How to Store Tea

In general, the shelf life of tea is about one year. A little less for fresh green teas and light oolongs, and longer for more oxidized teas like black tea. But one year is a good point of reference for most teas and tisanes. If you are interested in aging teas, which is only possible with certain types of tea, you can follow these storage tips.

How to Properly Store Tea to Preserve Freshness

Learn how to properly store tea to preserve the flavor and health benefits of your tea.

General Guide to Storing Tea

These storage tips apply to all teas, except for pu’er tea – you’ll find a separate section about pu’er below.

1) Seal your tea

If you keep your tea in the Arogya bag, press the air out and seal the bag after each use. You can also store your tea in a metal, ceramic, glass or wood canister. The best tea canisters have a gasket to ensure a tight seal.

2) Store in the dark

If you use an opaque canister, you can store your tea in the open, or on a shelf. However, if your tea is kept in a bag or a glass container, make sure to keep your tea in a cabinet away from light. Light exposure will cause the flavor of tea to degrade more quickly.

3) Keep away from odors

This is a big one. Tea will absorb the flavors around it, especially if kept in a porous container. It’s best to keep your teas away from spices, coffee, and other strong-smelling items. You might even want to separate flavored teas from more delicate traditional teas to preserve the intended flavor of your tea.

4) Maintain in a cool and dry environment

This is fairly easy to do in most kitchens, but something to keep in mind. For example, you shouldn’t keep your tea in the basement or right near the stove where steam from boiling water could affect it. Even if you store your tea in an opaque container, it’s best not to leave it in the sun.

How to Store Pu’er Tea

First of all, pu’er tea is a probiotic tea, so it’s in an active state of slow fermentation. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same shelf life as most tea. In fact, as long as it is properly stored and a good pu’er to begin with, the longer you keep it the better it becomes. You can read more about aging tea here.

Here are the basics for storing pu’er tea:

1) Don’t seal your Pu’er Tea!

Pu’er tea needs fresh air, so it’s important to keep your tea somewhere where it can breathe. We generally keep our pu’er tea in its original paper packaging or in an unglazed ceramic container, both of which allow for airflow.

2) Store away from light

Direct sunlight can slow down to microbial activity in the pu’er cake and alter the color of the tea leaves so it’s best stored in an area with low light.

3) Keep away from odors

Just as with all teas, pu’er tea can absorb surrounding odors, so keep your pu’er in a scent-free area away from soaps, essential oils, dried fruit, or other strong-smelling items.

4) Maintain in a stable temperature and humidity

Pu’er tea thrives in a slightly humid environment. Conditions that are too humid, however, can cause mold, so you want to provide a stable humidity. The ideal level of humidity is 50% – 70% with a temperature range between 65° to 85°.