What are your tea storage tricks to avoid the tea package avalanche?

Updated Oct 12 2015
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How do you store your tea

Greetings Homies, I need your help. I love tea. Bagged, loose, iced, and hot, but my cabinet looks like this. What a mess! And it topples everywhere anytime I need my fix.

How do you store your tea in a fun and practical way that isn't a hodge podge of boxes, bags, and allergy meds? -Kerby

Good question. I'm not the biggest tea hoarder, so I won't be a wealth of knowledge. But the tea-storage trick I use is to keep all my well-labeled tea bags in a tupperware storage jars, kind of like these. They're clear, so you can see what tea is in which jar, and they won't fall on your face when you open the cabinet.

Tea-loving Homies, what are you avalanche-fighting tea storage tricks?

  1. I keep loose-leaf tea in uniform jars with a swing lid (like the KORKEN jars from IKEA). I also invested in a big-ass tea box that's stuffed to the brim. Surplus goes in KORKEN jars as well. They stack wonderfully and because they're clear, it's easy to keep a good overview.

  2. I use mostly bagged tea, which I keep in an organizer like this:

    It keeps things pretty organized and looks nice as well.

    • I use one exactly like this. It works great! I also buy small portions of loose leaf and just store them in labelled baggies in the tea box.

  3. My spouse and I have pretty much a ridiculous amount of tea (we had a signature tea blend instead of a signature cocktail at our wedding… we are Tea People). Here's what has helped us:

    1. Rotate your teas. In the summer we put more of the greens, herbals, and fruity stuff out on our tea cabinet and put the spicy holiday blends and chais in an inconvenient cupboard. You don't even have to do this seasonally; just pick half at random and change it up every month or whatever.

    2. Put shelves on the walls (yeah, we did this in our rented apartment too) above the electric kettle and other tea accessories. Store the original boxes or labeled canisters full of loose leaf teas on the shelves. Easy to find and cute!

    3. This is what I do at the office but you could do it at home: leave most of the tea in the cabinet and just pull out a few bags of each kind to put in a "daily tea grab" container (at the office mine is one of the modular desk supply bins, it doesn't need to be an official tea product. Then you only have to wrestle with your crowded cabinet once every few weeks to restock to grab-n-go container.

    • Tea lover high five!!! We also had two signature tea blends at our wedding– one for each. At home I use your solution #3 for my bagged teas and pretty, tight-sealing tins for loose leaf teas. Every two weeks, new bags go into the tea basket, different tins rotate to the front of the shelf, and my tea routine gets some varied flavours! (The tea basket is our former wedding card basket, re-born to new fragrant purpose.)

  4. I use a tea box with a clear glass front and 6 separate tea bag sized compartments inside. I have a few bags of each type of tea in each section, sometimes doubled up if needed, we do drink a LOT of teas! It's small and light and fits in my tea/coffee cupboard (stood up on its side) and the bonus is it's great for offering tea to guests. These are very popular in The Netherlands where if you ask for tea you get handed a cup of boiling water, the box of mixed tea bags to choose from and a spoon and little dish for the used bag. If the bags are not individually wrapped I just pop them in as is and cut out a bit of card from the box with the name on and slip that in too, never had a problem yet about mingling of flavors but we do get through them fast at my place! Basically this sort of thing:

    The overflow (you can't fit a whole box of teabags in compartment) goes in a basket in the larder but I take the bags out of the box first to get rid of bulk. If they are not individually wrapped they tend to come in a foil packet inside the box and I usually just tape this back up after I've replenished the tea box, writing the name on the side in permanent marker. It takes much less space to store a few taped up foil packets and some individually wrapped bags than the same number of awkward boxes with two or three tea bags in…..

  5. Depending on how long it takes you to go through your boxes, it can really change the answer.

    Teas will migrate smell, and therefor taste, over time if you keep them together. Depending on how sensitive your sense of smell it, you'll notice it from a month or two to longer when it happens.

    If you have loads and loads of tea, something like a mason jar — seals airtight and you can put the box's label in for easy ID — will be your best bet. Otherwise, or if you're not as particular, you can really use whatever jars or containers you'd like. If you'd rather not spend the money, you could get a tension shelf and divide your cabinet in half, if you have the space, and lay the boxes on the side. You could even do something like that with a lazy susan in a cabinet, or even on a counter, depending on your set up.

  6. I use those little magnetic containers, that many use for spices, for my loose leaf and keep them on my fridge. Then stick my bagged ones in labeled ziplocks and put them in a couple pretty canisters (World Market and actually Kroger grocer have cute ones). Since I'm still somewhat of a tea newbie, sometimes I'll cut out the instructions from the box and stick it in the canister as well.

  7. I am a lover of both tea (for fun and comfort) and organizing (for a living). Avalanches happen when there are too many layers that you need access to. Mason or flip top jars look lovely. Another simple and inexpensive solution would be to corral the tea boxes (or Mason jars) into a larger, shallow box (or a couple stackable ones) with all the labels visible. Then they can be pulled out and put away all at once and you can easily see what you have, without digging through everything. The boxes might be plastic, upcycled cardboard wrapped in pretty paper or fabric, or even nice baskets. Keep some favorite flavors of tea stocked in a bowl and/or jars near the kettle and refill as needed, as others have suggested. I have a tea station for myself and Airbnb guests and it's great. Also, perhaps find a new spot to group vitamins and meds, or give them their own box too; they're messing with your tea flow in the photo. ☺️

    • We store the tea we go though fast – like breakfast tea and Earl Grey – in tins at the front of the cupboard. Then I have one of those shelf insert things holding up about a dozen different small boxes of different types (fruity, green, herbal, etc) above, with teapots, the sugar tin, etc underneath. The small tea boxes don't always have labels on the same side, so I write the tea 'flavour' on the short side that sticks out. People seem to think this is very organised.

  8. I finally fixed my tea avalanche a few weeks ago and it's sooo much better! I have (and adore) one of those wooden box organizers for tea bags (like this one, but mine has a glass panel lid: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/large+chelsea+wood+tea+box.do)….but I also drink a lot of Celestial Seasoning and other "bag free" teas and the boxes were taking over my tiny pantry. I found these http://www.ziploc.com/en/products/containers/rectangle/containers-small-rectangle and they're the *perfect* size for a stack of tea bags! I cut the name out of the box of tea and put it in the side so I know which tea is which, and 5 of these containers takes up just a little more space than 2 boxes. They also stack really nicely, which helps with the whole space-saving issue, and were something like $3 for a pack of 5 at Target.

  9. As someone who got gifted enough teas to fill a paper box at her wedding shower (on top of the largely loose-leaf ones we already had!) and then promptly moved halfway across the country to a dorm room, my saving grace was ziplock bags. If you take teabags out of their individual wrappers, an entire box will fit in a single "snack" sized ziplock. I put a piece of masking tape on the side of each bag with the name of the tea, it's color type, and steeping instructions (water temp. and time). This made it easy to ship them, and when I got them to the new place I made a makeshift mobile from wire coat hangers, punched holes in one corner of the bag above the zipper, and voila! I had a hanging tea fixture, sorted by tea type. Now, it's not super pretty, so for a house, I might recommend a straight piece of wire hung below your usual cupboard, in the manner of a paper towel dispenser. For the loose tea, I concur on the canister idea! Happy tea-drinking!

  10. I just use a drawer 🙂 no avalanches when they're laid out horizontally instead of vertically!

  11. I use one of my reusable shopping bags and dump it all together. Yes, smells intermingle, but I find that calling it my "Tea Bag" outweighs the downside in sheer hilarity.

  12. I use pint size mason jars. I pack them full and the take the box and trace the lid onto the cardboard. I cut out the circle and put it over the lid, under the screw on ring. They look nice and uniform, are totally reusable and helps keep them nice and fresh.

    • I second Mason jars. I put them all together in various Mason jars: this keeps me surprised every morning as I pick a tea bag at random.

  13. I used to have tons of loose-leaf teas in little sample bags (thanks, Adagio). I still have a bunch, but it's getting better because I've been deliberately working through them before buying more. I noticed that I had a few go-to favorites I would drink all the time, and I'd forget about the rest. I keep a bunch in their envelopes inside a big Tupperware container and ziplock baggies, but they were out of the way or buried behind other tins and boxes, so they didn't get drunk much. What actually works for getting through them is to take a few to work, where I drink the most tea. There I have a mug with a built-in brewing basket, as well as a bunch of teabags. Eventually most of my collection will fit into uniform tins, and I'll make sure I don't let the samples build up to some crazy amount again.

    Other people have given you great suggestions, but for me the simplest way to organize your stuff is to just be honest about what you actually like and cut down on what you don't. Less tea is always easier to organize than more!

  14. A wire shelf works well to subdivide a shelf. I use it for a loaf of bread over canned foods, but I bet it would work well here too! You can move things around without everything tumbling down.
    Maybe if you have the kinds of tea boxes that open as a dispenser, you could tack them to the back and maybe the door of the cabinet to keep them in place. Or use a lazy susan. Or maybe add a littlelittle shelf on the door, which will take up space in the cabinet when you close it, but it will keep things in a single layer and accessible.
    We just moved, and I have been brainstorming ideas for my own cabinets!

  15. I am not the biggest tea drinker but I do enjoy a nice rooibos or an iced hibiscus tea. So I ussually keep a few glass jars of loos leaf tea around for the occasional cup. They look pretty and stack nicely in the corner of my coffee shelf. However, my mother-in-law is a huge coffee drinker and brings a box of tea bags with her when she visits because she likes black tea or chamomile tea and knows I don't stock it. After her weekend visits she usually leaves what ever tea is left at our house. So over the last few years we have developed stacks and stacks of tea boxes and miscellaneous bags. To get it all organized I took all the bags out of all the boxes, cut off the tea box top, tossed any old bags out, bought a smallish wicker basket, and lined all the bags up in the basket organized by type. I then put the box top at the start of each section to create a card cataloger of sorts. So now I can just pull the basket down and thumb through to find what ever tea I'm (or guest) am looking for.

  16. We use old ramen pack boxes. Black front out is for the black tea, brown front out is for the herbal teas, and I spray-painted the sides white just to have it look less cluttered on the top of our fridge. They act like trays — since the teas are different sizes I can tetris them in whatever way makes sense, keeping the titles on the top so that I am always choosing from my full selection of tea rather than grabbing whatever is at the front like I did when they were in a cupboard.


  17. Basically I keep the daily teas (my PG Tips, green teas etc.) on the shelf for easy access and the teas I drink more sporadically in the cabinet in their boxes. The teas I only drink occasionally go in a pretty basket on top of the fridge. When I kept all of my teas in the same place, it always disintegrated into a clusterfuck of boxes but it's a lot easier to keep a few boxes tidy.

  18. It only works if you have the space in your kitchen, but I designated a place for my own little Tea Bar. I keep it stocked with teas and other curated tea-items. (Similar to the way some people collect and display liquors etc.) I hand picked a couple of artsy tins to hold all the tea bags, and then I stocked the bar with a few of my favorite decorative mugs and their matching saucers, some strainers, teabag catchers, a serving tray, and my favorite tea pot. I also found a honey-dipper, some adorable sugar bowls, and a small caraffe that I can fill with milk. Now all I need are some guests in fancy hats to drink tea with me!

  19. Since I use loose-leaf, I keep a selection in small mason jars (in a large wooden box to prevent against light). The rest stay in their original packaging in a large tupperware in the pantry, and I write the purchase date on each bag so I can rotate them before they get stale. When I empty a mason jar, I pull out the tupperware and check the dates and variety on-hand.

  20. We use old Moccona coffee jars, which hold pretty much a box of 25 tea bags. To label them, we cut off the front of the box and slide it into the jar – which means that when we run out and get a different tea we can just repurpose the jar and put the new box front in. Works a treat with the brand we buy.

  21. We've finally gotten a tea organization system we love, which is this: we have a small wooden bookshelf that we keep near our electric kettle, and on it we keep matching glass lidded jars with chalkboard labels. Everything's easy to see and convenient to grab; it's so great! I think the idea would work well in a cabinet too. It's so nice to have the labels because you can see what's in each jar easily, and when you empty one, you can wipe the label and change it to whatever new tea you store in it! They work with tea bags and loose leaf as well.

  22. I actually discovered these little stackable tins in a stationary shop a few years back. They have little pockets up the front for labels, and as soon as I saw them, I bought a massive bunch for the sheer purpose of storing tea.

    Keep in mind guys, tea should ideally be stored in an airtight, light-tight container. Glass and clear plastic is generally not recommended (though my local tea boutique used to sell dark-glass jars) because the sunlight damages the tea, in addition to creating heat, which also affects the leaves. So if you're going to keep tea in tupperware or glass jars, at least be sure you keep them out of as much light as possible.

  23. I, too, suffer from tea avalanche syndrome. I'm not quite sure what the *best* solution is but I have been lusting after this relatively inexpensive shelf at IKEA: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50241337/

    It's big, which I like, so I can rehome my tea mountain to here instead of on top of the microwave along with my TARDIS tea pot and my favorite mugs/tea towels. I know the smells and tastes can "mingle" if not in tightly concealed boxes or cans but I don't really have room anywhere to keep them separate.

    But that's just me. Good luck! Let us know what you figure out.

  24. Ah, this thread is so relevant to my life! I have a smallish box with a close-fitting lid that I use to keep lumpy packets of loose tea and leftover bags in; that fits nicely into the grid of boxes and tins containing my other bagged/loose teas. I've had tea shelves and tea drawers in the past, and recently switched over to keeping all the teas in their own wicker basket. I like this solution because it allows guests to look them all over easily (less overwhelming than me rattling off a dozen or so varieties.)

  25. I have an entire corner of my kitchen dedicated to tea. The setup is thusly: All bagged teas go in a drawer. The boxes are tetrised in with the tops cut off for easiest tea access. Loose tea goes in tins on the counter (mostly, this is the chai we drink daily) and there are two big airtight glass canisters for regular and decaf coffee. The two drawers below the tea drawer hold backup tea and coffee for when something in the main stock runs out.

  26. We have the "tea shrine" We have the boxed teas in a nice readable stack, with the round tea tins lined up next to them, and the loose leave teas are on the top in pretty jars and tins. And the random tea bags are in a tea tin that for some reason my toddler keeps stealing to stand on and dance.

  27. I solved this for my mother-in-law by using wooden clementine boxes and labeling them according to tea type: "black" "green" and "herbal". They are the right size and depth to fit a good number of tea boxes in. Then you can just slide one out and pick your tea flavor.

  28. I have one of those three-tiered hanging wire basket things I want to decorate with bottlecaps before I hang up to hold my boxes of tea.

  29. My husband and I are super into tea, we were having a hard time keeping track of all that we had. We went to our local tea shop to stock up and I got inspiration from the 'tea wall'. So we ran down to ikea and bought some little shelves, I think they're called picture shelves, they're really skinny. Perfect for tea tins. Now we have our own tea wall!

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