Friday, January 13, 2012

Hot Tea Enjoyment #4 - Storing your tea

Somehow the Tea Enjoyment series I started in January 2010 became derailed sometime in March 2010.  I apologize to those who were actually following it.  If you were not, what I started in January 2010 in celebration of Hot Tea Month was a series of  7 points about improving your enjoyment of tea.

To see the first few posts, check out:

It was the 7 points that got me thinking about how I sell my loose tea and I realized that I was not using the best storage method so I changed.  Discussing that lets me move to the next Step in the 7 points.

For reference here are the 7 points to enjoying hot tea:
1. Try a new type of tea.
2. Buy loose tea instead of bags

4. Understand how to store tea.
5. Experiment with tea in other drinks,
6. Host a tea tasting with friends.
7. Put brewed tea leaves to good use.

4. Understand how to store tea.

When storing teas the key is avoiding exposure to light, heat, moisture, and air Use opaque food-safe containers with a sealed lid. Tins and plastic are best. Because tea has a certain amount of moisture in the leaf that can be trapped in glass it is generally not considered best, especially clear glass.  That being said I personally store much of my tea in amber glass jars. 
Store tea in dark, airtight containers such as tins or opaque plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

Split large quantities into smaller packages, and vacuum-pack them for long-term storage. Keep them in a dark cupboard or opaque container to exclude light.

Keep herbal teas away from other spices and strong odors. Herbal teas can absorb odors and flavors from other foods and ruin the brew. Each herbal tea should have its own tin or container. Do not pack several different teas in the same container.

Store herbal teas for up to six months in an opaque airtight container. Vacuum-packed teas keep for up to two years. Place them in a cool, dark place but not in the refrigerator.  The air circulation in your refrigerator is actually very drying and can shorten the life of tea and other dried herbs by more than half.

At the Backyard Patch I sold all my loose teas in zip seal bags.  That is not bad, but I decided that since I pride myself on long shelf life, the tea needed to have a long life container, so in 2010 we switched to selling our loose tea in round metal tins.  They stack nicely, can be magnetized to the refrigerator for easy access, and are a perfect storage container.  If you would like tea in these wonderful new containers, check out our herbal teas on the website.

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