Questions about storing tea in fridge

Teachronicles
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:21 pm

What are some general guidelines for storing tea in the fridge?

I saw a post by Victoria recommending odor sealed bags and I think I'll get some of those, don't have a dedicated tea fridge.

Do they have to be vacuum sealed? I've heard they do but I've also heard of people storing green tea in the fridge and I wouldn't think that would be vacuum sealed.

Any other tips?
Rui
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:16 am

At home we have a fridge where we keep wine bottles, etc. but never food therefore it is quite odourless.

Every year, in early spring, I place my yearly order of green teas which come in vacuum sealed packs which are stored away in a cabinet. As they get opened for us to drink tea they are then stored in this fridge until it is consumed which does not long as we drink lots of tea.
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Bok
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:30 am

Teachronicles wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:21 pm
Do they have to be vacuum sealed? I've heard they do but I've also heard of people storing green tea in the fridge and I wouldn't think that would be vacuum sealed.
Until opening, my greenish oolongs go into the fridge in their original airtight vacuum sealed packs. Once opened they stay outside as I consume them in two weeks max. The tea can deal with that. No need to put opened packs back into the fridge. Only works for me as I am no “tea-hopper” I stick to one or two teas for a few days/weels until it they are gone.
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pedant
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:27 am

let the tea warm up to room temp before opening to avoid condensation forming inside the bag and on the tea itself. especially important when it's humid.
also, it can take a long time to warm up depending on how much tea you have. better to play it safe and let it warm up overnight (or even 24h for large bags) if you can.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:09 am

I remember reading a Hojo post saying that you shouldn't refrigerate tea... I'm having trouble finding it now though.
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ShuShu
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:48 am

Den's tea write this about sencha etc : " For unopened packages of tea, we recommend that our products be stored in refrigerator or, even better, the freezer. After opening, store your tea in an air tight container in a dark cool cabinet but not the refrigerator. Storing open tea packages in the refrigerator may cause water to condense in the package and the moisture will harm the quality of the tea. Once the package is opened, tea has a shelf life of about three months."

https://www.denstea.com/ifaq.html#store
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leth
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:05 pm

I think that the key to storing tea in the fridge or even in a freezer is to remove moist from the tea before cooling it. Which is why opened packages should not be stored cold. I do however think one can store tea in a fridge as long as one removes moist from the container first, I think the best way is doing it by sucking out the air from the container thus more or less vacuum sealing the tea before storage.

My chanoyu teacher stores matcha in the freezer in vacuum sealed containers that contain a very small amount of matcha in each container. Then just opens one small container for the use withing the near future. I belive there is some wisdom in this method. Matcha deteriorates rather fast after all.
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Victoria
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:47 pm

The experiment I did between 2013 and 2016 was posted over at TC; Refridgeration Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016

Basically if you do not have a dedicated refridgerator, it is very important to block odors out. I have found Loksak's Opsak ziplock bags do this perfectly. I only place unopened vacuum sealed tea bags in the refridgerator. I also use Mylar to block out any potential light filtration. When a bag is taken out of refridgerator, I let it rest at least 24hrs to acclimatize bag to room temperature, and prevent any condensation from pooling inside the bag. I only refrigerate greener teas to keep them fresh.

p.s. I’m sure there are other airtight odor and moisture proof solutions, I just happened to find the camping bear proof solution works perfectly :)
Henk
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:04 am

Shine Magical wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:09 am
I remember reading a Hojo post saying that you shouldn't refrigerate tea... I'm having trouble finding it now though.
I'm not sure whether we read the exact same post but what I remember is that you can store unopened packs in the fridge. Just remove them long before opening, otherwise warmer and relatively moist air enters the cold package and causes local condensation.
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debunix
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:04 am

After some sad experiences trying to use sencha from the fridge, and watching it deteriorate more rapidly than at room temperature , I finally disciplined myself to remove the greens from the fridge at least the night before opening them, and as long as I don't try to put them back in, it works great.
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Shine Magical
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:35 pm

Henk wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:04 am
Shine Magical wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:09 am
I remember reading a Hojo post saying that you shouldn't refrigerate tea... I'm having trouble finding it now though.
I'm not sure whether we read the exact same post but what I remember is that you can store unopened packs in the fridge. Just remove them long before opening, otherwise warmer and relatively moist air enters the cold package and causes local condensation.
"The quality of tea lasts longer if it is kept in the fridge. However we strongly recommend you not to keep tea in the fridge. When tea is withdrawn from the fridge, there is usually condensation. Once tea is exposed to moisture during condensation, the quality will deteriorate within a few days. The higher moisture content in the tea leaves will trigger oxidation and it will completely destroy the quality of tea.

Here’s one frequently asked question: what happens if bag is sealed using tape or tea is packed in zipper bag and kept inside the fridge?

For your information, these simple sealing methods are not sufficient. When the bag is withdrawn from the fridge, it is cold inside the bag and therefore causes negative pressure. Air will be drawn from outside and condensation will occur. In addition, if the bag is taken in and out from the fridge very often, this will cause heat stress to the tea leaves as temperature is increased and decreased very frequently. If tea is kept in the fridge, when it is withdrawn from the fridge, it is necessary to leave it in ambient atmosphere for more than 24 hours in order to warm up the tea leaves. Based on our experience, 12 hours is not long enough. We may think tea is warmed up, but inside the bag, the tea leaves are still cold due to insulation effect."
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Victoria
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:56 pm

Seems Hojo is confirming what a few of us have said; only place nitrogen (or sim.) sealed bags in refridgerator, (i.e. do not place zip locked already opened bags), when removing wait at least 24hr before opening.

I’d recommend you try this as an experiment; try X fresh tea unrefridgerated (assuming vendor didn’t refridgerate :) as many vendors refridgerate their teas) and take carful tasting notes including teapot used, grams leaf/ml water/temp/time steeped. Refridgerate same tea in sealed bag inside an odor and water proof bag for 1 year. Compare notes. I only do refridgeration with green teas, so can’t comment on others.

I wonder though about placing teas sealed in those craft paper bags with metallic insides, like HY Chen’s, in refridgerator. Even though the Loksak Opsak ziplock bags are water proof and moisture proof. I don’t know, should be okay, but haven’t tried that.
Teachronicles
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:10 pm

Victoria wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:56 pm
Seems Hojo is confirming what a few of us have said; only place nitrogen (or sim.) sealed bags in refridgerator, (i.e. do not place zip locked already opened bags), when removing wait at least 24hr before opening.

I’d recommend you try this as an experiment; try X fresh tea unrefridgerated (assuming vendor didn’t refridgerate :) as many vendors refridgerate their teas) and take carful tasting notes including teapot used, grams leaf/ml water/temp/time steeped. Refridgerate same tea in sealed bag inside an odor and water proof bag for 1 year. Compare notes. I only do refridgeration with green teas, so can’t comment on others.

I wonder though about placing teas sealed in those craft paper bags with metallic insides, like HY Chen’s, in refridgerator. Even though the Loksak Opsak ziplock bags are water proof and moisture proof. I don’t know, should be okay, but haven’t tried that.
I asked hy chen about this topic and he said he wouldn't refrigerate them, although it still may be fine.

The reason I ask this question is because I refrigerated a small vacuum sealed bag of very green oolong and it lost its seal while in the fridge, I took it out and let rest for 24h and while I hadn't tried it before refrigeration obviously the taste didn't seem right and some leaves were obviously a paler green than others which were dark green. I suspect condensation must have formed and affected the leAves although I guess I don't know for sure not having drank the tea before refrigeration. Since then I haven't put any teas in the fridge with the idea that I'd rather the green oolongs go a little stale and maybe not be as strong or fresh than have the whole batch ruined.
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Bok
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:19 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:10 pm
I asked hy chen about this topic and he said he wouldn't refrigerate them, although it still may be fine.
At least his roasted teas do not need a fridge at all. Black and roasted teas do usually not need it, only the greener teas.
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Victoria
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:34 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:10 pm
The reason I ask this question is because I refrigerated a small vacuum sealed bag of very green oolong and it lost its seal while in the fridge, I took it out and let rest for 24h and while I hadn't tried it before refrigeration obviously the taste didn't seem right and some leaves were obviously a paler green than others which were dark green. I suspect condensation must have formed and affected the leAves although I guess I don't know for sure not having drank the tea before refrigeration. Since then I haven't put any teas in the fridge with the idea that I'd rather the green oolongs go a little stale and maybe not be as strong or fresh than have the whole batch ruined.
+1 Bok.
That is strange for a seal to break in the refrigerator, although this offers one more reason to use the extra waterproof/odor proof ziplock container for added protection. But if you aren't sure about wanting another mishap, I'd recommend opening greener teas and finishing them off before purchasing a new batch. For instance just get enough for a 3 month supply.
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