As with spices, the flavor of tea deteriorates
|At the beginning of each year, have your own Boston Tea Party and dump all of your over-the-hill teas.
The sniff test will tell you if the tea is past its prime: If there’s no wonderful tea aroma, there won’t be much taste, either. (If you don’t trust your nose, brew a cup and taste it straight to see if there’s distinct tea flavor.)
Going forward, don’t buy more tea than you’ll use within a year for white and green teas, 18 months for black and oolong.
Proper storage is also essential. Light, heat and moisture are the enemies of tea. Tea oxidizes and absorbs odors easily (except for pu-erh teas, which are fermented and improve with age).
|Most tins are not airtight, so store fine tea in a zip-lock-type bag within a container (you can eliminate the bag if you have a container with an airtight seal). Keep the tea away from heat (the stove, an outside wall). Fine green tea can be stored in the fridge—just be sure it is protected from moisture.
By the way, you don’t have to waste old tea—use it as garden fertilizer!
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