I get asked every day what’s the best way to store tea.
The quick answer is in non-see-through, airtight containers away from moisture, light, heat, or intense cold.
The following comment is usually, "why?"
So here’s why.
TEA RULE #1: Everything that touches your tea needs to be clean and dry.
Moisture is not your tea’s friend. Tea leaves absorb moisture from the air. So you want to keep water and moisture away from your leaves until you are ready to steep your tea. Storing teas in the refrigerator or the freezer is also a big no-no, as your tea will absorb moisture and odors. You also need to be careful when touching loose leaf tea with wet hands or utensils. Just a little bit of water or moisture from your hands or a spoon can cause mold and ruin all your tea.
TEA RULE #2: Use non-see-through, airtight canisters to store your tea.
My teas go home in non-see-through resealable bags with a food-safe lining. You can leave your teas in these if you want, but I really like to use my small and medium silver airtight canisters to store my tea at home. In the store, I use large ceramic, airtight, non-see-through canisters.
TEA RULE #3: Store your tea away from heat or cold.
Heat and tea are a bad combination (before brewing, of course). Your tea leaves like it cool, not cold, mind you, but cool, so think room temperature. Sudden temperature changes can cause damage to your tea leaves. Avoid storing your tea above your stove, oven, or refrigerator. Your pantry would be a really good place to house your tea collection.
TEA RULE #4: Store your tea away from sunlight.
Once your tea has been processed, continued exposure to sunlight is another no-no. Sunlight causes tea leaves to start degrading or breaking down, which shortens the freshness and lifespan of your tea — and no one wants that, right? So if you have your tea near a window, you want to move it to your pantry or a cupboard.
TEA RULE #5: Store your tea away from strong odors.
Your loose leaf teas will absorb odors if given a chance. You want to make sure where you store your tea isn’t near anything with strong smells. Your spice cabinet wouldn’t be a good choice. Scented candles, potpourri, or other lingering odors can also be a problem. So store those items far away from your tea. You may also want to separate your flavored tea from your non-flavored teas. If the flavored tea isn’t sealed correctly, it will invade the non-flavored tea, and soon you’ll have all flavored tea.
If you follow these 5 simple rules, you’ll have fresh, great-tasting loose leaf tea all the time.