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Discovering Legendary Teas
Now that I’m enjoying great teas, I want to know… What’s The Best Way To Store My Tea?
Tea does not like light, heat & moisture. Keeping your tea in a cool dark and dry location is going to yield you the most life for your tea without going to extreme measures.
This general rule applies to most teas, but not all. There are some tea types that like conditions that are adjusted from this rule, but the vast majority of teas will be happy when kept in these conditions and will respond by providing long life. We will get those other types of tea a bit later.
Tea leaves, both as they are processed and blended with other herbs, fruits, and flowers can be just beautiful to look at. This makes us want to look at them all the time, to the point where some people are inclined to store them in a glass jar or a clear vessel of some type. When stored like this the tea leaves indeed are initially a site to behold. With just a little time however it is easy to see that the brilliance of the tea ingredients soon begins to fade. Along with the brilliance in color the leaves are losing valuable properties imparted into the leaves during photosynthesis. As much of a disappointment as it is, storing your tealeaves in a light eliminating container will yield dramatically longer life.
Likewise, heat is not a friend of your precious tealeaves. When we say heat, we even mean extra warm. Think about it. If the temperature is getting to the point where you are becoming uncomfortable, your tealeaves may be getting uncomfortable as well. Striving for a storage location for your leaves that is cooler is certain to allow the longest period of time that the leaves remain the closest to the way they were when they were harvested and processed, their freshest time.
Then there is moisture. It is humidity we are talking here. Your tealeaves have most likely been dried to about a 3% moisture content level at the end of their processing. This keeps the leaves from molding and creates a state that is the most desirable for the storage of most teas.
We do our best to remain ever mindful of our carbon footprint and environmental stress so to the extent we can source it we utilize eco-friendly pouches that work well in sustaining the quality of our teas both on the shelf and in your cupboard.
Alternatively for an attractive and effective storage method we suggest our Tea Storage Tins with slide-on lids…When you order a tea storage tin with your tea pouch, we will label the tin to match the tea.
Green teas and jade oolongs are the most susceptible to storage conditions and it is in these teas that you will begin to notice degradation first. Having a good storage place for these types of tea as well as remaining somewhat aware of the amount you have on hand will allow you to cycle through your green teas and jade oolongs with ease in plenty of time to stay within their reasonable quality shelf life.
As time goes on from the time these teas were harvested and processed, they will very slowly diminish in properties. Stored in cool dry and dark conditions one should not be surprised to experience 1-2 years of working life from those teas. True enough the leaves will not, at the end of two years, be of the same potency as they were the day after processing. They will however still have tea value very worth consuming.
The general rule is that as the teas get darker in their oxidation level the viable storage time increases which can lead to increased storage times for many black teas considerably beyond two years.
Surprisingly enough, there are even teas that due to their oxidation level and processing technique actually age for significant periods of time after initial processing and incredibly improve in their ability to produce exceptional steepings of silky-smooth highly desirable broth.
Dark oolong teas can fall in this category offering more than just stability in their storage but increased cup characteristics and value as they age.
Another surprise which defies the normal storage of teas is the category of Dark and Puerh teas which revel in the breathing of the atmosphere and favor periods of variation in humidityand temperature. While we don’t typically store these teas in direct light, ambient temperatures and humidity seem to suit these teas contributing to their uniqueness as they age.