The proper way to store tea

on August 13, 2020

The proper way to store tea

We humans love collecting stuff, be it memorabilias, habits, idiosyncrasies or tea. Tea lovers I have met over the decade pride themselves on collecting tea from all over the world and having a huge collection of it. 

Whether for your collection or for consumption, tea should be stored with care. 

A little bit goes a long way

To begin with, you should always buy as little as possible and as frequently as possible from a purveyor or curator you trust implicitly. Tea is not a food, but perhaps more like a fine wine. From the time you open the seal, its flavours and aroma start weakening. 

Assuming that you receive your tea in a vacuum packed and nitrogen flushed, opaque container/packet which is airtight and away from heat, strong aromas and moisture, then the tea will have a longer shelf life. Make sure the temperature is just right, as you would with wine.
Keep the variables constant or your tea will degrade within a few months. The aroma will be lost, the tea will become flat or damp or both. Green and Oolong teas will be oxidised and turn into black tea. 

The Infinitea Originals packet is ideal for storage of tea for short periods provided one takes care and the necessary precautions. You should seal the zip lock carefully and compress afterwards to double check. Keep the packet away from heat, aromas and moisture in a cool, dark place. After opening the seal, ensure that you seal it back as quickly as possible and that the packet is not left open as this will lead to loss of aroma.

The science of storage

There is also a lot of confusion on whether tea can be stored in a fridge or freezer. Let’s think about basic principles of heat, physics and chemistry.

If the packet has not been vacuum sealed then there is still air inside of it. Once the temperature of the tea changes inside the machine, the same will happen to the air in it. Soon after you take the packet of tea out of the machine, condensation will take place, settle on the leaves and render the tea damp and useless. This effect will be much more pronounced when the packet is in the freezer. That being said however, tea keeps best in the fridge when it is vacuum packed and hence there is no air with water vapour in it. With that too the caveat is that once you take the packet out, you have to consume the tea as soon as possible. You cannot keep taking the tea in and out of the fridge as this will lead to condensation and then dampness. So this method is best recommended when you need to store tea away for a prolonged period of time, for whatever reason. 

Appreciating good tea

There are countless things that go into making a delicate and perfect cup of tea. We, as modern consumers, are fortunate to get to purchase the best tea in the world and are far removed from the toil that the planters have to go through to perfect that cup. It takes years and generations to make this cup. The first step to respecting the craft and a great product is to understand how to take care of it.