Storage experiment: 801-8582 — can one year make a difference?
Following up on my last storage experiment comparing cold vs hot storage of the 2017 Dayi 7542, we have a very different question: after 9 years of storage in Taiwan, will we be able to tell the difference between one year of additional storage at 23C vs at 32C?
A year ago, I put two cakes of the first batch of 2008 Dayi 8582 into ziplock mylar storage, generating 60% RH at 23C. I put one cake into the hotbox at 32C (which then settled at 63% generated RH). The cakes settled at these RH values for the entire year and I just tasted them today. Identical gaiwans, white cups, and a partner drinker. These cakes are part of a single tong stored in Taiwan for 9 years, and when they arrived to me they looked/tasted identical.
The teas are extremely close, of course. Their histories have a 90% overlap. But small percentages can have major impacts, as we shall learn tomorrow…
First I’d like to state that neither of these have any black tea taste. This is significant because I have gotten black tea taste on some 801-8582 cakes from other sources. It’s not necessarily a flaw, but I think it’s interesting that this can be present or absent in the same tea, depending on storage conditions.
The cold-stored tea is on the left, and the heated tea is on the right. Steeps were done with a timer, reheating water, and alternating order. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do without getting a DARPA grant.
Interestingly, there were two major differences between these teas, and they were equally present in all steeps.
First, the cold-stored tea was noticeably more bitter and more green than the hot-stored tea. Neither was too bitter to drink now, I believe the 801-8582 is getting to the point of being eminently drinkable.
Second, and this was the real surprise to me, the heated tea had a new taste: it is the classic “sweet floral incense” taste that I sometimes note in some storage versions. I have noticed it in the 2007 teas from Biyun Hao, as well as from several Malaysia/Singapore stored teas. It was quite surprising (and confirmed by my drinking partner) that the heated tea had this taste/aroma, from the very first steep, where the cold-stored tea did not.
I am not claiming that the difference between these teas is of great magnitude, but only that they are qualitatively different, which is quite surprising with only about 10 degrees C over a single year.