by Kyra Fiber
If you are an avid tea collector, you may not get around to drinking all of your teas as quickly as you had hoped when you bought them. And although tea, if kept dry, won’t go rancid, it can get old and stale. But don’t worry! We at Saratoga Tea and Honey are here to help you keep your tea fresh; plus, we can also help you identify which of your green teas have gone old.
How Do I Keep My Green Tea Fresh?
Green tea, especially Japanese green tea, is quick to get old and lose flavor. It is important to store your tea properly to allow it a long, happy lifespan. Here are some simple rules to follow to keep your tea from losing its flavor:
- If it is in a sealed container, refrigerate it.
Keeping tea in the refrigerator can be hazardous due to the higher humidity, but if your green tea is unopened and sealed, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a short period of time to prolong freshness.
- Store away from sunlight.
All tea should be kept in opaque containers in a cabinet to avoid contact with too much light. If the tea is warmed from sunlight, it can change its flavor.
- Store in an airtight container.
With air comes moisture and other odors. Moisture can change the flavor of the tea and can grow mold; surrounding smells can change the flavor of your tea. Do not store your tea with potent aromatics, such as spices.
- Store away from heat.
Try to find a cool, temperate place to keep your tea. Storing it in a place with large fluctuations can change its flavor.
I keep my own tea in a large metal tin (once home to Christmas cookies) with other similar teas so that the flavor isn’t largely affected. I keep this tin stored away in the pantry, away from anything with too strong of a scent!
How Do I Know When My Green Tea Has Passed Its Prime?
A clear indicator of the quality of all tea is its aroma and its flavor. Smell your tea leaves. You should be able to smell a fresh aroma; if you can’t, then your tea might be a bit too old. Once steeped, smell the liquor itself along with the steeped leaves. If you still don’t get a strong aroma, your tea is likely too old. This will be clear when you take a sip and taste slightly leafy water. It may be time to say farewell and fetch a new bag of tea…
With green tea, the color is a great indicator of its quality. To demonstrate this, I used two teas of my own that I got from Saratoga Tea and Honey of course. I used two Japanese green teas with the staler being Miyabi Shincha (top) and the fresher being Sencha Sumire (bottom).
The older tea is yellower and has almost no flavor whatsoever. The fresher tea has a bright green color and a rich, vegetal aroma, indicative of a steamed green tea.
As always, we are happy to help with any specific questions: Email Us, we love to hear from you! We wish you many happy steeps!