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The shelf life and value for your tea is imperative to how efficient you store it. By adopting poor tea storage techniques, you will be creating a room for accumulation of the impurities. Poor environmental conditions enable faster rancidity and staleness in both loose and packaged tea.

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How to store tea efficiently

There are no complexities in efficient tea storage. All you need is to act smart and eliminate some of the potential risk factors. Here are the five storage conditions that you need to avoid to improve the tea’s shelf life.

Light

Both natural and artificial light degrade the tea. Usually, tea is made up of volatile phenopthenol compounds that constitute its essential oils.  Upon exposure to the natural UV light or the artificial lights, these compounds break down hence affecting the structure of the tea. this happens mostly in the green tea leaves. On the other hand, UV light photodegrades the dry tea leaves. Though the main cause for this is still under research, some scholars argue that it is due to photo-oxidative changes and conversions of the chlorophyll contents to pheophytins. The residual catechins and aflavins are the two main elements that play a bigger role in these changes. Even though the theory has not yet been proved, it is of ultimate importance to keep the tea away from both natural; and artificial lights.

Odour

Teas are made with natural elements that absorb odours. By placing the tea in a strong scented place, the tea will adopt the smell of its immediate environment. In the making of Jasmine tea, jasmine blossoms are kept closer to the tea particles. The particles then absorb scent from the surrounding environment hence absorbing their smell. By keeping the tea in close proximity of unpleasant smells, the tea will adopt an unpleasant smell hence go bad. This is the reason why it is more important to clean and remove the entire odour in your cabinet and containers used for tea storage.

Moisture

Moisture degrades the quality of teas. Generally, tea regains self-stability through being dry. When it gets into contact with water, it easily absorbs it hence alteration in its chemical contents. It has a great potential to absorb even the slightest of moisture in the air. Therefore, make sure that the place of storage is away from both the natural air and water. Keep the tea away from known wet places such as over the dishwashers for dire safety.

In most cases, you will forget about sealing the tea cans and bags. This exposure to air not only renders the tea vulnerable to the effects of moisture but also unpleasant odour. 

Heat 

Two factors affect immensely the structure of the tea. These are oxidation and condensation.  By keeping the tea in low-level heat you will be encouraging oxidation. On the other hand, high-level heat prevents oxidation of basic elements in the tea. 

Alternating between the two extremes may sometimes mean storing the tea in the refrigerator since the cold temperatures are known to minimize the effects of oxidation. However, there are specific types of tea that are best suited for cool conditions in most fridges. These include green and yellow tea. Other types of tea will undergo condensation. 

Oxygen

Every time you hear of oxygen, the first thing that hits your mind is oxidation.  Yes, it happens in almost all types of tea. Any air in between the tea and storage container has a potential of oxidizing the tea particles. 

If you are keen on some of your shipped tea more so the ball-style Wolong, you will realize that they are packaged in vacuums. Vacuums work best with strong tea. They completely drive out any oxygen and improves the shelf life of these teas a great deal. Otherwise, vacuum storage crushes delicate teas. So know your tea type better before choosing this type of storage. 

Manufacturers also keep iron or salt contents in the tea packages. The oxidative powers of these two compounds are higher hence they will use the existing air to form other compounds e.g. rusts. However, the effects are short-lived since the moments you break the seal of such packages, oxygen will freely move into the packages. 

Bottom line, efficiently storage of tea demands that:

  • You keep it dry
  • You minimize its exposure to air
  • You keep it away from light
  • Keep it away from heat—a cool temperature of between 10-25 degrees Celsius work best
  • You only refrigerate specific types of tea

 

So how do you achieve this?

The natural conditions are freely occurring. The only way to minimize the previously mentioned conditions is through using specific storage materials.  Here is what you need to know about choosing an ideal storage material.

  • Most metal canisters feature double leads. They are also odour-free since they come handy with silicone seals. The double lead minimizes effects of heat and oxidation.
  • Multi-ply bags feature resalable plastic zippers. The zipper  is used to make the ply bags highly sealed and moisture-free
  • Opaque packaging is ideal for achieving ideal dark conditions. Double lids storage tins and stainless steel packaging is the best options to go for.
  • Glass jars are the best alternative to ceramic airtight ceramic containers. However, you need to keep them in dark places such as drawers to minimize the effects of heat.
  • Tea sachets offer excellent performance when it comes to keeping your tea moisture-free. But, you will need to store them in cool places since they are prone to heating. 
  • For reliability and convenient reach of the tea accessories, tea cabinets are the best option to go for. Otherwise, do not pile up everything in the cabinets.  By doing that, chances are high that you will carelessly withdraw everything out of the cabinets hence rendering the tea vulnerable to detrimental conditions. 

 

Conclusion

Tea storage plays a vital role when it comes to long-term enjoyment of the beneficial contents of this herbal drink. Whether in drawer or cabinet, just make sure that the storage condition meets the above conditions. Otherwise, you are free to buy only the required amount of tea leaves or bags for your daily tea brewing.

Start your day right with a cup of tea