The Proper Care and Storage of Tea

Tea caddy

Kat’s friend from England just sent her a charming vintage caddy. We’re both excited to try the tea she cached inside.  Which puts me in mind… Is there anything worse than flavorless tea? Well, now that I think about it, the worst is a tea bag that’s been unwittingly exposed to moisture and is now moldy. (I clatter at the thought!)  While tea is celebrated for its stable shelf life, there are several things that can impact it badly that are easily avoided. All one must do is store one’s tea properly.

The best way to store your tea, whether tea bags or loose leaf, is an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place. If this one rule is followed, you can easily avoid all of the following:

Moisture. Dry tea leaves absorb moisture, and therefore it’s imperative to keep it away from the subtle moisture sources that we might not even think about: the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the kitchen sink, the oven. Steam can infiltrate your tea leaves and wreak havoc!

Light. Yes, there are lovely glass or clear acrylic containers that shows off your tea beautifully, however, exposure to light can leach flavor and aroma out of your tea leaves faster than you can say, “Polly put the kettle on!”

Scents. While it can be a good thing that tea leaves are susceptible to fragrances that give us a variety of flavored and scented teas, that plus can become a minus when those same leaves are exposed to odors. You wouldn’t want your jasmine scented tea to take on a garlic or sage quality. Therefore, spice cabinets or close proximity to distinctive smells is a no-no.

Heat. While your tea may make a lovely display on the countertop or in the window sill, know that heat is just as harmful to tea as light, sucking out its scent and flavor. Keep your tea away from the oven, stovetop and the sun.

Air. Exposure to air only increases the chances that your tea will be eroded by moisture or odors. Limit your tea’s air time and you’ll protect its true character.

An airtight container can be as simple and modest as an opaque, plastic container, or as fun and decorative as a tea caddy. There are a variety of sizes, shapes and designs to tickle any tea drinker’s fancy. In fact, I see Kat on Pinterest right now looking at a rainbow of tea caddies and canisters. Look at what she’s discovered already…

Antique tea caddy

Tea caddy, Britain, Made 1800-1820, Wood, Painted, Ivory. Given by Thomas Sutton, Esq

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s