Unfortunately, green tea degrades quicker than other types of tea.
Now that you’ve bought a premium green tea, make sure that you don’t let it go stale, or even worse, go bad.
The basics of storing green tea
Green tea leaves are damaged by heat, sunlight, humidity and oxygen. On top of that, the leaves pick up nearby odors quickly.
Thus, you should keep your tea in an airtight container and place it in a cool, dry place.
Tea tins inside your cabinet are usually enough for this purpose, assuming you don’t live in an excessively hot and humid place. Under these conditions, your green tea should be conserved up to a year.
But what if you bought in bulk and want it to last longer?
Taking it one step further
A common mistake that many of us do is to buy more tea than we’re able to drink, so it tends to go past its expiry date.
In this case, you should put your tea container inside a resealable plastic bag and make sure that you take most of the air out. Then place it in the refrigerator. That way you minimize the degradation of your tea.
Be sure to let your tea reach room temperature before you open the plastic bag. This takes a few hours, but if you don’t do it then then the temperature difference will make water condense on your green tea leaves and ruin them!
My suggestion is that if you want to drink green tea daily and have a lot of tea, take out what you will drink for say, 15 days or a month, and refrigerate the rest.
What if your tea is stale already?
Unless it’s really spoiled, for example when mold is present, you green tea still has some use.
Once it loses its freshness, the flavor and especially the aroma is diminished. You can still drink it but it won’t be as good as when it was fresh.
One option is to roast your green tea into houjicha. It’s fun and also gives your tea a new life.
You can also use it for cooking, as a deodorizer, and burn it as incense.
There are many more things to do, there’s no need to throw it away.