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Tea Storage and Preparation

Looking for Iced tea?

Tea is shelf-stable, which means that given the proper storage, its quality can be preserved for six months to one year. In order to maintain freshness and quality, avoid exposure to oxygen, moisture and heat. For best results, tea should be stored in airtight containers made out of non-reactive materials such as tin. Plastic containers are not recommended as they can pass on a chemical taste or aroma. Glass or ceramic containers work well if the glass is opaque, limiting the exposure to light. It is also important to store flavored teas separately from straight varietals as the flavor is easily absorbed.  Keeping a caramel tea next to a green Sencha or black Darjeeling, for example,will yield a caramel flavor in three different base teas.

For the perfect cup of tea the water quality is very important. Filtered- or spring water are best, however distilled water is not recommended since the lack of minerals produces a bland tasting infusion. It is also important to use fresh water as it has a higher oxygen content which improves the taste and the aroma of tea.

How much tea is needed per cup? In general, 3 grams of dry leaves should be used for 6 ounces of water which equals about one heaping teaspoon per 6 ounces of water. Some varietals vary in weight, such as large leaf oolongs and whites and require 2 teaspoons per 6 ounces of water.

Next to high quality water and the right amount of dried leaves, it is the proper water temperature that lends the tea its final touch. While black, oolong and herbal teas require boiling water to bring out the best, green, white and green oolongs on the other hand fare better using slightly cooler water to preserve their flavor and to avoid a bitter after taste. If in a pinch and without a thermometer, the rule of thumb is, for black teas bring the cup to the kettle and for green and whites, bring the kettle to the cup!  Our recommended steeping times:

Water Temperature
Steeping Time
Black Teas
210 F
3-5 minutes
Dark Oolong*
1-3 minutes
Green Teas (Japan or China)
175-180 F
2-3 minutes
Green Oolongs*
185 F
1-2 minutes
Herbal Infusions and fruit blends
210 F
6-8 minutes
White Tea
1-2 minutes

* top quality Oolongs may be steeped up to 6 times