Storing Tieguanyin in Fridge?

I just got a bunch of fantastic teas from Verdant Tea, among them the Hand-Picked Autumn Tieguanyin. I was reading some of their information about Tieguanyin and learned that it was best to store it in the freezer. I live in a college residence hall, and my only access to a freezer would be the all-hall freezer in our basement. I’m concerned about theft—it’s happened with some of my other stuff, but I’ve been avoiding it pretty well now by wrapping my food in newspaper to make it as unappealing and inaccessible as possible. My collection of bananas or cookie bars is one thing, but I don’t want to risk someone stealing my precious tea!

So my other options are these: keeping it in the airtight bag it arrived in and in my pantry (where it currently is), or keeping it in that same bag in my fridge. I’m just a little concerned about the fridge, because it’s a more humid environment (which wouldn’t be the case if it were in the freezer where all the moisture is frozen). Would it be better to keep the Tieguanyin away from moisture but in a warmer environment? That’s what I’m doing right now, anyway, until I hear otherwise. Thoughts?

14 Replies
Tamm said

I just got some Tieguanyin from Rishi today and the package says to not store in the fridge. O.o Very different opinions!

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Jessie said

I think storing in a fridge would only potentially be useful if the tea is vacuum-sealed. I’ve read that storing opened tea in a fridge is a no-no because of the humidity that you mentioned. I’d go with tightly sealed bag in the pantry. You’ll probably drink it all too quickly to lose any freshness under those conditions!

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Geoffrey said

I wouldn’t worry too much about long-term refrigerate/freeze storage for this tea. Putting it in a sealed tin in your pantry will keep it plenty fresh for many months. As others have mentioned, condensation can be a danger with cold storage unless the tea is in a vacuum sealed package. Once the vacuum seal is broken, you’re going to face condensation dangers. Seriously though, knowing how supremely good this tea is, I’d be surprised if you don’t end up drinking all of it before it even starts to go stale. Just try to keep your stored tea away from excessive exposure to heat, light, and moisture. I have this one in my gaiwan right now. I love it so much! Happy drinking!

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Angrboda said

I wouldn’t put mine in the freezer or the fridge. Doesn’t it get way to moist in there with ice and condensation? For me, it’s always room temperature, not matter what the tea.

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The only tea-related item I keep in my refrigerator is sakura blossoms, simply because they’re not tea and they’ve been processed in a vinegar brine. The green teas I get from the same vendor come with instructions that ask you to store the green tea in the fridge, but I’ve never taken the chance, for the reasons mentioned above. Even with tea that’s been vaccum-sealed, there’s so much “other” stuff in my family’s refrigerator that would potentially seep in and ruin the flavor, aroma, even if it was in an airtight container.

To contrast – I did experiment with storing coffee beans in the larger deep freeze a few years back, there was an Ethiopan Harrar that was just fantastic and I wanted to hang onto it. Wrapped the vaccum-sealed bag in plastic wrap and newspaper. Was not successful at keeping the fresh flavor.

Recalling my experience with dorm living, I wouldn’t take the risk of putting a favorite tea in with whatever other creations my fellow dorm residents might shove in there at any given time, the theft concern aside.

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Thanks, everyone. This confirms my suspicions about fridge moisture/flavor encroaching on my tea (and it makes my storage easier). And yeah…judging by how delicious it is, I’ll drink it up far before it loses its flavor.

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Traditional style – don’t store in fridge.

Modern green style – the best option is buying little each time and don’t store it in fridge. Professionally it’s stored in fridge. But many people (maybe more than 50-80%) overestimate the quality of their container/bag for the tea. When there is a little leak, the fridge odor and condensation never fail to invade. Then the outcome is much worse than not storing it in fridge.

Even the 7g vacuum bags commonly used for Tie Guan Yin are of various qualities. Some are much thicker than others. The thinner ones would still allow permeation of small molecules and would be worrisome when left in fridge.

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I have extra supply of Verdant Spring TGY in the freezer. I bought a lot. I read, and I forget where, that this was thing way to go….

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Dorm freezers are a huge risk. I regularly had stuff stolen from the dorm freezer, but not having a freezer of my own, I had little choice. The idea that someone could steal a very awesome tea from me and not even know how to start appreciating it is extremely frustrating. Please, don’t take the risk!

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking…or they would try to smoke it.

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Hi,
In China, all reputable tea vendors store their higher quality green and green oolong in a very cold refrigerator (almost freezing), which is what I was referring to in my blog on the Verdant Tea site. However, I am going to have to backtrack a bit and say not to freeze it in this case for a few reasons:
1. The autumn tea is not in 7g vacuum sealed bags, which means that any moisture in the bag would condense under refrigeration, possibly damaging the tea. The spring Tieguanyin that came from the farm vacuum sealed, I would freeze, but as for any small vacuum sealed bag, there is a potential for it to loose the seal. If it doesn’t look vacuum sealed perfectly, then probably best not to risk it.

2. The refrigerator in question is not devoted to tea- some day you might be so obsessed that you buy a seperate tea refrigerator. Then the risk is much smaller since smells won’t get absorbed. When you have a devoted refrigerator, you can safely store your green and green oolong as long as it is sealed airtight even if it is not vacuum packed.

3. Dorm refrigerators are notorious for having stuff stolen. IN college I was in a co-op dorm of 8 people, and my stuff still got stolen! I remember freshman year putting a box of cookies on a table, then turning around for 45 seconds to stir something in a pot, and having the box gone when I looked back!

That said- I don’t think that the issue is as serious as some may think- If the bag has a good seal on it, refrigeration in a clean refrigerator may help and not hinder. You could try a test some time and see which tea was better after 2 months. Everyone’s conditions are a bit different. I still keep a personal stash refrigerated at home, and it is happier for it. I kept a Tieguanyin from a good friend for 2 years and it was still very fresh when I finally finished it off.

Final Note: Teas that need refrigeration are really best enjoyed within 2-4 months of purchase anyways, so unless you get huge amounts, you should be OK. As for the Tieguanyin in question, I import a fresh picking every spring and every autumn and store it professionally, meaning that it will be fresh no matter what you do with it.

Have fun with that tea, and play around with storage and brewing techniques- there are definitely no solidly right answers here.

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