How to store tea correctly: 6 essential factors

Storing tea leaves in proper conditions is no less important than the correct method of brewing tea. After all, just as improper preparation of a drink can neutralize its beneficial properties, so an incorrectly chosen storage method can lead to the tea becoming stale or acquiring a “stale” smell. In addition, there is a high risk of the formation and accumulation of unwanted impurities that affect the taste and aroma, which can harm the body. Therefore, every tea drinker should not only understand the varieties and methods of preparing their favorite drink, but also how to store it so that it remains fresh, aromatic and retains its beneficial properties for as long as possible.

It must be remembered that tea leaves are sensitive to light, air, heat, odors and moisture. Below are five factors that are often overlooked when storing tea, and this has a bad effect on its taste and aroma.

  • Darkness
  • Tightness
  • Hypothermia
  • Protection against strong odors
  • Moisture protection
  • Pu-erh storage conditions
  • Use original packaging for storage. Indocalamus
  • How to properly store oolong and green tea
  • General recommendations for containers for storing loose leaf tea


Tea should always be stored in a dark place and should not be used in glass or other transparent containers, as sunlight and ultraviolet rays will quickly spoil your favorite variety. If you do decide to use transparent dishes, make sure that they are in an unlit place, for example, in the far corner of a kitchen cabinet. The sun can also discolor

tea and practically deprive it of taste and aroma. So you should remember - when storing tea leaves, darkness is a priority.


Never make a hasty decision about what else you might need. It would seem like ordinary tea bags, but how many benefits they can bring if you use it all wisely.

Now you know where and how you can purposefully use them if you decide to collect used tea bags. You can also go through your kitchen cabinet and see if there’s a pack of hundred-year-old tea lying around in a dark corner!

No matter what you say, all products have an expiration date, including tea. So, there is a reason to use it in the right way before throwing it away, right?!

Protection against strong odors

Tea is very vulnerable to the effects of strong aromas, since the tea leaf perfectly absorbs odors. Sometimes this is useful in the production of certain varieties - for example, Jasmine Dragon Pearl green tea, the leaves of which are very easily and quickly imbued with the scent of jasmine flowers. But this also means the need to create special storage conditions at home - containers with tea should not be kept near sources of strong odors, such as refrigerators, stoves with cooking dishes, garbage cans and other strong-smelling places. And, of course, it is absolutely unacceptable to keep tea leaves in the same cabinet with spices.

Moisture protection

Humidity is the worst enemy of tea and can ruin an entire batch in just a few minutes. Dried tea leaves are considered quite shelf stable precisely because they are completely dry. But, unfortunately, they absorb moisture from the air at an amazing speed.

Therefore, it is very important to store your tea supplies away from sources of moisture, for example, you should not place a container with dry leaves in the refrigerator, on a shelf above the dishwasher, or, especially, above the sink, where steam rises from hot water.

Tea should be kept as far away from moisture as possible until you are ready to brew it, otherwise excess moisture can cause your supplies to turn into a damp briquette with an unpleasant odor and other dismal consequences.

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It should be noted that these rules are by no means absolute; as they say, there are exceptions to every rule, for example, pu-erh.

Pu-erh storage conditions

Pu-erh is a delicious, aged tea that is classified as post-fermented and has gained worldwide fame for its unique qualities. Unlike other varieties, which lose their qualities and become worse with age, pu-erh resembles a good vintage wine - it only benefits from age. The aroma and taste of tea changes and improves from long-term storage of pu-erh bars and pancakes, simultaneously increasing its cost. Some old and rare varieties can cost more than $10,000.

But improvement of pu-erh with age is only possible if it is stored in suitable conditions, so if you are a pu-erh lover, then you need to know the correct ways to store it in order to provide yourself with the highest quality drink.

Some aspects of proper storage of pu-erh also apply to other types of tea, but do not forget that there is a big difference between fermented, non-fermented and partially fermented varieties, this difference makes differences in the outwardly similar methods of storing different varieties, and pu-erh in particular .

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How to properly store tea

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The quality of pu-erh will only increase over time if it is stored in a dry place, without drafts, but with good ventilation. Tea leaves, and especially pu-erh leaves, very easily absorb unpleasant odors and toxins contained in the air, especially oil waste and smoke. Therefore, it is extremely important to store pu-erh in a place that is not exposed to free access of air, which can introduce unwanted moisture, odors and airborne impurities. Places such as pantries or kitchen cabinets are far from ideal, as pu-erh may absorb odors from herbs, spices, or foods stored nearby.

Many connoisseurs argue that pu-erh should be stored in a specially equipped room or cabinet with ventilated air and humidity control. But this is more likely for those who are already approaching collectors and have tea reserves worth the size of a mid-range car.

Use original packaging for storage. Indocalamus

In the manufacture of traditional packaging for pu-erh, the Indocalamus plant from the bamboo genus is often used, which also looks very much like bamboo. The use of this material has a positive effect on the ongoing fermentation process of tea; by the way, such packaging can filter airborne impurities, thereby improving the quality of the product.

If you separated pu-erh (remember, traditionally this variety is pressed into briquettes of various shapes - from bricks to bowls) and packaged it in plastic, then this is a mistake - mold can grow in such a container and ruin your tea. A good choice would be to store pu-erh in the packaging in which it arrived at the storage location; such packaging is usually marked with the date and place of manufacture, and this is very important for lovers of old, “vintage” pu-erh and has special value.

Another excellent choice would be a container made of pottery clay, which is ideal for pu-erh briquettes, since it has sufficient air permeability due to the porous structure of the clay, is lightweight and easy to store, and is not devoid of aesthetic appeal.

Long-term storage of tea in such a container can also help improve the quality of the drink.

So, the best advice for storing pu-erh is to store it in a proper container at a constant low temperature, in ventilated air without strong odors and impurities, control the humidity level by keeping it low, and keep it away from direct light sources. If these conditions are met, you can be sure that pu-erh will retain its properties, high quality and taste, and possibly increase them over time.

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The issue of storing coffee beans

By their nature, berries are considered a convenient storage option. When stored correctly, you can enjoy a perfectly delicious drink.

On average, roasted or raw berries can be stored in an airtight container for 12 months.

You should understand two basic rules: protect fried berries from spices and other “extra” odors, do not store them in the freezer. The freezer is an ideal place to store fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, but it is not an option for storing tree berries. In the freezer they will lose their taste, and due to the increased temperature and moisture they may become completely unsuitable for consumption. This option for storing coffee beans at home can be considered if the fruits are not roasted.

The rules for storing berries in the freezer boil down to the following aspects: it is better to package the grains in bags for storing vegetables and fruits in small proportions. If necessary, you should take out the bag, fry the grains, grind them and immediately begin preparing the drink.

This is interesting: initially people consumed fresh grains, and only then began to fry them and prepare a drink.

General storage rules:

  • Coffee should be stored exclusively as beans. Grinding is not acceptable.
  • Avoid the “wrong neighborhood.”

The product in question literally absorbs odors. Limit spice grains.

  • Do not keep the jar near the oven.
  • Storage containers must be vacuum sealed and airtight.
  • The grains should be ground immediately before brewing the drink.

How to properly store oolong and green tea

Oolong and different types of green tea will also have their own storage nuances, for example, they will taste lighter if kept outdoors without much protection. For example, varieties such as green Dragon Well (Longjing) or Dong Ding Oolong are best stored at a temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius, say in the refrigerator (although this is not the best place due to the likelihood of absorbing the smell of the food). Unlike pu-erh, which requires special conditions, oolong and green tea can simply be stored in some cold, dry and dark place. However, you should never store light teas such as white, green or oolong with highly fermented teas such as pu-erh, as this can change the taste of light teas and spoil them.

How to properly store tea leaves?

In order for dried tea leaves to retain their qualities, they need to be stored in a dry place.
Storing tea at first glance may seem like a very simple and uncomplicated matter. I bought a pack and brew the contents as needed. Do you think dried leaves don't spoil? In fact, they spoil!

And in general, the question of how to properly store tea at home is a whole science. Anyone who truly appreciates its taste and tries to get the maximum benefit from this tonic drink knows how important it is to store this product correctly.

The most demanding in terms of maintenance conditions are green and white teas, all kinds of Oolong and Pu-erh varieties, their leaves are more delicate

Basic storage criteria: 6 rules

The storage conditions for tea must take into account the following factors:


Rule 1. Humidity
Dried tea leaves perfectly absorb moisture if the suspended water in the air is higher than normal.

This will certainly spoil the drink and can even be hazardous to health if the product becomes moldy.

Rule 2. Light
Daylight triggers oxidative processes;
  • destroys beneficial substances;
  • rich color fades over time;
  • worsens the taste.

Rule 3. Air temperature
It would seem, how can temperature affect the taste and aroma of a drink, since its shelf life is quite long and tea feels great outside the refrigerator?

In fact, this is a very important factor. Storing the brew in a cool place inhibits the activity of pathogenic microorganisms and extends the shelf life of the drink.

Rule 4. Tightness
Without oxygen it is impossible to:
  • oxidative processes;
  • development of mold fungi;
  • penetration of foreign odors.

Oxidized tea loses its antioxidant properties and tastes bitter. Therefore, the best way to store tea is in an airtight jar with a tight lid or in vacuum packaging.

Rule 5. Proximity to strong-smelling products
The ability of tea leaves to perfectly absorb foreign odors makes their storage a little difficult.

Spices, household chemicals, perfumes, sausages, fish and other products with a strong odor will certainly transfer their “aroma” to the tea leaves. It will be difficult to enjoy a drink that smells like foreign food.

Rule 6. Storage container material
An important question is how to store tea so that it remains fresh and tasty for as long as possible.

Considering the factors described above, we can conclude that the capacity should be:

  • opaque;
  • with a tight lid that prevents light, air and odors from entering.

This can be a dark glass jar, porcelain or metal container, or a vacuum foil bag with a tight lock.

Do not use cellophane, plastic, fabric or paper bags as containers for storing tea. These materials do not create optimal conditions and contribute to the deterioration of the product quality.

Proper storage of tea leaves is the key to the benefits and taste of the drink.

Recommendations for storing different types of tea

The shelf life of green tea will be much shorter if it is stored similarly to black tea. This is because the structure of green tea leaves is more delicate and capricious. How to extend the taste of tea:

  • Green - to preserve all the taste and beneficial qualities in addition to tightness and lack of exposure to sunlight, low temperature is extremely important for such a drink, so green tea is stored only in the refrigerator.

Green tea is stored in the refrigerator or frozen

  • White teas and Oolong teas are stored similarly to green varieties in a cool place.
  • Pu -erh is stored in pressed briquettes or pancakes according to a special principle. Since the fermentation process is still ongoing, the briquette needs air and the seal may not be maintained. Just wrap the briquette or pancake in paper and place it in a dark kitchen cabinet away from spices.

Red varieties do well in the kitchen cabinet

  • Red teas, which include the familiar black Ceylon tea with an elephant on the packaging, are less demanding on temperature conditions and can easily be stored at room temperature in a tightly closed jar in a dark cupboard. It is advisable to keep it cool, but in this case you can do without a refrigerator.
  • Leaf tea with large fractions is not recommended to be stored in vacuum bags. A tea leaf that fits tightly to the bulk and walls of the package can crumble and break, and this affects the quality of the drink.

You need to brew tea immediately before drinking.
How long does brewed tea last? In fact, each portion of the drink is brewed immediately before consumption, and the remainder is disposed of. Tea leaves prepared for future use are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria, especially in the summer. Therefore, the answer to the question of how long brewed tea can be stored is: no more than 1–2 hours.

So, the terms and conditions for storing tea leaves:


Convention 1
When purchasing, pay attention to the storage conditions of the tea drink, as well as the packaging.

If the rack is located next to household chemicals or spices, and the tea is wrapped in a regular plastic transparent bag, then it is better not to purchase it.

Take loose tea leaves not from a large container, but in a small foil bag. If stored improperly, the taste of elite tea is worse than that of low-grade tea, even if the price of the former is several times higher.

Convention 2
At home, pour the tea leaves into a container of appropriate size. Close with a tight lid and place in the refrigerator in the fruit compartment.

Teas are also stored in the kitchen cupboard, unless it is green or oolong, away from the stove and spices.

Convention 3
Do not store a lot of tea in one jar. If you want to place the tea leaves in the refrigerator, then package it in portions.

Each opening of the can allows oxygen to enter, which degrades the quality of the drink.

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