Cooking Tips | 22 July 2015How to Store Tea Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Refrigerators, pantries, and spice drawers are all common places for storing tea, but they’re not necessarily the best. The Art and Craft of Tea shows you the where and how to store different types of teas for maximum flavor and freshness Storing Tea The shelf life of tea is fairly short. Green, white, and yellow tea have a shelf life of no longer than three to four months—in the best circumstances. Oolong and black teas’ shelf lives are much longer with some well-constructed black teas able to maintain their quality after being stored for more than three years. Dark teas will generally store for as long as you need, so long as they are not exposed to very hot temperatures and extreme moisture. To maximize the duration of tea’s taste and aroma, there are five variables you should avoid in storing your tea: sunlight, heat, moisture/humidity, odors and air. Exposure to any of these pollutants will quickly degrade the quality of your tea and diminish its taste and aroma. Teas are like sponges and will take on the smell and taste of any odor with which they come in contact. Some of the worst places to store your tea are refrigerators, spice drawers, pantries that contain food products with strong smells, and containers that have a heavy paint or lacquer smell. The best way to protect your tea from these contaminants is to store your tea in an opaque, airtight container in a place that is cool, dark, dry, and free of odor. If you store all your tea in one place, be sure that each tea is stored in its own airtight container. Otherwise, the teas will begin to pick up each other’s aromas, making them all taste flat. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may consider purchasing some desiccants, such as silica packets, to store directly with each of your teas. These desiccants will help keep your teas dry even in very humid conditions. There are a multitude of containers on the market that can be used to store tea, containers both designed specifically for tea storage or just for general storage. As stated above, the best material for storing tea is material that does not attract, absorb, or give off aromas. Glass Glass is usually shunned as an unsuitable storage container. Because it is so inexpensive and often comes with airtight seals, however, it can be an effective way to store tea. To use glass, you must store the container in a cabinet, desk, trunk, or other storage area that keeps the tea out of sunlight. If you have a dark place to store your glass storage containers, then glass containers such as those used for canning can be a very inexpensive and effective way to store your tea. Plastic Plastic is ubiquitous and inexpensive. Unlike glass, however, plastic often produce gases that could potentially degrade your tea. Admittedly, plastic is an easy solution for storing tea. Unfortunately, it is not a good solution. Ceramic Traditional tea caddies were made from wood or ceramics. Although a collection of ceramic tea caddies can be a beautiful way to showcase your tea collection, it is difficult to find a ceramic tea caddie that is airtight. Vacuum-Sealed Tea Caddies Increasingly you can find vacuum-sealed tea caddies that actually pump out the oxygen from the container and seal the tea leaves after every time you use them. Needless to say, such vacuum-sealing tea caddies are optimal for storing tea but also very expensive. Using Smaller Quantities of Tea Finally, one of the best ways to maintain the quality of your tea is to buy only as much as you can consume in a relatively short period of time. As the tea industry switched to selling exclusively commodity teas in the twentieth century, the only consideration consumers used in choosing tea was price. So, tea companies began offering large volumes of tea for very low prices. Today, even the specialty tea market’s lowest volume of tea is usually 100 grams—approximately fifty to seventy servings! That is a lot of tea to drink and to have to store, especially if you have more than one tea. If you want to maintain the quality of your tea, consider purchasing tea in smaller volumes so as not to have to worry about long-term storage solutions. Storing Tea Dark tea can improve with age, but only if it is stored properly—away from sunlight, heat, extreme moisture, and odors. Unlike other types of tea, however, dark tea should be allowed exposure to air. For this reason, most dark tea is packaged in light paper that allows the leaves to stay exposed to the ambient air. If possible, keep your dark tea stored in this paper wrapper. — Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Let Joseph Wesley Uhl be your guide to the entire world of tea; from peeks into tea production around the world to making your own blends at home. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis Tea is the ultimate, worldwide social beverage. Its variety of flavor, brewing, and presentation is infinite. Companies and consumers alike are reawakening to the benefits of high-quality, unprocessed, natural beverages, and tea is a perfect obsession for anyone interested in artisan food and healthy eating. The Art and Craft of Tea invites you to come behind the scenes, with the help of comprehensive, thoroughly researched facts, gorgeous full-color photos, and insider information. With a modern, accessible sensibility makes this book a pleasure to read, author Joseph Wesley Uhl is your ultimate guide to the universe of tea. If you want to go beyond reading and enter your kitchen, Joseph offers “recipes” for creating your own tea blends using natural ingredients. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.