Storing your Tea
To get the very best out of your infusions, here is a handy 5-point guide you can use to keep your leaves tasting fresh. For instance, black tea stored in the right way will keep well for around two years, so it is definitely worth doing right. All of these points are essentially to stop tea degrading or oxidising – and fortunately its nice and simple:
Promise us one thing. Promise that you won’t put your tea leaves into a glass jar and put them on the windowsill. They look lovely, but sunlight is a big offender when it comes to degrading the flavour of tea.
When moisture and light combine, the enzymes that kick start the decomposition of tea wake up. So store your tea away from the oven, sink or dishwasher to keep them at bay.
Find a nice cool spot for your tea leaves in the kitchen or store, and their flavour will be maintained for longer. But please don’t put your tea in the fridge! Moisture and strong smells will wreak havoc on the leaves unless you are very, very careful. Which brings me to…
4. Strong Smells
Tea leaves are very good at soaking up the aromas around them. While this is great for blending, the last thing you want is your Earl Grey tasting like blue cheese or onions. So keep your leaves sealed and away from strong smells. (This includes scented teas – keep your single estate and lighter teas separately to your Lapsang Souchong etc).
Some aged teas like Pu Erh will benefit from a good air flow, but normally (and to help avoid point 4) it is best to keep your tea in either their re-sealable packets or a closed caddy. Every time you open your tea, the exposure to oxygen will continue the oxidisation process so try to avoid shallow, wide storage tins. Keep as much of the tea’s surface area away from the air as you can.
In summary, keep your tea leaves sealed up somewhere cool, dry, and away from sunlight. The back of a cool cupboard is ideal.