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5 Ways to Destroy Your Tea

How many of you have a kitchen cabinet dedicated to tea? How many of our cabinets are complete unorganized messes — tea in zip-lock bags, old tupperware containers, paper bags from the tea shop? It is time to get organized.

Most tea is vulnerable to 5 things which will gradually cause it to lose flavor and become stale:

  • Air
  • Light
  • Odor
  • Heat
  • Moisture

There are some exceptions, Pu-Erh as well as some other high quality black teas will become better with age.

From Enjoying Tea:

“If you plan on not using your tea for a while, the best place to store it would be in double-lidded, airtight tin canisters or ceramic containers. Another very important rule to remember is to always keep tea at cool and dry places.

In general, black and oolong tea could be kept between 2-3 years under ideal conditions. Tea that is less oxidized has a shorter shelf time. Green and white tea could remain fresh for up to 2 years if stored properly.”

Aside from protecting your tea from the five elements above, it would be helpful to date your storage containers when you fill them with tea. While the time between picking and purchase is unknown, this will give you a ballpark idea of when a tea is nearing is death.

We I recently installed a new tea shelf to hold all of our tea in our new apartment:

1. Wooden Tea Box
This box is a small replica of the larger boxes used to ship teas in India and Nepal.

2. Pu-Erh Bag
This is a cloth bag to store Pu-Erh cakes in that we picked up in Malaysia.

3. Glass Containers
This and the many other similar glass containers came from The Container Store, they run about $2-5 and are airtight.

4. Air Tight Tea Tin
This is an airtight tea tin from China filled with Jasmine Tea.

5. Printed paper tea tin
This is a container from West Lake in China for Dragonwell teas.

6. Airtight Vacuum Container
This was a sample of a new airtight vacuum container we obtained from a Tea Show, we use it to store our Nepali Tulsi tea.

7. Tea Tin
This was another find in China, it came full of Silver Needle White Tea.

8. Paper tea tin
This is also another one from China, it came filled with Oolong.

9. Aluminum tea tin
This is a tea tin from Tea Gschwendner in Chicago.

10. Cardboard tea containers
These cardboard tea containers from Malaysia have airtight metal seals on top.

11. Wooden tea chest from india
This is a great wooden tea chest I purchased from India, we use it to store samples of different black teas from Darjeeling and Assam.

12. Tea tins
These are standard 100g tea tins I picked up from a tea shop in New Jersey.

13. Cinnamon bark container.
This container is made from cinnamon bark and has a strong cinnamon scent inside, this is a great way to store loose leaf masala tea as it adds to the spice.

As you can see, most of our tea storage items are the original containers that came with the tea inside, of course the best place to find these types of containers is in China and India, but here are some helpful tea storage solutions that can be found online:

- Tea Gschwendner http://www.teamerchants.com/Categories/3/StorageTins.aspx

- Enjoying Tea http://www.enjoyingtea.com/tea-storages.html

- Le Palais Gourmet http://bit.ly/4iiTE

- Upton Tea Imports http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/catalog.asp?begin=0&categoryID=84

- EBay http://www.ebay.com

We would love to hear about any great storage finds or tips, also, send in your tea storage area photos and I’ll post them up!

More tips and suggestions from Twitter:

Lynne Kurashima
iheartparis888@WorldofTea Love to store my teas in those colorful origami-wrapped tins!
caleaceaiului@WorldofTea deppends . Some in the fridge, some here : http://twitpic.com/7u8x2. The big box has several #tea containers.
Henrietta Lovell
raretealady@WorldofTea dark and cool and absolutely air tight.
Jamie King
rubofthegreen@WorldofTea Good question. I’ve been saving my old tea tins, but have yet to figure a way to purge the aroma of the old tea from the tins.
ITO_EN
ITO_EN@WorldofTea For tea storage keep it away from Light, Moisture, Heat and air. At our tea store we refrigerate all tea in airtight bags.
LePalaisGourmet@WorldofTea we do http://bit.ly/4iiTE we have canister galore…Tom Cruise just bought a few the other day
Stefano Ćulibrk' stefano_culi@WorldofTea I use air locked glass indonesian spice chests – perfect for any amount.