Do you love a cup of black tea for a morning energy boost to start the day? Or maybe you prefer to wind down with an herbal, chamomile tea before bedtime. Whether you like herbal, black, green, red, or white teas, look for the freshest teas available, so you can experience the best flavor profile your tea has to offer. This goes for both loose and prepackaged tea as well. So those tea bags that came with your Chinese food delivery back in ’05? Feel free to toss them—or use them to feed your ferns. Here’s how to store tea to preserve its freshness.
Choose your water
“[Tea] begins with the water—the element that brings tea to its full potential,” according to the tea gurus at The Republic of Tea. Fresh water, like spring, bottled, and filtered, creates a tastier cup of tea. Tap water, with its minerals, chemicals, and the pipes used to carry it, can negatively alter the flavor of this hot beverage.
Prepare your tea kettle or teapot
The Republic of Tea advises filling your tea kettle with fresh, cold water and heat to a rolling boil—unless you’re making green tea or 100 percent white tea. (Don’t miss the amazing health benefits of green tea.) In that case, stop short of boiling to avoid “cooking” the delicate tea. While there’s a bit of a learning curve involved in how to steep tea, keep in mind that tea should be a sensory experience filled with aroma and flavor. If tea is placed into water that is too hot, it can become flat. If you’d rather serve your tea in a teapot, many experts recommend first swishing some hot water around in the pot until the pot is warm to the touch. Then, dump the water out and add your tea. Preheating the teapot prevents it from cracking when it’s abruptly introduced to a change in temperature.