If you've made it here, you probably already know the basics of how to store tea: as airtight as possible, out of sunlight, and away from strong smells. But not all teas are created equal and some have special needs.
Lighter oxidized teas, like high-mountain oolongs or green teas, should be stored and consumed a little differently than darker teas. So we've put together some tips to help you get the most out of your tea purchases.
If you aren't going to drink it, don't open it!
When your lighter oxidized tea arrives, it should be vacuum sealed to preserve freshness. Keep it sealed, and it can stay fresh for six months or even up to a year. But the moment you open that package and air once again touches the tea leaves, the oxidization process begins again, the leaves start to break down, and they can become stale.
You may have heard that some teas need to be exposed to air or 'breath' as time goes on. This is not the case with greener teas. If you want them to stay fresh, keep them sealed.
Once you open the package, the timer starts ticking.
It's best to consume greener teas as fast as possible once the bag is open. That's why at Mountain Stream Teas, we try to have a maximum of 50g per package for more lightly oxidized teas. This is to help you keep your purchases fresh and get the most out of your tea without having to rush through it.
The fridge can be your friend.
Once you open your package and start to drink those beautiful grassy, floral teas, you can store them in the fridge to preserve freshness for a little longer. The lower temperatures retard the oxidization process and reduce "staleness."
Just be very, very careful to make sure that the tea is airtight!
It's best to put your tea in some Tupperware or other well-sealed container. There are some strong smells in your fridge, and if you only use elastic bands or tea clips, you might find those lovely florals suddenly transformed into slight notes of refrigerated cabbage.
Bonus: The Freezer!!!
If you know that you won't be consuming your tea for a while, it's OK to put it in the freezer if it's in the original sealed package. You can keep a tea very fresh this way for up to a year (especially useful if you live in a hot climate). Just remember, only put it in the freezer if its original vacuum seal remains unbroken.
Higher Oxidization = Longer Shelf Life
Because more lightly oxidized teas tend to go stale more quickly, before there were vacuum-sealed packages oxidization was the best way to ensure a longer shelf life for teas. This is why we don't see many traditionally produced lower oxidized teas.
But now the fresh, crisp, vegetable notes of lightly oxidized teas, have become some of the finest highlights Taiwanese tea has to offer.
This is why it's so important to us that when you buy greener teas you get the chance to drink them while they're fresh.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you keep that freshness alive and avoid the tragic taste of beautiful tea gone stale!
White tea is a completely different animal and should be stored in a very different way which we will cover in another post.
***Lightly oxidized teas = any tea with an oxidization level of 2% to 30% the most common of these tees are green teas and high mountain oolongs. If you are unsure of the oxidization levels of a tea, they will be in our product descriptions or you can always send us a question.BACK TO TOP