Most of us love a good cup of tea, whether it’s straight from the tea bag or freshly strained loose-leaf tea. Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or a no-nonsense tea drinker, the key to a good brew is to ensure your tea retains its freshness for as long as possible.
Maintaining fresh tea all comes down to proper storage, which helps to maximise both freshness and flavour. This article shows you the best way to store tea and which storage conditions to avoid to ensure you have access to the best quality tea at all times.
Which storage conditions affect tea quality?
Various storage conditions can harshly impact the flavour and freshness of tea, including light, heat, moisture, odour, and air.
Harsh light and UV rays can very quickly diminish the quality of your tea. As a result, it’s best to avoid tea companies storing their products in clear glass or plastic packaging. Similarly, you should avoid replacing tea from its original packaging into a clear container unless you can store it in a dark place such as a cabinet or pantry.
Heat is another component that can significantly impair the flavour of the tea. If you want your tea to stay fresher for longer, make sure it is not stored in direct sunlight or near other heat sources such as an oven.
Tea absorbs moisture incredibly quickly, so it’s crucial to keep your tea away from water until you are ready to use it. Keep your tea away from potentially humid areas like a dishwasher to avoid vapour from affecting its quality.
Teabags and loose-leaf tea are both very sensitive to odours and can quickly become impacted by strong aromas. If you store your tea in a cabinet, make sure it is not kept within the same space as herbs and spices, as these scents can severely impair the flavour of your tea.
Avoid leaving tea exposed within an open space, as air exposure can quickly leave you vulnerable to the effects of moisture and odours. Similarly, sealing it in airtight packaging or absorbent materials like paper bags can also reduce tea quality.
How strongly these factors impact your tea can vary as tea bag manufacturers vary significantly in quality. Where possible, it’s best to buy multi-ply tea bags which can help protect against contamination of the above elements.
What are the best storage conditions for tea?
So, if the above storage conditions are unsuitable for a good brew, which conditions will ensure the perfect cup of tea every time? Both location and packaging are the key elements to consider when it comes to tea storage to avoid experiencing the problems mentioned above.
The perfect location to store your tea is in a neutral space that does not contain any foods or products which emit a strong scent to ensure your tea tastes as fresh as possible. As tea is so sensitive to strong smells, it’s preferable to keep highly scented teas separate from neutral ones.
Whilst a dark space is vital for ensuring your tea remains intact; you must also be mindful that the space is not close to potential heat sources to prevent the flavour from being impacted.
We’ve established that lighting can harm tea quality, so storing it in a dark cabinet or an opaque container will help protect your tea from damaging rays.
It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to check that the containers you use are ideal for food storage. Containers using ceramic materials are excellent for storing tea, as well as non-leaching plastics. Wood containers may not be the best storage solution, given that some have a strong scent that could influence the taste of your tea.
For extra tea protection, it’s often ideal to use heavy duty storage containers. Double lids will more than protect your tea against the elements, usually found on metal tea canisters. Containers will silicone seals are also perfect for adding an extra layer of protection to your tea, ensuring maximum freshness. Alternatively, using multi-ply bags with resealable zips can also help your tea maintain its quality.
Additional tips for maintaining fresh tea
There are some extra steps you can take to avoid your tea becoming contaminated. The first is to only open small amounts of tea at a time in quantities that you know you will be able to drink soon. This solution means that tea is not left out unnecessarily and prevents wasted tea.
It’s always recommended to invest in high-quality tea that is packaged sufficiently in the first place; however, if this is not the case, resist the urge to store your tea in an insufficient alternative. Inadequately stored tea will ultimately lead to a poor brew experience, so it makes sense to take the time to ensure the quality is kept intact.
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