Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tea Storage, Part I

When it comes to tea storage, there isn't a single universal way that works for all teas. Some teas are meant to be stored and aged while others should be enjoyed fresh. Tea merchants' storage requirements are different from those for storing tea at home. Also, there is the difference between long term storage and just putting your tea away until tomorrow morning. So when speaking about tea storage, everyone may have a different purpose in mind. This post is not meant to be an all-purpose solution. If you have any questions after reading this blog, please post them as comments and I'll do my best to tackle each question.

The tea stoage environment has two components - the packaging of the tea, and the place where the package is kept. I'll divide this post into 2 parts. In part I, I'll discuss short term storage. Part II will talk about longer term storage and tea specific requirements.

First of all, let's tackle the easy one - a good place to put your tea away until tomorrow morning. In this case the packaging is the most important. The key is air tightness to keep foreign scent/odor and moisture out. Tea is a super odor/scent absorbant. Without an air tight container, you must pay attention to the general environment in which you keep your tea. If you always purchase small amount of tea which you can consume within a month, then you can just keep them in the tin can or reclosable foil bag they come in. These containers are reasonably air tight. If you believe metal containers are bad for storing tea, then transfer the tea into a glass or porcelain container. (I personally have no problem storing tea in tin cans). When using glass container, make sure it's air-tight and place it out of direct sunlight. When using porcelain containers, make sure they are air-tight. Pay attention to the rubber seal commonly found on many porcelain container nowadays. These rubber seal often has a plastic odor to it. Plastic containers are not preferable because they usually have an plastic odor. Reclosable sandwish bags and ziplock bags are okay but need a few layers in order to lock in the natural aroma. Scented tea like jasmine or other flavored tea would be fine with just 1 layer of ziplock. You won't notice anything even when these teas have absorbed other scent. As long as you keep your tea in an air tight container, you can place your tea anywhere that's away from heat source.

When choosing a can or jar, make sure the container itself is odor/scent free. For an container that's previously closed for at least 2 days, you can test it by opening it and immediately smell the inside. If you can smell something, then wash and dry it thoroughly and test again. For a previously open container, close it tightly and let it sit for at least 2 day and test it the same way.

Lastly, it's a good idea to  keep only a 2-3 week supply of tea handy, and keep the rest seperate for longer term storage.

If you can't find any good container and the bag you have is not reclosable, you can seal the bag like this:


Fold the bag all the way to remove most air.


Fold the bag this way, all the way down.


Completely folded all the way.


Use a rubber band or a clip to secure.

End of part I.

Before you leave our blog, please participate in our survey about which measurement of weight you prefer when you buy tea. The survey in on top of the right column, available until Dec. 31, 2011. Thank you.

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