For the tea connoisseur, high quality specialty teas and skillfully made blends are the pinnacle of enjoyment. Whether you purchase tea from a shop or order it online from specialty retailers like Tea Composer, you must find a way to store it so that it maintains its flavor profile until you are ready to use it. This can be particularly challenging if you are buying in bulk due to necessity or cost. The following tips can help you store the tea successfully.
Tip #1: Choose an airtight tea box
There are many different styles of tea boxes available. Many are not suitable for storage, though. Whether you are storing loose tea or bags, you need individual compartments for each variety of tea. Otherwise, the flavors will become muddles as the different varieties absorb the essence of neighboring teas. Opt for a tea box where each compartment comes with a tight fitting lid. An alternative is to place the teas in sealed plastic baggies and then place the baggies into your existing box or another large container. Although not as attractive as a dedicated tea box, the flavor of your tea will make up for any shortcomings in appearance.
Tip #2: Mind the temperature and humidity
The cabinet next to your stove or an exposed shelf near the kitchen window are horrible places to keep your tea. Heat breaks down tea so it loses its flavor. Also, don't stick the tea box in the spice cabinet, since many spices have strong odors that tea can absorb, especially if a bag or container isn't quite sealed properly. Instead, store your tea box in a dark, cool cabinet or in the pantry. If you store in bags or clear containers, place them in a larger opaque container to protect the tea leaves from light. Remember that moisture, too, is an enemy of tea. This can be an issue in humid climates. To combat moisture in your tea box, place a packet of silica gel inside the box to absorb any moisture, and replace it periodically.
Tip #3: Consider the long term
Generally, tea should be used within a couple of months of purchase. Many finer teas come with a best by date, which should be carefully followed for best flavor. If there is no date, then use it within three to four months. Make sure you mark the bag or storage container with the date, as well. If you buy in bulk or otherwise must store your tea longer, there is a method that works well. By using a vacuum sealer and then placing the vacuum sealed bags in the freezer, you can more than double the recommended storage life of the tea.
Contact a tea retailer for more help.