Black tea accounts for over 50% of all tea consumed in the US and although Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon teas may have a special place in your heart, if you are an authentic tea lover, you may also have a few green, fruit, and herbal teas in your collection. If you find that your kitchen is looking less than perfect because your teas are all over the place or you cannot find what you are looking for quickly, keep the following sorting, storing, and organizing tips in mind. This way, you can enjoy the perfect cup of tea at any time of day and delight your friends with an array of tidily organized teas.
Tea is a hygroscopic product, meaning that it absorbs moisture and fragrances from items close to it. Owing to this reason, experts advise storing all teas far from artificially-fragranced items like detergent and toxic cleaning products. They also advise that you keep tea away from stoves or near sinks or refrigerators, since these appliances can produce humidity and loose tea leaves stored near them can end up clumping together and becoming prone to mold growth. You should also sort teas by type, placing black teas close to each other and doing the same for green then fruit or herbal teas. Make sure there is adequate separation between different tea types so they retain their unique aromas.
Teas should be kept away from heat and direct sunlight to preserve their quality. If you have a storage pantry, this would make an ideal spot for loose-leaf teas and blends. Of course, if you don’t have a pantry but you do have cabinets with extra space that are far from appliances and heat, then make the most of them. Keep your kitchen cabinets tidy by assessing the best drawer/s for tea, storing tea in clearly-labeled boxes or wooden racks, and making sure the shelves are completely clean and odor-free. Use airtight containers so that leaves are protected against moisture, dust, and other types of dirt. You can use a wide array of products for storage—everything from tin cans to wooden tea boxes, glass, and recycled plastic.
Organizing Your Tea Collection
Teas have different expiry dates so you should organize them in a way that encourages you to use fast-expiring teas first. Research the different expiry dates for the specific teas you have. Black and oolong teas, for instance, can retain a wonderful flavor and aroma for up to three years after you buy them, while green tea should be consumed within approximately one year’s time. Label your boxes or tins, indicating the date of purchase, expiry date, and tea type. Organize your teas by date so you can make it a point to consume teas you have had for a while before they go stale or lose their unique flavor.
Black tea may be all the rage in the US but Americans are becoming increasingly savvier, trying out a wide variety of teas. Store your teas in a dry place that is not exposed to heat or the sun. Organize them in such a way that you can access your favorite teas first and clearly see which teas expire sooner than others.