What Is The Best Way To Store Tea?

"What is the best way to store tea?" is a question I am frequently asked. Storing tea is easy as long as a few golden rules are obeyed. Tea is hygroscopic, so it absorbs moisture, odours and fragrances easily. If you store your tea like a pro, it shouldn't be a problem, so here are some tips for keeping your tea in top condition!

With Dorothy's Teas, you can store your loose leaf tea in the pouch it comes in, making sure the zip seal is completely closed after each use (or you can use an airtight container). It's best to store your tea away from any strong smells or odours, like spice spices or coffee and, if you have a penchant for scented or infused teas like Earl Grey or masala chai, store them on a separate shelf. To be really careful, store them in a separate cupboard! 

When it comes to storing tea, moisture is your enemy, so always keep it in a dry, damp-free place. Also, when you're scooping your tea for brewing, best practice is to use a dry spoon because any transferred moisture will spoil your precious leaves.

It's not just moisture that can damage tea and reduce its quality, though. Light can cause some problems too, so keep your tea out of sunlight and bright kitchen lights - ideally always keep it in a dark cupboard. Unlike most food and drink, tea isn't going to 'go off' or 'go bad', but its quality will go downhill after the best before date. As always, there's an exception to the rule which is sheng puerh tea, which will improve with age when it's kept in the correct conditions: it needs (1) a little bit of humidity and (2) good air flow.

When you're buying tea, check its best before date and, if you're buying it in large quantities, we recommend that you divide it into smaller quantities to store it. Constant exposure to air by opening and closing one big container or bag will spoil the flavour by allowing air and moisture to get to the tea each time.

Tins make perfect tea containers, especially ones with slip lids. Glass is deemed unsuitable as it allows in light, just as see-through pouches or ones with windows do. Whilst ceramic and wooden containers are traditional and can look beautiful, check they are totally airtight before you store your tea in them. Ideally, wooden boxes should be foil lined - just as tea chests used to be for the shipping of the tea!

Tea should never be kept in the fridge because of the risk of moisture and odour contamination. Again, there is one exception which is matcha tea. Matcha tea can spoil really quickly, which is why it's usually sold in small vacuum sealed tins and is kept in the fridge to keep it fresh. Once you've opened your matcha tea, you should use it within a couple of months.

Following these few simple rules mean your teas will be kept at their best and will give you months of enjoyment.

Dorothy Stubley
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