How to Store Loose Leaf Tea (Top 5 Tips)
Loose leaf tea is a great way to enjoy tea, but there are some important things to keep in mind when storing it. Read on to learn how to best keep your tea fresh and as long lasting as possible.
1. KEEP IT DRY
Stick only the tea leaves you want to brew in water but never let the rest touch moisture, unless you want to end up with a moldy blob of tea leaves! Most loose leaf tea is dried and or roasted when it is made, so it comes to you pretty much bone dry. This helps retain freshness and preserves it for a long time. Keeping your tea leaves in an air-tight container (usually the bag it came it works great) will help prevent moisture from getting in and ruining your tea. Air-tight tea caddies are also a great way to keep unused tea.
2. KEEP IT AWAY FROM AIR
Aside heat and moisture, you want to keep your loose leaf tea away from air as much as possible. The oxygen in air will oxidize the various active components in tea causing the taste to change. This is why many tea vendors vacuum-seal their tea before shipping in order to reduce contact with air. After opening a bag of tea, squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag before rolling it up and sealing it. We use a sealing clip that does a great job of keeping a bag sealed (see video below). If you have access to oxygen absorbers, stick a few in with your tea leaves.
3. KEEP IT DARK
Exposure to light is another way to kill the freshness of your loose leaf tea. Make sure to store it in reflective mylar bags or an opaque container like a brown glass bottle to reduce exposure to light. If you do keep your tea leaves in just a container, be sure it isn't overly large to reduce the amount of air that is inside.
4. KEEP IT COOL
Loose leaf tea should be keep cool, preferably between 10° and 25°C (50°-68°F). If you recall your high school chemistry, higher temperatures speed up chemical reactions and this includes the decomposition of your tea. If you keep it cool, your tea leaves will last longer.
Vacuum-packed tea. The air-free environment helps keep the tea leaves fresh.
5. SHOULD I STORE TEA IN THE FRIDGE?
No, for remember that for optimum freshness tea should stored in a dark, cool place with minimal contact with air. Although your fridge is cool, it is too humid for proper tea storage. If you pay attention to all the precautions above, there's no need to store your tea in the refrigerator. In fact, if you do store in the fridge, there might be the danger of moisture condensing on the tea leaves every time you take it out to get some tea, so it's best to keep it out of the fridge.
TEA STORAGE SUMMARY
- Keep it dry.
- Minimize contact with air.
- Keep away from light.
- Store tea in a cool place between 10° and 25°C (50°-68°F).
- Don't put in fridge.
So there you have it! Some simple points to keep in mind when storing your loose leaf tea!
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We can see in the photo of the dried leaves above that they were hand-plucked while still very young and tender. This is evident not only by the size of the leaves, but also in the protective fur that is still on the whitish colored leaf buds. It is this stage of leaf growth, along with the heirloom cultivar of tea tree that give Bi Luo Chun its distinctive character among Green Teas — especially when it is from the first flush of spring tea buds!