Gourmet tea information will point you in the right direction to finding specialty loose leaf tea. We will also help you find 3 good ways to correctly store the tea leaf. Just like all things we care about it’s important to choose the right way to store our loose leaf tea. Let’s consider some of the ways people store their tea leaf and see if we want to follow their example.
We know we can buy some excellent specialty loose leaf tea from various vendors. Super markets would not fall into that category. Specialty tea houses might fall into this category. Why, most are dedicated to using loose leaf tea and want to educate their visitors about its quality. When you go to a tea shop ask questions. Where do you source your tea? How do you store it here in your tea house? Can you give me suggestions on the best place to keep it at home? Can I put it in a zip lock bag? Why is that ok, or why not? People working in tea houses should be able to give you gourmet tea information. If you ask a question they are not sure about, they should offer to find out for you.
Consumers today are pretty savvy, we can sense if we’re speaking to someone who knows what they are talking about.
Look around the tea house, order a cup of tea and watch how they prepare it. Did they open a well sealed container to get the loose tea out? Did they have water coming from a special unit that was properly heated to the right temperature? Here’s a really big one, did they time the tea
Each type of tea requires different water temperatures and different timing. Brewing longer than the correct time does not result in a stronger cup of tea. It does result in a bitter cup of tea. Adding sugar does not mask the bitter taste. How do we achieve a stronger brew? Ask your server to use more than the usual amount of loose tea leaves. When you asked about using a plastic zip lock bag to keep you tea in; the answer should have been “no”. If it wasn’t “no” go to other tea houses looking for the right tea leaf merchant.
Loose tea needs to be kept in dry opaque tightly sealed containers to keep it fresh. A tea store should be able to give you this gourmet tea information. They should be able to tell why this is important. They should give you suggestions on finding the right vessel for your leaves.
Now for the why:
Tea absorbs odors around it changing its original flavor
Tea looses flavor if left in lighted areas
Tea exposed to air looses flavor and freshness
Tea exposed to moisture may become moldy
What advice should the tea houses be offering? How should they be displaying and storing their own tea?
A good tea shop will have their loose leaf tea in air tight containers. A glass jar can be air tight if it has a gasket seal. That would be OK if the jars were not exposed to light. Many good tea shops display tea in small container, but keep their leaves for sale protected. This means you can see and sniff to get an idea of flavor.
Stainless steel containers that have a double seal are a good choice. Also ceramic will work, again if it has a tight seal.(gasket seal) I personally feel better if the shop I’m buying from uses one of these methods.
Here’s what not to use at home. I wouldn’t go with plastic containers as these can absorb odors and transfer to the tea leaf. Canister sets are often ceramic with a lid that just sets on top. These would allow air to destroy flavor
Remember to find good quality tea leaves by observing tea houses and asking questions. When you bring home what you’ve purchased store it correctly to preserve freshness. Tightly sealed glass jars in a dark place, double sealed stainless steel containers and securely sealed ceramic containers are three good storage options.
Now you’re ready to enjoy your cup of tea.