Storage of Tea

How does one store tea? Which way will preserve the tea’s flavors throughout the time it takes one to drink it? I used to never think of these things. Even still they are not the top of my mind, but each tea company insists on telling us and re-telling us. Most of the time I think it is to increase the price of their sales, but tea books and magazine also suggest a proper way to store the tea. Here is the “proper” way to store tea: away from sunlight, in a dry and cool environment, and in an airtight container. People also argue what an airtight container is, some way that the only way to keep air out is to be able to squeeze the air out, some say that a specific canister keeps the air out. My advise: get a couple of containers that you think are pretty and fit your style. If you are like me, you could not possibly have as many containers that you do tea. Plus the storage of all of the teas is astronomical amounts of space, that most people do not have. So I keep my teas in little Ziploc bags, squeezing the air out, and put several in tea canister. This to keep it “airtight” and away from light.

Whenever people are dogmatic about how they store the tea, I just ask myself how Jane Austen kept her tea. They did not have little plastic baggies nor was foil readily available to keep the sunlight out. They had tea caddies, which were small wooden boxes. These caddies were also kept under lock and key because the families did not anyone to steel their tea and replace it with something quite unpleasant. Also the family wanted to protect their china. I am thinking the families in the 1800’s did not have the wide selection of tea that we do now. The tea caddy described in Tea with Jane Austen was a wooden box that had two compartments, one for green and one for black tea, and usually a glass bowl in the middle for blending the teas. Here tea caddies are described further. So the important thing is to keep the tea dry and away from light. The higher the quality of tea, the longer the tea will stay fresh. If you are a tea bag person (which I do like at times), the best bags are the ones individually wrapped in their own foil wrappings. However, there are exceptions to every rule. Find your own way to keep tea dry, away from light, and with little air as possible.

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