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Tea Storage

Posted on 05/24/2023

Perfect Storage Ideas for Loose Leaf Tea

By Stef S., Tea Consultant

Our customers often ask us, “When does my tea expire?” Because tea leaves are a dried product, they do not technically have an expiration date, however, once you open the packet, we recommend that you drink your tea sooner rather than later. The air exchange that takes place every time your tea container is opened will slowly affect the flavor of the tea over time. There is a fascinating exception to this, which relates to another question we occasionally receive. Someone will discover a forgotten packet of tea in the back of their cupboard and, after steeping a pot, they find that the tea still tastes great. This prompts them to write to us and ask why the tea flavor has lasted much longer than expected. The answer? Proper storage is key to ensure that your tea stays fresh and flavorful. There are many ways to store tea, some of which are more effective than others. Here are some tips that will help you to keep your loose leaf tea as strong and aromatic for as long as possible.

How to Store Loose Leaf Tea

  1. Keep your tea in a cool place.

Heat is one environmental factor that can affect the aroma, flavor and overall quality of your tea leaves. The best place to store your tea collection is a cool environment — in a kitchen cabinet/pantry or on your countertop away from any heat source such as the oven. While it may feel intuitive to chill tea leaves to preserve them, we do not recommend storing loose leaf tea in the fridge or freezer. Freezer burn can leave the tea flavorless, and the refrigerator can cause condensation to form inside your container, which may lead to mold growth.

  1. Keep your storage space dry.

For the same reasons listed above, exposing your tea to any moisture prior to steeping can be catastrophic. Do not place your tea where condensation may build up in the package, such as on a shelf over a steamy stove, by a sunny window or in the refrigerator/freezer. Instead, store your tea in a dry, cool space.

  1. Do not expose your tea to light.

While tea leaves may look rustic and decorative in glass containers, we do not recommend any kind of clear storage for loose leaf tea in the long term. Light exposure can fade the tea leaves, causing them to lose their aroma and flavor at a faster rate.   

  1. Make sure the seal on your container is airtight.

The most important consideration about loose leaf tea storage is to make sure that the tea is not exposed to oxygen. Before you put your tea away, make sure the seal or lid is tightly closed, and never store your tea in containers with air holes. Likewise, leaving your tea container open for a prolonged period of time is not recommended.  

What do I do if my tea has dropped off in flavor?

                -Increase the amount of tea leaves, but not the steeping time.

If you find that the strength of your tea is no longer at peak flavor, you can alleviate this by increasing the amount of tea leaves that you normally use for steeping. Do not change the amount of time you steep the tea, as this can cause the tea to become bitter.

  • Make iced tea.

If you have a tea that tastes less than optimal, you can steep it extra strong, as noted above, and make an iced tea that is still flavorful. To make iced tea, we recommend that you double the amount of tea leaves you normally use. This creates a concentrate to which you may add water and/or ice to achieve your desired strength. This enables you to continue enjoying your tea and works especially well if you like to add fruit or sweeteners.

  • Use your tea in baking and cooking.

If you enjoy being creative in the kitchen, there are several recipes that call for tea — tea cakes, cupcakes, and tea-flavored scones. Baking enthusiasts may have fun brewing up a tea concentrate to add a new and delicious twist to their favorite baked goods recipe. Tea can also be used to add flavor to savory recipes such as soups, stews, dressing, spice rubs, and more.


We hope this has been an interesting and educational exploration of loose leaf tea storage. How do you store your tea?

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