Inside view of Tea Storage - Small Container for Loose Leaf Tea

Preservation Methods for Maintaining the Freshness of Tea

In this article we cover various preservation methods for maintaining freshness for all types of teas.

Non-Fermented Tea

Non-fermented teas, including green tea, yellow tea, and white tea, are the most vulnerable to deterioration due to their high content of vitamins and active nutrients. They demand meticulous storage to maintain their color and unique aroma. Sunlight, moisture, and odors are their greatest adversaries.

Best Practices for Non-Fermented Tea Storage

    • Use large dry coffee bottles for home storage.
    • Place a microwave-dried tissue at the bottom of the tea can to absorb excess moisture.
    • Seal the tea can and wrap it in plastic before storing it in the refrigerator’s frozen room.
    • Utilize sealed containers like tin cans, iron cans, food bags, and water bottles, while minimizing air exposure.
    • Push air out of plastic bags to reduce oxidation.
    • If possible, create a vacuum by injecting nitrogen and sealing the bag to maintain freshness.

Half-Fermented Tea

Oolong tea, being a hybrid between non-fermented and fermented teas, offers a slightly longer shelf life than green tea. The key is to protect it from sunlight, moisture, and odors. Different variations of Oolong tea, including lightly roasted and heavily roasted, influence storage duration.

Storage Recommendations for Half-Fermented Tea

    • Protect against sunlight, moisture, and odors.
    • For short-term storage without a fridge, green tea can last a year, while Oolong tea can last two to three years.
    • Choose storage methods based on the specific type of Oolong tea.
    • Some Oolong teas, like Yancha from Wuyi mountain, may be intentionally aged for medical use.
    • These teas can be stored in grapefruit skins for unique flavor profiles and potential health benefits.

Fully Fermented Tea

Fully fermented teas, encompassing black tea and dark tea (like Pu-erh), undergo a complete fermentation process that transforms their characteristics. Due to this transformation, they have a longer shelf life and can tolerate less stringent storage conditions compared to non-fermented and half-fermented teas.

Storage Tips for Fully Fermented Tea

    • Protect against direct sunlight, high temperatures, and odorous substances.
    • These teas can often be stored without sealing the containers tightly; simply avoid high humidity.
    • Pu-erh tea can be aged more rapidly by mixing old and new tea in a wide-mouthed pithos.
    • This practice allows the teas to complement each other’s qualities, resulting in higher-quality tea.

Common Preservation Methods for Tea

  • Canned Storage: Use double-sealed cans, filling them to minimize air exposure and ensuring a tight seal.
  • Plastic Bag Storage: Push air out of plastic bags, seal them, and store them in the freezer.
  • Thermos Bottle Storage: Place tea inside a dry thermos bottle and seal it with white wax and tape.