It’s a question we get surprisingly often and there is no real short answer to it. So, we were thinking instead of “short,” we’ll go for “our best” answer.
Think about your current favourite tea. Is it a simple herbal? Maybe it’s a traditional black or green tea? Right now our best sellers tend to be more complex blends, made up not just of tea but also various dried fruits, herbs and flowers. Much of what gives these teas their delightful flavor and equally important bouquet is the essential oils contained in them.
The best way to preserve these oils and the pleasant sensations they provide us is to keep them away from air, heat, light and moisture. These outside factors are what cause the essential oils in our teas to begin to break down, diminishing the sensations we so enjoy. A freezer may sound like a great place to protect loose tea from heat, but moisture will catalyze the beginnings of staleness and, no matter how cold it is, the inside of a freezer has moisture.
So, the short answer is that while you definitely can freeze your tea, you are compromising a great deal of what likely makes you enjoy the tea in the first place. Fresh teas will keep very well in a dark, airtight container for as long as a year, although unless you are buying vast quantities all at once it is hard to imagine a time where you should need to store it for that long.
In the interest of keeping things uncomplicated, just remember these three simple points and you should have no problem always having a delightful selection of loose teas with heavenly scents and flavours on hand for any mood or occasion.
- Keep it in the dark – Many of today’s teas are actually beautiful to look at and it is very tempting to display them in clear glass jars or similar containers in your kitchen. While we agree they are pretty to look at, exposure to air and light are the beginning of the end of your tea’s peak flavor. Naturally though, most of the tea drinkers we get to talk to are serious enthusiasts though and want to not only display their tea selection, but want to make sure that there is always some tea at hand. The solution? Channel those arts and crafts skills! Obviously, being in the tea business, Seven Sisters sells tins specifically for storing tea under optimal conditions, but also feel free to track down interesting or antique tins of various shapes and sizes. Embelish! Decorate! Enjoy them, and enjoy having your tea stay fresh by making sure that your tea stays cool, dry and in the dark.
- Keep ‘em separated – With the amazing variety of teas available right now, it is tons of fun to stock up on many different types at once. We totally encourage this, but do not be tempted to store different types in the same tin. For example, a bag of smoky black tea stored with a bag of a fruity rooibos blend will compromise the unique flavours of both teas. Do keep this in mind.
- GIGO – There is no delicate way to say “garbage in, garbage out.” Perhaps this 16th century proverb says it best: “There comes nothing out of a sack but what was in it.” When it’s time to buy loose tea, look for signs that the vendor actually sells a LOT of tea. A busy, clean teashop is a good sign of high inventory turnover and high inventory turnover means that you should always be getting the best and freshest available tea.
So, back to the original question: “can you freeze loose tea?” Yes. But please don’t. Just buy new blends as they appeal to you, store them properly and enjoy them, perhaps by sharing with somebody nice.