contenitore per tè in terra cotta

Tea caddy – which one is the best?

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Do you ever wonder how to best store your superfine, high-quality tea? So that it retains its full flavor for a long time and does not lose its aroma.

I’m happy to help you choose the right tea caddy.

First, a little history:

The first tea cans were probably brought to Europe from China. Simply because the tea was sometimes transported in porcelain containers. Mostly, however, the tea was brought to Europe in large wooden crates on sailing ships. The tea was on the road for months with the corresponding loss of quality. The wooden crates with tin inserts could rarely be sealed airtight. The tea was therefore exposed to moisture and foreign flavors.

Later, tea caddies, or rather tea boxes, were used in wealthy English households not so much to preserve the tea as to prevent theft. Tea was very expensive in the 18th century and was therefore kept under lock and key by the lady of the house, who also prepared the tea for the family and guests.

Tea caddies were made of different materials. Depending on the wealth of the family, one or another material was preferred.

The caddies were made of mother-of-pearl, silver, ivory, porcelain, glass, or wood.

It wasn’t until the price of tea dropped at the end of the 19th century that tea – now no longer as valuable – was kept in cheaper wooden and tin caddies.

While researching for this post, I came across some exciting material. In Japan, cherry tree bark is made into tea caddies. I am not familiar with these tins myself, but it seems that they have good preservation properties. And they look beautiful.

What is the best way to store tea?

Loose tea leaves are sensitive to moisture, and foreign odors and can easily lose their flavor.


Tea is a dry product and therefore attracts any moisture. Humidity, cooking fumes, or condensation in the refrigerator.

Tin tin
Tin tin
Tin tin
Tin tin

Foreign odors:

Tea has a subtle, delicate aroma that can be quickly drowned out by other odors. If tea is stored next to other strong-smelling products, this odor will transfer to the tea.

Even if you use the tea caddy sometimes for one tea and sometimes for another, the subtle aromas will mix. The better quality tea will then suffer from the less good aroma of the cheaper tea.

You should also not wash tea caddies with detergent. It is sufficient to simply wipe them out with a dry cloth.

Tin caddy


Loss of aroma:

Tea can quickly lose its delicate aroma. It “flies away”, so to speak. If it also gets warm – from exposure to sunlight or close to a heat source – it loses its flavor even faster.



The ideal tea caddy is:

  • Made of odorless material (glass, porcelain, stoneware, metal (preferably inox), silver, bamboo) Wood is only partially suitable, make sure that the wood does not have its own flavor
  • Opaque: Glass is not ideal there, but in a tea bag and then in the jar works. Or put the jar in a drawer or box.
  • Impervious to air: the lid must close as tightly as possible. Wood and bamboo are difficult because it “works” and warps, so it may not close completely tight.
  • Ceramic jars need something that closes tightly (rubber gasket, fabric).
  • Far away from foreign smells
  • Far away from heat sources like radiators, sun or cooking stove
  • Always intended for the same tea
  • Not washed with detergent, but rubbed with a cloth
  • Not rusty (beware of cheap tin cans)
  • Not in the refrigerator, only exception: ground green tea (matcha) can be stored for a short time in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator. It then stays fresh longer
Tea caddy made from exotic wood
Tea caddy made from exotic wood
Tea tin made from exotic wood
Tea tin made from wood
Clay caddy
Clay caddy

I got this beautiful clay tea caddy from UMITEASETS, it has a good closing lid. If you want one of these too, you can order it here.

With the code:  SM5FF you get a 5% discount and I get a small commission.

One more tip:

It is best to buy only the amount of tea you can drink in about 6 months.

How do you store your tea? Do you have a good tip for storing tea?

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