Do you store your tea properly?
Some say the best way to store tea is vacuum packed in low temperature, so it doesn’t oxidize. Some say you should store it in clay containers in a cool and dry place, so it lasts for a long time. It may feel like everyone has an opinion about storing tea. And it only makes it more confusing that most of them advocate a different method. So, which one is the correct method?
The answer is: there isn’t one “correct” method. In order to find the best answer for you, it is better to refine the question you’re asking. For most people the first question is: “how should I store my tea?”. But what if you asked “what kind of flavor I want to preserve from my tea?” instead?
If you want to preserve the freshness and the original flavor of the tea, keep it in the fridge. Or you can seal it in a vacuum pack and put in your freezer.
But if you want to experience the different flavors of your tea as it ages, store it in a clay jar with a tight lid. This prevents it from absorbing too much moisture from the air, while still allowing it to mature.
Oxidizing is one of the ways to mature tea. The process will alter the original taste and scent of the tea. If your tea gets too much air, it may rot over time. But if stored well, you can keep a suitable good quality tea for decades. Store your tea in a porous container with an air tight lid for the best results.
Temperature is a factor that triggers the aging process in tea. The cooler the storage, the longer the tea keeps its original flavor and vice versa. But no matter what kind of flavor profile you’re after, make sure no humidity gets into the container. That can worsen the quality of your tea.
Other factors that will affect your tea are light and the container material. Glass containers are often used, but they are not very suitable for storing tea long-term. Glass doesn’t “breathe” to allow the tea to mature and it lets light in which ruins the tea. Wood and metal are also common materials. If you use them, make sure there are no leftover odors from other ingredients stored in the container. Those can impact the quality of your tea.
Once you’ve found a suitable container, place it in a dry cabinet away from any direct light source. And remember to take the container out for a little sniff and taste here and there. It is always exciting to try how the flavors change over time.