One of our absolute most frequently asked questions is, “How should I store my tea?” While there are a few rules about how to store tea, it’s not at all complicated.
The Basics of How to Store Tea
Tea is very sensitive to light, air, and temperature. The more light and air it is exposed to, the quicker it goes stale. When tea is stale it loses flavor. It’s perfectly fine to drink as long as you like the way it tastes, but you might find that you need to use more tea leaf to get a similar flavor to when the tea was fresh.
It also picks up surrounding scents very easily. This is why teabags sold in cardboard boxes usually taste like cardboard. Then there’s the issue of the quality of tea that’s often put into tea bags, which looks like dust and is quite literally the bottom of the tea barrel.
So to get down to the nitty-gritty of how to store tea, here are a few do’s and don’ts.
- keep your tea in a tightly closed container
- keep your tea in a non-porous container
- tins are the best container
- glass containers are fine as long as it’s kept in the dark, at the back of the cupboard, and isn’t being exposed to light several times a day (so not in the kids’ snack area)
- store your tea in the refrigerator or freezer – the moisture will slowly start to steep the tea before you drink it, and it will absorb the aroma of last night’s chili
- put your tea in glass containers left out in the open
Case in point: the tea we keep in the small glass jars here at the store goes stale within 3-4 weeks, sometimes sooner. Whereas the tea kept in the large tins will stay fresh for up to two years, not that it ever sits around that long.
So please, no matter where you get your tea, don’t buy it from somewhere that stores it all in glass jars. Yes, it looks gorgeous on the shelf and they might even cop to “breaking the rules” of how to store tea, but what you end up buying is a stale or half-stale product.
It’s ok to be a tea snob. In fact, wear that moniker proudly! You have better things to spend your money on than stale tea. And now you know how to properly store your tea to keep it fresh for as long as possible.