Storing and Reusing Tea

Storing and Reusing Tea

Loose tea

There are different storage methods for tea depending on the variety, the oxidation process and the level of oxidation. Non-oxidized tea is mainly Green Tea; partially oxidized tea includes the twist-shaped Baozhong Tea and tight ball-shaped Oolong Tea; completely oxidized tea is mainly Black Tea; and post-oxidized tea is mainly Aged Tea and Puerh Tea.

The lighter the oxidation, the harder it is to preserve the original flavor. Taking green tea as an example, although it retains the most catechins (natural antioxidants with health benefits), green tea easily oxidizes and loses its original flavor. This means that non-oxidized and partially-oxidized tea needs care to retain its freshness. These teas are best stored in a sealed container away from light, air, and environmental odors. Low humidity and temperature can also help to preserve the tea.

Catechins are sensitive to light; chlorophyll, carotenoids and some unsaturated fatty acids related to aroma components in tea are also easily oxidized when exposed to light. Oxygen and higher storage temperature will accelerate the oxidation of tea leaves, too. In addition, tea leaves are porous structures that easily absorb moisture. The moisture content of tea leaves is recommended to be between 3% and 5%. If the moisture content of tea leaves is more than 12%, there is a risk of mildew. The above factors will lead to the deterioration of tea quality.

Therefore, the environment and waterproof packaging materials in which tea leaves are stored must be very clean, airtight and stored at low temperature (frozen or refrigerated at 5°C) to prolong the period when tea remains fresh. These are the storage conditions we practice here at Tea From Taiwan.

For the consumer, if the tea is not used up after opening the package, it can be re-sealed with oxygen absorbers and desiccant; if the tea leaves feel a little wet, they can be placed in a dehumidified room, or dried at 60-80°C to remove excess moisture before re-sealing.

Completely oxidized tea (black tea) or heavy-roasted tea has stable ingredients and is not likely to oxidize further. According to the above storage principles, black tea is more durable than non-oxidized tea. Some black tea varieties can even be aged for half a year to transform the flavor and become more mellow.

Post-oxidized tea is usually regarded as aged tea, and is less affected by oxidation. It can be exposed to the air and continue to age, but it still needs to be kept dry to avoid moisture absorption.

Tea Bags

Tea bags are convenient, but the finer the tea particles, the faster the oxidation rate and the more difficult they are to store. Tea bags are best packaged in aluminum foil bags, which provide protection from moisture and light. From a freshness point of view, it’s better to package the tea bags individually and they should be consumed as soon as possible after opening. Tea Bags packed to these specifications are available on our website in the Tea Bags section. In particular, we have our High Mountain Oolong Tea Bags and Li Shan Oolong Tea Bags which are individually packed in foil bags.

Pyramid tea bags are better than regular tea bags in many ways. Pyramid tea bags contain whole tea leaves which require a larger expansion space. The tea leaves absorb the water and the pyramid-shaped bags have enough space to allow the leaves to expand and release the tea flavor completely. The whole tea leaves have more flavor than the finely crushed tea leaves of regular tea bags. Our pyramid tea bags are individually packaged for maximum freshness. Detailed product information can be found for our Tan-Bei Whole Leaf Oolong Tea Bags and GABA Whole Leaf Tea Bags.

Reusing Tea Leaves or Tea Bags

Don't throw away used tea leaves or tea bags as they provide a natural material for many daily uses:

  1. Removing grease: Tea can remove oil stains. You can soak the tea leaves or tea bags in greasy sinks, kitchen utensils or pots overnight before brushing, which is a more natural way to remove grease.
  2. Preventing pots and pans from oxidizing and rusting: Wipe the clean pot with a wet tea bag after each use. The tannins in tea will form a protective layer, which can effectively prevent the pot from oxidizing and rusting.
  3. Caring for wooden furniture: Wipe wooden furniture with a cloth dipped in tea to brighten its dull finish. Wood has pores that will absorb the tea, but this method is only suitable for dark wood furniture without a varnished surface.
  4. Healing cracked skin: The polyphenols in tea help heal cracked skin and promote cell regeneration. Relief from chapped lips can be had by applying a wet tea bag on your lips for 30 seconds, 3-5 times a week. In the same way, you can also soak your feet with tea water to prevent dry and cracked heels.
  5. Eliminating odors and moisture: Tea leaves absorb moisture and odors in small spaces. You can put sun-dried tea bags into your shoes to deodorize and dehumidify them. They also give your shoes a nice tea fragrance. Dried tea leaves or tea bags can also be re-used as a deodorizer in the refrigerator, or in the closet as a dehumidifier.

Tea has many benefits. Know your tea, pay attention to the way it’s stored, and enjoy fresh and delicious tea. You will find that what you love is not just tea, but an attitude - a healthy, positive tea lifestyle.

Posted on 08/21/2022 by Taiwan's Tea Culture 0

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