Loose leaf tea is at its best when it’s fresh and flavorful, and storing tea properly can help to ensure that your tea tastes delicious for as long as possible. Here are our recommendations for storing loose leaf tea to ensure a flavorful, enjoyable cup.
The best way to store loose leaf tea
We recommend storing loose leaf tea in an opaque, airtight container to prolong its shelf life. In order to keep tea fresh, you should protect tea leaves from exposure to air, heat, light, and moisture. This means storing tea in an airtight container and keeping it in a cool, dark place. You should avoid storing tea near any sources of heat, like a stove or a sunny window.
Tea storage containers
At ArtfulTea, we sell our teas both in resealable kraft bags and tins. Both are great options for storing loose leaf tea. If you plan to finish your tea within a few months, then a bag is fine. You can also purchase a bag and then transfer the tea leaves to another container. If you don’t have an airtight container for your tea and would like to prolong its shelf life for as long as possible, we recommend purchasing tea in one of our tins.
In addition to the bags and tins we sell our tea in, we also sell decorative tea tins in which you can store your tea. These elegant Japanese tea tins, covered in decorative washi paper, are the perfect containers for storing tea. An inner tin lid, as well as the exterior slip-on lid, make them completely air-tight.
How long tea lasts
How long tea lasts depends on how you store it. As a general rule of thumb, loose leaf tea stored in a craft bag will stay fresh for about four months, and loose leaf tea stored in a tin or other airtight container will stay fresh for about a year. After that, tea won’t spoil, but it will start to lose its flavor.
On rare occasions, tea may spoil if exposed to excess moisture and heat. If your tea looks or smells off, you should swap it out for fresh tea. After all, life’s too short not to drink good tea!
What to do with old tea
Tea lasts a long time—but if you’re anything like us, it can be hard to keep up with new additions to your tea stash. If you have very old tea that’s no longer good to drink, there are still a few ways to use it around the house. You can compost tea leaves, and also use brewed tea to water plants for a little extra nitrogen. You can also use tea leaves to dye fabric or even watercolor.
How can I tell if tea is still fresh?
In most cases, tea doesn’t go bad, but it will become less fresh over time. If you’re unsure whether or not your tea is still fresh and don’t remember when you purchased it, it’s a good idea to inspect your tea leaves, inhale the aroma of the tea, and brew up a cup to taste. Old tea will typically be less flavorful than fresh loose leaf tea.
Should you store tea in the fridge?
It’s not necessary to store tea in the fridge in most cases. In fact, storing tea in the fridge can sometimes expose it to moisture and condensation, reducing its shelf life. However, we do recommend storing matcha in the fridge.
Can you store used loose leaf tea?
Especially for teas that are well-suited to multiple infusions, you may want to store your used tea leaves to use a second time. The best way to do this is to use an infuser to prepare your tea in a pot or cup. When you’ve finished brewing your first infusion, you can set the tea leaves in the infuser aside for later use. We don’t recommend reusing tea leaves more than a few hours after the first infusion.
What is the best container to store loose leaf tea?
You can store loose leaf tea in any container you want. Look for a container that is opaque and air-tight to help preserve the tea’s freshness for as long as possible. Tea tins and canisters are great options for storing loose leaf tea, but you can also use jars or other containers. Be sure to store your tea in a cool, dark place away from any source of heat, light, or moisture.
Can I store tea in a glass jar?
You can store tea leaves in a glass jar like a mason jar, as long as you keep the jar in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or cabinet. While tea leaves certainly look pretty when displayed in a glass jar, you should avoid exposing tea leaves to light in order to keep them fresh for as long as possible.