středa 19. prosince 2012

A couple of thoughts on mold

Today, it won't be about a particular tea. Instead, let me ramble a while on matters of mold in tea.

Lonfgeng episode
A couple of weeks ago, I've been somewhat surprised by mr. Prachar of Longfeng, very self-assuredly, stating that potential buyers of some wetter cake with white coating, he was selling, do not have to worry as it is certainly no mold and that it is normal. I agree that it is nothing outside normality, but how come it is no mold? I checked the white coating under a microscope - and surprise, it was not little fairies dancing with white-light lanterns... it was mold. Well, I wrote to him about that and wrote a (entirely inoffensive post) on Longfeng Facebook - and had been banned from the LF FB in under five minutes. In the message, I was also saying we could at least try to respect each other (we had some disagreements in the past) - I did not get an answer up to now. And the original post was not corrected. Well, that was a disappointment.  

Nevertheless - the point is - why try to cover the fact that a tea is moldy (if it is the white coating; green/yellow mold is bad indeed)? I do not know, nor care whether the Longfeng post about coating not being a mold was a deliberate lie or lack of knowledge. However, why to hide the fact that a tea has mold? In a wet stored tea of around 2000, it is probably not that uncommon. And, as I'll say in a couple of episodes below, almost all puerh has mold in it. And probably no mold in puerh may survive hot water used to brew puerh. A rinsing will certainly help there. One could say that the mold will cause bad taste in tea, but I do not find that really true. E.g. the recently written about 2004 SKM Manzhuan had flecks of mold on stems, that 90s Red Mark (and some others from thechineseteashop) had white bits in it too and there were certainly no taste issues. If a traditionally stored tea which acquires some mold is later let to air out in a drier environment, the white flecks will stay, but musty taste will not.

Tuochatea episode
Reading comments below
http://thegreenteareview.blogspot.cz/2008/11/pu-erh-storage-and-mold-and-return-to.html
I was surprised by Tuochatea's, who's certainly a seasoned puerh drinker, strong-willed comments against moldy tea (again, according to a taiwanese study I'll mention below, probably almost all puerh is moldy to an extent, before being rinsed by hot water). How is any mold poisonous and carcinogenic? What about penicilin, moldy cheese and even puerh? Hong Kong has quite a high average life expectancy with its white-coated tea (though it is questionable how large proportion of people in HK drink that). Or aspergillius crystatum. Or spores of mold which are almost everywhere where it is not completely dry weather and people breathe them.

Art 1 of tea episode
There is an article looking at amounts of bacteria and mold in puerh. All puerhs except one had mold content. And after meeting 80°C water, there was no mold anymore. So much for mold danger in tea...

I took the table, picked up sheng from it and did some quick scatterplots here: 
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuguYb-CkGEwdE1qczd0MDNCSWxiMDdtRndQWjV5VUE
Please excuse the crudenes and lack of aesthetics (plus the sample is small, but I can not do anything about it). If you really want, I can make a VIP 3D scatterplot with shining colors.

Seems that there is no  obvious connection between age and mold, while it seems that higher moisture in tea leads to higher amount of mold (not too surprising, I guess).

Nevertheless, the point is - there is mold in puerh. Deal with it.

The rest
I recommend the following article from The Leaf magazine
http://the-leaf.org/issue4/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/puerh-storage-part-222.pdf
- I think that it is a good reading and deals with dry/traditional storage matters, also with mold. I agree that the problem with mold some people may have could have been imparted by dry-storage-promoting vendors who can not store tea "propertly".
When I started with tea, I enjoyed The Leaf as it was one of very few available resources on tea. Later, when I got more hooked up by tea's taste, it was too spiritual to me and most articles did not appeal to me. Now, as time goes on, I feel that many articles in there start to resonate well with me and more often, I understand certain points in there. 

Otherwise, this is a good keyword search, containing some valuable articles on aging and partly mold: http://www.marshaln.com/tag/traditional-stored-puerh/


23 komentářů:

  1. Molds are like snakes. Some are ok and even useful, some are highly poisonous, causing allergic reactions to spores or serious health damage caused by toxins produced by them.

    Cheese is infected with special cultivars of mold, but I would never eat a cheese that got mold in my refrigerator. Or a molded apple, or molded bread.

    And I'm not a big fan of Yi Wu Camembert Pu-erh either.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold_health_issues

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  2. Dear tuochatea,
    I'm glad you wrote. I agree entirely what you say here - I was merely surprised by the former statement that all molds are bad. Some molds are ok, some are not. I also do not eat stuff that got moldy in a fridge.

    Heh, what is Camembert Puerh? You know such a cake?
    Best,
    Jakub

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    1. Btw. why don't you write your blog anymore? I enjoyed your writing a lot.
      J.

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  3. What cake is moldy at longfeng?

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    1. 2000 Haiwan Gu Hua and 1999 CNNP Green Mark Ripe Beeng Cha.

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  4. Odpovědi
    1. The Haiwan one is sheng.

      Why, if I may ask? :)
      Jakub

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  5. Jakub-

    On the Art of Tea article which I have scraped with my eyes many times- their findings had made me feel safe about hot water killing mold. But it finally dawned on me that it's not the drinking which is dangerous but the sniffing before brewing. I'm quite fond of smelling out the leaves and I actually have had adverse throat reactions from inhaling moldy tea.

    H

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    1. Dear Hster,
      a good note indeed! It never occured to me that I could be inhaling mold via sniffing aged tea. Or all tea when it comes to that.

      Sniffing dry leaves never appealed to me that much anyway. If I had to give up sniffing wet leaves, it would be an entirely another level of catastrophe :)
      Thanks!
      Jakub

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  6. Mr. Tomek,
    you were banned from LF facebook just because you published a lot of lies about me previously, and however I proved you lie, you were not man enough to take your words back and apologize. Its the true reason, not your opinions about teas I sell. Honestly - I do not mind what you think, because of your previous lies and dishonesty. And I have you on spamlist in my mailbox.
    I would like to kindly ask you to let me be and forget there is any LongFeng or there is anyone like me. I am not willing to fight with you or react to each of your lies, I am not willing to to be part of any other flame, conflict or fight. And I will not be, this is my last reaction on you. Because this is not our fight, this is your fight. If you want to spend your life in hate, its your choice, my choice is not to participate.
    Wish you all the best
    Z.Prachar

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    1. P.S. Do not take things as personally. By wondering why you say something that is not true, I'm not attacking you. I'm just giving a hint how to do better service to your customers.

      You might at least admit "yeah, well, I was wrong, it is mold, I'll fix it on my site".

      Believe it or not, I'm not fighting you, nor flaming you. I wrote positively about the Xiaguan 98 loose leaf and I did highlight how little you add to the original price of Jingteashop. I'm trying to find good in what you do. On the other hand, if I see something you do/write badly, why should I not comment on it? Some people in the CR still take you as a tea authority, so you should provide as accurate informations as possible.
      Regards,
      Jakub

      P.P.S. You admit that you put me into your spamlist, deleted me from FB (also deleted me from your eshop much earlier, which is discrimination, see, e.g., http://www.spotrebitele.info/diskriminace/zkusenosti.html#Zaneseni-spotrebitele-do-tzv-cerne-listiny), while I wrote nicely about a tea you offer and I tried to contact you via Facebook and make peace.
      You did not reply and now come to preach about fighting and flaming? Please...

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  7. Well, your proofs of my "lies" were simply that you repeated many times that I lied, which is not a proof. In the single case where you semi-proved that I was wrong, I had no problem admitting it and I apologized. In the one place where you could prove me wrong by presenting important communication - you refused to do so.
    I even apologized for the last discussion, saying I did not want to get it where it got and that I did not want to hurt you... Ah... you did no such thing for accusing me of lying where I did not state any true/false statement, or being as nasty towards me as you were.

    The issue is what you say in the rest of your post - you're not willing to "react to each of my lies" - in the last discussion, I presented rather many issues I had with how you do tea trade - and you did not deal with most of them, however you offended me and said how I lied several times - that's not dealing with arguments though. You were even as daring as to say that I was lying somewhere where I did not state anything - I could not lie in there at all. This just shows how you like to intimidate and use strong words in vain.

    I am sorry for any of the things I said and were not right (I hope that I presented those that can not be easily verified as hearsay). I thought that I was hard to you - and you were hard to me - you may see some places where I was certainly wrong and I am sorry for these. I, on the other hand, see some places where you were certainly wrong. Therefore I wrote you if we could not sort of scratch that and be nicer to each other and try to coexist together.

    You did not bother to reply and banned me. That is not living in hate?

    You may not believe, but I wish you the best too. I thought on the Christmas day that I'd like to be in peace with you.
    Jakub

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  8. Mr. Prachar
    I saw the discussion on tea-earh. You behaved like a dick and you lost it. There is no need to continue your agresion. I think that if the Jakub sees that someone lies or gives bad information (and you do), that he can write about it.

    How about you shut up at last and stop poisoning internet communication with yourself?
    Tomas

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    1. Tomas,
      please, while I am grateful for your support, I'd prefer if you had used different words. I think that there were enough discussions on such a level of communication and I do not think that they would lead anywhere. They certainly did not help me emotionally and that is why I apologized for taking part in them. I do not wish them to continue anywhere, especially on my blog.
      Thanks for understanding,
      Jakub

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    2. Hello Mr. Tomas.

      I have also read that discussion and I dont like it. But I cant agree with you. Mr. Tomek told some 5 points, in which Mr. Prachar tell lies, behave very badly or do some mistake, but Mr. Tomek didnt prove any of this point. Mr. Tomek just said it but gave no evidence to confirm his statements. But never mind, in one point i agree with. Mr. Tomek, in one case Mr. Prachar did according me a little mistake.
      But on the other hand, Mr. Prachar disprove 2 points with real evidence or with witness.
      Other 2 points didnt be solved - Mr. Prachar didnt disprove them and also Mr. Tomek didnt prove them - so it can be just lies of Mr. Tomek, who said them firstly? I dont know, I will never know.

      The clue is, that according me, Mr. Prachar won the discussion 2 : 1. But it was rather Pyrrhos victory, because there left shade of doubt on Mr. Prachar reputation.

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    3. Hello anonymous,
      I think that things are a bit different than that, or, at least, there's a different point of view. If you write me (jakub.tomek.mff [at] gmail.com), I can give you a couple of further comments on the issue. I'd prefer to cut the public part of that discussion off.
      Best,
      Jakub

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    4. Tento komentář byl odstraněn autorem.

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    5. Please take the comment only as my opinion. I took conclusion only from that discussion, i had not any more information. The comment simply reflects the facts, that I took out from that arguing.

      I wrote the comment mainly because rude language of Mr. Tomas, because i think, that even if he thinks he is right he should speak polite.

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    6. Hi,
      yup, I also prefer more polite way of speaking.
      Best regards, and good tea to you!
      Jakub

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  9. Mr. Tomek, will you be able to send me a sampple of the tea you examined and found mold on it? The green mark tea...

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    1. Hi,
      nope, since I can not buy from Mr. Prachar, nor contact him, as you may read above. I can ocassionally get to some of his stuff via teachums, but it is not the case of this tea. You yourself may ask him for a sample though, if it's still available.

      Best,
      Jakub

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    2. P.S. You may buy Grand Yellow Label from EoT, it had a light coating (that's the one I checked).

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  10. Tento komentář byl odstraněn administrátorem blogu.

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