If you are new to drinking loose leaf teas or a recent convert (from drinking coffee to tea), one of the things that you need to know is how to store your loose tea to keep it fresh for longer.
Most of us started our tea relationship with tea bags. You’d buy a couple of boxes, store it in a drawer at work and just get one as needed. Nothing to it right?
When I transitioned to loose leaf teas I learned the hard way and had to get rid of quality tea just because it had gone ‘bad’ due to poor storage conditions.
Here are the basics. There are five things you need to consider – MOISTURE, HEAT, AIR, LIGHT and ODOURS. One or a combination of these can directly affect your loose leaf tea. These can change the taste, colour and fragrance of the tea itself. So what should you do?
1) Keep it away from places that can inhabit moisture or places which can be humid. Tea leaves are dry which makes them susceptible to moisture and they can absorb that quickly. In worst-case scenarios, moisture can cause moulds and create a very unpleasant odour in your tea. There’s no recovering from this one, you need to throw your tea leaves out if moulds have started growing on them. As long as you store the tea in airtight container moisture won’t be able to get to it.
2) Store it in places where your tea is not exposed to direct sunlight, preferably NOT in a clear jar.
Put it inside a cupboard or a cabinet where light cannot reach it. Exposure to sunlight also tends to further dry out your tea leaves and the flavour of the tea fades.
3) Avoid places where it can get too hot or too cold.
Simply don’t leave the tea near an oven or inside a fridge.
4) Store your tea in an airtight container.
Like moisture and heat, air can also alter the flavour of your loose teas. Air contains moisture but also other odours that can be mixed with your tea. Try putting your tea in a bowl and have it against something like a bunch of garlic. After a day or two, you will notice that your tea will have a hint of garlic to it. Our handy little sealable BRUU bags should sort this out.
Teas need a bit of TEA-LC too!