Storing white tea


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Storing white tea

Postby Trey Winston » Oct 19th, '07, 17:21

What is the best way to store white tea? The tea I bought came in two clear plastic bags, but I recall reading that white tea should be kept in a dark place.

How do you store your white tea? Are tins the best way to store it? Plastic? Metal?
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Postby Space Samurai » Oct 19th, '07, 18:50

Hi Trey,
The two main enemies of tea are light and air, so when storing any tea, you want to store it in a cool, dry place away from light and strong odors (don't store you tea next to your spices). So yeah, plastic bags aren't so good. Tins work great. Most of the tea I get comes shipped in mylar bags, and I use clips to keep the air out.

Follow those guide lines and you should be okay with whit tea. I haven't found white tea to be particularly fussy.
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Postby Chip » Oct 19th, '07, 19:05

Also, I never knew that plactic bags also breath. But they do. :shock:

So, never store tea in ziplocks or any plastic bag.
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Postby ABx » Oct 20th, '07, 14:55

yup, plastic in general is oxygen permeable, so best to avoid it.

I had a couple small tins that I kept the tea in a ziplock bag in. When I'd open the lid to the tin, the aroma came up just as if the tea wasn't in a bag at all.
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Postby Trey Winston » Oct 23rd, '07, 04:42

Right, a tin it is.
Related question: How much white tea should one buy at a time to be able to store it properly? Since the tea I buy comes in plastic bags, I guess it's not that far-fetched to think that the vendor stores it in heaps of plastic bags, and the tea I buy in december, say, may not have been properly stored.
I have this image of tea lovers lining up to buy sacks of the most recent harvest the second it is ready, so they can store it properly themselves. Not unlike wine lovers with their Beaujolais :)
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Postby Chip » Oct 23rd, '07, 08:08

Actually Trey, the Beaujolais analogy is pretty good. Some vendors even make a reference to this with their first flush offerings.

It is just wrong for a vendor to store tea in plastic bags. Personally, I would try to "educate" this vendor nicely, but do not expect success.

My one local vendor of crappy tea in a local farmers' market has these huge clear glass storage jars complete with loose lids...I tried to nicely inform her of the 2 wrongs not making a right (when I also tried to get her to offer better tea).

Well, she continues to sell her crappy tea the same way years later. I cringe every time I walk by.
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Postby Trey Winston » Oct 23rd, '07, 12:58

Chip wrote:I tried to nicely inform her of the 2 wrongs not making a right (when I also tried to get her to offer better tea).

:D

I'll certainly try to give some hints to my dealer, who actually provides excellent service otherwise (prompt delivery and hand-written greetings with every package). Good advice. Thanks.
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Postby DMikeS4321 » Oct 28th, '07, 01:29

Hi, I'm new!

What about the three layered plastic/foil/mylar type bags? I've been told that they are not oxygen permeable. I found some white tea in my cupboard that had been pushed to the back and was over a year old. Seemingly fine; still soft and flexible and fresh tasting. In fact, I did a side by side taste test with my informal 'panel' and there was no apparent difference in color, fragrance or flavor.

Best Regards
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Postby Wesli » Oct 28th, '07, 02:43

Hey Mike, the bags are pretty good, but I strongly recommend double bagging with them. I sometimes put some very good teas in a small one of these bags, and then stick that bag in a larger one. this keeps the teaz very well.
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Postby Mary R » Oct 28th, '07, 09:01

Those three-layered bags are my storage option of choice when I run out of good tins. They do an admirable job.
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Postby Chip » Oct 28th, '07, 12:23

I can get very anal on this subject...so...I will go off in another direction.

One of the very best ways to keep your open teas as fresh as possible, only open a limited number of teas at a single time and use them quickly, within 30-60 days.

I used to have 40 or more different teas open at a given time. Now I have learned the error in my ways and try to have around 5 open. This requires a lot of discipline for me since I seem to instinctively want to have many open.

This is important mainly for white and green teas. Blacks and oolong and of course pu-erh seem to stay fresh much longer once open.
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Postby DMikeS4321 » Oct 29th, '07, 12:34

Another thing I learned when visiting China - never vacuum pack or purchase vacuum packed white tea. There is something about the vacuum process, even with a nitrogen back-fill, that causes the tea to lose that soft, pillowy feel. If vacuum packed, it will come out looking like the lowest grade fannings, crumbly and hard, in a very short time. Must be the vacuum process destroys the moist feel or something?

When in Guangzhou and Nanning for my last visit, friends suggested always using the ziplock type triple-layer mylar/foil bags. They put the tea in the bag and squeeze out as much air as possible (not TOO much squeezing, please!), then seal the bag. If the bag still shows the outline of the tea inside the next day, they say the seal is good. If not, they discard and use a different bag.

I have several different cannisters for storage, but for white, my friends tell me that even the air remaining in the cannister after filling with tea will cause unwanted oxidation. I put the sealed bag in the sealed container.

Keep in mind, good white tea is a "single-harvest" tea and storage is more important than with any other kind of tea. There is simply no way to have "fresh" white tea after August or September; it's all going to be "old" by then. I usually still have white tea from the previous harvest when the new harvest occurs. I don't like to run out and have to wait for the new crop, so I always ration myself, particularly toward December. Come March, I'm ready to finish up in anticipation of the new tea. It is not quite as good in February and March as it was for the preceding months, but it still retains that unique feel and flavor. It is certainly better than not having any at all.

Best Regards
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Postby Wesli » Oct 29th, '07, 14:21

Vacuum sealers suck the air out of the bag, and if not stopped on time, the sealer will suck out enough air that the sides of the bag start crushing the leaves. This is why knowledgeable dealers only use vacuum sealers on the rigid teas, like rolled TGY of gunpowder.
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Postby BeardedWoof » Oct 30th, '07, 04:01

I keep mine in canning jars with lids that seal and I keep my teas (white and all of them) in a cabinet away from light.
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Postby DMikeS4321 » Oct 30th, '07, 13:23

FataliTEA wrote:Hey Mike, the bags are pretty good, but I strongly recommend double bagging with them. I sometimes put some very good teas in a small one of these bags, and then stick that bag in a larger one. this keeps the teaz very well.


Good advice!
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