How to Store Loose Leaf Tea

Proper storage tins for loose leaf tea

Nothing’s better than fresh, flavorful loose leaf tea. Nothing’s worse than good tea gone bitter and flavorless due to oxidation. Fortunately, it’s easy to properly store loose leaf tea to ensure freshness.

Best Tea Containers

The following make great tea containers, provided they have an airtight seal, are completely dry, and odor free:

  • Stainless steel tins: tea tins made out of stainless steel block sunlight, don’t absorb odors, and can be made durable for everyday use. Our stainless steel tea tins are designed especially for loose leaf tea.
  • Colored glass: darkly colored glass blocks most sunlight, doesn’t absorb odors, and is easy to clean. However, avoid direct sunlight even with colored glass.

Worst Tea Containers

  • Plastic: plastic tea containers absorb odors. If you have to use plastic, use only one flavor per container
  • Clear glass: clear glass tea containers don’t block sunlight. If you use clear glass, keep your tea in a dark place.
  • Leaky Containers: tea containers that don’t have a tight seal allow air to oxidize the tea and moisture to introduce mold. In addition, other smells in the kitchen can seep in.
  • Paper Bags: If you bought your tea and it came in a paper bag, transfer it into a more permanent container, unless you intend to consume the tea within a month or two.

Where to Store Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea absorbs moisture like a sponge. If tea gets damp, it begins to mold and decay. Keep loose leaf tea in a cool, dry place. A kitchen cupboard is a great place to store tea. Do not store your loose leaf tea in a refrigerator or freezer, this will introduce moisture and prematurely age your tea.

Loose leaf tea absorbs odors too. Don’t store your tea near spices or you might find your tea tasting like something you had for dinner!

Sunlight robs tea of flavor. Avoid direct sunlight. Even indirect light takes its toll.

How Long Will My Loose Leaf Tea Last?

Properly stored tea can last up to a year, perhaps even longer. However, to insure the best tasting tea, try to use up your supply within 3 months.

I Have REALLY OLD Tea, What Should I Do?

Depending on how old is really old, you might want to try brewing some, provided the tea is dry. If the tea has been exposed to excessive moisture or is damp, then it is not safe to drink, as it can grow mold. If the tea is no good, it will taste bitter and generally unpleasant no matter how short of a time you brew it.

If it’s no good, then you can still put it to good use. Place the tea leaves in a bowl and place in the refrigerator or anywhere in the house you want to absorb moisture and odors.

Fun Fact: Did you know that properly stored pu-erh can last for decades? In fact, a good pu-erh improves with time. That’s because pu-erh is the only fermented tea, aged just like a good wine!

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