If you need a fresh, invigorating cup of tea, with all its subtle undertones and nuances intact, it is essential that you store your tea in the best possible way.
The five enemies of tea are light, heat, moisture, odour and air.
- Light : Tea does not like bright lights. So store tea in non-transparent canisters inside a cupboard, which you do not open too often
- Heat : Tea does not like heat either – unless you are brewing it, of course. So store that precious package in a regular cupboard, far from heat sources like the stove or other electrical appliances.
- Moisture : Tea tends to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and become soggy. And great care is taken to remove just so much moisture from the tea leaves to ensure that you have a perfect cup of tea, so you really do not want to jeopardize that, do you? So store it in a tightly closed container. And not in the refrigerator please.
- Odour : Tea tends to absorb odours very fast. This is a big plus in a way – how else would you get amazing flavours like jasmine tea or tulsi (basil) tea? But store it near camphor or eucalyptus – and you know what you will get. So make sure your tea is far away from your spice box, your medicine cabinet etc.
- Air : Another no-no. So look for an airtight box, a metallic one being the best. If there is a container that has a pry out lid, with a cover over that – it is ideal.
So what IS the best way to store tea? Here are a few suggestions:
Tea can be stored in a pottery or earthenware jars provided it has an airtight lid with a seal. The container should be dry, free of odour and completely sealed when closed. Tea leaves of different varieties should be stored separately to help retain their distinctive flavor. Tea can also be stored in glass jars, which should be kept in a cool, dark place.
Cans made of metal, wood or bamboo can be used to store tea. Double-layered cans are preferable because they protect tea against dampness. If the tea is not to be used for a while, the can should be sealed with scotch tape and kept in a cool, dry place.
The loose tea or tea bags should be placed in vacuum sealable bags. The sealed bag should be placed in metal container with a tight fitting lid. Tea has to be kept as cool and dry as possible. Heavy food smells like fish should not be allowed to contaminate the tea.