It is often believed that tea can sit on the shelf and stay fresh for a long period of time. However, that is a misconception. Though often thought of as “dry” food, tea actually contains about 3% water per unit weight. This is about the same amount of water as in rice crackers. So, even though the tea may not exhibit any visual signs of spoilage, its flavor and fragrance will have faded over time.
The "Best Before" Date
We want you to enjoy the most authentic natural flavor of our teas. That’s why all of Ippodo's teas are sold with a “Best Before” date. The “Best Before” date is issued at the time of packing, and refers to the shelf-life of an unopened package. Once opened, we recommend that the tea be consumed within 2 weeks. Of course, the tea can still be used after this time; however, its flavor and fragrance will not be as fresh.
Since Ippodo's teas do not contain food additives or preservatives, the "Best Before" periods are relatively short. The best flavor is a fresh flavor, so we always advise our customers to purchase only an amount that they can consume within about 2 weeks.
Storing the Tea in your Home
Tea is quite delicate. And it has some natural enemies: air, heat, moisture, light and odors. Since these elements adversely affect the tea’s flavor, the basic idea when storing your tea is to minimize its exposure to these elements.
We recommend that you store an unopened package of tea at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. If you think you cannot use the tea prior to its “Best Before” date, you can store it in the freezer. However, as tea is sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, do not put it back into the freezer once it has been taken out. If you think you will be unable to consume the tea within a few weeks of removing it from the freezer, you may want to first open the package and divide the tea into several small airtight packets before storing it in the freezer. That way, you can remove just a small packet of tea from the freezer at a time and consume that before moving on to the next packet.
Once a package has been opened for usage, it is best to store the tea at room temperature in an opaque airtight container, away from moisture and sunlight. You should also try to keep the tea away from items with strong fragrances or odors; otherwise, the scent may be transferred to the tea leaves. In order to enjoy the original flavor and aroma, we recommend that the tea be consumed within 2 weeks of opening the package (sooner if in a hot or humid environment).
The way of storing the tea will have a significant impact on the final taste, so please take a little time to observe these basic rules when storing the tea in your home. We want your cup of tea to be as delicious as possible!
How much tea should you buy ?
Tea is perishable, and not an item to be stockpiled or saved for a distant future event. Even tea which has been stored with the utmost care will fade in flavor and character over time. To enjoy tea at its best, we want you to use the tea leaves when they are at their freshest.
The amount of tea that you purchase will depend on your drinking habits (and those of your guests). If you are trying green tea for the first time, we recommend that you buy small quantities of several varieties, and discover for yourself which flavors suit your palate. If you are a seasoned tea drinker and know exactly which type and grade of tea you fancy, we recommend that you purchase an amount that you can consume within 2 weeks. The most delicious tea is fresh tea, and we sincerely want your tea experience to be an enjoyable and satisfying one.