Sttoring tea leaves between steepings? Help please!

Hi guys, I am a hge fan of Don Mei here in London and his youtube channel and all of his suggestions. But, I’ve been trying his method of storing tea leaves in a dry clean towel between steepings, and whilst this may work for storing leaves for 12 hours or less, it goes horribly wrong if you want to store them for any longer, like a week in my case:

My beautiful Yunnan golden buds went from a malty milky chocolate flavour to mouldy potatoes! :P I know I say in the video that it must have become contaminated with food odours, but that’s not it, as I actually stored it in my room, which smells like roses of course! :P In any case, I have no food in my room.

Does anyone have experience with this? Is it possible to store tea leaves for a week and to maintain the flavour? What method works? It’s such a shame if this isn’t possible. Yulia X

11 Replies

It is possible. In my puer cave I keep a flask of liquid nitrogen which is available from your local industrial gas supply company. When a tea of excellence is to be saved for future enjoyment, a bath in the liquid nitrogen preserves the leaves until they are ready to be revived.

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AllanK said

I personally would not try to store used leaves for more than 24 to 48 hours at most and to me 48 hours is pushing it. I do not think used leaves can be successfully stored for a week.

Ken said

Yeah I drink my tea down to the end unless I start one too late at night. Then Ill do the mei leaf trick of drying on paper towels and use it first thing in the morning.

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Mackie said

I’ve found that past like a few hours, no matter how I’ve tried to store it, the tea isn’t good enough to even bother continuing to drink it. If I don’t have time for a whole session I just drink something I won’t mind wasting a bit of

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wobudong said

Tea has a limited number of steeps, if you want to “save” some for the next day it’s ok to leave it but I’ve found that the tea will be a little weaker then where you left off but still will have some remaining steeps. If you are trying to store your tea…maybe to take it over to a friend some distance away, then you should lay out the leaves spread out enough so it doesn’t stack up. Maybe a paper towel on a baking wire rack and the leaves should dry out completely and then you will be fine.

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Brian said

u want to keep used leaves for a week?!?!?!!?!??!?!? why dont you just use less leaf each session. that would be my suggestion.

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12 hours is the upper limit for me. I don’t even bother trying to dry the leaf.

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Ahh haha glad it wasn’t just me! :P I never usually store tea between steepings, but my Yunnan tasted so lovely after 4 steepings, I was sure it could take many more and wanted to continue drinking it with my friend the following weekend, but was horribly surprised.

Hmm I know Nitrogen is an inert gas from my Chemistry, but not sure I’d be willing to try it in my drink, given how particular I am about only drinking pesticide tested teas etc! :P

One lovely lady well-versed in the tea drinking world for many years has suggested of rinsing it before brewing on my youtube channel. I may try that, as with pu-ers. And I may experiment storing it in a closed container/ fridge! I know it is generally recommended to not do this, but that’s for storage of under 12 hours, not for week-long storage! :P Will keep experimenting – I may come up with something. Yulia X

I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what master zhou says. That’s a joke account that stemmed from verdant tea’s misinformation about some alleged 1800 year old trees grown by a certain “master zhou” (I’m sure you’ve seen the controversy). Notice he did not say nitrogen gas, but liquid nitrogen, which is somewhere around -200 degrees and would probably freeze and shatter your leaves if used.

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wobudong said

12hours really shouldn’t be a problem but the flavor in that long of a rest could diminish based on the quality of the leaf/processing. You can also throw the steeped tea in a glass with water and put that in the fridge and I’ve had teas steeping for multiple days though again the flavor is diminished not only by each steeping but also the longer length of time between the sessions, but I think that might be because the tea transitioning between hot and cold back and forth. What you can do is drink your tea and when the tea has drunk you, is keep steeping it at it’s normal pace and pour the next steepings in a container of some sort (pitcher, beaker. etc). Put that in the fridge and now you have a nice cold brew. Though you don’t get to taste the latter steeps changing with each steep you do get a general overall flavor contained in a large amount able to be be drunk many days later with no adverse flavors besides that of it being cold. I have not tested the extremes of that style so I would guess that it should be good for a week or two no problem in the back of a cold fridge.

mrmopar said

I agree with this on puer. I have had some go a couple of cups for four days before giving out. I just make sure the water is a rolling boil before I infuse again. I normally just leave it in the pot or on a paper towel.

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