Although there is a general criterion for storing loose leaf teas (in a tightly sealed container, away from moisture, out of the sun, away from smells), each specific tea type has conditions that work better for its longevity.
For example, when we store Japanese teas, we can take a few extra steps to ensure their utmost freshness.
Japanese green teas, in general, are unique from other teas in a way that they are much fresher, without any oxidation.
Sometimes when you open a newly purchased Japanese green tea, you will immediately be hit by a smell similar to fresh cut grass misted with sea water. That’s just how fresh it can be, and it is something to look for regarding quality.
Unopened Japanese teas are best stored in the refrigerator. Once open they should be stored in an air-tight container, ideally in a dark place that's not over 70F.
The best type of container for Japanese teas would be:
- as close as possible in size to the amount of tea you store, so there isn't too much air or leftover room
- clean and odorless
- made of steel
The same goes for matcha, however, because matcha is ground it stays fresh for a shorter time. Unlike Chinese teas, it is recommended to buy smaller quantities of Japanese green tea and drinking it soon after opening. Best not to let it sit around for months at a time.
Note: because the teas are so easy to absorb odors we do not recommend keeping opened packages in the fridge. Only unopened. When you are ready to drink your Japanese green tea take it out of the fridge and wait for it to become room temperature before opening and enjoying the tea.