SHOULD THE TEA BE STORED IN THE FRIDGE?

There are some who truly believe that the teas should be stored in the refrigerator or otherwise the quality will decline quickly. From our experience, we give you the reasons behind this common practice widely seen in Asia and then you can decide whether or not you want to store your teas in the fridge as well.

    
 

In Taiwan and China, people customarily store their lightly-roasted or lightly processed teas in the freezer section of their refrigerator for plausible reasons. First, the climate in these regions is EXTREMELY humid, and therefore, the dry teas are very likely to lose flavor and turn bland quickly due to the high amounts of moisture in the air. Even if the dry teas are sealed in vacuum-sealed foil bags, there are still some air and moisture trapped inside the bag that the dry teas are exposed to. So sealed bags are not really100% seal-proof for a tea. Second, storing food in the refrigerator does help slowing down the deterioration process and keeping the food fresher for a longer period. Leaving the teas out in the open will expose them to humidity as well as temperature fluctuations and other elements. So after all, keeping the teas in the fridge does seem like a better alternative. At least they won't turn moldy if they are kept in the freezer.

Specifically, tea types such as green teas and lightly-baked oolongs are known to have short shelf-life than other heavier processed and heavier roasted teas since the levels of dehydration differed. Keeping the teas in the refrigerator is not an ideal storage method but that is the best solution people living in Asia can come up with to cope with the short shelf life problem of their beloved teas. Imagine that you only buy teas once a year and the supply has to last that long.

    
 

In the United States, however, the climate is VERY dry and the average humidity is low. Even with the low amounts of humidity, teas can still be affected in the long run but the pace is slower and gradual. Tea lovers are blessed here because the teas in the United States have a much, much longer shelf life than they would in Asia. We are talking about years of shelf life being extended, not just months.

So the next time you want to place the teas in the fridge, survey your surrounding environments into consideration. Is it necessary?

If the teas are fresh, then they must be stored in the fridge? But what defines "fresh"? Fresh in the season or underprocessed teas? Underprocessed teas are kind of semi-moist in appearance and to us, these should not be considered as fresh teas. They are raw teas being processed insufficiently. Any tea can be made into this way if the tea maker gets lazy and completes half way thru the tea manufacturing procedures. These raw teas have to be kept in the fridge because they are still damp. The other problem with the raw teas is that they can cause gastrointestinal upsets if you consume a lot on a regular basis. Teas are traditionally processed to be dry goods for thousands of years for very healthy and scientific reasons. The current acceptable standard is water content of 6% or less. We used to see a lot more 3% and 4% as the common guidelines in the past. It's OK to call a newly processed tea a fresh tea. But the final product should reach its appropriate dryness level, like it always has been for thousands of years.

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