We all know that storing your teas is a task to be done with care. The nemeses of tea (air, light, moisture, odors, etc.) are constantly on the attack, and so our guard must never be down. Sometimes, though, our best efforts are just not enough. We dig out that tin of Harney and Sons White Peach Tea, expecting that wonderful peachy flavored Chinese Mutan White Tea but getting something more like chocolate chip cookies. Oops! Maybe the lid wasn’t set tightly on that tin. And that package of cookies was a bit too close. So much for enjoying some peach-flavored tea.
Of course, the opposite can happen, too, where a strongly flavored/scented tea leeches its aroma onto things around it. For example, a strongly flavored tea such as Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Black Tea, if not stored in an airtight container, can bestow that cinnamon odor to everything around it, including any teas not tightly sealed inside their containers.
There are other signs that something is amiss with your tea storage system, and knowing what to look for is crucial. So, not to copy comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s shtick (“If you do such and such, you might be a redneck”), here is a handy list:
You Know You’ve Stored Your Teas Too Long When…
- your Earl Grey tea smells like jasmine
- your jasmine tea smells like peppermint
- your blooming teas won’t
- your white tea looks sort of brown or grayish instead of its usual silvery green
- your gunpowder tea looks and smells like real gunpowder
- that bag of breath mints now smells and tastes like Lapsang Souchong and vice versa
- the tea pouch is poofed out from having air in it
- the tea tin is rusted
- you open up the tea package and see mold growth (this is especially relevant to pu-erhs)
- a family of mice have taken up residence near your teas and are showing signs of having freely partaken of those dry tea leaves (that is, they are acting a bit jittery and over caffeinated)
Don’t let any of these things (or maybe things even worse) happen to your teas. Practice proper storage techniques and assure tasty cupful after tasty cupful of those teas.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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