Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dealing with an Age Tea Brick w/ Bad Odors

With careful storage this 20 year old tea brick has regained its charm.

The tea leaf is very absorbent of the smells and odors that surround it. For this reason an age tea can sometimes pick up bad odors during its long years of storage. Over 5 years ago I was given an age tea brick that had been left in an old cupboard and had absorbed the old musty and spicy smell of the cupboard. The tea brick had been left in the cupboard for possibly years and the bad smell penetrated deep into the tea, tainting the aroma of the brew and making for an unpleasant experience.

Patience and careful storage has allowed this once unpleasant age tea brick to shine once more. In saving this tea I took the following steps - 1) Breaking up the age tea brick allowed the bad odors to more easily dissipate and clean air to circulate more thoroughly. - 2) Dried orange peels provided a natural freshener to help clear out the musty odors. However under a long storage keep in mind that the orange peels will leave their mark on the tea, adding a mild citrus note to the brew. For those who do not enjoy the fragrance of orange peels, simply skip over this step. - 3) After 5 years I am finding the resulting brews of this age tea brick to be clean and pleasant and with a subtle citrus note. The time required for a tea to shed undesirable odors will vary depending on how strong and deep the bad odors have penetrated.


  1. What did you store the tea in after breaking it up? The citrus is a good idea for trash brick tea, better than throwing it out!

  2. I find yixing clay containers are best and good quality paper containers that are clean and without chemical odors will also work just fine. Some of the paper packaging used for commercial tea is very reusable.

    I would add that for me personally, if the quality of the tea leaf is bad it is not worth the time and effort involved. You can dispel the smell but the inherent quality of the tea leaf won’t be getting any better. Everyone needs to judge for themselves if the tea has other qualities worth saving.

    Best, VP