Keeping Your Loose Leaf Tea Fresh & Tasty
It’s really pretty simple if you use basic good judgment.
You will want to stay away from the five main things that will affect your tea. These obvious things are heat, light, air, moisture, and of course odors.
Heat, light, and air will cause your tea to become stale before its time thus losing a lot of its flavor. This is kind of like the bag of chips that you left open. You open up the bag and then leave them on the table and when you came back to get some more you are not eating that delicious chip that you were anticipating.
Ideally your tea really should always be stored in a cool dry place. It should be kept in an airtight container. The container also should not be transparent. If it is clear you are not blocking the UV rays that can also affect the flavor of your tea. Some people say to put your tea in the refrigerator or freezer in order to keep it cool and dry. This may help to keep it cool and dry but I don’t believe this is the best way to keep it fresh and favorable.
Maybe you have noticed from time to time when you take ice cubes out of the freezer you say to yourself these taste like last night’s leftovers. Well the same thing can happen with your loose leaf tea. Refrigerators are chock-full of odors and tea is an exceptional absorb-er of odors. You may have the tea in a waterproof container but that does not mean it is airtight or odor proof. Also, for this reason, I do not store my loose leaf tea near my coffee or spices.
When you intentionally add water to your tea leaves it produces a delightful drink, but when small unintended amounts of moisture come in contact with your tea leaves, it can cause them to rot or mold. Just try leaving your (used or wet) tea leaves in a cup and see how long it takes them to turn blue and fuzzy. It is not a pretty picture is it? Keeping tea in the refrigerator can cause it to absorb moisture through condensation.
How long will your tea stay fresh? Even in the pantry an unopened box of chips or crackers will eventually go stale. Your loose leaf tea will do the same. However when stored properly your tea can stay fresh for months or even years. That’s because tea does have an exceptionally long shelf life when stores properly. That’s quite a long time
Some prepackaged tea has an even longer lifespan and it is usually marked on the box. They list a packaging date and a best used by date. The range for some green tea is three years.
Think about it, after your tea is picked and processed it is taken to a warehouse. After that it is loaded onto a truck where it is taken to the shipping docks. Then it’s loaded onto a ship, and makes a lengthy voyage across the ocean. After that it is then unloaded at another harbor and taken to your tea company’s warehouse. Your tea company will then further process and blend it according to their standards. After your tea company finishes packaging the product it continues on its journey again probably by truck to a distribution center. Then it finally arrives at your local store where it will stay on the shelf for some time before you purchase it. This process alone could take up to a couple of months.
So keeping these things in mind when storing your tea you should be enjoying a nice tasting cup whenever you’re ready to brew.