Storing tea in the refrigerator/freezer

Hi all. Just wondering your opinions on storing tea in the refrigerator/freezer. In the past, I have just stored the tea in a cupboard in an airtight tea tin.

Is refrigerating/freezing a good option to preserve freshness if in an airtight container?

13 Replies
Rob said

Hello Jeffrey,

Any storage in fridge/freezer should only be done on unopened packets (i.e. never opened from original delivery). Once opened, they should not be cold stored. Condensation & moisture would be a problem.

Japanese Tea vendors advise that green tea and matcha should be stored in the refrigerator (unopened packets). Tea is stored in bulk at low temeratures and released throughout the year to maintain its freshness.

I don’t store my black tea or oolongs in the fridge – I’ve not heard anything to suggest I shouldn’t… so I guess you could. But fresh green tea, certainly.
Pu-erh should be room temperature only.

Cheers, Rob

Thanks for the reply. What do you think of putting the tea into an airtight container and then putting the sealed container in the fridge?

Rob said

If it was my tea, then I really wouldn’t. Too much chance of moisture / condensation. Warm air entering a cool container and then being trapped inside. I would only refigerate factory sealed packets before they are opened. What sort of tea do you have in mind? You could always test half and half. I quite like doing A/B testing like this.

Everune said

You said pretty much what I would have. You don’t want the taste of your tea ruined by taking on food smell.

Ubacat said

I sealed up one of my Japanese greens and stored it in the freezer. I think it helped a little bit but it wasn’t as fresh as I would have liked when I pulled it out of the freezer. YOu need to be careful when it goes from freezer/fridge to room temperature it doesn’t build up condensation.

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Babble said

I definitely store my matcha in the fridge because that’s what I’ve always been told. I also store my green teas that I REALLY like in the fridge (not all my green teas). That’s about it

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LuckyMe said

I refrigerate my green teas and green oolongs and it does help extend their freshness.

As Rob said, ideally you should put unopened packets in the fridge. I do refrigerate green teas I buy in bulk after opening them and most of them seem to do okay. Just make sure they are sealed tightly to block air and aromas from getting in. I’ll double or even triple bag them for good measure.

Give the tea at least 24 hours after removing it from the fridge to let it come to room temperature and avoid condensation issues. And don’t put it back in the fridge once opened.

Rob said

Absolutely, I forgot to mention that – the tea must be left to reach room temperature (best left overnight) before opening.

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andresito said

imagine a glass of cold iced tea sitting on the counter, dripping with condensation, compared to a glass of room temperature tap water. No condensation on the room temperature glass of tap water.

when you take tea out of the fridge, let it sit on the counter and warm up to room temperature prior to opening the package/container, however long that may take. then take what you need for the day/week, and seal it back up before putting back in the fridge. Only when the tea is cold will it get moisture.

That’s true. I didn’t account for the water vapor that is already present when you seal the tin. The only way to keep the leaves cool and refrigerate it would be if it is vacuum-sealed so that virtually no oxygen/vapor exists.

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I store my matcha in the fridge and it makes a world of difference in extending its life. I’m pretty crap with it, not leaving it to regulate temperature, and I have not noticed any condensation/etc.

This is also assuming your fridge is nice and clean, not smelling like yesterday’s dinner. Vendors that store this way do this have a separate fridge, which is most optimal. I can see having issues with home fridge with all the scents and constant opening the door, if you are storing for a longer haul. Might be cheaper in the long run to just purchase enough to drink for the season than bulk.

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mrmopar said

Puerh would require a similar but different type of storage.

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DongBei said

Most vendors store greens, whites and green oolong/tieguanyin in refrigerators as far as I know. However, these are all sealed as far as I know.

Yet I’ve also seen a wholesaler keep green tieguanyin in a fridge and just open the fridge and scoop out a few pounds to sell. Obviously he wasn’t unsealing/resealing a vacuum packed container every time. Maybe he just moves enough volume and the temperature isn’t so low that condensation is an issue? I don’t know what temp his fridge was.

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