Storing white tea in freezer?

White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.


Nov 11th, '15, 14:03
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Storing white tea in freezer?

by mountainsea » Nov 11th, '15, 14:03

Hello

I have about 400g Bai Hao Silver Needle that I won't be able to use soon. Either I have to give it away (Nooooo) or find a way of storing it for a year or so. Has any of you tried freezing some? How did it turn out?

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Nov 11th, '15, 15:01
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by pedant » Nov 11th, '15, 15:01

at least 4 things preserve tea: low light, low temperature, low moisture, low oxygen

low light: keep tea in the dark. avoid direct sunlight.

low temperature: i've never stored tea in the freezer. it's probably fine if you take proper precautions.

i've stored plenty of tea in the fridge, however.

storing it in something airtight with odor/moisture/gas barrier properties is key. this could be an impulse-sealed aluminized mylar bag or a canning jar with a tight-fitting lid.

the next thing you have to worry about is condensation. when air cools, its capacity to hold moisture decreases. if the air in your container isn't particularly dry, putting it in the fridge could cause condensation to happen inside the container. storing it with a desiccant packet is another way to ensure the air in the container/bag is dry.

also, after removing the container from the fridge, it will be cold. condensation may form on the outside of the container. if you open the container before letting it warm up to room temp, then you will have condensation forming inside the container and on the tea as well. let it sit out 12-24hr at room temperature before opening.

finally, there is oxygen. two strategies: oxygen scavenger packets (probably the more accessible option), inert gas flushing. in lieu of those things, limiting the unused volume of the container (e.g. by vacuum sealing) reduces the amount of oxygen available to react with the tea as well.

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Nov 11th, '15, 15:55
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by William » Nov 11th, '15, 15:55

Buy some mylar or foil bags, put the tea inside, seal them with a heat sealer, put the bags inside the fridge. Done.

Ps. Before opening one of the bags, keep it at ambient temperature for at least 24/36 hours, otherwise condensation will ruin the tea.

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Nov 11th, '15, 16:46
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by miig » Nov 11th, '15, 16:46

... and keep some of it in a normal bag and try that in a year. I personally find that white tea of good quality ages very well. You might, too, and if not, it will certainly be interesting.

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May 4th, '17, 21:12
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by Lion » May 4th, '17, 21:12

miig wrote: ... and keep some of it in a normal bag and try that in a year. I personally find that white tea of good quality ages very well. You might, too, and if not, it will certainly be interesting.
I also find that good quality white tea ages well, though I haven't figured out what factors are optimal. The owner/grower of Shang Tea typically doesn't even sell his white tea until it has been aged for 2-3 years (though this is starting with fresh white tea, and your white tea may have already been aged this long), because it mellows and rounds out the flavor, and he recommended to me to store it in sealed ceramic or clay jars if I wanted to age it, not in airtight bags and not in refrigeration. Most jars and tins for storing tea are not airtight, which can be a problem if you live in a place that is very dry or has widely varying temperatures. From various sources, I've generally heard you need to live somewhere with at least 50-60% humidity usually, otherwise you run the risk of drying out the tea and losing depth of flavor.

I guess if you want your tea to age and gain some character, you could experiment with keeping some in a container that is a little bit breathable. Keeping it stored in airtight bags, especially in refrigeration or the freezer, will likely keep the tea tasting similar to when you got it. It depends on which you prefer. I tend to prefer the taste of young white teas to aged ones, but am always curious to try some aging. I highly encourage experimentation. I would probably try storing it all four ways (airtight at room temp, breathable at room temp, airtight in the fridge, and airtight in the freezer) and see what happens, at least with a small amount of each, and you can check their progress in a few months and see if anything has changed. Maybe this isn't a very solid answer, but I'm not sure if enough experimentation has been done within the tea community in general for there to be a clear answer on this.

I think the safest to preserve your tea for the time being would be airtight (make sure it's absolutely airtight, like a foil bag with a tea clip) and in the fridge (I keep my sealed foil tea bags inside a tupperware in the fridge just for an extra layer of protection against moisture and odors). It's common to freeze matcha and Japanese green tea, so freezing white tea might not be a bad idea, but I probably wouldn't try doing this with a previously opened bag. After you've opened it, it's hard to know how much moisture is in there, which could turn to ice crystals and damage the tea leaves, or at least that's what I'd worry about.

I wish you luck, whichever way you try it! I typically just store white teas sealed airtight and at room temp. I only put green teas in the fridge.

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May 4th, '17, 23:05
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by kyarazen » May 4th, '17, 23:05

refridgeration is ok, freezing of whole leaf is discouraged. there is residual water content in tea leaves, ranging from 3 to 13%. freezing will cause ice crystals to break the structure of the leaf cells leading to.. flavour changes.

for matcha it is ok to freeze as it is already ground to fine bits, no leave structures to disrupt anymore

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May 5th, '17, 08:25
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by kuánglóng » May 5th, '17, 08:25

William wrote: Buy some mylar or foil bags, put the tea inside, seal them with a heat sealer, put the bags inside the fridge. Done.

Ps. Before opening one of the bags, keep it at ambient temperature for at least 24/36 hours, otherwise condensation will ruin the tea.
That's what I do as well - in small 20-30g portions. Works amazingly well, even with more sensitive teas like e.g. some Darjeelings.

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May 5th, '17, 22:27
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Re: Storing white tea in freezer?

by janet11 » May 5th, '17, 22:27

I usually put in the freezer to keep fresh.

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