By Diana Pelliccia
, last updated December 21, 2011
When it comes to storing tea, the main idea to always remember is to keep the tea as unnexposed as possible. Whether it's tea bags or tea leaves, exposure to light and heat, moisture, air and/or strong smells can ruin your tea. So keep these tips in mind the next time you go to put your tea away.
Light and Heat
Exposing your tea bags and leaves to light will not only reduce the rich colors, but will cause your tea to lose much of its flavor. The heat from the light exposure also takes away from your tea's depth of flavors. Even by keeping your tea in a sealed-tight glass jar, you may still be causing yourself some harm if the glass is transparent. Prevent your tea from being exposed to surrounding light by placing the tea in an opaque box or container and then storing it away into a dark, dry place away from any source of heat.
There's nothing more disappointing than opening your favorite tea only to find that the bag and leaves have started to grow mold, and this is why there should be no moisture present where you keep your tea. In stark contrast to the popular advice of keeping coffee in the fridge or freezer, storing tea this way allows for moisture to seep in through containers that are not properly sealed. Consider purchasing an air-tight, opaque tea tin from a major tea manufacturing company such as Teavana or Upton Tea Imports.
Like revealing your tea to moisure, tea should not be exposed to the air. Tea will lose its flavor, take in strong adjacent smells, and go bad more quickly if not stored in a proper way.
This one is very simple, but can often be surprising to those who had never considered it before. Leaving your tea near powerful-smelling herbs, foods, perfumed goods, etc. will cause your tea leaves and tea bags to absorb the surrounding smells, thus compromising the integrity of the flavor.
An Extra Note on Tea Bags
Although many of the tips above seem as though they apply more to storing tea leaves, the same concepts apply to tea bags. At a minimum, keep your tea bags wrapped in foil or in a ziploc bag and then place the remaining tea bags back into the original box before storing in a cool, dark and dry place.