Unless you live near a tea garden, getting truly fresh white and green teas is a bit of a problem. After all, even white and green teas need a bit of processing (sometimes done right out in the tea fields) and that takes a little time. Then, the leaves have to get to the factory for packaging, and to the wholesaler to get out to various tea vendors, or they go straight to the vendors who then promote them like crazy (how else would you know they have these teas in stock?). So, how do you keep the teas you buy from these vendors, in particular the white and green teas, fresh for as long as possible? We have a few suggestions.
|Keep ’em fresh!|
First, buy from a vendor who deals as directly from the processor as possible. That will reduce the time in between the tea fields and your cup. These days, such vendors (like us) aren’t hard to find. The trend is tilting away from a lot of large and impersonal tea companies (especially as you get more and more into enjoying finer teas that are not just dust in a teabag) to vendors with more of a connection to the growers and processors.
Second, be sure your vendor properly stores the teas at their end or can get the teas to you in a more direct (and therefore faster) manner. Proper storage involves an environment that is away from direct sunlight (and preferably away from most light), air-tight containers (pouches that are vacuum-sealed are best), and cool temperatures (a refrigerator is ideal as long as the vendor is not taking the teas out until it’s time to package them up to ship to you).
Now it’s your turn. Yes, there is something you can do at your end to be sure your white and green teas stay fresh longer. First, keep the vaccum-sealed package sealed until you are ready to partake. If the package you bought is large enough to make it practical to do so, split the contents into two portions (caution: do not use those little Ziploc bags from the grocery store – they do not seal well). Seal one pack as well as you can. Store it in the refrigerator and be sure any strong-smelling foods are kept well-sealed and as far from that pack of tea as possible. Keep the other one out and in a fairly cool spot in your kitchen (definitely away from the stove, microwave, toaster, etc.) and out of light (especially sunlight). When you are done with that portion, pull the refrigerated portion out, let it sit and warm to room temperature (this will avoid condensation forming inside the package when you open it). Infuse and enjoy some of the tea. Reseal the package and store in the kitchen but not back in the refrigerator. The key is not to pull a tea package out of the refrigerator, then put it back in, then pull it out again. Keep the temperature changes minimal. Even though the teas leaves have been withered and dried, they still have some moisture that could cause problems due to those temperature changes.
Conventional wisdom says to store white teas about 3-6 months and green teas up to a year, but a few simple precautions can extend that time by months or even a year or two. Hope this helps you make the most of those tea purchases.