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How To Store Loose Leaf Tea

How Storage Affects Quality Of Tea

How to Keep Loose Leaf Tea between Infusions

If youre an avid tea drinker, you want to protect your tea from these main taste stealers:

  • Strong smells and odors

These five problems are lurking around every corner of your kitchen, from the cupboard and kitchen counter to the refrigerator.

Thats why its so important to think about proper storage, whether youll be displaying your tea in a sweet tea station, a tea storage tin on your counter, a dedicated tea corner or tea cabinet, or in mason jars in your pantry.

Luckily for tea lovers, keeping your favorite teas fresh involves only a few main storage concerns:

  • keeping it in a dry place in anairtight container to keep out moisture, air, and odors
  • keeping it away from light
  • keeping it in a cool place at a constant room temperature

These tips wont keep your tea fresh forever, but they will help keep your tea fresh for a long time.

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Why Does Tea Storage Matter

Because tea comes from fresh plants, it is constantly deteriorating. In particular, there are certain teas that are prevented from oxidizing during their production and sourcing, including green tea and some white teas. These teas will continue to oxidize over time, altering their flavor, aroma and quality.

For teas that were not prevented from oxidization during processing, like black teas, there is a lesser risk of a major flavor shift. However, tea pros still advise paying special attention to how you store these loose leaf teas.

Can Loose Leaf Tea Be Stored In Plastic Containers

You should avoid storing your tea in plastic containers for a few reasons. One: plastic absorbs odors. The tea will absorb the odors of anything that was previously stored in the container. Plastic isn’t the best barrier against odors, either. Another reason to avoid plastic containers is that certain botanicals contain high amounts of aromatic oils. Lavender, chamomile, and the spices used in chai, are all highly aromatic. The trouble is that these essential oils act as solvents to the plastic, and will literally melt the plastic. This means you will get microplastic particles in your tea.

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How To Store Loose Leaf Tea The Right Way

Many people assume that tea cant go bad because its not a food. Others believe that tea can stay fresh indefinitely because its a dry good. But the truth is a bit complicated.

While most teas do have long shelf lives, no tea is immortal. It is true that people in places like China and India routinely drink teas that are 20, 30, or even 40 years old. That doesnt mean that the pouch of loose tea you purchase at the local grocery store is intended to become an heirloom you can pass on to your grandchildren.

This is where knowing how long different types of teas can stay fresh becomes helpful. Its even more important to know some tips for storing tea for optimal freshness.

You cant play it fast and loose when it comes to storing your precious tea. Proper storage is essential for freshness, flavor, and safety.

Lets take a deeper look at everything you need to know about how to store loose leaf tea.

Choosing Loose Leaf Tea

Buy Loose Leaf Tea Storage Containers  How To Choose

While tea bags are convenient, most of the flavor is lost, which is why loose leaf tea is best for anyone who truly wishes to enjoy their beverage. You can also re-steep high quality loose leaf teas, making them more economical than bagged teas which can generally not be re-steeped in the long run. While loose leaf takes an extra step of preparation, its worth it to catch the woodsy tones of an oolong or the savoriness of a green tea. Its also a way to treat yourself to something special in the midst of a frantic schedule.

A general rule of thumb when looking at tea is the larger the leaf, the higher the quality and the better the flavor. Youll also want to smell the tea to make sure it hasnt gone stale. Generally speaking, if it smells good it will taste good! For herbal teas, you want to focus on color and scent if the herbs are faded or dont have a fragrance, they are probably too old.

And always, always, always check your ingredients! If a tea is full or artificial flavors or sweeteners, theres a good chance those things are trying to hide a low quality tea. This is also a good opportunity to see if your tea is fair trade or organic, especially if thats important to you.

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Shop Best Loose Leaf Tea

Discover the best loose leaf teas as rated by Sips by’s 600,000 tea-loving Members. Across all tea types, from black tea to green tea to herbal tea and more, these are the best loose leaf teas from different tea brands around the world. Find your favorite loose leaf tea – no matter the type or flavor of loose leaf tea you’re searching for, Sips by has options you’ll love. Discover your new favorite loose leaf tea, as well as disposable tea bag kits to make brewing loose leaf tea easy.

Storing Tea In Containers

Even though there are differences between loose leaf and teas bags they both need to be stored properly to ensure freshness and sanitation. However, not all tea-storage options are created equal.

Whatever way you store your tea, you should store it in a container that blocks out as much light as possible to preserve the leaves and, therefore, the flavor.

There are many great tea storage ideas that you can implement to keep your tea fresh. Read on about what to do and what not to do to keep your precious tea leaves at their best.

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Best Containers To Store Tea

When storing loose leaf tea, you should prefer using the following containers. Ensure, however, that they are airtight, odor free, and are completely dry.

  • Stainless steel tins: These are designed to block sunlight, keep the odors out, and are also durable.
  • Colored glass: Dark-colored glass is a good tea storage container as it easily blocks sunlight, is easy to clean, and doesnt absorb odors.

Tips For Storing Loose Tea In Your Kitchen

Loose Leaf Tea

Many people dont realize how long loose-leaf tea can last. Black tea and green tea can stay fresh for up to 18 months when stored properly. On the other hand, oolong tea can remain fresh for up to two years! Of course, this is only possible when you know how to store your tea.Here are a few tips to learn how to store loose-leaf tea in your home.

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What Are The Basic Tenets Of Proper Tea Storage

  • Tea must be kept in an airtight container.
  • It must be kept safe from moisture and strong odours.
  • Tea must be kept away from light and heat.
  • Tea is best stored in bulk.

Airtight isnt air-free. Tea storage tins help create a seal that is considered airtight but there is still ambient air in the tin. Having said that, tea storage tins will definitely keep your tea fresher for longer than if you store your tea in a container without an airtight seal, or no container at all.

Tea storage boxes dont offer as strong of a seal as a tea tin, but they do keep out moisture and light, and protect the tea from strong odours. The more tea you store in a tin or box, the less surface area it will have to make contact with oxygen. Therefore, tea will stay fresher for longer if you store the tea in bulk.

If youre keen to increase your teas lifespan for a long time, the best method is to vacuum seal the tea and then store it in an opaque box.

How Can I Tell If My Tea Is Still Fresh

Here is a fun word to add to your vocabulary and impress your friends with at parties: Organoleptic. It sounds like a crazy long scientific term, but all it means is that you use your sensory organs of sight, smell, taste, and mouthfeel to determine the quality of a product. Does it look fresh or drab? Are the colors vibrant or dull? Is there a definitive aroma or does it smell flat? Are the flavors true and distinct or does it taste off, metallic, or simply old? Your sense organs are connected to the world’s most powerful computer: your brain, which has evolved since the dawn of time to ensure your survival. One of the things the brain can do is determine if something is good to eat or not! So use your senses, give it a sniff, and try it out.

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Tea Should Be Kept Away From Noxious Odors

Tea leaves absorb the scent of their environment. Jasmine tea contains jasmine flowers, and so the tea is jasmine scented.

However, if tea leaves get in contact with an odor, they will absorb that odor.

Wooden containers, airtight tin cans, and plastic containers can prevent the tea from taking on any undesirable flavors.

Keep your tea away from any kind of strong scent.

Loose Leaf Tea Storage Ideas

Loose Tea Leaf Storage

Many times quality loose-leaf tea will come in a container thats both airtight and protects against light. If thats the case, youre good to go. For example, this tea tin fills the bill without needing to be transferred to another container.

But if your tea came in a plastic bag or paper bag, youll need to move it to a more protective container. Here are some of the best containers for effective, functional, and pretty tea storage.

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Always Avoid Heat And Light

Finally, avoiding heat and light is essential because this can ultimately ruin the quality of your tea, too. When tea is exposed to UV light, the taste becomes metallic. Not only is this unpleasant, but it also means that your tea is no longer safe to enjoy.

On the other hand, when tea is exposed to heat, this can ultimately create an increased rate of oxidation, which means that it’ll go bad faster. That’s why keeping your tea in a cool and dark place is ultimately the best way to store your favorite tea leaves.

The Best Way To Store Loose Leaf Tea

We recommend storing loose leaf tea in an opaque, airtight container to prolong its shelf life. In order to keep tea fresh, you should protect tea leaves from exposure to air, heat, light, and moisture. This means storing tea in an airtight container and keeping it in a cool, dark place. You should avoid storing tea near any sources of heat, like a stove or a sunny window.

Tea Tins

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The Elements Which Will Ruin Your Tea

When it comes to loose leaf tea storage, there are a number of natures elements which should be avoided at all costs!

  • Oxygen also known as oxidization, is one of the most important factors in changing a teas flavor, aroma and strength. Some teas are more susceptible to oxidation than others, like green tea in comparison to black tea. This is why its necessary to ensure whatever container you keep it in is airtight.
  • Light sunlight, or any form of light, will erode your loose leaf teas potency. This is why its vital for the container you choose to be opaque, especially if you plan to keep it for a long time.
  • Heat heat contributes in releasing the flavors of tea leaves, which is why we boil water to help extract that taste and aroma. So exposing your loose leaf tea to any form of heat when storing it will spoil the leaves.
  • Odors tea leaves are known for their taste and smell, but are also prone to absorbing other aromas and smells. If you store your loose leaves close to other strong smells such as cinnamon, for example, its very likely that the smell and taste of the tea will change, so keep this in mind when storing your container.
  • Moisture water is the main ingredient in activating tea leaves fragrance and taste, without it you cant drink. So exposing your loose leaf tea to any form of moisture will ruin them. Wherever you store your tea leaves must be a completely dry area.

How And Where Should I Store My Loose Leaf Tea

Tea Basics : How To Brew Loose Leaf Tea

When trying to keep your loose leaf tea to last, and be as fresh as possible, the two most important factors are that your choice of container is airtight, and does not let in any light.

You have a few options which are best suited for loose leaf tea preservation, the two best ones are opaque vacuum sealed bags and stainless steel or tin jars. Both block out light and will keep oxidization to a minimum. You should avoid using plastic containers or plastic bags as they absorb smells. Also, avoid any form of glass jars which let in light.

If you are planning on keeping your tea for a while then a handy tip is to date the bag or tin so you know how long youve had it. Dont worry if you cant remember. You can always just brew a cup of it and youll be able to tell from the strength of the tea the weaker it is, the longer youve had it.

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Store Your Tea In Bulk

Another important tip that helps maintain your teas quality over time is to store it in bulk. This keeps it fresher longer because it keeps more air out of the container. In addition, keeping all your tea in one place allows it to maintain the same freshness and fragrance you enjoyed when you first bought it.

Benefits Of Tea For Health: Natural Teas

Herbal teas, created by steeping herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots in hot water, have lower antioxidant contents than green, white, black, and oolong teas. Depending on the plant used, their chemical makeup varies greatly.

Ginger, ginseng, ginkgo Biloba, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos , chamomile, and echinacea are among the varieties.

There hasnt been much research on the health advantages of herbal teas, but there isnt much evidence to back up claims that they promote weight loss, immunity to colds, and peaceful sleep.

Observations are as follows:

Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may slow the growth of cancer cells and help prevent the consequences of diabetes, such as loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage.

Echinacea: Research on this supplement, frequently recommended as a strategy to treat the common cold, is conflicting.

Hibiscus: According to a tiny study, three cups of hibiscus tea per day helped persons with mildly raised blood pressure.

Rooibos : A fermented plant from South Africa. Although there have been few investigations in medicine, it contains flavonoids with anti-cancer effects.

Reference: Health benefits of tea consumption

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What Are Different Types Of Tea And Their Associated Health Advantages

Many different beverages go by the term tea, but according to purists, only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and put-erh tea are true teas. The Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, is the source of all of them, and it contains special antioxidants known as flavonoids. The most effective of these, ECGC, may aid in the fight against free radicals that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and blocked arteries.

In addition, all of these teas include caffeine and theanine, which impact the brain and increase mental alertness.

The amount of polyphenols is often lowered the more processed the tea leaves are. Flavonoids are polyphenols. Oolong and black teas have lower polyphenol contents than green tea because they have been oxidized or fermented, yet they have a strong antioxidizing effect.

According to various studies, tea may have the following potential health advantages:

Green tea: Made from steamed tea leaves, it has a high EGCG content and has received a lot of research. The antioxidants in green tea may inhibit the development of colorectal, bladder, breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. They may also prevent artery blockages, burn fat, protect the brain from oxidative stress, lower the risk of stroke and neurological diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons, and improve cholesterol levels.

Is Daily Consumption Of Black Tea Okay

Best Way To Store Loose Leaf Tea To Ensure It Stays Fresh

On average, four cups of black tea a day is probably safe for most people. More than 4 cups of black tea per day may not be safe, and excessive drinking may have negative consequences due to caffeine. A quick way to enhance your antioxidant intake and reduce your risk of future health problems is to include black tea in your daily routine. Black tea contains heart-healthy flavonoids. Black teas tannins may calm the digestive tract, reducing the likelihood of stomach distress and diarrhea.

A study published in Food Reviews International also reveals that consuming black tea consistently may support a balanced bacterial ecosystem. The precise amount of tannins in tea may differ depending on the species and preparation. Most people should limit their daily intake to 3 cups or fewer to be safe.

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Become The Best At Storing Your Loose Leaf Tea

While it doesnt make the top 5 how to store loose leaf tea tips above, we also recommend that you keep your tea organized and keep notes when at all possible. When you purchase a tea, if it doesnt have the information already on the label, make sure to write down the name, the vendor, the ingredients, and the date of purchase. It is also a good idea to store your tea in an organized way that makes sense to you. This can be alphabetically, by type of tea , by the vendor, or by purchase date. It doesnt have to be a complicated system, but it definitely beats a sandwich bag of tea with no name or a pile of loose teabags in your cabinet.

If you follow the suggestions and guidelines above, you will be well on your way to protecting your loose leaf tea and keeping fresh and flavorful whenever you are ready to take a sip of happiness!

If you have additional questions on how to store loose leaf tea, just use the comments below to let us know. You may even help someone else by asking a simple question.

Andrea Webb

Creator and Owner of Happy Turtle Tea. Andrea Webb is a geek with an over the moon passion for loose leaf tea. When she retired from the corporate world, she decided that she was going to pursue her passion. She had always dreamed of blending her own loose leaf tea at home. Happy Turtle Tea was created by Andrea Webb at the intersection of her love for all things geeky, turtles, and loose leaf tea.

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