Tea Storage: How to Store Tea Properly and Keep It Fresh Longer

tea leaves stored in a tin canister

When investing in good quality tea, you want to make sure you are storing it to stay fresher, longer. The best tea storage containers are opaque and airtight. Keep reading for the best practices in proper tea storage and a guide to finding the best tea canisters.

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How do you store tea properly?

When it comes to storing tea, there are a few important things you will want to avoid such as: air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats to your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

How to find the best tea storage container:

On the hunt for the perfect tea storage? Here are three things you should look for in a great tea canister:

1. Opaque and Non-Reactive Materials

The best tea storage containers are made of opaque materials, so as to not allow any light in.

They should also be materials that do not react with the tea or give off any odors. Look for glazed ceramic or non-reactive metal canisters.

While you may see plastic or wood tea storage options, avoid these for storing loose leaf tea. Wood containers can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea, and plastic often absorbs and releases odors that can affect the quality and flavor of your tea- especially if you use it for different types of tea at different times.  

2. Airtight seal

Your tea storage must have an airtight seal in order to keep out the three biggest threats to tea: air, moisture, and odors.

You do not want your tea degrading, or taking on neighboring smells such as coffee or strong spices. 

3. Shape and Size

Choose a canister that is appropriate for the amount of tea you need to store.

The less amount of air left in the container, the better. So do not pick a canister that is too big for your needs.

Also, think about getting the tea out of the container; trying to scoop leaves out of a narrow opening is a hassle. Look for a relatively large opening so that it is easy to scoop out your tea. 

Here are some good options for storing loose-leaf tea:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

Does tea need to be stored in the refrigerator?

No, storing most tea in the refrigerator will actually expose it to moisture and condensation, thereby reducing the shelf life!  It’s better to just store your tea in a cool, dry place like a cabinet away from appliances like stoves or ovens. 

The only tea that is best to store in the refrigerator is matcha. 

How long does tea last?

While tea does last a long time and rarely “spoils”, each type of tea has a varying shelf life before the flavor quality starts to decline.

We recommend writing down the purchase date on your tea package or storage container so that you can easily tell how old it is. 

It is also best to purchase tea in quantities appropriate for your daily consumption.

Buying in smaller quantities will ensure that you will drink it at its freshest! Buy more as necessary so that your tea isn’t just sitting around for months and months waiting to be consumed. 

Type of Tea (loose-leaf):Shelf Life:
Black TeaUp to Two Years
White TeaUp to One Year
Green TeaUp to One Year
Oolong TeaUp to Two Years
Puerh TeaIndefinitely (meant to be aged)
Herbal TeasUp to One Year

Tea bags seem to lose their flavor faster than loose tea leaves. While teabags can be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark location for 1-2 years, it is best to use them within 4 months after opening for optimal flavor.

Does tea expire?

Tea doesn’t have an “expiration date” that makes it unsafe to drink. In fact, as long as it is stored properly, tea seldom spoils. Of course, the older the tea gets, the less flavorful and more dull it will taste. 

If your tea is tasting bland or stale, it is probably time to purchase some new tea so that you can enjoy all the flavors a fresh batch has to offer. 

In the unlikely case that your tea has been exposed to moisture and heat, it may go bad. If you see mold, decomposition, or any other signs that the tea has in fact spoiled, use your best judgement and do not drink it. 

In conclusion, it is always best to invest in proper tea storage. Always remember to keep your tea in an airtight container away from sun and odors in order to keep it in tip-top shape! 

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