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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tea Collection


In the wine world, you often hear about people referencing their cellars, or their collection. In this post I am going to address in part one tea's that have no problem being stored for awhile, upwards of many years which are good to try and keep a few on hand in a "cellar" of sorts. I will also touch upon freshness issues, and for the most part I recommend keeping unopened teas out of direct light in their original packaging.

Greener teas (lower levels of Oxidation and minimal roasts)

This includes Green Ooolongs, green teas, white teas, and yellow teas. For these I recommend considering your average monthly consumption, and depending on your preference have 2-4 months worth of average consumption on hand.

One notable exception to this is Gyokuro which due to its interesting ability to age, this could easily be bumped up to 6 or even 8 months for gyokuro.

Darker Teas (Higher Roast, Higher Oxidation)

These due to their wonderful ability to age well, especially when kept in the packaging vendors usually put them in, can be kept for a much longer length of time without worrying about deterioration in freshness/ quality. In fact some of these teas often benefit from a bit of extra storage. As such When considering monthly consumption depending on your budget, I see no problem in keeping up to a years worth of consumption in storage. Though if you drink excessive amounts this may not be practical from the sense of space, and initial capital.


If you do not subscribe to the fact that puerh will always get better with age regardless of storage. Then I feel up to a few years of average consumption is okay for raw and shu, and personal preference for aged. This is a hard one to consider, as for young Raw I would like to say anywhere up too a year, but if you do not consume Young raw often, that could limit you to only a couple of standard bingcha's. That might be a bit of a death warrant to your consumption itself, as I often find when there is not a large variety of options, and no real end to a particular option is in sight, it can slow any progress you were making on working through teas to snails pace.

A wonderful part of having a storage situation like this set up, is while it might be a large amount of ordering initially to slowly get stocks up to your preferred levels, but it will be unlikely that you deplete multiple large categories of teas that will force you to place multiple orders in a single month.
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