Good tea storage simply protects tea from the things that can affect its flavour and aroma, so you end up with the best possible results in your cup. Here is a quick overview of the things you need to consider when storing your tea, and some suggestions.
The basics of tea storage are simple: To maintain the best quality, protect your tea from air, light, moisture, temperature change, and outside odors.
Some teas are more or less susceptible to these factors, but if you are careful about these basics, you will have better results from all teas.
The last factor in tea quality is time. All teas will change over time, usually as a result of the other factors. Most teas change by gradually losing their flavours and aromas—you can still use them, but you’ll enjoy less and less quality in your cup. Generally, fresher tea is better.
No matter how much you love tea—and we do—the less time you actually see it, the better it will be in your cup.
Tea needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. The container should be airtight and dark. The temperature should change as little as possible. No moisture should be added to the container. The less time the tea in the container is exposed to air, the longer it will maintain quality. The tea should not come into contact with other flavours or odours.
Glass jars and plastic containers are not good choices for tea storage because they let in light. Sunlight exposure is particularly bad, because it can also create heat and UV light can degrade your tea very quickly. Plastics can also add unwanted flavours, etc. to your tea.
Teas absorb flavour and aroma quite easily, so we recommend that you don’t store your tea in the same cupboard as your spices, and keep strong-flavoured teas away from delicate teas.
A kitchen cupboard with an opaque door is a great place to store tea—just don’t use a cupboard over the stove (or kettle!).
Don’t add moisture to the tea you’re storing. For example, don’t use the spoon you just stirred your tea with to refill your infuser. Our webmaster does this more than he likes to admit.
Keep most of your tea in a large container, and use a smaller container to hold enough for a few days at a time. This keeps most of the tea from being exposed every time you take some out to brew.
Non-reactive metal and hard surfaces make the best containers for tea.
When we launched our Christmas teas in 2020, we offered them in gift tins. These tins come with an airtight lid and hold approximately 150g of tea. They have a food grade lining which protects the tea from the outside metal.
We have used these tins for many years in our stores and gift products.
These tins and our suggestions will help deal with all the factors that can reduce tea quality except time. There’s only one way to minimise the effect of time on tea but it’s the most enjoyable advice of all.
Tea is for drinking—use it up and enjoy it while it’s at its best!