How Is Tea Stored? 3 Awesome Ways To Store Tea Properly

If you love tea as much as I do, then you may have also come across the problem of how to maintain the freshness of your tea. So, how is tea stored? 

How is tea stored
best tea storage container

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. People have been drinking tea for thousands of years, not only as a delicious beverage but also for medicinal purposes.

Just like coffee, tea also requires proper storage. You must keep it away from air, heat, light, and moisture. You should store tea bags in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or pantry. In addition, keep your tea away from other things with intense aromas that might bleed in and change the flavor. 

Keep in mind that dried teas are very sensitive to moisture. The aroma and flavor of the tea may weaken every time it is exposed to moisture.

In this article, we will discuss how to store tea properly, what to consider when choosing the best tea storage container, and how to organize your tea collection. 

3 Ways To Store Tea Properly

1. Keep It Dry

Moisture spells disaster for tea leaves, as tea leaves exposed to moisture are vulnerable to mold. For this reason, you should store your tea bags and loose-leaf tea away from certain areas of your kitchen that are likely to be moist, including:

  • Near the stove
  • On the counter near the sink
  • Near the dishwasher
  • Under the sink
  • In the refrigerator

If you love tea, you might also be interested in learning how is tea produced.

2. Store Where Temperature Is Constant

Too much heat exposure can destroy flavorful tea blends, so make sure to store your delicious varieties away from:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Cabinets near stoves or ovens
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Refrigerator storage

3. Store Separately

Tea is a hygroscopic product, which means it can absorb moisture and scents from the air around it. So, to keep your specialty blends tasting their best, keep this in mind:

stored different types of tea
Store different types of tea separately
  • Never store your tea with other foods, especially with aromatic products like coffee and spices
  • Do not store your tea near laundry detergents, dryer sheets with strong scents, or other cleaning agents
  • Store different types of tea separately, as they can absorb each other’s flavors

What To Consider When Choosing The Best Tea Storage Container

When choosing the best tea storage container, consider the following:

1. It Closes With An Airtight Seal

The rich flavor and aroma of the dried leaves will be preserved if they are kept dry and free of air and moisture.

2. It Is Easy To Open And Close

The container should be airtight. In addition, if you are going to use it frequently, make sure that it can be easily opened and closed to prevent the tea from getting exposed to air.

3. The Container Is Odor-Free

If it is new, make sure there are no unpleasant manufacturing odors or food odors if you’re reusing a container. 

4 Best Tea Storage Containers

Let’s take a look at some of the best tea storage containers.

1. Metal

If you’re like me, and you have a favorite type of tea that you enjoy drinking repeatedly, it is useful to have a tin box or caddy that you can refill. Storing tea in these lovely boxes and steeping its aromatic leaves is an old tradition in cultures worldwide.

Tin, aluminum, or stainless steel containers are ideal for tea storage, as they are opaque and can protect the contents from getting exposed to light, moisture, and odor. Even the traditional cookie tin boxes can be a great tea storage container. If you are going to buy it, make sure that it can be closed properly — a screw cap will work best.

2. Wood And Bamboo

Like the ancient chests used to store precious leaves imported from the Orient, wood boxes make serving tea to guests like a celebration! Like in fine dining restaurants, the lid is opened before the customers to present a variety of enticing blends from which to choose.

Modern versions usually have clear lids, which are great for storing bags enclosed in envelopes to maintain freshness. The cost of wood and bamboo varies, but we recommend a bamboo tea chest

Bamboo Wood Tea Box
  • Natural Bamboo Tea Box
  • 9 Compartments
  • Tea Storage Holder Organizer With Latching Lid
  • 23x23x9cm
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/31/2023 12:00 am GMT

3. Porcelain, Ceramic, And Glass

Containers made from porcelain, ceramic, and glass look elegant and have the perfect qualities to ensure freshness, as they do not get hot or retain moisture. However, you must ensure that your box can be sealed properly.

Try double-packing if the container doesn’t seal tightly. Use the packaging your loose leaf purchase came in, firmly wrap it, and then put it in the ceramic or porcelain jar before covering it with the lid.

tea bag in a glass jar
Glass looks elegant and has the perfect qualities to ensure freshness

Glass is perfect for keeping the contents free of unpleasant smells because it has no intrinsic odor, but there is one drawback — it is transparent. So, if you want to consider choosing this type, store it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight.

There are a few glass options, like the Priority Chef Set of 3 Glass Canisters in Silver Metal Overlay, which have silver metal overlays that can help protect your tea from sunlight.

Priority Chef Tea, Coffee, Sugar Jars
  • Set of 3
  • Glass Canisters in Silver Metal Overlay
  • Air Tight Screw Top Lids
  • Perfect Storage Solution
  • Easy to clean
  • 12 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm
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4. Plastic Containers And Bags

Plastic containers are the most cost-effective storage solution, despite not always being the most aesthetically pleasing. Look for the ones that can be sealed properly, and consider those with space-saving stacking designs.

It is not recommended to store your teas in regular plastic bags, as they do not seal tightly enough. Zipper bags can be a better option than regular ones; however, they are not the best option for preserving the flavor and freshness of the leaves.

You can use zipper bags as additional packaging inside other containers. It never hurts to have a little additional protection from the elements in your kitchen!

For this, we recommend the Teavac 6-Ounce Vacuum Sealed Tea Storage Container.

Teavac Vacuum Sealed Tea Storage Container
  • 6-Ounce Vacuum Sealed Tea Storage Container
  • White Cap and Body/Blue Tea Sign
  • Holds up to 6-Ounce, .57 Liter, 150 Grams or more
  • BPA-free
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01/31/2023 12:36 am GMT

5 Ways To Organize Your Tea Collection

1. By Variety

One of the easiest ways to organize your tea collection is by variety, especially if you enjoy drinking different types of tea. Depending on how many types of tea you have, you can make specific categories, including:

  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Rooibos tea
  • White tea

Herbal teas, also known as tisanes, have no actual tea leaves. This type of tea can be made with a single ingredient, such as chamomile or peppermint, or can consist of blends of different herbs, fruits, and flowers. So, these differences can influence how you store them.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on what tea is not herbal.

2. By Preferred Drinking Time Or Effect

Another excellent way to organize your tea collection is by your preferred drinking time or the effect of the tea. There are many things that you can consider for this, including:

Caffeinated And Caffeine-Free 

Caffeinated and caffeine-free can be distinguished from one another. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to consider this way of organizing your tea collection so you won’t get the wrong tea at the wrong time.

Relaxing And Invigorating

You may also find the distinction between relaxing and invigorating teas very helpful. There are herbal teas with calming ingredients such as lemon balm and lavender or revitalizing ingredients like lemongrass, mint, and other herbs. This can also be an excellent way to sort black tea varieties of different strengths, such as Darjeeling and English Breakfast.

cup of lemongrass tea
Lemon grass tea has calming ingredients

Morning Pick-Me-Up And Afternoon/Evening Indulgence

Lastly, a drawer labeled with “morning,” “afternoon,” or “evening” and each stocked with the varieties you prefer for that specific time of the day.

3. By Separating Plain Types From The Flavored Types

I have natural teas and infused teas. So, whenever I have a visitor with a specific preference, I know exactly where to find it!

Flavoring is not just for black teas — you may also find it in green, white, rooibos, and herbal types. That’s why organizing your tea collection in this way is beneficial not only for picky drinkers but also if you tend to enjoy buying a lot of different flavored tea varieties.

4. By Strength Or Flavor 

Similar to the method mentioned above, you can organize your tea collections according to their unique flavor profiles and strengths. Although it may seem obvious that fruit types and black varieties have different tastes, there is a way to sort them into separate subcategories so you can easily find what you are looking for.

If you are a lover of black varieties, why not classify them into categories according to their distinctive flavor notes and strengths, from floral to malty or mild to strong? Fruit and herbal sorts can be organized similarly, as there are sweet varieties and bitter, tangy, or mild ones.

Organizing your tea collection in this way is similar to arranging them by your preferred drinking time or effect. However, with this method, you can still subdivide each type individually.

You might also enjoy our round-up of the best tea infusers.

5. By Date Of Purchase

Lastly, you can organize your tea collection by the date of purchase. This helps you use the oldest or the ones that have already been opened first.

When possible, it is always helpful to record both the date of purchase and the date of manufacture. People who don’t drink tea every day but want to prevent the leaves from aging and losing flavor too soon can consider doing this.

When choosing a sachet or a measure of leaves for your next cup, use the First In First Out or FIFO method and store new purchases at the back of your cabinet or shelf.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on the best way to store coffee beans at home.