Continued from Pu’er Storage Background and Research Summary – Part 2
It’s problematic to summarize those citations and opinions as reaching one uniform consensus related to one limited point, since they really don’t. But as a general rule, opinions on humidity control typically cited around 60% RH as a reasonable control level to support faster sheng fermentation over time, with 70% RH and above being more prone to risk of mold or off flavors developing and 50% RH and under reducing speed of fermentation. The additional points on how air contact and temperature also affect fermentation and mold risk are critical. The salt-pack humidity control replacement solution is particularly novel: Combining specific proportions of sugar and salt (ordinary versions) results in a mixture that will both absorb and release humidity at a designed control level, the same function typically achieved through use of commercial products.
It all can’t really answer specific questions like “are my natural home environment conditions suitable for sheng storage and aging,” but the last two articles could serve as some well-grounded input. One might naturally be concerned about the value and reliability of the referenced sources — a point addressed in the summary article — which describes those authors’ prior writing history and my take on their degree of experience.
As in my own case when other bloggers are basing opinions and ideas on very limited personal experience — and also on forwarding the ideas of others — it’s helpful to get a feel for the form and extent of that actual experience. Being widely regarded as a long-term subject specialist — as one writer cited is — makes for a more promising start; but even then multi-sourcing can help compensate for potentially outlying opinions stemming from unique preferences or personal understanding. A risk comes with that too: Hearing ideas that are actually wrong from multiple sources can make them seem very likely to be true, and potentially bad input along with the good can make the rounds in narrow-field pu’er discussions.
I’m still putting it all together myself, and these writings represent an in-progress attempt at topic reference summary. This approach tries to explicitly identify and draw on other sources, which are grounded in different ways. Such an approach could be much more mature and developed if based on even more extensive subject-expert referencing — which is possible — but people in such positions typically utilize that knowledge as a commercial resource and share it sparingly. In another decade, current consensus views (typical takes) will probably evolve further, even without reviewers taking such summary steps.