Learning how to store your tea will help you keep your tea the freshest. This way all the work the artisan famers have done to produce your loose leaf tea will be respected and will lead to the optimal result. You also will enjoy the best cuppa that can be.
We will start with some general tips, after which we can give some pointers for each different sort of tea.
Tea must be kept away from heat
Heat fastens the processes that make the tea lose its delicate flavor. So it is best for most teas to be kept in a cool environment, away from heat sources. Usually this means a room temperature basement or storage, or in the refrigerator. This way your tea stays fresh for the next cuppa.
Tea must be kept away from light
While we are not exactly sure what effect light has on picked and processed tea, it is wise to make sure it doesn’t get in the light, as most experts agree it encourages certain chemical reactions you don’t want. Best to keep it away from light, and to use a ‘closed’ package so the light can’t shine on it.
Keep your teas dry
Keep your teas dry and away from moisture. Moisture, makes the tea go back to its form as full leaf. This way the tea starts giving up its delicate oils and other elements way too early, losing a lot of its taste. Best for most teas is to keep your package sealed, so there can’t get any moisture in.
Store Tea away from Strong Smells
Tea absorbs the smell of anything close to it, this is why it’s so important to keep it away from anything that smells (strongly). This means that the place where you keep your herbs and spices may not be the best place. Instead look for a clean place preferably where there is no other food or smells.
Now we will give some specific advise for each type of tea.
Green Tea and ‘green’ oolong tea
These are the teas you need to be the most careful with. They are not as oxidized as others are. Which means they decay faster as other teas. These teas should be stored airtight in a room temperature area or even better in a fridge. Once the package is open it should be finished as fast as possible.
With white tea it depends on how you like your tea, if you like a softer, more rounded, sweeter cup you can let it rest for quite a while, usually up to 1-2 years. If you prefer a vegetal, more announced taste you should treat it like green and green oolong teas are stored.
Heavy oolong and Black Tea
Due to the high oxidation that is already present in these teas they don’t lose their flavors that easily. These teas’ taste stays much longer, although following the general precautions above will extend the period in which the tea stays fresh. Some teas are even ripened, which means the tea is slowly distilled as some red wines.
Pu-erh tea is a different sort of tea for storage. You can let it be exposed to the open air as long as the moisture is not too high. Pu-erh tea is slowly aged. The result is a soft, mellow tea which often contains hay, prune, and hints of chocolate.
Now go and enjoy some tea!