The Habit of Stocking Tea Well

Drinking tea is a habit, and many tea drinkers I know like to sample different teas instead of drinking the same tea all the time. But people are habitual beings as well, and when we have found something we really like, we tend to stick to it. Quite a few of the customers that drink tea from The Tea Crane come back to buy the same tea they liked, and some of them have actually asked if they could purchase larger quantities at once.

For those habitual drinkers, I gladly offer bulk packages of one kilogram or half a kilogram each, which does not only save on shipping costs, but also come at much more advantageous wholesale pricing. The question I however am continuously being asked, is how to best preserve such a large quantity of tea? Because obviously such a large batch takes some time to finish.

While I have given some guidelines in a previous post on how to preserve tea, these mostly apply to smaller quantities. But actually keeping a ‘stock’ of tea is again something slightly different. In the course of interacting with those customers, I have tested several approaches, and have learned from their feedback as well. Now I feel that we have found the most beneficial method and wish to share this here for future reference.

Keeping one kilogram of tea on the shelf may cause the tea to become vulnerable to external influences such as humidity, heat, light, odors, etc. and cause the tea to oxidize and loose flavor. For a tea to last, an environment that is free from these perils is mandatory, and that is why cool and dark places are generally recommended. Also re-sealable bags are commonly used, and to extend shelf life, tea comes packaged in vacuum aluminum lined packages with inclusion of one or more oxygen absorbers.

Once opened, these aids become useless, and it becomes necessary to find a different method to preserve the tea. For smaller quantities, a refrigerator may appeal as the ideal environment because it is cool, dark and low in humidity, but odors may affect the taste of the tea. For larger quantities, I have in due course recommended to take some tea for direct use out of the batch, and keep the remainder in a well-sealed bag in the freezer. Providing a cool, dark, humidity free and odorless environment, this indeed is the ideal setting for conservation.

The issue with this solution however, is that when you needed to replenish your supply for direct use, the bag has to be taken out and opened several times. In case the bag is not left to acclimatize for a sufficient period of time, humidity in the air could condense on the inside of the bag and may affect the tea that is kept for later use.

The answer to this problem – and it couldn’t have been more obvious – is to pre-pack the tea in smaller portions in double zip-lock bags for example, and keep them in the freezer. This way a large batch can be kept in cold storage and supply can be replenished without having to open the bag with the remainder several times over. This will allow the tea to stay fresh and unaffected, and each replenishment can be enjoyed in its original state. It may be a small effort initially, but instead of unnecessarily exposing the tea to external menaces multiple times, this solution limits the uncovering to only once.

Do you stock tea in larger quantities of tea for later use? Was this article useful? Or do you have another approach that works well in your environment? Feel free to leave your thoughts or remarks in the comments below.

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