Time is crucial in preserving every food product and this includes tea. When concerning loose tea, shelf life varies depending on the type and the fermentation process used by tea farmers. Loose-leaf tea can last for up to two years, so you can expect staleness after this period.

However, poor storage practices can cause loose leaf tea to go bad before the established expiry date. Are you struggling with stale tea? If so, here’s how to store loose leaf tea.

Store in air-tight containers.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve purchased UK loose leaf tea, or any other variety, storing loose tea in a container is vital. Most tea types don’t do well when exposed to air. The more you expose the leaves to air, the more they absorb moisture and aromas, affecting the flavour.

What’s more, the exposure can also fasten the oxidation process, resulting in staleness. Therefore, it’s essential to store loose leaf tea in tightly sealed and odour-free containers like tea canisters, caddies, and metalized foil bags. These containers can also keep ants away and other insects at bay.

Store in dry and opaque areas.

The dryness of loose tea keeps the flavour molecules and oils from diminishing. The slightest contact with moisture can weaken the flavour and cause mould to develop in your tea. That’s why it’s essential to keep loose leaf tea dry, away from damp areas.

Just like moisture, light can be a staleness agent in loose leaf tea. According to the American Specialty Tea Alliance, light and UV rays can degrade your tea’s chemical components, giving loose leaf tea a metallic taste.

It’s essential to avoid tea vendors with plastic, glass, and other clear packaging containers, especially if you don’t plan to store the tea in a dark cabinet.

Keep away from strong scents

Many tea lovers don’t only consume loose leaf tea for fun. Many of them identify with the entire culture of handpicking tea leaves in the spring and the flavour that comes with them after harvest. Volatile compounds cause the strong tea scent adored by tea lovers. The fluidity of these compounds makes them vulnerable to other scents they come into contact with, especially for longer periods.

Loose tea leaves are porous and can absorb other scents, altering the taste in the process. It doesn’t only numb the taste, but you may begin to taste the flavour of the products closer to them. That’s why it’s crucial to isolate loose tea leaves from strong-smelling foodstuffs and drinks. Keeping a shelf away from your spice and herbs line can be a great option.

Put it in the freezer 

Many tea manufacturers often come with a ‘keep in cool and dry places’ for a reason.

Many Asian countries where loose leaf tea is a staple have a fair share of cold days during the spring. This means loose leaf tea leaves don’t do well with extremely hot temperatures, even after harvest.

Therefore, storing your loose tea leaves in extreme temperatures can quicken oxidation and cause them to lose their freshness. The oxidation levels in white tea leaves can be linked to several health benefits and characteristics like reduced acidity. Storing your loose tea leaves in freezer handle shelves away from strong scents can be a great way to prevent them from going stale.

All in all, air, light, moisture, and heat are the main stale agents for loose tea leaves. Knowing how to manage these factors when storing your loose tea leaves can be a great way to keep them fresh at all times.