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Don’t Throw Away Your Black Tea

Rougui Yancha oolong tea leaves in a bowl on the table

Lumbered with a pile of Black teas in the cupboard that isn’t quite your bag? Don’t chuck it, hold on to it, you might really enjoy it later! Green tea will fade away quickly, Puer tea will enhance indefinitely (given the right storage! See our blog), what happens to Black tea? Well, it kinda changes….

Generally Black tea has a shelf life of around 5 years, after which it will start to stale off and have muted flavour. The journey until that point however is quite interesting. Back in 2015 when we first started The Tea Guru business was slow as we were growing. We sometimes had 2kg batches that didn’t shift quickly. One of which I remember was an Ai Lao Yunnan Black. We probably got stuck with this batch for around 3 years but the way that the profile changed over that time was quite incredible. Fresh and for the first year and a half this tea had a very overt berry taste, quite fruity. At two 1/2 years onwards this wained giving way to a very different but equally pleasing comphor / cinnamon note. I found change so striking how a tea can radically switch profiles in this time period. So don’t that batch of Black that you kinda don’t get on with, you might absolutely love it later!

The Puerh tea genre has its own challenges in this area. It will change very rapidly when young, especially in the first 3 years. That super floral flavour bomb won’t last forever! The question is, what’s behind it to admire when those young notes vanish? With humid storage you can kinda get away with it as the inevitable aged notes come in but for us here in the west it does pose an issue. On a brighter note, all puerh tea we sell has been processed for ageing! Your safe here 😆. Thanks for reading the blog! Oli 😊

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