How long can tea be kept properly?

The short answer is “it depends”. Depending on the type of teas and the storage condition, the shelf life of tea can be from a few months to 2-3 years. The more fermented and intact the dried leaves are, the longer they will last. Black tea leaves are more fermented than green or white, and oolong is somewhere in between. Measures of intactness vary from whole leaf, to broken leaf, to fannings and dust. Those rich in top notes (floral or other aromatic varieties) deteriorate more rapidly than the more opulent teas where base notes predominate (woody). The right storage conditions are also essential to preserve the freshness. Tea leaves acts as a sponge, absorbing moisture and odors easily from the atmosphere. Additionally, tea is susceptible to light and high temperatures. Hence, airtight opaque containers stored in dark temperature-controlled places are preferable. As a rule of thumb, tea should not be stored at home for more than a year. Keep it in a clean, away from the direct sunlight and atmospheric odors and after opening the sealed packet try to consume it within a month.


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