Storing your tea
Once fresh tea leaves are plucked they pass through a number of processing stages. One of these is drying which removes around 97% of the moisture from the leaf. This makes it shelf stable but also very keen to cosy up to anything that will enable it to re-hydrate - this is perfectly illustrated when you brew the leaf and it expands to around 3 times the size of the dry leaf.
If you expose your dry leaves to moisture (e.g steam from a boiling kettle) or strong aromas in the air (e.g open spices in your pantry) they will happily absorb these elements. The leaf is also degraded by light and heat.
So if you want your beautiful tea to stay in great condition then simply:
Store your tea in an airtight container (our resealable bags are perfect), in a cool dark place away from strong aromas.
Each time you make a cuppa try and minimise the amount of time the container is open so that you are not exposing the leaf unnecessarily to moisture and scents in the surroundings.
- Moisture – Tea is generally manufactured and sealed at around 3% moisture content. Normal kitchen temperatures and humidity lead to a moisture content of around 8%. At this level tea begins to lose its freshness.
- Air – Tea left exposed to the air will also be exposed to the moisture and contaminants contained in the air.
- Heat –If dried tea is exposed to heat its flavour is flattened and dulled. Even worse prolonged exposure to heat above 85 degrees can result in mould.
- Light – Fading in the leaf can be caused by light. Light is also a source of heat.
P.S A use for your spent leaves:
While absorbing moisture and smell is a disadvantage in the storage of tea it offers a number of options for using your spent leaves around the house as a deodoriser. Use your spent dried leaves for soaking up any fridge smells or popping into animal litter. Rub wet steeped leaves into your hands or chopping boards to remove fish or onion/garlic smells.
Posted: Monday 23 October 2017