If you are anything like most loose-leaf tea drinkers you will start with one tea that you pick up at a market or perhaps were gifted. Once you try it and like it, you buy a couple more and before you know it you have a cupboard/drawer bursting with tea! The good news is that loose-leaf tea is a shelf-stable product and most will last for up to 2 years after initial opening before the taste significantly diminishes. Of course, this depends on the quality of the tea that you buy and how you store it. So here are our top storage tips.
There is a lot you can do to preserve the flavour of your tea once you get it to your kitchen.
7 Simple Steps to fresher Loose Leaf Tea
- Buy your tea from a good source, this ensures it has been kept well in the warehouse and sourced from safe and reputable tea plantations.
- Check the packaging when you buy the tea, is it airtight? Many teabags are shrink-wrapped in plastic but not airtight, this can lead to a stale flavour or flavour transfer. If you squeeze the pack and the scent pugs out that is a bad sign
- Keep it away from sunlight. Light will diminish the look and taste of the tea. Glass jars look cool but only use them if you are going to drink the tea quickly
- Store in an airtight container. Sealing in all the oils and flavours is the single biggest thing you can do to protect the longevity of your tea.
- Make sure that the temperature is stable at room temperature. keep away from heaters, windows and air conditioners
- Keep loose-leaf tea away from strong flavours and smells. Keeping your tea next to spices may result in flavour transfer.
- Only buy as much as you think you will use in the coming year. The fresher a tea is when you buy it the better. Don’t buy tea that is near an expiration date or has been on the shelf in glass or is not airtight sealed.
How do we keep your tea fresh before it leaves the warehouse?
Where our tea is travelling long distances we make sure it is nitrogen sealed at the source. This locks in the flavour and protects the tea from contamination. Once in the warehouse, we only break that seal when we are ready to process the whole 20kilos. We have strict rules about tea never being left open unattended and being processed into blends and end packaging in a 24-hour period. This means that the tea reaches you in the best possible condition.
We keep a small amount of each blend in a glass Kilner jar in our blending room. This is for small-batch orders, samples and tastings. Our blending room is kept below 20 degrees at all times and our teas are protected from sunlight.
How is our tea stored at home?
Just for reference, we asked our staff how they keep their tea. Mostly it seems in tins, some very pretty ones. For smaller samples of things they are trying but not yet committed to they use the pouches they come in and just seal it up tight in between brews. One of our staff members breaks the no glass rule but says she only uses coloured glass for extra protection and only for the teas she drinks quickly and regularly.
We would love to see and hear how you store your tea. leave us comments here or join in the conversation on social media