My recent visit to my native place was a reliving experience, especially after the mundane lockdown. The trip was a big eye-opener for various rituals followed in our country kitchens. One of the interesting things that I noticed at my grandmother’s place was, she would store tea in two different containers. One was for daily use while the other was saved for guests. I inquired out of curiosity, and she replied, “Essence of the tea evaporates when we repeatedly open the container.” The concept of green tea is alien to her but the efforts she took for normal tea powder made me wonder for green tea leaves, as I’m a green tea lover.

It is believed green tea goes bad faster as compared to other teas, thus making its storage more tedious. The green tea leaves get easily oxidized which ruins the taste and texture of the leaves. To keep your green tea leaves fresh certain steps can be taken, but before we get into that we need to understand what defines staleness of the green tea:

  • Appearance: The leaves appear red, mildewed (damp or formation of fungus), and when brewed it changes the water into red or black color.
  • Taste: stale green tea has a slightly grassy, sour, and bitter taste. And the flavors of the leaves also get evaporated.
  • Smell: Smoky, mouldy

Certain steps to avoid decaying of green tea:

  • Green tea goes stale when stored for more than a year. Once the pack is opened, store it in airtight, dry, and odorless resealable bags or tin containers and try to consume it within two weeks.
  • Avoid storing it in transparent glass jars since exposure to sunlight may lead to photosynthesis, further decaying the leaves.
  • The containers can be placed in a refrigerator under 5℃ or in cabinets if your city has favorable climatic conditions.
  • If possible, cover the mouth of the jar with aluminum foil or plastic bags, to ensure no moisture enters.

If you think it’s too late to take precautions, your tea leaves have already gone stale? Don’t be disheartened, we have a remedy for that too. All you need is your stale green tea leaves, a pan, and a spoon. Roast the leaves on a low flame until you get roasted aroma, and the leaves turn slightly brown. Now, place the roasted tea leaves in a container and use them after they come to room temperature. Don’t leave them in the pan to cool. Roasting refreshes the tea leaves and they are all set to brew again, but make sure they aren’t left unused for a longer period.