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Tea Collection in Need of a (Spring) Fall Cleaning?

August 30th, 2019

Time to get fresh.

We love our tea, and as tea aficionados, sometimes we can collect more than we can consume. We get it!  However, if you have tea in your cupboard that has been taking up space for two years or more – unless it is an intentionally aged tea such as Pu-erh – it might be time to use it up quickly or compost it.

Here’s why:

After about six months, tea will start to degrade impacting both its flavour and aroma.  But it’s not just about fresh tea leaves tasting better (although they do). Just like any produce, the fresher the product is, the healthier it is.  So, if you’re drinking tea for an antioxidant boost, you want to make sure that it is fresh.

Get off to a Good Start

When buying your tea, look for a company that is committed to sourcing high-quality tea leaves.  At Pluck, our tea leaves arrive from Ethical Tea Partnership gardens several times per year, ensuring that our teas get off to the right start. Once they arrive at our facility, they are blended with fresh, local ingredients and then packaged quickly to preserve the integrity of the blend.

You’ve invested in a high – quality tea. Now, let’s give you some tips on how to make it last longer.

Sealed with Approval

Light, oxygen, and moisture are the enemies of tea. So, what does this mean? Well, to start, those beautiful, clear glass containers (restaurant tea people take note) may show all the nuances in the leaves, but light exposure will zap all the freshness out.

Once the original tea packaging is open, reseal carefully, or transfer your tea into a sealed storage container.  Our favourites are food safe stainless or aluminum tins  These moisture-resistant containers keep oxygen, aroma, and light out – helping to keep those tea leaves fresh until brewed.

Storage Tips:

  • Smaller tea containers are better. Select based on what you would realistically consume in 2-3 months, and select containers with lids that seal tightly.
  • Take a sniff of your reusable containers prior to filling them with new teas. Certain woods, finishes, and plastics can have a scent to them, which can be inadvertently absorbed by your leaves. Also, a flavoured tea that was stored in there previously could leave a lasting scent that will affect the flavour of your new tea if they are not the same.
  • Keep your tea in the dark (cool cupboards are best)
  • Avoid any heat source. The heat will speed up the oxidization process of the tea, causing it to degrade faster.
  • Keep it odour – free. Avoid storing your tea in spaces with strong odours, including the spice cupboard, near onions, or garlic.
  • Rotate and top-up the tea inside your tea container regularly to minimize the amount of oxygen in the space.
  • Label the container with the type of tea, brewing instructions, date of purchase, and any other favourite notes (great as an iced tea, company name, favourite home blends).

The good news is, it is very rare for tea to spoil. However, over time, the flavour and aroma of tea will start to degrade. These storage tips will help extend the shelf life of your tea.

For the best tea experience, purchase only the amount of tea that you can drink within six months. Enjoy!