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How to store loose leaf tea

How to store loose leaf tea

Whether you got a loose leaf tea package as a gift in the late ’90s or you bought it just last month, here is some advice, even if you didn’t ask for it, on keeping your tea from going bad. There are five elements that impact the freshness of the tea.

  • Heat
  • Light
  • Oxygen
  • Odors
  • Moisture

Given this, it seems like the best way to store loose leaf tea is by vacuum sealing your tea, put it inside a paper bag, store it in a fridge away from odors, and it will last forever. While you make a good argument, allow us to further explain. While storing tea is straightforward, there are a few caveats. One important thing to note is that if you store tea properly it does not go bad.

Although storing loose leaf tea may seem similar across the board, there are a few differences. We divide them in two broad categories in order to clarify.

  • Low Oxidation - Teas that have a more vegetal taste (Unless they are roasted). Ex: Green Tea, Lighter Oolongs. The grassy quality of these teas tends to fade away with time. Most tea companies keep their green teas vacuum seal and refrigerated or even frozen to extend their shelf life. Shelf life meaning the greener quality, remember that the tea will not go bad if stored properly. If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer and don’t want to be bothered with the chance of spoiling your tea by putting it in the fridge, some options are buying in small quantities and drinking the tea within six months.
  • High Oxidation - These teas can be kept for a much longer period of time if stored well. They are also suitable for aging and could last years on end but bare in mind that the tea flavor will change with time.

Does loose leaf tea expire?

Properly stored tea doesn’t expire, but the flavor and aroma will change with time, especially greener style teas. How long loose leaf tea lasts will depend on how you store it.

How to store tea properly?

Not everyone has access to a vacuum machine and putting the tea in the fridge can cause it to spoil. Storing loose leaf tea in a tea canister, tea caddy, is ideal. We recommend using a container that is odor-free, blocks sunlight and can keep the tea tightly sealed. Avoid plastic, paper bags or clear jars. Once open, at home, we keep our tea in the foiled bag wrapped with a rubber band. At our tea room we have different canisters for different teas.
Much like a spice, we also recommend labeling the tea with the date that you got it, that way you know when you received it.

Should I refrigerate green tea?

Although the fridge is a friend in regards to green tea, it should be placed away from strong odors. One thing to be aware of is condensation. Air builds up condensation after the tea is taken out of the fridge so we don’t recommend storing open tea bags in the refrigerator. One way to lower the effect of condensation is to wait a few hours, after taking the tea out of the fridge, before opening the tea bag/canister. We encourage you to buy your green tea in smaller increments to fully enjoy it’s flavor and aroma.

Is it ok to leave the brewed tea leaves out overnight?

Yes, we do this all the time. We suggest you drink from those tea leaves within 24 hours, for health sake… After that, you are on your own.

In summary, just keep your tea in an airtight container, store it in a cool and dry location, away from the sun and strong odors.

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