Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three Secrets to Storing Your Tea

Tea acts much like baking soda when it is around other aromatic foods and beverages. Because of this, it absorbs everything aromatic much like a tiny magnet. Except, unlike baking soda, you want your tea to avoid absorbing everything around it. 

How Do I Prevent My Tea from Absorbing Stray Flavors and Scents? 
To keep your tea fresh and flavorful, you need to store it properly. When looking for an ideal storage container, remember you need it to be airtight, to keep tea dry and in the dark.

The Most Important Thing is to Keep Your Tea in an Airtight Container
By using an airtight container, you automatically prevent any outside elements from contaminating your tea. This is simply because of the fact that if nothing can penetrate the container, then nothing can be absorbed by the tea. Let's assume you kept your tea in a spice drawer. As we both know, when you open your spice drawer it smells, obviously, like spices. Without an airtight container, all those smells would be absorbed by the tea changing its aroma and flavor. 

Flavor isn't the Only Thing you Have to Worry About
Another enemy of tea is moisture. Since tea is almost always kept in some type of container, even a little bit of moisture can cause mold to grow on your tea. Mold loves to grow in moist enclosed areas. To prevent this you need to make sure your tea stays dry. 
This is actually pretty easy. Just make sure you don't keep your tea in any damp area of your house. One of the biggest offenders of this rule is your refrigerator. Because the way refrigerators cool themselves, they keep cycling extremely cold air. This cycling can cause moisture to build up in your tea container, which then causes mold.

Light Can Also be an Enemy
Many people also believe that direct sunlight can degrade the taste of your tea. The theory is that the UV rays in light will break down the polyphenols in tea, thus reducing the flavor. This is one theory that, in my opinion, is still debatable. But if you want to be safe, make sure your tea storage container is not clear. If you want to use a clear container make sure you keep it out of direct sunlight. 

Are All of these Steps Necessary? 
In my opinion, yes. But it is not as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is find a tin or other container that has an airtight lid. After that, just keep the tea in your pantry, a drawer, a cabinet or even your countertop as long as there is no direct sunlight.  I have used recycled glass jars because the lids seal tightly and placed them in my cabinet.  My cabinets are dark so the jar does not need to be.  I will stuff zip seal bags of similar teas into the jar, loose tea bags, and many times tea in the bottom of the jar. 
I can be irreverent with my tea, but when you drink it everyday both at the beginning and end of the day, you just want it handy and this method does that while protecting my tea from the other foods stored in those same cabinets.
If you want to try out a selection of the Backyard Patch’s more than 22 different herbal teas, or several of our dozen or more black or green teas blended with herbs, see our Tea Samplers available online.

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