Tea Tins and Chests - Choosing the Right Tea Caddy
No matter whether you prefer teabags, loose leaf tea or maybe enjoy both, you need to be able to keep that fine
tea that you searched so hard for in tip-top condition. As with all organic products such as coffee, tea can
degrade and go stale very quickly. Oxygen-filled air and airborne compounds can destroy a fine tea leaf, or infuse
it with unpleasant odors and tastes. Fortunately, there is a world of tea tins and tea chests that can prevent
those problems. A fine container, also known as a tea caddy, will keep your tea fresh and add a decorative element
to the kitchen.
Tea tins and chests come in all sizes, shapes and designs. Few are made of tin anymore, despite the name. But if
plastic is not your preferred material there are rust-proof metal tins that can seal airtight and keep your stash
fresh as the day you bought it.
Porcelain, glass, plastic, wood and entirely new kinds of materials are being used for tins today. You can enjoy
the fine traditional look of a Japanese porcelain or the latest Swedish composite that could seal a modern
Some are just round, rectangular or octagonal containers in which you dump loose leaf or bags. But others have
compartments that help keep your teas separated and organized. You'll want to keep loose leaf teas in either
separate tins or find a tin that has individually sealing compartments. The latter type has smaller cubical areas
that enclose individually or close off each one separately when you shut the lid.
Tea chests often allow for holding dozens of individual sachets or bags. Here again, the design you get will be
dictated by the type of tea, tea bag and decorative element desired. Individual sachets are air-permeable, so it's
important to get a chest that can seal each compartment. If you buy sealed bags, then the design options are
Chests can hold from as small as a dozen to over a hundred and many make for fine furniture. Teak, and other
fine woods are often used and the display is equivalent to a fine cigar holder. Some have cherry finishes, others
ebony, others still another color. Some with glass tops are available, but exercise caution. Glass transmits heat
much better than fine woods, so you'll need to keep the tin somewhere out of the sunlight. Also, UV can degrade
both fine mesh bags and the tea leaves themselves, so the interior should be kept dark.
In either style, tin or chest, fine teas can be kept fresh up to a year, depending on how often they're opened
and how the tea itself is stored. Small, flexible metal or plasticized paper can seal extremely well. Sachets and
other fine cloth mesh will allow exposure to air. But the latter are often used for the finest teas and are
intended to be consumed fairly quickly.
You may want just an inexpensive, but attractive, tea tin to hold a few bags. Or, you might prefer a finely
crafted piece of furniture for the kitchen that contains hundreds of dollars of fine tea. Whatever your preference,
there's a tin or chest tea caddy in a price and style perfect for you.