In this post we want to show you what is important for the right tea storage and how your tea stays fresh and tasty for longer!

How to store tea loose leaf tea – Extend your shelf life and achieve long term storage

Over the past millennia, tea producers have developed countless ways to dry and preserve the harvested tea leaves. This increases the durability of the finished teas. First, the leaves are steamed and pressed, then dried and packaged. Today they are wilted and baked, with each step removing moisture from the leaf. But every tea needs the right storage for the best taste, no matter how well it is preserved in the production. Green teas are particularly prone to loss of taste. This tea goes through only a few steps, making the tea less durable. So in this blog post we will look at the most important points on how to store tea.

What is the best way to store the tea leaves to keep them as fresh as possible? We’ll show you what’s important with tea storage! First of all when thinking about a storage solution: the most important thing is to protect loose tea from light, air and moisture. But that’s not all! The following points apply when storing tea until it is ready to brew:

  • oxygen and the oxidation of the tea leaves.
  • In which environment the tea is stored.
  • The influence of light on tea storage.
  • Influence of humidity on the tea leaves.
how to store tea in a vacuum bag
Our fresh Honeybush tea in our resealable tea bags!

Effects of Oxygen on Tea

Most tea drinkers know that tea should be stored in airtight containers. As part of the manufacturing process, oxidation is strictly controlled, but even finished tea leaves can further oxidize on the shelf. Over a long period of time, green tea leaves can turn brown and lose taste due to this slow, even reaction with oxygen. Good packaging uses a resealable, airtight closure to achieve an airtight seal. But the air trapped in a broken bag can have the same effect. It is important that you don’t leave a tea in the closet for too long. However, I have to say here that the air trapped in the bag is a relatively small factor.

The environment of tea storage

In addition, tea can absorb strong aromas from other things that are stored nearby. Subtle aromas can be overwhelmed by the aromas of spices or even the smell of a wooden box. While an airtight container can mitigate this effect, teas should always be stored away from spices or coffee. So general rule: Avoid storing tea next to herbs or spices for a long time!

Effects of light

It can be tempting to store beautiful tea leaves in glasses so that you can see and admire them well. However, it has been shown that the exposure to light reduces the intensity of the flavouring substances in the leaf. Although the mechanics of this process are not fully understood, it is generally assumed that it is a continuation of the oxidation process. Instead of transparent glass or plastic, we recommend storing metal or ceramics. Glasses are not recommended for tea storage as light can damage the tea leaves during storage.

In addition, heat is generated when light shines through glass. This has been shown to cause catechins (a type of antioxidant) to break down in the leaf. Prolonged heat exposure also accelerates oxidation and increases the speed at which the leaves are stale. Some tea drinkers try to avoid this problem by storing their teas in the refrigerator or freezer. However, this storage is only recommended for a few teas such as Japanese green tea. Air trapped with tea in the fridge condenses and creates moisture: our next culprit in the right tea storage.

Effects of moisture

No wonder moisture from dried tea leaves gets aroma, because that’s exactly how we prepare the well-known drink. When the dry leaf is hydrated, water-soluble flavouring substances are released while the tea is going to absorb the moisture. Therefore, the relative humidity of the environment is the biggest factor in determining how long the tea stays fresh. In wet parts of Asia, this can be a big problem. Many teas are sold in vacuum-sealed bags to avoid this effect during tea storage. But the compression of a vacuum sealing can also lead to leaf breaks, especially for long and twisted leaves.

Vacuum sealing keeps the tea fresh for longer, but can also crush unrolled leaves. Of course, vacuum sealing is not easy for you to do at home but keeping it as air tight as possible is generally a good idea.

how to store tea

So we get the tea from our tea farmers. Vacuum-packed, it lasts the longest and is a proper approach on how to store tea. Here by the way our Gyokuro.

Exceptions to the rules on how to store tea

These simple guidelines for storing tea apply to almost any type of tea, whether light or dark. However, it is important to note that some teas (such as green tea) are most appreciated when they are fresh from the plant. Darker varieties (Mostly Black Teas) often need some time to mature. Especially reddened teas are often given 3-6 months to become rounder and softer. In addition, there are varieties such as Pu-Erh Tees, which age under influence and some moisture and develop their taste through a natural fermentation process.

We hope this post could help you! Most teas lose aroma over time, no matter how they are stored. We have made it our mission to buying tea directly from the tea farmers and thus save long delivery times. So we always have fresh and high-quality tea in stock! But in the end, you have the most of the aroma and antioxidants of the tea when you drink the tea and don’t store it! 😉

 

Now you know how to store tea – do you maybe still needs some tea? 😉

With us in the shop you will find many delicious teas that are just waiting to get a place in the front row of your cupboard (and your teacup!)! We look forward to your visit!

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)