Awhile back I wrote about storing your flavored teas in this article, recognizing that the flavorings added to many teas can pose their own set of issues for storing those teas. Since then some more issues came to mind.
For one thing, I no longer like to use the term flavored teas. It seems to imply that, without all that stuff added in with the tea leaves, there is no flavor. Yes, the low-quality leaves can be rather wimpish in their flavors and aromas, but mid- and high-quality leaves need none of this enhancement of their natural flavors (often brought out even more by skillful processing by true tea masters). Still, just as people like foods with various flavors combined, the same goes for many tea lovers. Proper storage is important, therefore, to keep your investment from going weird.
1 Check them every week or so
My experience with flavor-enhanced teas is that those using natural flavorings such as pieces of fruit and flower petals will see those things deteriorate while the tea leaves remain fairly decent. I say fairly decent since the deteriorating flavorings will affect the tea leaves just as that one rotten apple affects the rest of the barrel contents. So, pop the lid on that tea tin or storage jar or crack open that plastic or foil pouch and take a whiff once every week or so.
2 Visibility and accessibility
The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies to teas. If you want to decrease your consumption of other beverages and increase your tea intake, keep those teas stored in plain sight. Of course, this goes for any type of tea, but in the case of flavor-enhanced teas which tend to become part of your cooking arsenal sooner or later, such positioning is akin to keeping the flour and sugar handy.
3 Shake the container
Some flavor-enhanced teas I’ve had in the past have had actual slices of orange or apple, etc. Having these things sit in the same place during storage will cause uneven flavoring. Shake the container now and then to give the other tea leaves some direct exposure to these items. It seems minor, but when you are dipping out a teaspoonful for steeping, the difference will be noticeable. Also, flavorings that are in powder form such as cinnamon, coriander, black pepper, thyme, etc., will tend to settle to the bottom of the container.
4 Keep out of reach of children
Kids are so cute, but they are also natural explorers. And their learning curve is huge. Some of your flavor-enhanced teas may have things in them that your children will find tempting. Eating them may or may not be tough on tender tummies, but better safe than sorry.
5 Reread my earlier article
My previous list of no-no’s still stands. Hope you’ll take a moment to give it a look over.
See also: Ins and Outs of Tea Storage Containers
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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