Daniel Lui's Blog

How To Store Chinese Tea To Make It Last Longer

Did you know that it’s actually possible to improve the taste of any tea by following a few simple rules for storing? It is!  

A good storage location should:

  • Be cool and dark
  • Have good air circulation
  • Have  little fluctuation in temperature and humidity
  • Be kept away from odours

Kitchen shelves might be convenient but are not the best choice for storage.  I have conducted many experiments over the years and with some of my students and we have found there are specific techniques you can use to make your tea taste better.

Non-Fermented and Partially Fermented Teas (Green Tea, Yellow Tea, White Tea and Oolong Tea)

These teas have the least amount of processing during manufacture and so most closely resemble the original leaves. Store these teas in a refrigerator in an airtight container. But there is a catch: Once you commit to refrigeration, you must keep the leaves there. You cannot put the tea back on the shelf for a while and then put it back in the fridge. Tea leaves like stable temperatureS and humidity and any changes must be gradual. The airtight container is also a must as tea leaves absorb odours, and fridges can be very smelly places. If you follow these simple rules, your tea will actually improve in taste and last much longer.

Fully Fermented Teas (Black Teas)

Black teas use more processing in their manufacture than Green teas and do not respond well to refrigeration like green and Oolong teas. Keep in a paper bag or cardboard container that breathes a little but make sure these have no odours from printing or glue as these will be absorbed by the tea over time.

Post-Fermented Teas -Pu-erh Tea

Storage is the same as Black tea but the best method is to store in unglazed clay containers. Clay allows some air flow, mitigates the changes in temperature and humidity and the taste develops more fully and quickly. Read more about storing pu-erh tea.

Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) and Aged Oolongs

These are Oolong teas that can be stored like Black teas, but we have found that these teas do best when kept in a non-airtight porcelain container.

Learn more about tea (including puerh tea (or pu-erh tea), oolong tea, and white tea) and how to best store tea for improved taste.

Be Sociable, Share!