loose leaf tea

How to Best Store Loose Leaf Tea to Preserve Its Freshness

For individuals who love to enjoy sipping tea on calm afternoons or at little tea parties with friends, ensuring they serve tea in its best condition is a priority. Loose leaf tea performs best when it is fresh and flavorful, so proper storage will help keep it tasting great for as long as possible. 

Tea leaves should be protected from air, heat, light, and moisture to keep them fresh. However, this can be an issue if you’ve already opened the first batch of your tea bags. That’s why if you want to extend the freshness of loose leaf tea, store it in an opaque, airtight container. Then, place the container somewhere cool and dark—nowhere near any heat source like a stove or a sunny window.

Here are some tips for preserving loose leaf tea so that you can enjoy a tasty cup every time:

Choose Your Tea Storage Containers Well

You may keep loose leaf tea in almost any container. However, to maintain the condition of the tea leaves, look for a container that is opaque and airtight. 

Tea tins and canisters are ideal for storing loose leaf tea, but jars and reusable craft bags can also be used.  These options are excellent for storing loose leaf tea—though each method offers a different shelf life for your tea. For instance, a bag will suffice if you plan to finish your tea within a few months. 

Alternatively, there are decorative tea tins you can use for your tea. These elegant Japanese tea tins—covered in decorative washi paper—are the perfect containers for storing tea. They’re completely airtight, thanks to an inner tin lid and an exterior slip-on lid.

Take the Proper Action to Ensure the Tea Lasts Long

How long tea lasts is determined by how it is stored. If loose leaf tea is stored in a craft bag, it will stay fresh for about four months; if stored in an airtight tin, it will remain fresh for about a year. 

While tea will not spoil after that period, it will begin to lose its flavor. Tea can only be spoiled if it is exposed to too much moisture or heat. If your tea appears or smells stale, better replace it with a new batch.

Learn How to Determine the Tea’s Freshness

Tea does not go bad in most cases, but it does lose its freshness over time. If you’re unsure if your tea is still fresh and can’t recall when you bought it, inspect the tea leaves, inhale the aroma, and brew a cup to taste. Fresh loose leaf tea is usually more delicious than old tea, which has a pronounced stale flavor.


Tea lasts a long time, but keeping up with new additions to your tea stash can be difficult. If you have old tea that is no longer drinkable, there are a few things—both practical and creative—you can do with it around the house. 

Tea leaves can be composted, and brewed tea can be used to irrigate plants to boost nitrogen. They can also be used to dye fabric or even as watercolor art. However, if they’re only for brewing, remember to keep them safe and stored int he right places.

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