How and how long to store your fine teas is often presented in a very condensed manner, but sometimes in a fairly complex manner. And all sources that I have come across say a lot of the same things, most of which I agree with and some that I tend to disagree with. A bit of sorting out is needed, I think, so here goes.
Storage Length by Tea Type
Conventional wisdom says:
|Tea Type||How Long to Store|
|Oolong – light||12 months|
|Oolong – dark||12-18 months|
Plus you are usually advised to buy teas in small amounts so you can use them within the prescribed storage time.
You can extend the number of months substantially by keeping the teas in a place below normal room temperature and by using proper storage methods that guard against heat, light, moisture, odors, and air. Pu-erh is different in how it is stored and tends to benefit from air around it.
The Enemies of Tea Flavor
There are five enemies of your tea’s flavor: air, humidity/moisture, odors, excessive heat, and light (especially sunlight). Green, white, and yellow teas are most susceptible. Light oolongs are not as susceptible. Darker oolongs and black teas are least susceptible. Pu-erhs need air but should not be stored around strong odors. Your storage container and location should keep all of these in mind and protect against them.
I’ve put together a quick guide to the in’s and outs of tea storage in PDF format. Hope it helps.