Why Do Tea Leaves Spoil?
Over time tea leaves undergo change. They wither, the color darkens, the flavor ages and the fragrance fades. Sometimes, they even absorb odd scents and mold. This affects the taste. To store tea leaves, take the following four conditions into consideration:
Temperature: The higher the temperature, the faster the change. Store in a place with temperature below 4°C.
Humidity: Tea leaves absorb moisture quickly. The water content of tea leaves is usually not higher than 6%, so the higher the humidity, the higher the possibility of the leaves turning wet and soggy.
Oxygen: The oxygen in the air is usually around 20%. The polyphenol and vitamins in the leaves oxidize when they come in contact with air.
Light: If the tea leaves are kept in a transparent container or bag and frequently exposed to the light, the tea leaves will darken and the fragrance will change.
Common Storage Methods Freezer
Seal the tea leaves in a bag and deep freeze. Take care not to keep it next to items with strong scents. In case of large amount of tea leaves, store in an individual freezer. The temperature should be kept at 3°C to 5°C.
Choose an airtight container such as a clay jar. Seal quick lime inside a cotton bag and place it inside the container. Wrap the tea leaves properly with cotton paper and place it on top of the quick lime bag. Seal the container and place it in a cool, dry, unscented place.
Place the tea leaves in a ziplock bag and extract all the air. Seal the bag inside a container and store it in a cool dry place. This method is suitable for storing grain-shaped Oolong tea. However, the tea leaves are easily crushed when extracting air. Ask for the tea leaves to be vacuumed packaged when buying tea leaves.
Choosing Storage Containers
Tea leaves are usually stored in paper, wood, porcelain or tin containers. Choose an unscented and airtight container. Different tea leaves should be stored in different containers. Do not use the same container to store different type of tea leaves. Do not use a container previously used to store a different type of tea for storing another type of leaves. This is especially important for containers used to store floral tea leaves. Do not directly store tea leaves in containers, rather keep in ziplock bags before keeping in the container.
In conclusion, keep in mind that tea leaves should be stored in cool, dry, dark places. Keep away from oxygen and strong fragrances. If you take note of all these conditions when storing tea leaves, the tea leaves should keep for a long time.
Top-quality green tea leaves and lightly fermented Oolong tea leaves must be sealed and kept in the freezer.
Floral tea must be sealed individually to prevent absorption of other fragrances.
When storing Pu-erh tea leaves, remember to remove its packaging and store naturally in a clay jar in a cool, dry, dark and unscented place.
After taking out the tea leaves, remember to replace it in its original spot. The teaspoon used must be dry. Do not take more than necessary as unused tea leaves, exposed in the air for a long time, should not be returned to the tea jar.