The way of green tea storage is NOT the same as black tea. Green tea is very easy to lose freshness unless it is stored in proper way . Keep freshness is the key for storage. Let’s see how to preserve your precious Japanese green tea leaves after tea leaf package-bag is opened.
Simply explains, it should be stored as picture below.
One day I visited a friend in Europe, she put Japanese green tea leaves in tea canister and placed it in a shelf several month. The leaves changed color and smell is no longer pleasant. Black tea leaves may be OK with this way of storage. But not for green tea leaves.
What elements affect Green Tea Quality？
Moisture(humidity) , heat, air (oxygen), light and smell affect freshness of green tea. Keep away those 5 things for preservation of Japanese green tea leaves.
(Basic idea is the same for any green tea)
Heat means just not high temperature, even room temperature is still risk in certain condition for green tea. It is recommended to store below 10℃ ( 50 °F ) , means store in the fridge.
Using Tea Canister only for Immediate Use (Japanese Green Tea)
In Japan daily use tea leaves are often put in tea canister like picture below. In my case, I put tea leaves only amount for 2 week use in it. The rest of tea leaves are stored refrigerator separately.
Tea canister can block light and smell of other food and incense in the room etc. And moisture, too. But every time you open tea canister to use tea leaves, leaves in the canister are exposed to air and moisture slightly. Moisture + Heat (even room temperature) accelerate lowering quality of the tea leaves.
In Japan it is said that freshness in tea canister is only kept in the period below.
2 weeks for summer
4 weeks for winter
(room temperature in climate of Japan)
Those canister can be placed in room temperature.(The cooler place is the better) Within 2-4 weeks, the quality of tea leave don’t change so much , flavor and aroma remain fresh.
Stored in refrigerator for longer period of time (Japanese green tea)
Black tea can store in room-temperature long time, but not green tea. Green tea leaves have to be stored in low temperate place. Below 10℃ ( 50 °F ) is recommended.
I keep the rest of tea leaves in original tea leaf package-bag. Seal the bag airtightly and place it in refrigerator. This kind of tea leaf package-bag below (made in Japan) is moisture-proof, light-proof and so much technology in it (made with several layers with different materials) to keep quality of Japanese green tea fresh. It is good to use even after open it.
If you don’t open this kind of package-bag, you can keep the freshness very long time.
When you consume the tea leaves in the canister, refill the canister with the rest of tea leaves.
When refilling, be careful with moisture condensation. When the package-bag is taken out from fridge, do not open immediately. Wait until the temperature of the bag/leaves become as same as room temperature. Otherwise moisture in the air was cooled by the cold surface of tea leaves and droplet of water sticks to the tea leaves. Tea leaves absorbed moisture is so quick to lose freshness. Moisture ruins quality of tea leaves.
For your reference, basically Japanese green tea leaves sold in market in Japan are dried well, moisture content is not more than 3% . (3 % is an ideal moisture content for Japanese green tea.)
What happen if Green Tea lose the freshness?
Simply says, flavor goes bad.
|⇩||Aroma||no longer aromatic and/or unpleasant smell|
|⇩||After taste||unpleasant taste/feeling is left in your mouth|
|⇩||Color (Leaves)||change to brownish|
|⇩||Color (Liquid)||change to yellowish|