Have you ever found the perfect tea and been disappointed a month later when that same great tea seemed not as enjoyable?
Proper storage of tea is essential, and if kept improperly, even the freshest and best tea on the market will lose its subtle nuances and become uninteresting.
Tea should always be stored at a constant temperature in an airtight container, away from light, moisture, and strong odours. When exposed to air, delicate tea leaves rapidly lose flavour. If you buy in bulk, keep most of the tea in a large container and use a smaller one for everyday use to limit air contact with the tea leaves.
While fine tea leaves are stunning when displayed in a clear glass container, the effect on the resulting infusion is not quite as impressive. Light strips tea leaves of their colour over time, but more importantly, the refined flavour in the leaves is also lost. Moisture is equally detrimental to fragile tea leaves. Like any organic matter, tea, when wet, begins to mould and decay.
For this reason, we do not recommend storing tea in the refrigerator or freezer because continual opening and closing of the door causes rapid changes in humidity. Modern freezers cycle through different temperatures and often create an icing problem. Moisture seeps into the container and robs the tea leaves of flavour.
Strong odours will also permeate tea. Avoid storing your tea near spices or aromatic foods, or you might find that your best jasmine now tastes like yesterday’s roast beef. Even when storing teas together, a spicy tea, such as chai, can often impart its flavour onto the others.
Overall, the best way to store tea is in a tea tin or resealable pouch. Away from odours, moisture, light, and air, tea will remain fresh for months. If you reuse the tins, be sure to let them air out completely before refilling with a different tea to avoid transferring scent. When properly stored, your favourite loose-leaf teas can remain untainted, fresh, and enjoyable.