Storing your teas is a tricky business but very important, especially for your more delicate teas. Advice abounds on how to store teas to keep them at their best for as long as possible. Keep them away from light, air, moisture, and heat — these are the basics. But flavored teas are different and therefore need some special handling, unless you want all of your teas taking on that dominant flavoring of the tea stored improperly with them.
It’s probably good at this point to give a brief explanation of what constitutes a flavored tea. I must confess that this is my personal definition and that tea professionals may beg to differ. Basically, to me a flavored tea is any true tea (made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, not from such things as honeybush or rooibos) and that has had other things, from fruits to spices to flower petals and more, added to it. I lump into this category the so-called “scented teas.” Since taste and smell are so closely affiliated, to me there is no distinction tea wise here.
Next, I should identify some of the more problematic flavorings I’ve experienced:
- Cinnamon — wonderful but aromatic to the extreme and seems to penetrate through even what should be an airtight seal.
- Jasmine — a strong scent that I can usually detect through the packaging, especially the ones where they have not removed the petals or buds.
- Peppermint — strong and, for some of us, rather overwhelming; if you love peppermint, you won’t mind a bit, but if you are sensitive to it and react badly, the scent seems to permeate everything it’s near.
Now for those five no-no’s:
- Don’t forget to seal the pouch, tin, or other container the tea is stored in as tightly as possible.
- Don’t put teas with strong flavorings next to each other in your cupboard, drawer, or pantry, no matter how well sealed, or you will end up with a very odd combination: cinnjaspep (a combo of cinnamon, jasmine, and peppermint) or some such monstrous cacophony.
- Don’t keep those teas flavored with real pieces of fruit (as opposed to fruit flavored oils) and/or flower petals around too long since preservatives are generally not used.
- Don’t store those flavored teas in an area that’s too hot, which isn’t good for tea anyway, but a tea flavored with fruit chunks could end up with cooked fruit chunks — ew!
- Don’t forget to follow the normal guidelines for tea storage named in the first paragraph of this article.
My advice to those of you inclined toward flavored teas is to buy smaller quantities and enjoy them as soon as possible. Considering that new flavors are being developed all the time, also, you will not want to be overstocked on any one tea anyway, so that you feel free to buy the new ones.
Ins and Outs of Tea Storage Containers
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