Do you love tea?
You are in good company here. We love loose leaf tea!
You know your favourite and you know where to get it, but do you know how to best store it to enjoy it for longer?
First things first, purchase fresh tea, which is the current year’s harvest to ensure you have the freshness and the full shelf life available to you. This obviously is not applicable to Pu’er or other fermented teas.
Buy the right quantity for you. Whether you are an avid tea drinker or an occasional consumer, buy the right amount or whereabouts. This is because you don’t want to run out of space and then have to throw away old tea which ended up at the back or forgotten.
Antique tea caddies
Choose a suitable tea caddy, meaning a pleasant, airtight, opaque, new container. Tea leaves absorb aromas, flavours, and humidity, so always store separately and in an airtight tea caddy. A previously used container with a lingering smell, or not, could ruin your batch. Disappointingly, glass jar displaying the beauty of the leaves are a no-no. An aluminium canister is currently considered one of the very best options.
Keep your tea caddy in a cool and dry area. This should be far from the cooker, toaster, oven, or radiators to prevent the heat to ruin the flavour. In the same way, avoid placing the tea caddy in the fridge or in a very cold pantry, as it would absorb moisture and spoil.
If your tea is in an air-tight, foil-lined, and resealable pouch, you can choose to keep it in there. Only ensure you resealed it properly after each use, pressing the air out firmly sliding your palm toward the opening and sealing it anew.
It is always advisable to label the container or the pouch with the name of the tea, its origin, flush or harvest season, and date of purchase. If you have a bit of a collection and are a tea lover, this will help you greatly in knowing what you have tasted and plan future purchases.
Consider the natural longevity of your teas. The less oxidised the shorter the shelf life. Green tea should be consumed within a maximum of eight-month, while black tea can keep well for up to two years. Whole leaves will last longer since the surface in contact with air is less than broken ones.
Teas with added ingredients or flavoured tend to degrade more quickly.
Lastly, never ever leave a tea measuring spoon or a scoop inside your tea, no matter the material it is made of. Nothing should be stored with tea. Avoid using an elastic band or a peg to secure a bag in your tea caddy for the same reason.
In short, remember to keep away from air, light, moisture, heat, and other smells to preserve tea original aroma, taste, colour, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Now you can put your kettle on and enjoy a delicious cuppa.
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.
William Ewart Gladstone
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