Tea 101 - Storing Tea

One of the essential things you must know when it comes to tea…is how to store it.  Our precious leaves must be protected from light, moisture, air and other stronger odors thus finding the right storage container is essential for any tea lover.   Why must we protect our fragile leaves from these elements?  Let’s look at each and discuss why:

Eyes

Eyes

Light and UV rays cause rapid degradation of your tea.  Make sure that your tea is kept in the dark!  For example: if you must put your tea in glass jars, make sure that they are stored in a dark cabinet.

Odor is absorbed quite easily by your tea so you want to keep your leaves from areas that give off a strong scent like a trash can or a spice rack just to name a few.

Air simply increases the chances of odor being present and latching on to your leaves.  You want to avoid containers that are porous (such as a paper bag or a plastic Ziploc bag).  This also means avoiding leaving your tea out or, when you do store it, allowing excess air to get packed in.

Protection from Moisture seems like common sense since it is the mixture of this element and the delicate leaves that create our beloved beverage.  This includes more than just protecting it from water, but from humidity as well.  Do not store your tea above a dishwasher vent or fridge.  Also, keep your dry tea away from boiling water….that is until you are ready to brew it.

Now you know the why…let’s look at the different types and their benefits:

Tins like the ones in the above photo are the most popular.  They offer protection from each of the aforementioned elements.

Wooden canisters also provide protection; however wood can also alter the taste of the tea by adding its own natural woody texture.  If you want to use wood then you have it properly sealed before you use it so that your tea is protected.

Glazed Ceramic offers protection from light and moisture; however, not all ceramics are air tight.  It is recommended that a silicon seal be used to close the container.

Plastic (particularly the non-leeching kind) are great storage containers, but be wary of the clear plastics because they do not protect from light!  Be wary that some of the cheaper plastics absorb the odor of the tea, which makes it difficult when you run out and want to use the same container for a different type of tea.

Glassware is very similar to the clear plastic in a sense that it must be stored in a dark place to prove effective.  I highly suggest using mason jars because they add that extra air tight security.

What do you all think?  What containers do you use and why?

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