Keeping your tea collection fresh by using the proper loose leaf tea storage is important for a delicious and enjoyable cup of tea. In this article I will detail some of my favorite tricks and tips I use at home to keep my tea fresh and tasting great. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your tea stays fresh for a long time.
Our tea storage guide will be broken into two parts, one part for tea bag storage and one part for loose leaf tea storage.
Best Storage for Tea Tips and Tricks
The tips below can be applied to either loose leaf tea storage or for your tea box used for tea bag storage.
When we look at tea storage, one thing we want to avoid is humidity. If your tea is stored in a humid environment, it can cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor.
In addition, storing tea in high humidity is a surefire recipe for mold growth. Having mold in your tea is not only gross, but it can also be dangerous to your health.
So, how do you avoid humidity when storing your tea?
The first step is to find a cool and dry place to store your tea. If you live in a humid climate, this might mean storing your tea in the fridge or freezer. Just be sure to wrap your tea tightly in a plastic bag before placing it in the fridge or freezer, to avoid moisture buildup.
You can also try using a food-grade desiccant packet to absorb any excess moisture in the air. You can find these packets online or at your local hardware store.
Another factor we want to avoid when storing our tea is light. If your tea is stored in a brightly lit area, it can also cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor. The best way to avoid light exposure is to store your tea in an opaque, airtight container.
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You can also try storing your tea in a dark cupboard or pantry. Just be sure to check the cupboard periodically for any signs of light exposure, such as cracks in the door or gaps around the edges.
We also want to avoid storing our tea in a place that is too hot. If the temperature is too high, it can cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor. The best way to avoid this is to store your tea in a cool place that is dry and out of direct sunlight.
I have made this mistake before by placing my tea bag organizer on a table that received direct sunlight in the afternoon. Needless to say, my tea leaf and drink did not stay fresh for very long! Lesson learned. A good rule of thumb is to avoid storing your tea in any place that is warmer than room temperature.
Similar to high humidity, we do not want to store tea in areas that are high in moisture or in places where moisture may get spilled on the tea. This is why it is never a good idea to store unprotected tea bags by your stove when preparing tea.
If you do accidentally store your tea box in a moist area, be sure to check the tea for any signs of mold growth before consuming. If you see any mold, throw the tea away immediately.
I also bring up moisture level separate from humidity as many ask if they can store tea in the refrigerator. Due to the moisture that is in the refrigerator, it is not recommended to store tea in the fridge unless you plan on consuming it within a few days.
When Does Tea Expire?
Tea, like other things, deteriorates over time, and at some point, you’ll want to get rid of it because it’s likely to be labeled “expired.” To a large extent, the type of tea and the manner in which it was stored determine how long it will last.
When discussing the deterioration of a tea, we are mostly referring to the process of oxidation. When teas that are not extensively oxidized during processing are made, the oxidation process will continue to take place. An continuing oxidation process is regarded hazardous because these teas are prized for their freshness and lack of decay. Green teas, yellow teas, and some white teas all fall into this category.
As long as the teas are permitted to oxidize during the production process, the oxidation process is considerably less likely to continue. It is significantly more difficult to detect subsequent oxidation in the cup if this occurs. Black teas and extremely oxidized wulongs are examples of this.
Experts recommend drinking white, black and deeper oolong teas within two years, whereas green teas and light oolongs, which have the shortest shelf life, should be used within four to six months.
Best Storage Containers for Tea
Now that we have some background on what to avoid when storing our tea and when tea expires, let’s take a look at some of the top ways to store tea. We will cover both loose leaf tea storage and tea bag storage.
Best Loose Leaf Tea Storage
There are two types of storage we are going to look at for loose leaf tea storage, Hermetic Seal Storage and Non-Hermetic Seal Storage.
Hermetic Seal Storage
The first type of storage is hermetic seal storage. This is the best way to store tea because it completely seals in the tea and protects it from moisture, light, and oxygen. The most common type of hermetic seal storage is canning jars.
When tea is kept in an airtight container, it progressively oxidizes due to the residual oxygen in the container. Typically, wulong teas are stored for several years in an airtight container with a rubber gasket.
You can find canning jars at your local grocery store or online. Be sure to get jars that are airtight and have a tight fitting lid. You can also use vacuum sealed bags for storage, but I find them harder to use because you have to seal the bag every time you want to take some tea out.
Non-Hermetic Seal Storage
The second type of storage is non-hermetic seal storage. This type of storage is not as effective as hermetic seal storage because it does not completely seal in the tea. Non-hermetic seal storage includes things like cardboard boxes and paper bags.
While non-hermetic seal storage is not ideal, it can still be used to store tea. One example of where you may want to use non-hermetic seal storage is for aging fermented teas.
Puer (and other teas that have been fermented) are not normally kept dry. Instead, the aging process is slowed down by maintaining a specific humidity level. Tea leaves are subjected to a combination of oxidation and fermentation over time in this example. To keep the oxidative enzymes in the raw leaves from being completely denatured, Puer is often preserved at a lower temperature. Allows for more oxidation to take place in the future.
Now that we have a bit of background on tea storage, let’s jump into my picks for the best storage solutions for loose leaf tea.
Airscape Stainless Steel Tea Canister – Best Tea Organizer
Airscape Stainless Steel Canister
Best Loose Leaf Tea Organizer
Absolutely love this canister for storing my loose leaf tea. It is durable being made of stainless steel and has a rubber gasket that creates a tight seal. This canister also has a one-way valve that allows the canister to be completely sealed while allowing air to escape. This is perfect for storing tea because it keeps the tea fresh and oxygen free.
In addition, my partner was able to find the perfect color as they offer a variety of color options. There is no downside as it even includes a transparent window that allows you to see how much tea is left in the container with opening it. They thought of everything on this low cost tea storage container.
Veken Tea and Coffee Canister
I have been using this one for my coffee beans but it could easily work for loose tea is needed. It is made of 304 stainless steel and is completely airtight. The lid of the canister is designed in a way to allow Co2 to escape as the seal is made.
Comparing the Vekan to the Airscape, I believe the Airscape would keep the tea fresher for longer. This is because the Airscape has a one-way valve that vacuums the oxygen from the canister when sealed.
The Vekan canister is also not transparent, so you would need to open it to see how much tea is left but it does come in variety of colors that are sure to look cute on your counter.
Soulhand Vacuum Canister – Best Splurge
Soulhand Vacuum Canister
OK, I will admit it, I bought one of these when I had my coffee shop. If you are looking to splurge and get simply the best canister available for tea storage, this is it.
This canister is made from high grade glass and features a one touch electric seal. In addition, it even has a touchscreen display that will let you know how long your tea has been stored and will automatically seal the canister when the time is up.
I have never seen a canister like this on the market and it really is top of the line when it comes to tea storage.
The main drawback here is the price. In all honesty, I could not tell a difference that the Soulhand kept my tea leaves fresher for a longer period of time than my Airscape canister but it sure is cool looking.
Evac Airless Canister – Best Plastic Organizer
Evak Fresh Saver Airless Canister
Best Plastic Organizer
This is a sturdy canister that works perfect for storing loose leaf tea. It features a plunger that removes all the air from the canister before sealing it. This is perfect for keeping your tea fresh because it removes all the oxygen from the container.
The canister is also made of high quality glass that is BPA free. The lid is made of stainless steel and has a silicone gasket that creates a tight seal.
I still have a few of these that I use to store tea in my cupboard in the kitchen. The one reason I switched from this model is it is only available in a clear version. For storing loose leaf tea on the counter, I prefer opaque canisters so the tea is not exposed to light.
Ankomn Turn-N-Seal Vacuum Canister
This is a more traditional canister for storing loose leaf tea. It is great if you are tight on space and do not need as much tea storage as the Evac. This one is only 7 inches tall (vs 10 inches for the Evac). It fits perfectly in my cupboard shelf by stacking one on top of the other. The way they are designed, it makes for easy stacking.
The results are the same as the Evac, an airtight seal that vacums the air out of the cansister. The Ankomn uses a different method by having you turn the knob on the lid to seal and remove air from inside the container. I noticed no difference in the results so it comes down more to the size and technology you prefer.
Again, the clear plastic is the only downside to this canister.
Burp Lids Curing Kit – Most Creative Loose Leaf Organizer
Burp Lids Curing Kit
Most Creative Loose Leaf Organizer
I will admit I was somewhat skeptical when I saw this product but it really works well and is a great way to store loose leaf tea. The system can use your existing Mason Jars and make them vacuum sealed by using the unique lids and oxygen extractor.
The kit comes with 4 mason jar lids that have an airtight seal. You simply add your tea leaves to the jar, screw on the lid, and extract the air with the included pump. It works wonderfully and allows you to save on money by using existing Mason jars.
Tightpack Canister – Best Budget Tea Leaf Storage
Tightpac America Ultimate Vacuum Sealed Container
Best Budget Tea Leaf Storage
If you are on a budget, the Tightpack canister is perfect. It is made of a high grade, opaque plastic that comes in a variety of colors.
It creates an airtight seal and releases all the carbon dioxide from inside the canister when the lid is placed on. This is perfect for keeping your tea leaves fresh for a longer period of time.
The only drawback to this canister is it does not have a one-way valve like the Airscape or Soulhand canisters. This means there is a small amount of oxygen that remains inside the container when sealed.
Overall, the best way to keep your tea fresh without breaking the bank.
Stylvio 12 6oz Glass Spice Jars Set with Airtight Natural Bamboo Lids – Best Small Tea Storage
Stylvio 6oz Glass Jar Set with Airtight Natural Bamboo Lids
Best Small Tea Storage
These could easily be used to store small amounts of loose leaf tea. I use them for spices myself, such as cardamom for my Turkish coffee.
They look great and have a tight, airtight seal. The bamboo lid is sturdy and they are small enough to fit in a spice rack to hang on the wall above your tea bar. One downside is they are clear so take care to not put them directly in sunlight. Additionally, the jars do not have a method to vacuum all air out before sealing.
KKC Borosilicate Glass Jars with Airtight Bamboo Lid – Best Bamboo Lid Loose Leaf Tea Container
KKC Borosilicate Glass Jars with Airtight Lid Canister
Best Bamboo Lid Loose Leaf Tea Container
I had to try these as I love the design. They are not cheap and honestly I prefer canisters that vacuum air out of the container. But I could not resist trying them for storing my loose leaf tea.
The jars are made of thick borosilicate glass that is resistant to thermal shock (meaning it can go from hot to cold without breaking). The bamboo lids fit snugly and create an airtight seal. The lid also has a silicone gasket to further help with the seal.
I have been using these for a couple weeks and they work perfectly. The tea stays fresh and I love how they look on my counter. If you are looking for an attractive way to store your loose leaf tea, these are perfect.
In addition, if you like the design, the 3 pack with holder is the better buy.
KKC Home Accents Glass Storage Jars with Airtight Lids
Loose Leaf Tea Storage Set
Best Tea Bags Storage
Many of the same principles of how tea is stored for loose leaf, apply to storing tea bags. You want to keep tea bags in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture. Any of the loose leaf tea storage containers used for storing loose leaf tea will also make a great storage container for tea bags.
I have moved to tea bag organizers at house to store my favorite teas. If you would like to see my picks for the best tea box organizer, you can checkout our previous article cobering tea box organizers. I cover everything from tea storage box clear plastics to a cute tea bag organizer that looks great in any room. They will declutter and get rid of all of the half empty boxes of tea bags you have sitting around the house.
Conclusion for Storing Your Tea Collection
These are just a few of the tea storage solutions I have used and recommend. If you have any loose leaf tea, these are great options for keeping it fresh. The key is to keep your tea in a cool dry place where
Below are some of the questions we have received around tea bag and loose tea storage ideas from our readers.
Is It Possible To Age Tea?
The purpose of aging tea is to enhance the flavor of the tea by allowing it to vary over time. The way these teas are aged depends on how we store them; aging tea is a synonym for storing tea.
Can Tea Be Frozen?
While freezing tea will not make it go bad, it can cause the flavors to deteriorate. When thawing the tea, be sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight to help preserve the flavor.
What Is The Best Way To Store Tea?
The best way to store tea is in an opaque, airtight container in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing your tea in a place that is too warm or humid, as this can cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor. This applies to tea bags as well as being the best way to store loose tea.
Can I Store Loose Leaf Tea in the Refrigerator?
The fridge is not the best place to store tea. Although it is temperature controlled and dark, a refrigerator will have too high of a moisture level for tea. This can cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor. If you must store your tea in the fridge, be sure to use an airtight container.
How Do I Store Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing your Matcha in the fridge, as this can cause the tea to spoil faster and affect the flavor.