So you bought your loose leaf tea from the store, you skip home and brew a cup of tea. You then go to put the rest away in your cupboard but you stop and decide to consult you favorite tea blog (that’s us) just in case you are storing it incorrectly. Well, I am here to tell you that there are a couple of rules when it comes to how to store your loose leaf tea appropriately. If tea is not stored correctly, it will go stale and the flavor will be affected. So fear not, I am here to help.
First of all your tea must be kept away from heat, moisture and light. So store it in a cool dry place, preferably inside a cabinet and not on display. However, if you do want to display your tea with pride then do not use a glass storage jar. The light will degrade tea and cause the color of your tea leaves to fade.
Make sure you tea is stored in air tight tins, being exposed to the oxygen in the air will compromise the taste of the tea. As explained in a previous post, oxidation is a process used to create the various types of tea. If not stored in an air tight container this oxidation will presume. This process will affect the lesser oxidized tea the most, such as green and white teas.
Note: Always buy tea leaves from a trusted online source or shop that rotates their stock frequently so that you are not buying tea that has been sitting on the shelf for a while.
When storing your tea in a cabinet or on a shelf, keep it away from spices or other teas with strong aromas. Tea leaves absorb the aromas around them very easily so you will find that your tea fragrance and taste will be different when you next go to drink it.
Lastly, if you are reusing tins for different teas, wash the tea tin and allow it to air completely before using it again. Some tea aromas will permeate the tin and no matter how much you wash or soak with vinegar the smell will remain, so take this into consideration when reusing tins.
I also found a craft blogger who made her own vintage inspired tins (the image above was taken from her site). Click here to follow the link and make your own.
Well now you have the knowledge on how to store your tea correctly. If you have any questions about where to buy tea tins or what tea tins I use then comment underneath or email.
Time for me to tell you about the bird and the teas (get it? :P) when it comes to tea accessories. Now, your tea accessories will depend on the type of tea that you drink. For example, Matcha drinkers will need different accessories such as a chawan (the bowl), a bamboo whisk and a scoop. However, if you’re into drinking just the standard loose leaf teas these are the accessories I think you definitely need:
- Teapots: This is a no brainer, you need a good teapot to brew your tea in. I would also recommend getting tea pots of different size and materials. Click here to see my previous post for a guide to the type of teapot you need to buy.
- Infusers: These are the best invention ever and come in different sizes and designs too! You can get just a simple tea ball or one that sits in your cup or a crazy cute design. Click here to check out an article which lists the most creative tea infuser designs (I want the rocket!). These are great if you are just making loose tea for yourself and don’t want to get the teapot out.
- Tea tins/jars: I recommend getting good tea tins that don’t let any moisture or air into the tea as this can affect the taste of the tea. If like me you buy your loose leaf in bulk and it comes in a brown bag put it in the tea tin as soon as you get it. It will help it to last longer.
- Porcelain or bone china tea cup: For me the type of cup I use really affects the taste of my tea. I have a porcelain tea cup and it just tastes a lot better. I have read articles about how porcelain is better for after taste and bone china is better for the body of the tea. I can’t comment much on this and it is for you to decide what you prefer!
- Variable temperature kettle: If you are a tea connoisseur then you really need one of these. Depending on the type of tea you are having, the water will need to be a different temperature. For example black tea needs to be brewed at a higher temperature compared to white tea. This is on my wish list right now.
Some more accessories are labels for your tea tins (it’s beneficial to use the same tea in the same tin), measuring spoons, tea cup set and a tea tray (when you are serving tea to guests). Let me know what tea accessory you can’t live without!
Image taken from: http://blog.mightyleaf.com/tag/teaware/
So you went to a tea shop, impressed the sales associate with your knowledge about the different types of tea and you proudly walked out with your very own bag of beautiful tea leaves! Now it’s time to brew it. “I don’t have a teapot!” I hear you cry. Well then, here’s a quick guide to the different materials teapots can come in and what type suits you best. If you have your very own teapot already, you may find this interesting anyways.
Before I dive into different materials, you need to think about size. Whether you are brewing for just you or for your whole family will depend on the size of teapot you need to buy. Here is my smaller ceramic teapot (20 oz) and if you’re like me and enjoy sharing multiple cups with a friend then this is a good size.
Probably the most expensive of all the types of teapots. It holds heat very well and distributes the heat evenly. These teapots can also be very heavy and if a low quality it can influence the taste of the tea, leaving a metallic taste. These are also on the heavier side and usually more decorative.
A more affordable teapot. Make sure it is glazed on the inside or the ceramic will absorb the tea affecting the taste of other teas you brew in it. Its heat retention is not as high as cast iron but is better than most other materials.
White clay pots have lower heat retention and so are not great for tea requiring higher heat like black tea for example. However unlike ceramic, porcelain does not absorb the flavor of your tea.
Unglazed clay teapots are usually used when you have a favorite blend of tea, the unglazed teapot takes on the flavor of your favorite tea and enhances the flavor. Making different types of tea in unglazed teapots is not recommended.
These allow you to see your tea leaves as you steep them, especially the blooming teas which open as they are steeped. These do not hot heat as well so a teapot warmer is ideal if you are going to purchase a glass teapot.
So there you go, the styles of different teapots! A couple of tips to end off with are make sure your teapot has a removable strainer as it makes cleaning the teapot a lot easier. Never heat your water in the teapot, these teapots are for steeping only and are not meant for the stove top. Purchase a separate tea kettle and pour in your water from there.