How to Store Tea (bags, loose leaves, instant)

Tea is an infusion prepared with dried herbs; these can come in loose strands, bags, or powder. Diverse types give it different flavors and colors, so as you see, there are many cases, and I will show you how to store tea on each topic.

Ideally, keep the tea at room temperature. If the packaging remains sealed, loose-leaf tea can be kept for two years, while tea bags will last 18 months and instant tea three years.

Store Tea

Continue reading to know all the aspects you must consider when preserving the tea.

How to preserve loose-leaf tea

Usually, loose-stranded tea is the most sold and is also the most economical. Most stores sell it in bulk; in some cases, they are not in sealed packaging, which is not ideal since their shelf life is shortened.

But whether they come in sealed bags or not, since most are transparent, put the tea inside opaque, airtight containers. Metal containers that are suitable for storing food are perfect. If you want to use transparent glass jars, avoid overexposing the tea to light not to degrade its quality. 

Another critical aspect to keep in mind is not to store tea in a humid place since, being a dehydrated product, it is able to absorb moisture from its environment; that is why it is not recommended to keep tea in the fridge.

Heat also affects the quality of the tea, so do not store it in hot places or near heat-generating appliances. You should also not put tea near other products that emit a strong odor, even other teas, because it could modify their smell and taste. 

Considering all these indications, you can store the sealed packaging of loose-strand tea for two years at room temperature. Once open, it will reduce its shelf life to 1 year. [1]

In case you have bought strand tea in bulk, that is, in the store, the tea has been exposed to the open air, and its shelf life is reduced to 4 or 6 months from the date of purchase

Remember to put the storage date on the container, so you can maintain better control of the tea. You also have the option to freeze the tea, just put it in airtight bags suitable for freezing. This way, you will store the loose-strand tea in the freezer for 3 to 5 years.

How to store tea bags

Tea bags are an extremely ingenious product, as they contain the amount needed to prepare a cup of tea, keeping the leaves in one place so that, when you have impregnated the hot water with its flavor, you can easily remove them.

The way to store it is practically the same as in the previous section, so you must keep the tea bags in a place free of moisture and dark that stays cool.

It would be best to keep the bags in the packaging where they came from but transfer them to an opaque airtight container, which can be made of plastic, metal, or glass. Also, keep tea bags away from other products with a strong odor.

Write the storage date or be guided by what indicates its expiration date. Usually, if you apply all these tips, tea bags can last 18 months at room temperature from the date of purchase. [2]

They are also not recommended to store them in the fridge, but you could freeze them by putting them in airtight bags that resist the freezer. You can store tea bags in the freezer for 3 to 5 years.

If you want to reuse the tea bags, squeeze them well before putting them in an airtight container and store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator, that way, they can last another day or two

How to preserve instant tea

Instant tea is a top-rated product among young people since most of these teas come with sweeteners and are usually taken cold, being a much more refreshing drink and perfect for drinking on hot days. Still, you can also find it in more traditional flavors.

This product usually comes in sealed packaging, either in bags or plastic containers; the latter also serves to preserve them. If you keep them in a dry, cool place and away from light, you can store the sealed instant tea for three years at room temperature. [3]

Once opened, transfer it to a dark, airtight container if it cannot be kept in its packaging, and store it in a cool, dark, and dry place, so the opened instant tea can last 6 and 12 months at room temperature

How to preserve matcha tea

Matcha tea is an extremely delicate type of tea, so it is the only one that is advisable to store inside the refrigerator instead of keeping it at room temperature.

However, many tips mentioned above should also be applied to lengthen its shelf life, for example, keeping tea away from other foods with a pungent smell. 

It is ideal to keep it sealed as humidity also affects it. Putting it in vacuum-sealed containers is even better or place the airtight container where you put it inside an airtight bag.

If you place matcha tea in a cool area of the fridge, not too cold, it will keep for one year sealed. Once opened, it will last between 6 and 8 months.

You also have the option of freezing matcha tea. You have to use a freezer-resistant container and note the storage date. Matcha tea can be frozen for 18 to 24 months.

If you live in a place whose temperature does not exceed 20°C (68°F) or the winter season begins, you can keep matcha tea at room temperature for 6 to 12 months in a dry, cool, dark place.

How to store tea infusion

Well, tea is a drink recommended to take the same day it is prepared, but if you make more, you can keep it in the fridge. If you made a hot infusion, wait until it cools before transferring it to a container with a lid.

If you have prepared a cold tea, do not store it with ice cubes because these will melt and dilute its flavor. If you keep the infusion or drink in the coldest part, the infusion or tea drink can be kept refrigerated for 3 to 5 days.

Do what I indicate below if you want to freeze the infusion or tea drink.

  • Step 1: Transfer the tea drink to a sturdy container.

You can pour the tea into ice cube molds, airtight bags, or an airtight container suitable for freezing. In the first two cases, you must go through a first freeze and then unmold or transfer the frozen bags to another bag or larger container.

  • Step 2: Write the preparation date.

Place the date of preparation of the tea on the container; either you write it directly on the container, or you stick a label or put a piece of tape on it to write the date on it.

  • Step 3: Store the infusion or tea drink in the freezer.

In this way, the infusion or tea drink can be frozen for 12 months, but keep in mind that the longer it goes frozen, it will lose flavor.

How to know if the tea got bad?

Even though it is hard for that to happen, tea can get bad, especially if it is not stored well and the tea absorbs enough moisture from its environment to develop mold.

Therefore, when the tea comes out with fluff or white or dark spots, it becomes terrible, and you will have to throw it away because it is no longer safe to use.

It is also not a good sign when the tea completely loses its smell or taste. If this happens, it is because its shelf life has ended, and it is no longer worth to consume it. 

How long does the tea last?

ProductShelf life
Loose leaf tea at room temperature (sealed)2 years
Loose leaf tea at room temperature (open)1 year
Loose leaf tea at room temperature (in bulk)4 – 6 months
Loose leaf tea at in the freezer3 – 5 years
Tea bags at room temperature18 months
Tea bags in the fridge1 – 2 days
Tea bags in the freezer3 – 5 years
Instant tea at room temperature (sealed)3 years
Instant tea at room temperature (open)6 – 12 months
Matcha tea at room temperature6 – 12 months
Matcha tea in the fridge (sealed)1 year
Matcha tea in the fridge (open)6 – 8 months
Frozen matcha tea18 – 24 months
Infusion tea drink in the fridge3 – 5 days
Infusion tea drink in the freezer12 months

What is the best way to preserve tea?

The best way to preserve tea is to store it at room temperature, in a dark, cool, and moisture-free place, inside an airtight container.

However, march tea is the only one recommended to store in the fridge because of its delicate condition, but you could still leave it at room temperature if the weather is not extremely hot.

All teas can be frozen, but it should be noted that the longer they spend in the freezer, they will lose flavor and some of their nutrients.

The drinks and infusions you prepare with tea are best kept in the fridge so that you have them available every time you want to drink the following days, and you can freeze them too.

If you want to preserve another product or food, here you have many topics related to storing tea.




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