The Best Ways to Store and Organize Your Tea Collection
How often do you open up your designated tea cupboard or drawer to a complete mess? We sure do! Between our growing collection of different varieties and teaware, it’s hard to keep organized. In the short term, having a properly organized tea collection can not only help us find what we’re looking for faster but can better display all of the options we have on hand to enjoy. And in the long term, proper tea storage can ensure we are taking the best possible care of our teas, as the dried leaves can loose their aroma and flavour quickly in certain conditions. In this article, we hope to share and teach you:
- A few ways to extend the flavour and freshness of tea through proper storage
- How to aesthetically organize a large collection
- And a couple of different options you have when it comes to sorting your tea
Why Storing Your Tea Properly Matters
Over time, tea can lose its flavour and become stale if it's not properly stored. Here are a few simple practices to ensure that all your teas are in kept in tip-top shape:
1. Keep it Dry
Any moisture or humidity can ruin the flavour of tea. Once tea leaves are damp, they can begin to mold, so store your tea away from areas of your kitchen that are likely to be moist.
- Near the stove, where pots boil
- In the refrigerator, an environment rich in moisture
- On counters near the sink, where dishwater splashes
- Under the sink, an area that can be damp
- Near the dishwasher, which vents moisture during its washing cycles
2. Keep it Away from Light
Sunlight can diminish the taste and freshness of your tea by bleaching all the flavour out. If you’re storing your tea in a place with a lot of natural sunlight, make sure to use a tea tin or opaque container instead of a clear container.
3. Keep it Cool
Heat can damage tea and destroy especially flavorful blends. That means you’ll want to avoid storing in any cabinets near stoves or ovens.
4. Keep it Separate
Tea is a hygroscopic product. That means that it absorbs moisture and smells from the air around it. Therefore, you won’t want to store it with other fragrant foods. Imagine having your high-quality Darjeeling taste more like the BBQ-flavored potato chips you were storing nearby.
5. Keep it Airtight
Keeping air out will keep tea fresh. This can be achieved with a tightly sealed resealable bag, a tea tin, or a jar with a lid. By storing this way, you can best ensure that you’re keeping out any other odours and moisture.
How to Keep All Your Tea Neat and Organized
Now that we know the parameters of proper tea storage, let’s get creative with some ways to keep our tea collection neat and organized. Here are some inspirational tea organization ideas:
1. Tea Drawer
Martha Stewart’s tea drawer fits all of our criteria - it’s hidden from light, its separate from food, and it just looks amazing!
Image taken from Pinterest, Martha’s Top Kitchen Organizing Tips
2. Tea Crate
A tea crate is a good option if you want the same feel of a tea drawer but are lacking available drawer space. You can mimic the layout of a drawer but keep it on an available shelf. And, better than a drawer, because you can completely pull it out, it’s easy to move to other areas of the home and perfect for serving to guests.
Image taken from Pinterest, How to Make a Tea Crate
3. Tea Tray
A tea tray is a great option to store behind the closed doors of a cupboard and take out ready to serve when guests come. Its low height means it will likely easily fit on any shelf you have. And, labelling your jars gets you bonus points with us.
Image taken from Pinterest, DIY Chalkboard Tea Tins
4. Tea Station
Great for a corner or countertop space, this lazy susan style organizer lets you display all your teas and supplies in the open. While easy to turn often so not privileging a certain type of tea front and centre, it’s important to remember to keep out of direct sunlight. If your kitchen is particularly sunny, perhaps move inside a cabinet.
Image taken from Pinterest, Our Kitchen Tea Station and Tiered Trays for Kitchen Storage
Having a clear layout of your collection lets everyone in the house know what is available to enjoy, and lets you easily track our stock levels of each type. And, if you love the tea-drinking experience as much as we do, having a clean and pretty space simply just adds to the excitement and indulgence of the experience.
Sort Your Tea According To:
When you have lots of different types of tea, its easiest to organize according to the general categories of:
Alternatively, you could also arrange your collection by the different effects different types have. For instance:
- Caffeinated vs. Non-caffeinated
- Relaxing vs. Invigorating: Some teas feature calming ingredients like lavender and chamomile, or more refreshing ingredients like lemongrass, mint.
- Healing Blends vs. Everyday Varieties: You can have a section reserved for teas that are good for soothing a sore throat or a cough or helping you to get to sleep.
3. Scent or Flavour
Another popular method of categorization is by scent or flavour. Like wine, some teas are stronger or more potent than others. If you have a particularly large collection of black teas, you can arrange them according to their unique flavour profiles into categories from floral to malty, or mild to strong. Fruit and herbal blends may be treated similarly. You may have sweet versions, but also more tangy, bitter, or mild ones.
And last but not least, you can also sort your collection by purchase date. This is useful when you don’t really care too much about what type you drink, rather, that you want to consume whatever is already opened. Store new purchases at the back, and select teas at the front first.1
That’s the Tea
When it comes to storing your tea, keep it in a dry, dark, cool environment where it’s not likely to pick up moisture, sunlight, and odours from the area around it. An organized tea collection is a tea collection that you want to use.
Keeping our teaware and tea types neat and under control is a sure way to stay on track of the items we have.
Once you’ve determined the storage logistics, and design layout, if you have a large collection (like us) you will have to pick a method to sort by. Variety, effect, flavour, or date are all strong options to choose from. Now it’s time to get to work! (But only after an invigorating cup of tea first of course!)