When I was in Wuyi in 2009 I picked up a number of types of Da Hong Pao, Rou Gui and Shui Xian (my common favorite yan cha) as well as a few others. I mostly purchased different types of roasts from the 2 farms/producers we visited (wish I had visited more but anyway).
The only tea I have left from that trip is a heavy roast Rou Gui packaged in 10g bags. I just picked it up again, haven't since last autumn, and it has changed! Not considerably, but it has become "rough" on the tongue (still working on my terminology). It's certainly not VERY rough and in NO WAY astringent, it's just rough enough to be noticed. Last year and certainly in 2009 it wasn't like this at all. Other than that, everything tastes, smells and feels the same as I remember it. The sides of my cheeks still "salivate" and the aftertaste still lingers for a long time.
It was a favorite of mine, bought a lot of it (hence I still have it around) but now it seems less satisfying.
Any suggestions why this happened?
I've always brewed it in a gaiwan, filling it half way with leaves (sometimes a tad over). Maybe I've just lost my brewing skills for this tea?
I probably will still drink it, still good, but am very curious as to the cause.
The "rough "taste of the tea could be filtered or smoothed with the appropriate clay teapot. You can try adding different amount of leaves to see which makes the tea more smooth and flavourful. In my experience with aged tea, the clay teapot can make a significant difference to the taste and feel of the tea if you make it properly (i.e. right temperature, amount of tea leaves in portion to the size of the teapot and the steeping time).
Pewter? I've seen them before, at your shop as well, but don't have any. What does pewter storage do to the tea? Do you sell some, or know where I can get them? what other teas are best stored in pewter?
I really should get more and better storage containers. What types of containors to use for different teas would be a great article for your library!
I'll bring the rou gui next time I'm there, I might be coming up your way in febuary, no plans yet though.
Here's a few tips Daniel Lui and I have found to be the most preferable. Teas prefer stable temperature and humidity but can tolerate changes if they occur slowly. Daniel has written an article for storing Pu-erh tea at www.thechineseteashop.com/how-to-store-pu-erh-tea.html
PU-ERH (develops taste faster if broken up) Clay Jar - has a smoothing effect on taste. Good for young teas that you want to drink sooner than later Paper bag, cardboard box, cloth bag - average aging effects Plastic bag - tends to slow aging, good for older teas if you want to keep them a long time
OOLONG (EXCEPT AGED OOLONGS) & GREEN TEAS Refrigeration actually improves the taste and makes the tea last longer. Once you refrigerate, you must always keep in the fridge in airtight containers
DA HONG PAO AND AGED OOLONGS Porcelain jar (not airtight)
BLACK (RED) TEAS Have not done any tests on these teas. If anyone has info please post.
It depends what you want to do with that tea; keep it for investment or later use or for immediate drinking. Da Hong Pao is a type of Oolong so this would apply. Different storage media will have a different effect on developing the flavour of any tea and it's useable lifespan.
For immediate drinking of aged Oolongs, Daniel Lui recommends a porcelain jar because porcelain is slightly porous (much to my surprise) and allows just the right amount of oxygen as opposed to a glass jar. For long term storage, a glass jar or plastic bag probably slows down the aging effect but we would need to ask Daniel Lui about this.