When you’ve got your tea, here are some tips on the best way in storing tea at home so that it will retain its flavor for as long as possible. What can really spoil your tea are the following: air, light, heat, moisture and odors. It becomes even more crucial if the environment you are living in is hot or humid. The best way to store tea is in a place that is dry, dark and cool. As most of you probably keep your tea in your kitchen cabinet, you would want to select that section of your cabinet that is furthest away from your cooking stove and other kitchen appliances that generate heat.
Tea Storage Container
1. Storing your tea in a container is very important. Ideally, the container should be opaque and airtight which is just large enough for your amount of tea. If it is too big the tea will continue to oxidize which leads to a loss of the polyphenols catechins.
2. Containers in the form of jars made of ceramic are most ideal. Avoid using clear glass, for light will rob the tea of both its freshness and flavor. Other materials such as plastic or wooden may not be suitable because of their tendency to pass on odors. Some of the tea products you buy come with very nice looking tin containers. But tins or canisters are not the best for storing. They have to be very well constructed to be airtight. But since the metal used for making the canister are soldered together, there might be gaps for air to get in. If you really want to use them, it might be better to use a small foil ziplock bag to contain your tea and squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag before putting it in the tin. If you intend to reuse the tins often, remember to check them for rusts.
3. If you drink different types of teas in teabags, keep them separate in their own respective containers, as you would your loose leaf. This way you wouldn’t have a mixture of scents and aromas. So, keep the jasmines separate from the gunpowder.
4. Avoid opening the container near the boiling kettle because the heat will change the flavor of the tea in the container. If you are using a teaspoon to scoop from the container, ensure that it is completely dry because any droplets of water will alter the flavor. I have the habit of leaving the teaspoon in the container but I think this is not such a good idea because of the possibility of chemical reaction.
5. When it comes to cleaning the container, you can simply wipe it with a dry cloth. Using soaps would best be avoided because tea is so sensitive in catching on to those scents and fragrance.
Does tea need to be refrigerated?
Some experts are of the opinion that you can keep your tea in the refrigerator. Refrigeration will expose your tea to moisture and odors from the other foods kept in the refrigerator. So, unless you are taking special care with the packaging and have a small refrigerator that you can use exclusively for storing tea, it might be best to leave the tea out of the refrigerator. Besides, each time when the container is taken in and out of the refrigerator, the tea is subject to fluctuations in temperature which may affect its aroma.
How much tea to buy and store?
Black and oolong teas can last for as long as more than a year or 2. But the shelf life of most greens is only about 6 months, and once you open it, it’s best to consume it within 3 months. So, proper storage is more crucial in the case of green tea. But certain types which are rolled into pellets such as the gunpowder usually keeps for a longer period of time.
You don’t have to buy too much tea at one go. It all depends on how many cups you are drinking in a day, really! You can buy say 3 to 5 ounces at a time. It may not seem very much but remember that unlike teabags, a teaspoon of loose leaves can give you 3 or more infusions. So, one ounce can give you an average of 25 cups of brewed tea.
Yes, sometimes you may want to take advantage of better pricing by buying in bulk. And, merchants often pack their bulk green tea products into several cans so you can finish one can first before opening another. This way you can keep your bulk green tea fresh longer for several months.
I hope that the above tips will help you to store your tea at home so that its freshness and flavor will be preserved longer. To recap, it basically entails storing your tea in a good container and kept in a dry, cool and dark place away from air, light, heat, moisture and odors.