Everyone is after the perfect cup of tea: Over 25,000 cups of tea are consumed every second around the world. In places like Toyoko, tea is an important cornerstone of Japanese culture. Not only is it the most popular beverage in Japan, but it an important element in traditional and modern Japanese tea ceremony rituals. However, creating the perfect cup of tea centers on much more than choosing premium tea leaves or achieving the perfect tea brewing method. It turns out your room environment can also impact the quality of your tea – and the way you store your tea matters too.

Humidity And Moisture Can Dilute Flavor

Storing your tea in a room that is too hot can kickstart the oxidation process. Ideally, processed tea has a moisture level of 3-6 percent. However, if stored in a humid and moisture-filled room, the absorption ability of the tea declines. Certain tea varieties like green tea (Ryokucha) and yellow teas (Hwangcha) also tend to oxidize more rapidly than other varieties like Oolong tea.

It is also important to maintain the quality of the air in your home. Indoor air with higher oxygen levels helps your respiratory system, your mental health, and even your breathing. However, when tea comes into contact with oxygen in the air, it can speed up the oxidation process. For instance, Longjing tea can change color to red, and its taste dramatically changes if not stored in an airtight container. To maintain the optimal quality of your tea, controlling the humidity levels in your room is necessary. Humidification and the use of air cooling systems in warmer months can help you maintain the ideal 20-26 degree Celsius fermentation temperature.

Exposure To Light Accelerates Oxidization

In the fields, sunlight is essential to tea trees’ growth. However, once the leaves are picked and processed, exposure to light can shorten the life of your tea. So, if you store your teas in glass jars where visible light can reach it, you may find that your tea develops a metallic taste after a while. This is because the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause the chemical compounds in tea leaves to disintegrate. As time progresses, the flavor of your tea will change if stored in sunlight. Instead, storing tea in airtight containers or foil packets in a dark place helps them retain their flavor longer.

Room Environment Affecting Tea Quality - Photo of cup of tea near a book and open window

Strong Scents Can Transfer To Your Tea

Is there a lingering smell in your kitchen or apartment? Chances are it may transfer to your tea if it’s not stored correctly. Scented teas like chamomile and jasmine can absorb the scent of nearby smells. If not stored in an airtight container, you may find your lavender tea tastes of black pepper, or your sweet-scented jasmine tea now tastes of dried mint. That is why it is always recommended that you store your tea away from your spices and strongly-scented condiments in the kitchen.

Japanese teas are often raved about as some of the finest quality teas on the market. To get maximum enjoyment and benefits from well-sourced tea, tea drinkers need to be acutely aware of how their environment can impact the quality – and the best storage methods to avoid deterioration. As always advised, opt for a sealed, non-porous, and dry container stored in a cool, dark place. Taking a little time to store your teas correctly means you can enjoy the perfect cup of tea for longer, and at its peak quality.

Photo “Bible and a cup of tea” is under an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to the photographer Carolyn V and is being posted unaltered (source)