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Storing Tea

Storing tea is a question that often comes up with new tea drinkers. Fortunately, it can be very simple if you just keep a few things in mind.

The National Tea Museum in Zhejiang Province notes Four factors that affect tea quality:

1. Temperature
Chemical changes of oxidation and polymerization are closely related to temperature, the higher the temperature the quicker the reactions. It was confirmed that rate of tea browning was increased by 3 to 5 times when temperature is raised by 10 ℃.
2. Moisture
Alimentary scientific theory revealed that components in absolutely dried foods were directly exposed to the air and easily be oxidized by oxygen in the air. When water molecules were aggregated with food components by hydrogen bonding, there formed a single molecular layer, the food seemed to be covered by a protection film. When tea moisture was about 3%, this single molecular protection film was formed. So the lipids in the tea were separated from oxygen in the air and prevented from oxidization by the film. On the contrary, when the moisture content was above this level, the water played a role of solvent instead of a protection film.
3.Oxygen
Oxygen can aggregate with almost every element and form an oxidized product. But oxygen in the air is most commonly found in molecular form and therefore not very active.
4. Illumination
Light itself is a kind of energy. Illumination can increase the energy level of the whole system illuminated and is detrimental to tea storage.

So knowing what affects tea, we can now make a few decisions about how we will store it
1st, we want an opaque container to keep out light.
2nd, we want something airtight that will keep out air, odors, and moisture.

The most important thing I’ve found is to keep your tea away from strong odor.
Tea if allowed exposure to strong smells will often absorb those odors and make for a less than pleasant experience.

Fortunately for us quite often the package that the tea comes in is more than adequate.
Tea package

For the ones that aren’t; my choice is tins, but even a plastic bag will suffice.

One trick I’ve found is to take my old tins from tea’s past and remove the labels and then refill them with new purchases.
tea tin

If using plastic bags, make sure that they are designed for food storage, and if clear, keep them out of the light.

So as you can see, tea storage can be quite simple and inexpensive.

One Comment

  1. Jason Witt says:

    I saw on another blog the acronym MAHL that’s a reminder of how muy malo it is to have moisture, air, heat, and light reach your tea. –Teaternity

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