Understanding how to store tea is an essential bit of information to keep in your collection of tea knowledge. Tea can loose its freshness very quickly and by not storing it properly, you can ruin a pot of tea before even taking the loose leaves out of the cupboard.
Store different teas in separate airtight containers and keep them in a cool, dry environment. Any exposure to excessive air, heat, light, or moisture will cause the tea to deteriorate and loose its flavor. Tin and ceramic jars are perfect but glass containers will also work. Just be sure to keep them out of the sunlight or away bright lights because exposure to light causes the leaves to fade.
Although the tea leaves are dried, they still contain a small amount of moisture which is essential to keeping them fresh. Prolonged contact with the air will dry out the leaves and brittle tea won’t rehydrate properly during brewing.
Never refrigerate or freeze your tea and always store it at room temperature. Also avoid shelving tea next to foods with strong odors because the leaves absorb other scents very easily. This is an ideal characteristic when creating a tea scented with flowers like jasmine. However, it can also work against you if you keep your tea in a cupboard next to the garlic.
Buy tea often and in smaller quantities rather than making big purchases. Not only will you try a greater variety of teas but the risk of them spoiling will be greatly reduced. Most teas should be enjoyed within 6 months after you make the purchase but some will keep for much longer.
Green, yellow, and white teas keep for the least amount of time and should be enjoyed soon after purchase. Oolong teas generally keep for up to a year and black tea can oftentimes be kept for longer than a tea. However, fresher teas always taste better except for a few notable exceptions. Some teas like the sheng Pu-erh and a few oolongs age well over time and can be enjoyed for many years.
There’s a lot to remember but keep in mind that it will save you money and buy you more time to enjoy your teas if you learn to store them well.