Storage comparison: 2016 Manlin, 4 yrs, 32C vs 22C

// Published December 28, 2020 by mgualt

This is a continuation of a series of storage experiments and comparisons.

I stored two halves of the 2016 Manlin from the Essence of Tea puerh club in two different ways: on the left side we see the result of 4 years of aging in zip-sealed Mylar in 32C conditions (the Hotbox), whereas on the right we see the same but at 21-23C (Room temp) .

The colour difference is striking even in the rinse (shown). The heated tea shows a bright orange-yellow whereas the unheated is more pale yellow. Both have a mild green sweet oolong aroma, though that on the right is more green, on the left sweeter.

The heated tea is bittersweet, with very nice pungency emerging in the mouth and in the empty cup. The taste is strongly in the lighter non-acidic fruits, like pear, peach and apricot.

The tea on the right has a very green profile, vinegary tomato-vine pungency. It has an up-front greenness and bitterness which masks the sweetness which must be in there. It also has a slight farmyard aroma which I remember from when it was new, which the heated tea does not have at all.

In longer test steeps, the tea on the right has a quite bitter green and acrid profile, with thick tannins and low sweetness and oiliness. The heated tea has a similar bitterness and astringency but it has a clear sweetness and fruitiness which is lacking on the right.

This Manlin doesn’t appeal to me generally; it has a lot of roughness and a lack of sweetness, oiliness and the energy is, for the moment, mild but good. It has potential though, as the processing seems to be good. But tasting the heated vs. the unheated tea after four years makes one thing very clear: the unheated tea is progressing very slowly indeed, while the changes in the heated tea are very welcome and much more in line with 2016 tea dry stored in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Guangdong… The main positive changes in the heated tea are a) a marked increase in developing sweetness and/or reducing green-bitterness, b) a marked increase in ‘pungency’ or apparent resin aroma, and c) improved mouthfeel, apparently “thicker”.


  1. umami
    January 5, 2021 @ 9:48 am

    What are your thoughts on storing 2-3 cakes that are daily drinkers considering it would take a while to finish them in a dry environment. I’m thinking mylar + boveda to keep humidity as stable as possible regardless of repeated openings

    Thank you

    • mgualt
      January 5, 2021 @ 7:45 pm

      Mylar will keep them well without necessarily putting a boveda. But if they are dry, you could add a 69% boveda and it will help.

      • umami
        January 6, 2021 @ 10:09 pm

        Thanks for the reply!

        Also interested, how do you generally deal with your daily drinkers? And separately, samples upon arrival?

        • mgualt
          January 6, 2021 @ 11:19 pm

          I use the same stainless steel canisters or mylar bags that I use to store tea to store samples, just small ones. I don’t know what you mean by “daily drinker”, I don’t have a tea that I drink every day, if that’s what you mean.

          • umami
            January 7, 2021 @ 9:10 am

            I was trying to make a difference between something you’d store for longer without touching and something you currently drink.

            The question was mainly because I was assuming there would be a significant drop in temperature/humidty/any other conditions you wish to maintain while taking out a cake to get a piece to drink but I guess in the long run it is not that significant unless you want to specifically control for airflow.

          • mgualt
            January 7, 2021 @ 9:56 am

            I usually break off pieces and put in smaller canister/mylar, and drink from those. It’s all the same storage system – mylar or stainless. As long as the tea is protected, tiny variations like opening/closing the container average out and don’t have an effect.

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