and aromas will lose and become pale. This happens because the oxidation process inside the leaves occurred too fast. Most Puerh collectors who are serious about drinking vintage Puerh agree with this experience.

Really, slight ventilation is more than enough for aging Puerh tea. It is not necessary to remove the wrapping. The tea should be placed in a room that gets fresh air several times a week. An open window, or even a door that opens onto a larger room that has open windows, will allow more than enough air into your storage room.

If you are young enough, you might even want to slow down the aging process. Every tea has a climax -a peak time when it is best appreciated. Generally speaking, Puerh tea aged for 30 years is already very good. Some tea will be better stored for much longer, and others do not need as long. Much of that aspect of storing tea takes quite some time to discriminate, and is also often determined by the taste of the individual.

Cardboard Containers

In my opinion, using cardboard containers to store your Puerh tea collection is a very good idea. Cardboard is useful because it preserves the tea and also can be written on for classification. The cardboard allows different kinds of Puerh to be stored adjacently without any dissemination of odor, I mean from one cardboard to another, not placing different kinds of Puerh tea in a single box. If you are really desperate to place several kinds of Puerh tea with differ odors in the same cardboard containers, you must try to keep the tea with more wrappers so as to avoid the different odors being mixed together.

Therefore, my suggestion is that if your Puerh tea collection is large enough, you should put the same series together in the same box. For example, the Green Big Tree tea cakes from the same years should all be placed in the same cardboard container. However, if this is not practical because you do not have enough of a particular tea, you may still place Puerh tea cakes with similar compositions and dates together in the same box. Say, raw tea cakes within 5 years of each other are fine together.

A. You may classify and store different tea cakes by using shelves. Different kinds of Puerh tea such as Raw tea and Ripe tea must be stored separately.
B. Whenever I Have available cash, I cannot help buying Puerh for aging. The tea cakes and tea bricks occupy a lot of space eventually.
C. Puerh tea collectors like me love to store a lot of different kinds of Puerh tea. These are two very big stacks of Puerh tea - Yichang Hao 2.5kg Huge Tea Cake manufactured in 2000. They are extra-large tea cakes.

By the same token, you should make sure the dry storage and wet storage cakes are kept separately because they have different flavors and smells.

Some may argue that if a cardboard container is used, the tea cakes will be contaminated by a paper smell. This may be true if the cardboard is poor quality. It is worth the extra money to buy better boxes without much of a paper odor. A little smell will not harm the tea cakes, though. After many years, when it is time to appreciate the aged Puerh, a few weeks of open air will remove any traces of the cardboard smell.

Let us look into the Puerh history, experience tells us that some of the greatest Puerh vintages are still without a trace of odor even after decades. Actually, the paper wrapping is often composed of more natural fibers. Sometimes they are even handmade. It is possible to find cardboard boxes of the same caliber. Does it mean that all tea cakes wrapped by papers would have paper smell? Even some factories are beginning to recognize how reliable and convenient cardboard packaging can be for Puerh storage.

3. Keep Odors Away from Your Puerh

Tea as a leaf has the amazing ability to absorb the ambient flavors and smells of whatever is placed near it. Therefore, if you store your Puerh tea cakes next to an aromatic essence, the tea cakes will have that fragrance. With certain kinds of tea, this added flavor is quite nice, but if one keeps Puerh tea near any odor -whether pleasant or unpleasant - they are risking the loss of their tea.

Perhaps the added flavor will enhance the tea, but actually in almost every instance it results in a tea of lesser quality than one stored away from all such interference. For that reason, Puerh tea cakes should never be kept in the kitchen. The air in our kitchens is full of oils, odors and other influences that will definitely affect the tea over time. If you keep your Puerh tea in a metal or plastic box, the tea will eventually be infused with that odor.

In the same way, if you put raw tea and ripe tea together, both Puerh tea cakes will end up having strange odors because raw tea and ripe tea have their own special aromas. If they are stored together, they will contaminate each other. Usually, since the odor of ripe tea is stronger than that of raw tea, the raw tea is affected more for the worse.

I must stress on the principle of storing tea which is simple that Puerh tea with similar aromas should be placed together.

Accordingly, one should be very careful to keep their tea in a completely odor-free environment.

4. Temperature

Normally speaking, Puerh tea should be placed in a stable temperature ranging within 20cJ - 30 cJ. If the storage time in a high temperature is too long, the aged tea cake may offer you a drought sensation. On the other hand, if the Puerh is stored in a low temperature for a long period of time, the effect will be much like as if it were stored in a refrigerator. That means the aging process will become very slow because the low temperature slows down the chemical process inside the tea leaves.

Four Seasons and the Natural Storage Cycle

Actually, a relatively constant temperature is essential for Puerh storage. This does not mean that the temperature should never change. Puerh tea requires different temperatures during different seasons.

Constant temperature means that the temperature in the storage environment should not fluctuate too much within a short period of time. The differences from season to season are acceptable, but one needs to be careful of any quick rises or drops in temperature. Places where the night is much cooler that the day, for example, are not ideal. And that is yet another reason why the traditional areas of Puerh storage are so perfect.

The temperature changes between seasons in places like Hong Kong is smooth and gradual. It also provides the tea with an aging cycle that has different stages throughout the year.

Spring has a higher humidity that freshens the tea cakes and allows them to absorb end of the year. During the summer, the higher temperature will cause vigorous changes inside the tea leaves as they respond to the added temperature coupled with the moisture that was taken in during the spring. Then after the stress of spring and summer the tea starts to take a rest during autumn. In winter, since the temperature is low and the process is slowed down, the tea can in a sense hibernate. The hibernation prepares it for the next year.

As a result of the temperature and humidity changes during the four seasons in places like Hong Kong, Macau or Guang Zhou, a perfect aging cycle is formed. It is no coincidence that all the great vintage Puerh were stored here. It is almost magical how the absorption of moisture, heat, rest and then hibernation cycles through the year, fermenting the tea as Nature herself seemed to intend. (Ref: diagram)

As I mentioned earlier with regards to humidity, I would advise tea lovers to only store Puerh tea if the area you live has in has four seasons with gradual temperature fluctuation. Otherwise, it seems to be more important to buy already aged Puerh tea for consumption.

If you factor in all the time, machinery and electricity you will need to create an artificial environment with the proper elements, it will in fact be equivalent to the cost of vintage teas. In the past, people have argued that one could use air-conditioning and other machinery to create fine vintage tea, but this idea has lost validity in recent years. Once these collectors began to experience how slow the aging process was, and how inefficient, the theory was tossed out. Furthermore, it is doubtful that such teas, even given adequate time, would be nearly as good as those stored naturally.

Although the most suitable aging environment is a natural environment, it is not ' practical for all Hong Kong Puerh collectors either. Hong Kong is small and real estate is expensive, so living space is often cramped. Therefore, some people have had no choice but to place their tea at the office. I will discuss how to store Puerh tea at your office in Part II of this series. Many people in Hong Kong also store tea throughout their houses since they cannot afford a specific place for tea alone. They put the tea in the living room or bedroom. This is actually not good if there is an air-conditioner in the room. Air-conditioned environments have drastic temperature fluctuations going on all the time, and this is detrimental to the tea. One turns on the air-conditioner at night to get a good sleep and then turns it off in the morning on the way to work. I personally have experience with the effects of this improper storage. I will share with you about this practical experience in Part 2.

If you turn on the air-conditioner in summer, the surrounding temperature of the tea cakes will fluctuate like this. You will see how stable of a natural changes of temperature by four seasons in Hong Kong is.

If you have enough Puerh tea, an independent room for storage is ideal. It allows one to regulate the humidity and temperature much more easily. If it is wet outside, one may simply turn on the dehumidifier and close the door of the storage room, creating a dry environment that will not influenced by the climate outside. A storage room or closet will also be very convenient to handle the cakes, check on them and organize them by kind and date. However, tea cakes being stored in a closet still faces a problem of inadequate ventilation as it will be hard to have the convection air current. If high humidity is trapped inside your closet, it will become a "disaster area". Besides, closet made of different materials will definitely affect the Puerh inside. You have to be careful about storage in a closet. I will have more details on this in Part 2.

5. No Exposure to Visible Light

Puerh tea should be kept away from visible light, no matter whether it is sunlight or the light form light-bulbs as the energy in the light will disintegrate the aging process of the tea.

If a tea cake is exposed to light for some time, you will notice that the tea cake will become darker and show a different chestnut-brown from the one of natural aging. So, what you have to do is to keep Puerh away from visible light such as placing it in a thick container or wrap it with paper wrapper with dark color. Summing Up for Part 1:

We have here gone through each of the basic criteria for storing Puerh tea at home. Humidity, ventilation, climate, packaging and exposure to light are all equally important if one wishes to secure their investment both as a drink for consumption and as a financial asset.

Now that there is a greater variety of new Puerh tea and the science of storage is becoming better understood through the increase of international communication and publication. I am optimistic that the standards should rise for the vintage Puerh of the future. We forgive the problems in old Puerh because they are rare and difficult to find, but the responsible collectors should follow some simple guidelines to make sure that their future Puerh will be well-aged, delicious and graceful, like what I am doing to my "Cloud's Tea Collection". They will be worth the effort, surely.

Imagine yourself sitting back twenty or thirty years from now, retired perhaps, with a whole room full of high-quality, properly stored Puerh tea. Your friends are all buying the same cakes at outrageous prices and drinking them only on special occasions while you sip a delicious cup whenever you like. You have given tea cakes to all your friends and family and help spread tea culture by sharing such excellent Puerh. Such a future is no longer a fairy tale. It only takes some wise purchasing decisions and access to the information and experience needed to store the tea well. I will let you know more practical experiences and details about storing tea at home in Part 2.

Some Contents of Part 2 in This Series:

* Where should we store our Puerh tea? Macro and Micro views of home storage
* Puerh tea stored in the Office
* More experience of improper storage
* Renovation materials for your Puerh cellar
* Ventilation - the Pros and Cons
* Do we need to rotate the position of our tea over time?