Storing and Aging Tea by AN SHIM TEA


In the life of any tea, there comes a time, when it loses too much in taste, aroma, and effect on the body, so it doesn't make sense to drink it anymore. This happens depending on what kind of tea it is and how it is stored. After the tea processing is completed and it is formally ready, the biochemical processes in it do not stop. The entire set of reactions slowly flowing inside the finished tea leaf can be divided into processes of degradation and development. Degradation is the destruction of the flavour and beneficial substances of tea due to oxidation promoted by oxygen, temperature, and moisture. Development is the transformation with the formation of new flavour, creating a more complex and rich spectrum that cannot be achieved in fresh tea. These reactions are also based on oxidation occurring with the participation of enzymes that remain in an active state. In some cases, microorganisms also play an important role. In different types of tea, the potential of these processes is not the same, and it depends on the quality of its raw materials. Some teas can only fade away and become weaker with time, and some teas can change for the better over decades.

Due to regulations in most countries, manufacturers and sellers are required to write the expiration date, which ensures the quality of the products in the market. We respect the work of the structures responsible for this control and deeply appreciate their efforts to warn consumers against low-quality, and sometimes, hazardous products. As a 'food product' project, we pay special attention to the production and storage conditions of the teas that make up our range. However, we would like to mention that the tea we deal with is very different from the mass market product and its shelf life is much longer than the expiration date indicated on the packaging!

Let us discuss the main conditions, rules, and practices to prolong your tea's life and help you get the best out of it.


Almost all categories of tea are stored in airtight packaging, which guarantees high-quality storage and a long shelf life. These conditions make it possible to protect the product from foreign odors and excess humidity, as well as direct sunlight, which is not recommended for tea leaves. Tea tends to absorb foreign fragrances, which leads to a decrease in its quality and organoleptic properties. It is recommended to store tea in a separate space. shelf, or box.

No contact with air - no oxygen - no oxidation. Do not forget that vacuuming always has a destructive effect on the tea leaves by breaking tea leaves.

Almost all categories of tea are usually stored in cool and dry conditions to avoid excessive drying of the tea leaf, which leads to losing its freshness, brightness, and richness.

Low temperature (cold) significantly slows down many chemical reactions, and the degradation of tea, but also its development. In cases where we need to keep tea unchanged for as long as possible, there is a certain logic in using a refrigerator, like when we are talking about green tea and lightly-fermented wulongs. For the rest tea categories that needs development, low temperature (refrigerator) is contraindicated or even forbidden. It is much more interesting to observe the natural changes in tea and all their stages of development. Professional tea producers and sellers, who work with the highest quality tea, do not use refrigerators. A good alternative to refrigerators and vacuums is to use moisture and oxygen absorbers - small packets of silica gel and reduced iron powder. Many companies put these bags in tea bags for longer proper storage. Tea storage depends on the raw materials and processing. We will discuss these conditions in more detail when we talk about each type of tea.

Remember! You can try artificial ways to extend the life of a weak tea, or you can simply choose high-quality tea!

Storing Green Tea (Lu Cha)


GREEN TEA is one of the most famous categories of tea and is deeply valued for its unique taste and beneficial properties. Thanks to special techniques for processing tea leaves, green tea retains a huge amount of the original beneficial substances, as well as the freshness, sweetness, and refreshing effect. This tea does have a shelf life, and we recommend drinking green tea no older than two years. When properly stored, such tea does not spoil, but loses its original qualities and is significantly inferior to the fresh harvest. We recommend drinking fresh green tea, during the first year since its production, which should always be stated on the packaging.

Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that there are always exceptions, and this applies to each category. For example, green tea produced from the leaves of old tea trees is significantly different from young plantation tea and has a distinctive character and organoleptic properties. This type of green can be stored for several years.

SHELF LIFE: 1-2 years
Storing and Aging White Tea (Bai Cha)


Due to the wide variety of raw materials and the ability to develop in taste over time, WHITE TEA is a special category with a lot of interesting nuances. White tea is minimally processed, with harvesting, withering, and drying being the only processes involved in production. As a result, we have tea that has a delicate, sweet taste and a beneficial effect on the body. Depending on the quality of the raw materials, you can get a very subtle or quite dense taste. The first year this tea delights with its freshness, elegance, and sweetness, with its floral and sugary notes. With further storage, the tea gets deeper in taste, gaining honey and even woody notes.

White tea does not like high temperatures. The temperature in the room where white tea is stored should not be higher than 25°C. The room should be cool, dry, and free of foreign odors. Aged white tea is possible to store in its original paper packaging different from other teas. Due to a sharp increase in prices, aged white tea is becoming a very expensive and unique product in the market. In China, it is considered that 7+ years old white tea has healing properties and is classified as Chinese traditional medicine. Aged white tea is a special category among tea connoisseurs and is highly appreciated for its taste and effect.

SHELF LIFE: unlimited
Storing Yellow Tea (Huang Cha)


Due to a light level fermentation, YELLOW TEA is similar to white tea and have similar properties. As a result of wrap-yellowing, the tea leaves lose their herbaceousness and astringency which is inherent in green tea, while also retaining all the beneficial properties. This tea does have a shelf life, and we recommend drinking green tea no older than two years. When properly stored, such tea does not spoil, but loses its original qualities and is significantly inferior to the fresh harvest. We recommend drinking fresh green tea, during the first year since its production, which should always be stated on the packaging.

SHELF LIFE: 1-2 years
Storing and Aging Wulong Tea (Oolong)


This category is very diverse and, depending on the degree of fermentation level tea has a different shelf life. To make it easier to understand we will divide this category into two different types: lightly-fermented (green) and heavy-fermented (dark) wulongs.

The first type is appreciated for its fresh, green character and consumed being fresh. Time is not so harmful to this tea, but after a certain amount of time, the tea loses its fragrance and original freshness and sweetness. Depending on a specific case, tea loses or gains something and could be appreciated even for several years.

* High-quality high-mountain wulongs can stay perfect and even become more interesting in taste after years of storage.

The second type is appreciated for its complex and fragrant character. Depending on the quality, this type of tea can stay drinkable for a very long time and sometimes even gets better with time. It is worth mentioning that some of these teas are much better after a year since the production date. This type of tea can be stored for years and even decades. Aged wulong tea is a special category among tea connoisseurs and is highly appreciated for its taste and effect on human body.

SHELF LIFE: unlimited
Storing Black/Red Tea (Hong Cha)


This category is one of the most famous which makes it one of the most produced and diverse tea products in the world. There is a huge variety in quality, chasing different purposes by producers and sellers. Low-quality black tea, presented in the mass market, usually has a shelf life of no more than 2 years. Such tea is made from low-quality tea leaves, harvested and processed mechanically. All the teas in our collection are made from high-quality raw material, harvested and processed handmade which makes it very different in speaking about the quality and storage potential. The taste and aroma become more tender and multifaceted, which makes it more enjoyable after years of storage. We would like to pay special attention that aged red tea (Hong Cha) is highly valued among tea connoisseurs and quite a rare find in the market. Anyway, this category of tea is beautiful from the moment it is produced.

SHELF LIFE: unlimited
Storing and Aging Fermented Tea (Hei Cha)


This tea is one of the oldest types of tea in China. There are a lot of different fermented teas on the market, but mostly we speak about Chinese fermented tea, known as Hei Cha. This tea has a hugely positive effect on the human body and its digestive system. Over time, this type of tea doesn't lose its beneficial properties, and its taste becomes softer, deeper, and more multifaceted. Speaking about the organoleptics it becomes more enjoyable, speaking about its beneficial properties, this type of tea is attributed to Chinese Traditional Medicine and is treated as a healing drink.

Since this tea is traditionally aged, it is necessary to pay special attention to storage conditions, where you can get better or worse results over time. There are professionals with a big experience and knowledge in aging tea in a special environment.

Depending on the degree of pressing, this tea is more or less susceptible to humidity and temperature. 'Natural storage' means you keep your tea at relatively room temperature with a medium level of humidity. It is enough to store fermented tea at room temperature. Aged Hei Cha is a special category among tea connoisseurs and is highly appreciated for its taste and effect.

SHELF LIFE: unlimited
HUMIDITY: 50-60%
Storing and Aging Pu'Er Tea (Puerh)


Sheng (Raw) Pu'Er is a unique type of tea made from Camellia Sinensis, which transforms over time and gains new taste, character, and qualities. Tea is always made from special raw materials and, in a certain year, has an individual and special taste and aroma. Production is limited by many factors, such as the number of trees, yield, and volume of production. The harvest changes every year, even if the same tea factory harvests raw materials from the same garden. Speaking about this category, storage conditions play a fundamental role.

Due to Yunnan's unique geographic location and climate, Pu'Er contains more water extracts and tea polyphenols than most medium- and small-leaf teas. This provides the necessary reagents for the post-fermentation process. Proper production procedures, such as traditional wok-frying and sun-drying, are necessary to preserve important enzymes and microorganisms for the post-fermentation process. With proper heating, we can preserve enzymes. During sun-drying, sunlight will again enhance the growth of microorganisms. When the Mao Cha is steamed for pressing the cake, the additional moisture re-activates enzyme activity and enzyme oxidation. Pressing requires time for the tea to take shape and a low temperature during drying. This stage creates perfect conditions for the life of microorganisms. While the tea is soft and moist after steaming, it creates a favorable environment for the growth of fungi and bacteria. These microorganisms secrete enzymes that are involved in the post-fermentation process. The fermentation process after drying Pu'Er in the sun is enzymatic oxidation of residual enzymes with the participation of microorganisms that secrete additional enzymes due to the influence of humidity, as well as non-enzymatic oxidation and post-esterification reaction during long-term storage. According to the quality of raw materials and production methods, different storage methods are chosen, involving different environmental conditions and process organization, to improve the quality of tea.

Good storage can increase the quality and price of Pu'Er Tea, while bad storage can ruin it. Sheng Pu'Er is the only tea whose description indicates the method and place of storage like 'dry' or 'wet', 'Chinese', 'Hong Kong', 'Taiwanese', etc. Two identical cakes in the past, stored in different conditions, over years, turn into two different teas. For beautiful and harmonious development, Sheng needs humidity, warmth, and air, it needs to breathe, and that's why they are traditionally packed in paper. Sometimes you can find Pu'Er cakes sealed in a vacuum, but only in case to be temporarily protected from possible harmful environmental influences, or during transportation.

Pu'Er needs air ventilation. If Pu'er is exposed to too much air, the tea will become weaker. Sensations, tastes, and aromas will be lost and become faded and inconspicuous. This occurs because the internal oxidation process occurs too quickly. Poor ventilation is more than enough to age Pu'Er. The tea should be placed indoors with access to fresh air for several days a week. An open window or door brings more than enough oxygen into the storage room.

It is worth paying special attention that in addition to the fact that Pu'Er is a drink, due to its age, it can have a collectible value and become more expensive with time. Such tea is usually pressed into various forms for further storage. Pressed tea takes up less space, is most suitable for long-term storage.


The quality of tea is very closely related to the basic chemical elements present in the tea leaf, such as catechins, amino acids, and soluble saccharides. As it ages, Pu'Er becomes more fragrant and tasty. The process of changing the taste characteristics of tea leaves is closely related to factors such as moisture content, temperature, exposure to oxygen, and exposure to sunlight, which leads to changes in the characteristics of the main chemical components of the quality of Pu'Er tea, its color, aroma, and taste. The transparency of the infusion increases, and the tea gains a mature, complex, and mellow taste. The color of the infusion and taste are the result of the interaction of all the chemical components of the tea leaf, and they are most susceptible to the influence of factors such as temperature and moisture content.

If Pu'Er tea has already acquired such qualities as a dark (red) color of the infusion, a distinct aroma of aging, and a dense, aged taste, the endless storage will certainly lead to the gradual decomposition and oxidation of the beneficial components contained in the tea leaf, and the special taste in Pu'Er will disappear. Therefore, in the process of storing Pu'Er, it is necessary to choose suitable methods and timing based on the condition of the tea leaves.

This category of tea inspires by its elegance, depth, richness, and huge variety of experiences.

There are two different styles, speaking about storing and aging Pu'Er Tea: Dry and Wet Storage!


means that tea is being stored in a dry environment, at room temperature with a medium level of humidity. Contact with oxygen is necessary for the development and lifespan of microorganisms.

The average annual temperature in Kunming is 14.5°C, there are more sunny days, and the dry and wet seasons are more clearly defined. Warehouses in Kunming are classified as dry. The tea transforms more slowly, there are no such intense color transformations. Tea from Kunming has a lighter leaf and infusion. Sheng Pu'Er in this region ferments slowly and retains its unique flavor and aroma characteristics for a very long time. Thanks to the dry climate, Sheng Pu'Er retains the notes of fresh tea. Sheng from Kunming Storage has a very long transition period between the taste of young and aged tea. It takes about 15 years for tea to transform into a rich and complex semi-aged flavour.

Shu (Ripe) Pu'Er has an unusually pleasant taste: due to the dry air, the tea acquires the noble taste of wood, nuts, honey, and dried fruits. The smell and taste of fermentation disappear completely after 5-10 years.


Guangzhou is located in the southern zone, the climate here is subtropical, monsoon. Higher temperatures and humidity are about 85-95%. It turns out that compared with the natural conditions of Kunming, in Guangzhou you need to put more effort into storage, and you need special equipment to control and regulate the humidity and temperature of the warehouse. The warehouse in Guangzhou is classified as 'wet'. A good, humid warehouse simply speeds up the enzymatic transformations in the tea, that is why monitoring humidity and temperature is especially important here.

One year of storage in Guangzhou is equal to 2-3 years of storage in Kunming. Tea from Guangzhou is less expressive in terms of aroma, but its taste is much softer.

The 'dry storage' has more shades of honey, dried apricots, and hay, and the 'wet storage' is more like an unsweetened compote of dried fruits. However, everything depends on the raw materials and how they are processed!

In the post-war era, in the 50's and 60's, Hong Kong's active development created a need for large amounts of storage space. Humidity levels in Hong Kong in spring and summer reach around 95%. An uninhabited house quickly becomes saturated with moisture from the atmosphere and becomes damp. These were the conditions in Hong Kong warehouses, the floors and walls were constantly damp. Together with ceramics and coal, merchants stored tea. Tea stored in the back of the warehouse, and especially tea located next to the wall, became saturated with water and spoiled. The losses were extremely high, but in reality, Pu'Er stored in the middle of the warehouse, has evolved over the decades into a superior quality tea. This unexpected discovery gave soft and aromatic teas. When warehouse owners realized the role that humidity played in storage and fermentation, they began to look for ways to perfect the aging process of Pu'Er Tea.

During the next decades, the taste of Hong Kong's people was formed into individual original preferences. Thanks to traditional tea houses and tea clubs, the culture of old tea developed into a unique phenomenon in the tea world. Aging Pu'Er is a matter of the correct balance of humidity, water, temperature, and heat. The correct ratio of the 'four elements' plays a decisive role. Premium tea from Hong Kong Storage should be “mellow, pure, aged, with a rich taste.” The mild taste of the infusion gives a long-lasting aftertaste. High-quality tea from Hong Kong Storage should be gentle to the stomach.

means that the tea is artificially aged in an extremely humid environment to create a special Hong Kong flavour and age tea faster. It's more like an artificial short-term impact on the tea leaf, as a result of which the fermentation of the tea significantly increases. Traditional Hong Kong Storage is always followed by further natural storage. This topic has so many nuances, so I would like to get back to it later and add more information about all the nuances.

There are also Taiwanese, Malaysian and Singapore Stored Pu'Er tea on the market and this topic deserves a special article.


It is preferable to use clay (ceramic), stainless steel, or tin (with a protective coating inside) jars. In second place are food-safe zip-locked bags. Before the first use, you need to put a little tea inside and leave it for several days. This will remove excess odors from the packaging. When storing tea in closed spaces, such as separate cabinets or drawers, do not mix different types of Pu'Er, as well as different storage styles, in one place. Each tea has its unique aroma and character, and to prevent them from mixing, it is recommended to store tea separated by year of production, character, and storage style. (For example, 'dry storage' should be stored separately from 'wet storage', and young Pu'Er should be stored separately from old Pu'Er!)


At the end of this topic, we would like to emphasize our careful attitude towards the tea that we deal with.

All our tea is stored in special conditions where we control oxygen, temperature, and humidity, which guarantees the longest possible life of the tea leaves. All tea is stored in large volumes (which is preferable for storing tea), in vacuum and airtight conditions, using air and moisture absorbers, and packaged right before shipping. All green and lightly fermented wulongs in our assortment are no older than 2 years, which guarantees the freshness and brightness of this tea.

All Pu'Er is stored in special boxes with humidifiers for more proper development of the tea. All Pu'Er, except young Sheng (which comes straight from producers), come from special storage in China(Kunming and Guangzhou), Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia, where people professionally store and age tea for decades and have a huge experience in this field. In these special places, tea ages and changes differently, which is reflected in a completely different high-quality product.

Beware of tea stored in bad conditions which can harm your health!