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You love tea. You’ve invested in your favorite teas, and ventured out to try some new ones as well. You try to store them correctly, but do you really know how? Whether you buy one tin, several tins or a 50-count bag, you definitely don’t want to take that bag out of your pantry, open it up and discover 50 Sachets of Gray (unless it’s Earl Grey). That would be worse than reading a really bad novel...
Keep your tea as fresh and delicious as the day it arrived in your home. We’ve got a few easy tips for you to follow to make sure your tea is all it can be!
Tea Has Feelings, Too!
You’ve got your pet peeves. Well, so does tea. The first step toward keeping your teabags, sachets and loose tea happy is to avoid these elements:
All of these elements play a role in eroding your tea’s quality. Keep reading to discover how.
Not All Containers Are Created Equal
What you put your tea in makes a huge difference in how long it stays fresh. The following are examples of what NOT to store tea in:
Transparent Glass. This is a case where letting the sunshine in is not such a good idea. Light oxidizes tea, weakening its aroma and quality. Also, tea sitting in a glass container in the sun gets a double whammy: heat from the sun can cause a chemical reaction in the tea that begins the process of it breaking down.
Your Refrigerator. Your fridge is veritable cornucopia of smells, so unless you want your tea to taste like last night’s pizza, it’s not the best place to store tea (unless possibly very long term in an air-tight, opaque container). Another reason: if you’ve stored tea in the refrigerator, when you open the container air rushes in. Even though you can’t see it, any moisture in the air will condense on your tea leaves and lower the quality. There’s a reason we don’t sell damp pepperoni-flavored teas, so trust us on this.
Plastic Bags. We know, how could this possibly be a bad idea? Once again, tea is really sneaky about absorbing odors; it’s like a little odor thief. While not the worst idea, putting your tea in a plastic bag and placing it in your pantry with your spices and other pungent items can result in corrupting your tea’s flavor. Another thing with plastic bags: if they’re kept in the light, then that becomes another issue.
Airtight Containers to the Rescue!
We don’t just put our tea in tins for the heck of it. Our tins are air-tight, keeping out moisture, oxygen and absorbable odors, and their opacity keeps out light. They are the ideal way to store tea and can be used over and over (we recommend, because of that sneaky odor-absorbing trait, that you put the same type of tea in the tin that you originally purchased).
Our bulk sachet bags are not transparent like your common household plastic bag, and they’re thicker as well. While nearly airtight, they’re a good way to store your tea, too (still not in the fridge or next to the cumin), but if you can transfer your tea to a tin, you’ll be a smidge better off. And while some of our teabags come in cardboard boxes, they are individually wrapped to protect the tea inside against the elements.
All It Takes Is a Little T(ea)LC
The process of harvesting and producing teas like Harney’s is an exact one, meant to create a finished product of the highest quality. We hope these tips help you keep your teas as fresh as the day they were packaged. Even when you follow best practices, while tea won’t spoil it will begin to lose its flavor over time. How long they stay fresh depends on the type of tea (for instance, oxidized teas, like black teas, will generally maintain their quality longer, and loose-leaf teas absorb moisture and odors more quickly than bagged teas).
So while you can’t keep it fresh forever, by giving your tea proper TLC you can certainly maintain and extend its shelf life. Here at Harney, we’ve found the best way to keep tea fresh is to drink it as often as possible! Let dust settle on your bottles of fine wine-- keep your tea dust-free!
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Our October Teafluencer is Chantal Larocque, a paper flower artist, author and owner of Paper and Peony. Chantal’s work runs from mini paper flowers to jaw-dropping wall-sized blossoms. Read about Chantal, who turns to tea for her afternoon forget-me-not pick-me-up.