How to Store Loose Leaf Tea
High quality loose leaf tea sometimes can be very costly. To avoid that expensive tea getting stale because of improper storage, we need to learn the ideas how to keep them. The more less-fermented, more expensive or higher aromatic tea, the more difficult to take care. Lots people have certain misunderstanding in the method of tea storage, believe that to keep tea in refrigerator for fresher effect, and some people even take tea out of refrigerator brew it instantly.
Is that correct to store tea in the refrigerator?
Tea is very sensitive to moisture and smell, can easily absorb moisture and odor from the air if not proper stored that may lose its original flavor in the short period of time. So we need to get a proper way to store tea.
Although temperature gives significant effects to tea storage, the storing containers are also particular to be used, such as tins and porcelain jar are better than wooden box or plastic bag.
Green tea is one of teas needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, especially those high aromatic dragon well green teas or whichever the green tea you want it to keep for more than a year. It needs to be airtight sealed before store in the cold. If that tea is one of your regular daily drinking beverages, it is not necessary to do it so. Because you need to be aware of one important factor that temperature of the tea just taken out from freezer, need to be picked up to your room temperature before first opening in order to be coordinated. Otherwise, tea will condense the moisture from the air, thereby increase the water content in the tea, and result the deterioration to the remaining tea. Or if you drink tea occasionally, you don’t want your tea getting bad by the improper long storing time. You may want to separately tight-seal your green tea into few smaller packages and store them into freezer. Whenever you like to try green tea, just grab one pack so that will not affect the quality of your other small packs.
Light fermented oolong teas also are suggested to be kept in the cold for storage such as Tieguanyin tea. Other oolongs like Wuyi Rock Tea or black tea both containing low content of polyphenols which slows deterioration speed are not necessary for cold storage, as well as flower teas which have rich floral scents that the aroma can be inhibited and reduced in cold condition.
I believe most of people drinking pu erh tea understand how to keep pu erh tea. The best way to store pu erh tea is to keep it in room temperature, and needs certain air flow through. Pu erh tea is fermented tea or post fermented tea contains beneficial strains which characterize “the more aging the better taste”. These enzymes need air flow, cool and proper humidity to produce effects but not in freezer or cooler. Humidity can be around 50% to 65% to allow fermentation. Over-dry condition will slow down the fermentation; on the contrary it is susceptible to be mildewed in over-wet condition. People live in southern states of United States where the average humidity above 70% definitely needs something like dehumidifier for long-term tea collection. Unlike northern area where we are use humidifier most of time to increase humidity to indicated range especially for pu erh tea cakes. And dehumidifiers rarely run even we keep them plugged in.
The storage we talk about here is basically against long-term tea storing, especially to those who like to collect good quality pu erh tea cakes need to understand how to take care of your favorite collection without being deteriorated by improper storing.
Any missing information are welcome to comment.