You just got your first ever bag of loose leaf tea -- and spoiler alert, it's about to change your life. Loose leaf tea is the most flavorful, sustainable, and authentic way to enjoy tea. But if you're used to tea bag life, there many be some adjustments to make in your tea routine. Primarily, properly storing loose leaf tea looks a bit different than the cardboard box you may be used to. In this blog, we'll unpack the best ways to store your loose leaf tea to ensure it stays at peak freshness.
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.
The Best Ways to Store Loose Leaf Tea
To store your tea, we recommend putting your tea in an airtight container. An airtight vessel will block additional entry of air, and keep your loose leaf tea protected from oxidation. There are also some other factors to keep in mind:
Keep Your Loose Leaf Tea Away from Light
Apart from the oxidation process posing a risk to the quality of your loose leaf tea, you should consider light exposure when storing tea. Studies have shown that light exposure can lead to a metallic flavor in your tea leaves. This degrades the quality of your loose leaf tea.
This means that it may be best to also avoid glass jars. While you may want to go for an artsy mason jar, a glass container could exposure the tea leaves to light. Instead, opt for an opaque jar, tin or canister.
Keep Your Loose Leaf Tea Away from Moisture
Because tea leaves release their flavor when exposed to moisture (aka, how they are able to be steeped in the first place), it's a good idea to keep your tea away from moisture. In general, keep your tea away from moisture in the air by keeping your container in a dry place at room temperature.
Keep Your Loose Leaf Tea Away from Strong Odors
In the same way that teas are known to absorb moisture, they also can absorb outstanding odors in the air. If you keep your tea in a kitchen where you often cook with strong flavors, your tea may start to absorb these flavors, altering the taste of your beverage. The best way to store your tea, then, is not only away from odors but also in a vessel that does not have a strong odor itself. For instance, avoid storing your tea in a container with a pungent rubber seal or a wooden container with an odor.
Other Tips for Storing Tea
When you put your tea into a new canister, make sure to label the canister with the type of tea so you don't risk blending different kinds of tea. We also recommend that you take note of the date you purchased your tea so you can keep track of its freshness.
Another tip is to buy a smaller container. Smaller containers will make sure that there is minimal oxygen sharing space with your tea.
While some loose leaf teas may come in vacuum sealed bags, we actually don't recommend the vacuum method for many teas. This process, while it is effective in removing oxygen, can crush your whole tea leaves, resulting in dust and fannings that are typically found in tea bags.
How Long Does Loose Leaf Tea Last
If you properly store your loose leaf tea, you can keep your tea fresh for up to a year before it loses its flavor. You don't have to fear your tea going bad, but its freshness may be highly correlated to its flavor.
To ensure that you always have fresh tea on hand, we recommend buying in small amounts at a time. If you're purchasing high quality, hand-picked tea, it will be sealed at its freshest peak, which means that each new bag will contain the freshest tea available.
The Mosi Tea subscription is a great option to always have fresh tea on hand -- and to try new, exciting loose leaf teas.