Becoming a tea expert means that you need to take care of how you store your exotic teas! You probably don’t want to stash them away with your other everyday groceries.
The taste and texture of exotic teas can be affected by humidity, light, temperature, aromas, and even the type of container that it is in.
Pu er tea, also known as Pu-erh tea, Puerh, or Pu’er tea, goes through a complex process to provide the tea lover with the most unique taste.
Storing your tea correctly will ensure that you get the best out of it after opening the package.
Here are some key pointers on how to store pu er tea.
How to store pu er tea
Store pu er tea in low-light conditions away from direct sunlight. Ideal temperatures are 68°F to 85°F (20°C to 30°C) with a humidity of 50% to 70%. Bamboo, paper, or carton containers are best as they allow for natural airflow. Do not wrap your tea in plastic. Store it away from strong odors.
Let’s talk about each factor in more detail.
Things to consider when storing pu er tea
The right amount of Light to store pu er tea
Very bright light or direct sunlight can affect the taste of your tea. Pu er tea is crafted by a process in which the leaves are harvested, roasted, and dried in the sun. They are then oxidized.
You do not want to expose your tea to more sunlight and especially not direct sunlight. This will accelerate the process of oxidation.
Store the tea in a low-light setting. A closet, pantry, cabinet, or sideboard will be ideal.
If you are like me and enjoy displaying your teas in a decorative show-off container, make sure that the spot in your room does not get direct sunlight through a window.
A north-facing room will be ideal. If this is not possible, keep your tea away from windows and do not place it on a window sill.
The right temperature to store pu er tea
The ideal temperature for your pu er tea ranges from 68°F to 85°F (20°C to 30°C). This is your classic moderate temperature zone.
You do not want to store your tea in very high temperatures as this will affect the flavor.
Storing your tea at very low temperatures can also stop the natural aging process. The aging process will continue for years after you buy your tea and is a natural process that enhances the flavor.
Do not store pu er tea in a fridge. The temperatures are far too cold. It does require moderate temperatures to age correctly.
Make sure that your tea does not stand under air vents or in the cold blast of air conditioners.
Store pu er tea: Humidity
Humidity forms a large part of the process of making pu er tea. After the tea is harvested, roasted, and dried, the leaves are placed into piles and covered with linen cloth. The cloth is sprayed with water and the humidity that builds up underneath imparts a unique color and flavor to the tea.
You want to store your pu er tea in a location that has a humidity of 50% to 70%. 50% is average for a home and 70% is slightly higher.
A very high humidity of over 70% can cause mold to grow on the tea leaves. This is bad for your health and will definitely affect the flavor of the tea.
Exceptionally humid spots of over 80% will cause the oxidation process to continue and will change the flavor of the tea.
If your home is very humid, consider installing a dehumidifier to extract some of the dampness out of your living space.
Allow for air flow when storing pu er tea
When you buy pu er tea, you will notice that it is not sealed in pouches like everyday tea. It can be bought in cakes, bird nest shapes that are wrapped in paper.
The tea also comes in the form of loose leaves in a paper or carton box.
Paper and carton containers allow for air flow. Air flow is important for the aging process to continue slowly and normally.
You do not want to wrap your tea in plastic. You also do not want to store your tea in sealed air-tight containers.
This will prevent the flow of air and greatly change the flavor. Paper bags or boxes allow natural air flow to surround the tea and enhance the aging process, resulting in the best flavor.
Pu er tea leaves absorb odors from the surroundings. Can you imagine tea tasting of garlic or onion? You certainly don’t want that to happen.
Storing your tea close to very strong-smelling foods, fruits, or veggies will result in your tea absorbing these odors.
Check that your storage place is also far away from areas where you store strong smelling household cleaning products.
If your tea is out in a decorative box, ensure that you do not have pungent natural oil diffusers, freshly cut flowers, or perfumes nearby.
The right containers to store pu er tea
Storing your pu er tea in its original packaging is a good idea. These packages are usually paper or carton and allow for air flow. You will also have important information such as the place and date of manufacture on the package.
Some rare varieties of pu er tea come packaged in East Asian bamboo, also known as Indocalamus. This traditional packaging is pleasing to look at and also provides the perfect storage for your tea.
If you want to choose a stylish, show-off container, buy yourself a pottery or zisha container. These containers are handcrafted in the east by artisans who follow age-old traditions. Pottery containers allow for air flow while keeping the tea fresh. You can keep your pu er tea in a zisha container for many years.
These beautiful containers can be shown off when guests come round for tea!
Pu er tea comes in two forms. Raw pu er and ripe pu er. If you are storing both, they should be stored separately. Do not place them into the same container as the flavors will be compromised. Keep them on different shelves in their original packaging.
Frequently asked questions about how to store Pu er tea
Can I wrap pu er in plastic?
Do not wrap your pu er tea in plastic. Plastic does not allow for air flow. It also encourages the growth of mildew and mold. Plastic stops the natural aging process and will ruin the flavor of your tea.
Can I keep pu er tea in its original packaging?
Yes, you can keep your tea in its original packaging. Pu er tea usually comes in paper or carton packages. These are ideal for allowing air flow. Check that your tea does not stand in direct sunlight or close to strong odors.
What is a bad place to store pu er tea?
Keeping your tea in direct sunlight is not good. Sunlight causes the leaves to dry out and may also increase the oxidation process. Both of these factors will badly affect the taste of your tea.
Can I keep pu er tea in the fridge?
Storing pu er tea in the fridge is not a good idea. Pu er tea will age naturally in the correct light, temperature, and humidity conditions. Storing it in a cold fridge will stop the natural process of aging which enhances the flavor of the tea.