I live in Colorado where the air is very dry and the temperatures and weather patterns are all over the place. This makes it very interesting to attempt to store or age Pu'erh tea. For storing and aging Pu'erh tea it is generally advisable to keep the tea in an area that is 70 to 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) and at 60 to 80 percent humidity. My home in Colorado averages 68 degrees and 30 percent humidity. After thinking of some different ways to store the tea and up the temperature and humidity I decided on a very simple design for my redneck tea humidor. The tools that you need for this are very simple:
- Tape Measure
- Trash Bags
For my original idea, I was trying to make it as similar to a cigar humidor as possible but I decided against using wood since the tea might absorb the smell of the wood (although that might be enjoyable).
The first thing that you need to do is figure out how big to make your tea humidor. I decided on the following dimensions: 20" (Length) x 12" (Width) x 10.5"(Height). I decided to make two humidors, one for sheng and one for shou.
Once you have your dimensions figured out, use the scissors to cut the cardboard to the dimensions.
Next, cut up the trash bags and completely cover each piece of cardboard in the trash bag and seal all of the seems with tape. Otherwise the cardboard will probably absorb all of the moisture.
Once all of the pieces are covered, start assembling your box by taping the pieces together, be sure to cover all of the seems with tape.
The last piece that you assemble should be the door, I just used tape along one seam to make the door flip upwards.
Once assembled, place the hygrometer inside the box so you have an accurate idea of the temperature and humidity inside of the box. To increase the humidity inside the box, I place a bowl filled with water. My box has been anywhere from 60 to 75 percent humidity since then, so it appears to be working quite well. I decided against making the box completely air tight, since the stagnant, humid air probably increases the chance of mold forming. With this redneck design, there is a gap on 3 sides of the door for air to flow freely, however having the rest of the box closed up increases the humidity. Each time I open up the door though, the humidity plunges like a rocket.
Last but not least, place your tea inside and decorate the outside of the box!!
I'll be posting periodic updates on my findings of this redneck tea humidor, as well as modifications that I made to the humidor (if any). I have a few identical Pu'erh cakes that I recently bought, I'll be storing one inside the humidor and one outside so that in the future I can compare the tastes of the two cakes. That taste test will probably be a long ways away but I'm already looking forward to it!