I am not a huge tea drinker myself, but I do enjoy a cup every once in a while. But tea makes for a great hot drink, as well as some health benefits from various types of tea, such as chamomile tea helping with sleeping. But tea tends to have a fairly short shelf-life, especially once the package is opened. How can you store tea in your prep supplies without having to replace it too frequently?
Storing tea properly is important for maintaining its freshness, aroma, and flavor over time. Here are some tips for long-term storage of tea:
- Choose the right container: The ideal storage container for tea is airtight, opaque, and made of materials that won’t impart any flavors or odors into the tea. Glass, ceramic, or metal containers with airtight seals are good choices. Avoid using clear containers, as light can cause tea to degrade over time.
- Keep away from light, heat, and moisture: Store tea in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and moisture. Avoid storing tea in the refrigerator or freezer, as they can absorb moisture and odors from other foods. People often confuse this because some recommend storing coffee in the freezer.
- Store in small batches: Instead of storing a large quantity of tea in one container, it’s better to store it in smaller batches. This way, you can open one container at a time, reducing the amount of exposure to air and light to your entire tea supply.
- Avoid exposure to air: Air can cause tea to lose its aroma and flavor over time, so it’s important to minimize exposure. Store tea in airtight containers and avoid opening them unnecessarily. Vacuum sealing your tea is a great option!
- Use airtight packaging: If you purchase tea in bags or other packaging that is not airtight, transfer the tea to an airtight container as soon as possible.
- Keep away from strong odors: Tea can absorb odors from other foods, so it’s important to store it away from strong-smelling items, such as spices or cleaning products.
- Use a desiccant: To further reduce moisture, you can place a desiccant packet in the tea storage container. Desiccant packets are small sachets that contain materials that absorb moisture.
- It does not make a huge difference if your tea is in tea bags or loose. Tea bags make it easier to reuse the tea – since you will definitely want to do that to ensure your supply of tea lasts longer – but loose tea makes it easier to ration the amount of tea you use.
By following these tips, you can help ensure your tea stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. Keep in mind that different types of tea have different shelf lives, so it’s a good idea to check the packaging or consult with the vendor for specific recommendations.
As a general rule, most tea is best consumed within 6-12 months of purchase or packaging. However, most tea won’t go bad if stored longer, it will just lose more of its flavor and potency over time.