Being a newcomer to the concept of storing tea, I am convinced that by doing so, one can intensify and/or nurture desirable tasting notes and scents while doing away with any stagnant air that may have been present in the packaging. I experimented with a Hong Shui Oolong tea, which I have so far kept sealed in its original bag, by emptying half of the contents into a Suzu tea caddy which I later kept aside for three weeks. This is also one of my favourite pieces of teaware acquired over Christmas. The delicate pine motifs serve as a visual reminder of my time on Jeju island.
Three weeks of storage seem to have made a slight difference to the initial scents that greeted my nose when uncovering the lid. The roasted aroma is still obvious but did not hit me as potently as before. I am starting to pick up more lightly delicate scents from the tea leaves stored in the tea caddy but cannot be sure what they are at the moment. Intuition tells me that the infusion will be mellower and maybe sweeter.
Following good advice such as a strong douse of boiling water during the first infusion followed by slower pours of hot water in subsequent infusions, I managed six steeps of nicely balanced, distinctively aromatic and sweet Hong Shui Oolong tea. The results were encouraging and I would like to continue storing these leaves for more extended periods of time. Monitoring these gradual changes in tea quality and scent seems to hint at me that these leaves are alive.