What is the proper way to store green tea?
Even premium tea deteriorates in flavour and fragrance, if not stored properly. Here we will detail the proper methods of tea storage.
Appropriate Environment for Storage
Tea is very sensitive to light and temperature change, and absorbs the odour of its surroundings readily. Therefore, we recommend you store your tea in a location with a constant temperature, and away from foods and spices with distinct scents. For example, in a cool and dark cupboard. You should consume the tea within the month for best results.
▼ Storing Large Quantities of Tea
If you have many packages of tea at home, it is best to store them in a freezer while the packages are completely sealed. This helps preserve the original flavour of the tea leaves, and prevents them from absorbing unwanted odours. However, before opening the package for consumption, let the leaves warm until they are room temperature. This way, you avoid damaging the tea with condensation.
▼ Storage inside the Refrigerator
We do not recommend storing opened packages of tea inside refrigerators. The odours can be absorbed by the leaves, compromising the quality of the tea. Also, when moving the tea in and out of the refrigerator repeatedly, the rapid change in temperature and condensation inside the package will damage the tea.
▼ Storage at Maiko Tea
Maiko Tea's storage room is kept at a constant temperature of 5℃.
At Maiko Tea, we store teas in large refrigerators used specifically for this purpose. We provide you with the finest tea, throughout the year, by taking precautions in preserving the superior quality with our stage techniques. In addition to our storage facility, we also store tea in refrigerators at JA Kyoto Tea Market (Chaichiba) and Kyoto Prefecture Tea Producers' Cooperative (Kyoto Cha Kyoudoukumiai).
When Purchasing Tea・・・
We have familiarized you with methods of tea storage, but we recommend that you purchase tea in smaller quantities (100 g), if possible. When purchasing larger quantities, we advise that you buy several small packages in order to keep the tea properly sealed for as long as possible before use.
At some stores, buying in bulk (500 g package / 1 kg package) is more economical; but considering the difficulty of tea storage at home, the consistent quality over time can not be guaranteed at such bargains.
Why Does Tea Deteriorate?
Tea is very sensitive and vulnerable to the following five things:
For example, tea stored near a heater, or in high humidity, will lose its colour, flavour, and aroma. Avoid storing tea near spices or aromatic foods to preserve the quality.
What to Do with Stale Tea
Although you may be left with stale tea, you do not want it to go to waste! In such situations, try one of these simple recipes for homemade houjicha (roasted tea).
Houjicha is an excellent beverage for children and the elderly because of its low caffeine and high catechin content. It can be easily made by using either of the following methods:
▼ First Method (using a frying pan)
1. Line frying pan with baking sheet. (This is to keep the tea from absorbing any unwanted grease or odour left on the pan.)
2. Place the tea leaves on the baking sheet.
3. Stir and dry-roast over low heat until the tea becomes fragrant.
・ Be careful not to scorch the tea leaves.
・ Dry-roast until the tea leaves achieve a golden-brown colour.
▼Second Method (using a toaster oven)
1. Spread the tea leaves evenly on aluminum foil. Bake for approximately 60-90 seconds.
2. Tea is done roasting when the "kuki" (stalks) have slightly expanded, and easily powders when pressed between the fingers.
・ When done, the colour should be similar to that of Sencha. It is commonly called "aohoujicha" in Japanese.
・ Cool the tea leaves on the aluminum foil after roasting.