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How To Store Pu-Erh Tea 

Jun 18,2024 | TeaTsy Team

Aged Pu'er tea is a very sought-after commodity, and some rare teas can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, the storage of Puerh tea is very delicate. Attention should be paid to factors such as temperature and humidity.

Proper storage and aging will enable Pu-erh tea to maintain its quality and demonstrate its attractive flavor and unique health benefits.

This article will explain how various factors in the aging process affect the flavor of the tea and provide guidance on how to store Puerh tea to ensure optimal quality and protect your investment.

What is Pu-erh Tea

Originating from the Pu'er region of China's Yunnan Province, Pu'er tea is one of the most famous Chinese teas and is known as a post-fermented tea. Through a unique fermentation process, Pu'er tea continues to ferment over time, producing richer flavors and more health benefits. The aged flavor of Pu'er tea stems from the activity of microorganisms in the tea leaves. These microorganisms play a key role in the formation of flavors in many foods such as beer, wine, cheese, and baked goods. In tea, their activity alters the chemical structure of existing aromatic compounds and produces new compounds not present in the original leaf.

Most teas, including Pu-erh, are processed early in the process using a step of drying the leaves in the sun ("greening"), which destroys many, but not all, microorganisms. Therefore, under the right conditions, the microbial growth process continues over time, further fermenting the tea and enhancing its flavor and health effects.

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There are two main types of Puerh tea: raw and ripe.

Raw Puerh

Raw Puerh tea is tea leaves that have not undergone artificial accelerated fermentation treatment, showing a lime green or dark green color. The color of the tea broth of new raw tea is light, usually light yellow or light green. As the aging time increases, the color of the tea broth of raw Puerh tea gradually becomes darker, showing a golden yellow or amber color. The taste of the raw tea will also change accordingly, from the initial herbal and astringent flavor to a more complex and deeper aroma and taste.

Ripe Puerh tea

Ripe Puerh tea, on the other hand, is a tea that has undergone an artificially accelerated fermentation process, usually appearing dark brown or black. The color of the tea broth of newly made ripe tea is darker, usually reddish brown or dark red. Over time, the color of ripe Puerh tea will become darker, close to reddish-black. Ripe tea has a mellower taste with a rich aged aroma and soft sweetness, making it more suitable for ready-to-drink.

The color change of Puerh tea not only reflects the degree of fermentation and aging but also affects its taste and flavor. These external characteristics make Pu-erh tea unique among many tea types, making it a sought-after product by tea lovers.

Shape of Puerh Tea

There are two basic ways of packaging Puerh tea on the market today: loose leaf and compressed.

Shape of Puerh Tea

The loose leaf pu-erh tea formulas use a blend of tea leaves from different mountain ranges and regions in Yunnan Province. There are two types of formulas: one using bush leaves and one using arbor tea. Because loose leaf pu-erh teas have a larger surface area in contact with oxygen, they are more likely to develop an aged flavor than compressed pu-erh teas. Loose leaf pu-erh teas are popular with restaurants because of their convenience, and much of the production of loose-leaf pu-erh teas is geared toward the restaurant industry.

Beware of some blends of loose-leaf teas, as unethical dealers will mix in low quality teas and sell them as high-quality teas. However, there are many high quality loose leaf Puerh teas that age for a long time and are favored by serious tea drinkers and collectors.

Compressed Pu'er tea comes in a variety of shapes, with the common ones being cakes, tuo teas, and bricks. Generally speaking, the higher the degree of compression, the slower the aging process. Cake tea is the most traditional shape, pressed into a round cake for easy storage and transportation. Tuocha is in the shape of a bowl or bird's nest, compact and easy to carry. Brick tea is pressed into a brick shape, suitable for long-term storage. These shapes not only facilitate storage but also influence the aging process and flavor development of the tea.

6 Factors that Impact the Taste of Pu-erh

The flavor of pu-erh tea is affected by a variety of factors, including air, temperature, humidity, and other key aspects.


Pu-erh tea requires proper air circulation during storage. The right amount of oxygen can promote microbial activity and oxidative reactions in the tea, helping it to age. However, too much air exposure can lead to excessive oxidation of the tea and affect the flavor. Therefore, maintaining a moderately ventilated environment is very important to the aging of Puerh tea.


Storage temperature has a significant effect on the aging rate of Puerh tea. Higher temperatures can accelerate the chemical reactions in the tea leaves, resulting in faster aging and a stronger flavor. The ideal storage temperature is generally between 20-30 degrees Celsius. Too high or too low a temperature will affect the normal aging process of tea.


Humidity is one of the most important factors affecting the aging of Puerh tea. Proper humidity (50-70%) can promote microbial activities in the tea, which is favorable to the fermentation and aging of the tea. However, too high humidity will lead to damp and moldy tea leaves, while too low humidity will make the tea leaves too dry and affect the aging effect.

Surface Area of Leaves Exposed to Oxygen

The amount of surface area of Pu'er tea leaves exposed to oxygen during storage will directly affect the fermentation rate and flavor development of the tea. The greater the surface area of the leaves exposed to air, the faster the oxidation reaction and the faster the aging process of the tea. Proper exposure can promote the aging of tea leaves, but overexposure may lead to over-oxidation of tea leaves.

Storage Container

The choice of container for storing Puerh tea is also very important. Ideal storage containers should have good air permeability and proper sealing, such as ceramic jars, zisha jars or bamboo baskets. A container with good air permeability can maintain air circulation and prevent the growth of mold, while proper sealing can protect the tea from excessive oxidation and contamination.


The history of Pu'er tea includes its place of origin, time of harvesting, and processing techniques. These factors determine the initial quality and later aging effect of the tea. The leaves of Yunnan's large-leafed tea trees can develop a unique flavor during the aging process due to their unique ecological environment and rich inclusions, enabling Pu'er tea to develop a unique flavor. In addition, the picking time and the fineness of the processing techniques also directly affect the quality and aging potential of the tea leaves.

How to Store Puerh Tea: Do’s and Don’ts

Proper storage not only maintains the quality of tea but also helps improve the flavor and aroma of tea during the fermentation process. Here are the six factors we have summarized.

Store Puerh Tea

The body of this tea canister is decorated with dragon and phoenix motifs, made of natural fine clay, with good sealing and large capacity. Very suitable for storing Puerh tea.

Allow Air Circulation

To ensure the normal aging of Pu'er tea, the storage environment of the tea should be well-ventilated. This is because if Pu'er tea is placed in a sealed container for several days, the microbial fermentation of the tea will be inhibited. This will cause the quality of the tea to gradually decline.

Therefore, it is best to use a wooden box or a storage cabinet with ventilation holes to store Pu'er tea. This will encourage the tea to ferment and mature slowly.

Don’t Keep it in Direct Sunlight

Sunlight or ultraviolet rays can damage the quality of brew pu erh tea and decompose the organic matter in the tea leaves, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth after brewing Pu Erh Tea and drinking it. Therefore, be sure to be careful not to place Pu Erh Tea on the counter or in a place that is often exposed to sunlight.

Therefore, we recommend storing Pu'er tea in a place that is not exposed to sunlight.

Keep it Away From Odours

We do recommend keeping your Puerh tea away from direct sunlight, and if you are going to keep your Puerh tea in an enclosed space, do not store other items inside, such as onions, garlic, or other items with strong odors.

Because Pu'er tea easily absorbs the odors around it, this will cause the taste of the brewed tea to change and lose its original flavor. So store it in an odor-free environment.

Keep an Eye on the Humidity Level

Generally speaking, the best humidity for Pu'er tea is between 50% and 75%. However, you should usually take temperature into account before deciding on humidity. In a cold environment, humidity should be at the top of the humidity range, preferably 75%. In a warmer place, 50% humidity is best.

Of course, if you want to adjust the humidity, you can use various methods, such as breaking up any clay pots you may have, and then boiling and soaking the broken clay fragments in water.

Some people also recommend using Boveda bags to control the humidity of stored Pu'er tea, especially in dry or humid environments. Using Boveda bags can more accurately maintain the ideal humidity in the storage space, which helps the aging and quality of Pu'er tea.

Separate Shu Puerh from Sheng Puerh

Tea leaves can easily absorb aromas. We recommend that you store raw Pu'er tea and cooked Pu'er tea separately because the aging process and environmental conditions required for these two types of Pu'er tea are different. Mixing them may affect the aroma of each other.

All you have to do is put all the raw Pu'er tea in one place and all the cooked Pu'er tea in another place and make sure they are placed in a place with suitable humidity and temperature and out of the sun.

Store the Puerh tea at a Moderate Temperature

The ideal storage temperature for Pu'er tea should be between 20-30°C. Temperatures that are too high or too low will affect the aging speed and quality of Pu'er tea. Maintaining a suitable temperature helps promote the natural aging of Pu'er tea and enhances its taste.

On the contrary, if the temperature is too low, fermentation will not occur, which will hinder the aging process of the tea. In addition, fluctuations in storage temperature also have a certain impact on the taste of Pu'er tea. In any case, the best way is to adjust the temperature of the storage area so that Pu'er tea can continue to age.

For example, if you live in a high-temperature area all year round, you can place Pu'er tea in an environment with a certain humidity (such as a constant temperature and humidity air conditioner). However, it is recommended not to place the tea too close to the air conditioner and not let Pu'er tea be too cold.

Idea Ways of Storing Puerh Tea For Ageing It

If you want to store Pu'er tea at home for aging, you must pay special attention to the temperature, humidity, and other factors related to the storage of Pu'er tea. The following 3 points are ways to store Pu'er tea for a long time.


Pumidor is a storage cabinet specially designed for aging Pu'er tea. This storage cabinet usually has the function of regulating humidity and temperature, ensuring that the tea leaves are in a good aging condition and can achieve a good aging effect. When using Pumidor to store Pu'er tea, the humidity and temperature in the cabinet should be checked regularly to ensure that they remain within the optimal range.

In addition, the Pu'er tea storage cabinet should be placed in a dark and well-ventilated place to avoid sunlight and excessive humidity that may cause mildew.

Original Packaging

Keeping Pu'er tea in its original packaging is another effective storage method. The original packaging is usually made of paper or cotton paper, which has a certain degree of air permeability, which helps the tea to breathe naturally and gradually age. When storing, make sure the original packaging is intact and not contaminated by moisture or external odors.

If you no longer have the original wrapping paper or other packaging materials, then you can buy some Pu'er tea storage bags such as handmade paper. Of course, in this case, the quality of the paper should be a priority.

Crock Storage for Puerh

Using ceramic jars to store Pu'er tea is a traditional and effective method, especially suitable for storing loose leaves or opened Pu'er tea. Ceramic materials are relatively insensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, and can provide a stable microenvironment for Pu'er tea. When storing, choose ceramic jars with lids and ensure that the jar mouth is well sealed, but not completely sealed. Maintaining appropriate air circulation can promote the natural aging process of tea.

At the same time, ceramic jars should be placed in a moderate temperature and light-proof environment to avoid strong light and high temperature from affecting the tea. Through these methods, Pu'er tea lovers can better control the aging environment of the tea, allowing the taste and aroma of Pu'er tea to improve over time.

How to Store Puerh Tea Just For Drinking

While many people value the long-term aging potential of Pu'er tea, sometimes we just want to enjoy a cup of delicious Pu'er tea. To keep the best taste of instant Pu'er tea, you must know how to store it.

Mylar Bags

Mylar bags are a type of packaging material made of a special plastic film that has good moisture resistance, light resistance, and oxidation resistance. Using Mylar bags to store Pu'er tea can effectively isolate the influence of the external environment and protect the tea from moisture, odor, and light. The operation method is as follows:

  1. Put the Pu'er tea in the Mylar bag and remove as much air as possible from the bag.
  2. Use a heat sealer or sealing strip to seal the bag tightly to ensure that it is completely closed.
  3. Store in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated place, avoiding high temperatures and direct sunlight.

Well-Sealed Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags are also a convenient option for short-term storage, especially for daily drinking. Ziploc bags have a good seal, preventing air and moisture from entering, and ensuring the freshness of the tea. Here's how to do it:

  1. Place the Pu'er tea in a clean Ziploc bag.
  2. Before sealing, try to squeeze out the air in the bag by hand, and then seal the bag.
  3. Similarly, store the Ziploc bag containing Pu'er tea in a dry, cool environment, away from moisture and direct sunlight.


Storing Pu'er tea in a suitable environment can not only promote its fermentation process but also improve the taste of the tea and extend the life of the tea.

If you are a Pu'er tea lover, you may need to buy a tea set or teapot to brew Pu'er tea, then you can go to Teatsy to buy it. We provide different types of tea sets and tea pots for you to choose from.