Part of Kat’s New Year resolution is to make sure she doesn’t waste any tea. Teas don’t last forever dearies, and of course it tastes best when it’s fresh. As Kat was cleaning her cupboards after the holidays, she realized she had a few boxes of tea that needed to be used urgently. She tries her best to drink her tea within a few months, but she always ends up getting tea gifts that take her a bit longer to finish.
Even though those tea leaves look dry, they do retain moisture and oils that give it their flavor. These will eventually evaporate, and flavor gets lost. How long do your teas last? Here is what you should keep in mind:
Green teas last about 6-8 months. The more delicate green teas such as gyokuro should be consumed within 6 months.
Oolong teas will last 1-2 years. The lighter oxidized oolongs should be finished closer to the 1-year mark.
Black teas will last about 2 years. But note that flavored teas will lose their flavors a bit quicker than this, sometimes inside of a year.
Another important way to keep your tea fresh is storing it properly. Keep your teas in airtight, cool and dry places. Tea canisters with tight fitting lids and seals are a good choice. Look for loose tea sold in resealable pouches, as those help retain freshness.
Also, be mindful of how much tea you have and the amount you are buying. Buy smaller batches of tea to make sure you’re able to use it all in a reasonable amount of time. If you keep old teas hanging around, not only do they lose flavor, but they take up space you could be using for new teas!
Come on dearies, you can admit it to me, in the back of your pantry you’ve got a dusty box of tea that’s waiting to see the light of day. If you really don’t enjoy it, why not give it to someone who would? In order to use up extra tea, Kat is going to have a tea tasting party. She’s going to have loads of tea and teacups ready, with the hot water flowing. She’ll have savory and sweet snacks on hand. Friends can relax, brew a cup of tea, have some nibbles, and brew another. The cups will be small, so everyone can taste a few. She’ll also give everyone a little basket to fill with the teas they enjoy most. Everyone gets to go home with a basket filled with tea. It’s the perfect party to use the tea that may be getting past its prime, and introducing friends to new teas.
So now, no excuses for letting tea go stale! Store it properly, buy smaller batches, and if you do have extra on hand, throw a fun tea-tasting party!