EliTeaEli said

Storage of your tea Tin? Glass jar? Plastic bag?

Hey Steepsters!

I always store all of my teas in air tight and light tight tea tins to avoid oxidation, compromising flavor and health properties. However unfortunately I have noticed some tea companies switch packaging.

One example is Tea Samovar in San Francisco which packs tea in heavy duty plastic bags which are then in a cardboard box.

Another example I have noticed is the use of wax lined paper tins from a local tea merchant here in Detroit.

What is your opinion of the conditions for tea storage and packaging? do you care or not? what about oxygen and light permeability?

33 Replies
Debbie select said

I’ve heard that most tea tins are not as air tight as you are led to think and that ziploc baggies might do better to retain the freshness of tea longer. That said, I have a ton of tins, but I also store tea in glass spice bottles ($4 for a pack of 4 from Ikea!) and washed jam jars (the lemon curd from Trader Joe’s is the perfect size for a little over 4 oz of tea). Since my tea is in a cupboard I’m not worried about light exposure.

Cavocorax said

That’s reassuring about ziploc baggies doing ok as a lot of companies seem to use zip bags, even for expensive teas like Verdant! I hope that means my precious Laoshan Black is safe!

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Jen M said

I store mine in tea tins or mason jars. Sometimes if I’ve paid a lot for the tea I’ll paint the outside of the jar with some kind of opaque dark paint, but usually it just goes as-is into my “secret tea drawer of doom”. Since it’s usually closed unless I’m choosing a tea, I don’t care much about light exposure damaging the tea.

I’ve kept tea for months (years?) beyond the expiry date in mason jars and never been disappointed when I opened it up to have a cup. Tea tins? A whole other story. I had tea in a tea tin for a couple of years (lost it on a shelf) and tried a cup and ended up throwing out the rest of the tin it was so awful. So they’re definitely not meant for “air-tight” long term storage.

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ifjuly said

I really like the idea posted in another thread, forget which one, about taking mason jars and spraying the outside with chalk paint so light is blocked and you can keep changing the label easily. Mason jars are a nice relatively cheap solution, and if they’re squat enough they stack sort of ok too.

Jen M said

I would have never thought of the chalkboard paint idea. That’s a great one!

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I have double lidded tea tins, one matcha tin from yuuki cha and one tall one from ocha. So far both keep tea very well for several months. They seem to be as air tight as your gonna get out side of vaccuum sealed baggies. Tea tins from RoT… Pfft don’t bother with those.
With my less costly tea I use empty pill bottles ( I check each ones air tightness before I consider using them. I use the orange ones with the white screw cap lids .

Jen M said

And nothing makes tea taste better than a little Tylenol-3 dust (just kidding…I’m sure you wash them thoroughly, too)

snicker I thoroughly clean then as they are my moms extra tall Seizure medicine pill bottles. If tere were evn minor amounts of residue left it would have sent me to the hospital by now.

Jen M said

And seriously…what could be more fun than going to the hospital because of seizure medication overdose? I mean, aside from bouncy-castles.

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EliTeaEli said

I have to admit that I do like those glass spice jars from Ikea, I have one for my white sugar and another for cane sugar. It is also nice to be able to see your tea in a glass jar but I am someone who does move my tea counter to counter and have occasionally dropped a tin here or there.

I will say though that I had a tin of oolong tea from teavanna that I left open for a few hours while I was away at class on a Michigan winter day. The tea was ultra dry and crumbled to the touch when I came back. I think it was because the humidity was so low in my apartment.

Lynxiebrat said

I’ve had that happen to me too, usually with Teavana teas, anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

I like the looks of the spice jars too, though a bit $$. I’ve got a lot of teas that need something more than the bags they came in, so been thinking of ordering a bunch of tins from specialtybottle.com for the majority, and nicer tins/glass jars for my favorites.

I was thinking of getting spice bottles from specialtybottle.com and getting one of these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005OLVNJW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2N0971F8AH0YN
It seems like one of the easiest ways to organize.

Lynxiebrat said

Fuzzy_Peachkin, that rack has given me food for thought. I’ll be moving in a few months, not sure where exactly but it will probably be to a much smaller space, so a rack (or maybe a few racks, coughs) like that would do the job nicely.

The rack comes in different sizes. If you get the “30 bottle” one it will really hold more than that. Most spice bottle are 4oz bottles, 2 inch diameter, and about 4 inches high. You can store 60 or even 120 teas, if you get 2oz or 1oz glass bottles. Even more if you get a bunch of .5 ounce bottles, if all you really buy is sample sizes of tea. And you can always get a combo of different size bottles. As long as the diameter is around 2 inches and they aren’t taller than 4 inches, they should fit!

As you see, I’ve put far too much thought into this! The real expense will come in buying glass bottles!

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Lynxiebrat said

LOL I did see that. If I get 1, it would definitely be the 30 bottle one. I really wish I was into working with wood, then I would just build a cabinet, probably like a hutch. Or at least knew someone who would do it as a Christmas/Birthday present. The downside to those racks though is that it makes it hard to hide new teas…At the moment I live with family and since they think that I have a ridiculous amount of teas already, it’s been necessary to juggle the tea around to make it look I havn’t bought any new. And I know my family well enough that whenever they are over at my place, they will go take a look and say “Umm I think ya need to dial it back!” Mff. (Well namely my Dad. My Step Mom agrees with him but she doesn’t carp about it.) Ahh well small worry right now.

mrmopar said

Well just tell them it’s your money like I tell my fam. And I will spend it in a way that makes me happy! Good thing they haven’t seen my stash!

Well my family has been giving me funny looks lately, but they don’t say anything because I handle the rest of my finances really well. If I was going into debt for tea they might say something. If you get out of your family’s place though, you won’t need to worry! :-)

Lynxiebrat said

Ahh. Unfortunately I have a bad history of not handling my finances very well. And I speculate the only reason I do at the moment is because I don’t make much money and tea is pretty much my only hobby. LOL.
My dad and I are really tight, and he’s always been overprotective so telling him to back off would be difficult.

What has worked in limited doses is telling him that I drink a minimum of 2-20 cups of tea a week, all different teas. (With the hot weather and being fussy about iced tea (I mostly prefer fruity teas as iced tea, but Gods does that get boring!)) so reminding him that the tea gets used up pretty quickly (Especially if I like it.) kind of works.
Telling him that some people on here have 2-3 even time 4 times as much tea as I do hasn’t worked. Not sure if he just didn’t believe me or what. Though I suspect of the members that have that much more tea drink tea more then I do on a daily basis. I would like to drink more, and probably will once it gets cooler, though depending on the hours I’m working too.

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mrmopar said

I think the type of tea would determine the storage. If you have any pu-erh airtight would be wrong I think.

Lynxiebrat said

Good point. Most of my tea is not Pu-erh, but if I get really into it, I plan on looking into getting a humidor for it. Though even then it might wait til/if I get a future partner that I move in with that loves Pu-erh.
I had gotten some pu-erh that has been compressed into hearts the size of a american quarter. Would an ordinary (not air tight.) jar or tin be alright for that? Though If I really like it though it might disappear to fast for me to worry about it for now:)

mrmopar said

A jar that is not airtight would be fine for your pu-erh. The others should be airtight. Btw good to see you back here. Pumidors, let me know I have a few tips on that subject.

Jen M said

why don’t you want an air-tight container for pu-erh?

mrmopar said

The pu-erh need air for the natural aging of the tea. It takes in moisture from the air and changes from green to red and then almost black the older it gets. Sheng or uncooked pu-erh really needs this to happen as most are strong and bitter and hard to drink when they are “young”. As they age they will lose this bitterness and astringency and the brew will go from green to orange and then a burgundy color. It will become very soft and sweet to drink over time.

Jen M said

I didn’t realize that pu-erh needed to age. But the only one I’ve bought (tasted “fishy” so I’ve never tried a pu-erh blend again) was a black-brown so I guess it was already aged? Still. Good to know! Thanks!

mrmopar said

Fishy taste is usually from wet storage. Some people will attempt to age pu-erh by spraying water on it to accelerate the process. Good pu-erh will almost never have this issue. You could have also been drinking shou cha or cooked tea. It is pile fermented to give it the aged taste and look. I know some reputable people that sell samples of good pu-erh if you ever want to know. I think if you had good pu-erh you would enjoy it.

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alice said

I store my teas (not pu-erh) in white china canisters with airtight clip lids. I can write on them with whiteboard marker or alternatively I will cut the label off the original packaging and stick it on the front if it is attractive.

The company I bought them from stopped making them a number of years ago so I am limited to 5 large canisters (100g capacity) and 2 small canisters (50g capacity). I do usually have more tea than those canisters, but unless they are sample sizes or pu-erh, I try very hard not to open the packaging until I have an empty canister to pop it into.

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We like this sealing device that was invented in Taiwan:
http://www.mantra-tea.com.tw/Innovation-Patented-Never-Loose-SHIPPING/dp/B00B0GFU26

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krisTEAna said

I store my tea in a few ways. The teas I display on my kitchen counter (those I drink most often), are stored in ziplock bags within glass jars treated with UV protection. We certainly can’t have the sun destroying my beautiful little tea leaves! Adagio offers awesome glass jars that are substantially sized and relatively inexpensive if you’re looking to store only a few teas. I also use just ziplock bags for original containers that have been opened and those are placed in my pantry, out of direct sunlight. I also have 3 airtight tins with clip lids. These are also from Adagio and have been treated for UV protection. You’ll never find an open tea stored in my house without some kind of airtight seal!

mrssmith said

Great suggestions. Thanks for posting these ideas.

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