Oolong Owl’s Tea Stash – June 2014

I’ve been procrastinating on posting pictures of my tea stash. My tea stash is crazy! The World Tea Expo didn’t help for the barrage of samples I got. I was keeping count on Steepster, using the cupboard feature. My cupboard says 235 teas, but I’ve been slow to updating when I get new teas, especially teas that aren’t in the Steepster system.

My space for tea is in the living room. I have a bookcase for my tea and a bookcase for my teaware. My pu’er is kept separate in an empty dresser in my bedroom. I decided to count out all my teas and try to organize them a little better.

With that said, this is what 353 Teas looks like:

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Depending on tin size, the tins are around 2 to 6 tins deep. To explain my tea madness, working top down

Top of the bookcase – Here I have big tins with mostly black flavored teas. Many of these were on the lower shelf, but moved up due to space issues. The big tin on the right is my “slush tin”. My slush tin is where teas I don’t want anymore go. When people come over, I let them take whatever from this tin. I also keep baggies and labels in that tin.

First Shelf – This is where most of my big tins are that hold multiple teas. Behind a layer of tins on the left are some Adagio Tea tins which are all unflavored. Around the middle to right are mostly single tea tinned herbals such as lavender, chamomile, peppermint and chrysanthemum.

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Somewhere on the shelf is a collection of blooming teas. Also, I have a big glass jar that holds all my loose teabags.

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Second Shelf – This is the shelf that I most commonly hit as it holds my favorites on the left. Somewhere in there is my Mandala Tea’s Milk Oolong. On the right are mostly DavidsTea tins, but not all of them have DavidsTea inside. Also some The Persimmon Tree teas in there. Many of the tins have 52Teas, Simple Loose Leaf and Butiki Teas.

Third Shelf – I find this one to be the disaster shelf for the small tins on the left. All those small tins are matchas from Red Leaf Tea (some in re-purposed Adagio sample tins) or teas that came in small tins. I find when I grab one tin, I knock over everything. Sigh.

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On this shelf is also powdered teas, like Chai Mix and Matcha Mix. To the right, I have big locking tupperware that holds citrus green and white tea blends. There is also two short flat tins that hold unflavored teas – one has mostly blacks, another is the first tin of unopened straight teas, of which I don’t plan to review for Oolong Owl. Bulked in this shelf is also my Lupicia Hawaii collection. I have a couple bursting black tins of oolongs that need to be separated or in a bigger tin.

Fourth Shelf – This is the scary shelf. These are teas that are unopened. There was a time when I’d get new teas and I’d open them all and sample. Unfortunately at this stage of my tea collection, doing that will just be too much tea opened at once. Many of these teas are saved for Oolong Owl tea reviews. Just quickly looking at the shelf I got teas from Teavivre, Eco-Cha, Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Verdant Tea.

Bottom Shelf, not pictured – This shelf is on the ground and holds only empty tea tins and boxes that held tea pots.

Pool Table – In the same room as my main tea stash is my husband’s pool table. All my new arrivals and teas grouped for “Review Soon!” are here. They can normally get placed in tins (along with stuff on the Fourth Shelf!) but right now it is looking kinda of sketchy to fit everything as well as having tins for everything.

Top left is my recent Mandala Teas order (some of it I cracked into already and haven’t shared). The top right box is almost everything I got from the World Tea Expo (around 60 teas) that I need to go through one more time and schedule reviews for. Bottom left are some teas that I’m aiming to review very soon. Middle bottom is a new arrival from White 2 Tea that I should be cracking into this week which I’m super excited for! The bottom right is some oolongs and blacks from Cameron Teas.

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Oolong Owl’s Tin Organization

As an example of one of my tins, I group teas of similar type or flavor. Opening a random tin, this one has unflavored Japanese green teas from Yunomi!

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I tend to try and group by brand if possible, if not, unflavored or similar blends. I have a tin that holds firey teas, another for black spiced teas and one for mint blends.
Some teas I cannot group with others, so they have their own small tin, such as teas like Lupicia’s King of Fruits have to be away from other teas as the scent is very potent (I am pretty sure that particular tin is gonna smell like durian forever). My favorite teas always have their own tin!

The teas I often keep in their original bags so I have the information on the tea there, less clean up on the tin when the tea is finished, and maybe a debatable extra protection of freshness for the tea. If the bag does not have a zip seal, I used an IKEA bag clip to close it.

My tins tend to get shuffled around – especially the Second and Third Shelf teas – to encourage me to drink the older ones sooner.

Observations and Goals for my tea stash

  • I have around 130 teas unopened! CRAZY! Most of my teas in my stash are 2oz and under – some even 2 cups samples. I have maybe 5 tea that I have 4oz of (not counting pu’er cakes), and they get drank down fast or given to others as samples.
  • Obvious, but I need to cut down my current stash. I’m debating selling a few cheap mystery boxes in a few months.
  • I found a green tea blend that was from 2010. This was before me labeling stuff and the only time I bought a pound of tea for myself. The tea was perfectly tucked in its own tin, however the smell was turning sour. Ewww! I hope my compost likes it. I found some even older tea bags, which I tossed, but most of my stash is no older than 2012 (not counting pu’er!)
  • Under the 200 tea count, I can remember what tin a certain tea is in- which is scary. I seem to route memorize stuff very well without trying too hard. However, after the 200 mark, I start to forget where some teas are. I don’t label the tins – which I’ve been meaning to do with chalkboard labels, so my system makes it harder to find teas. I modpodge or add stickers to many of my tins, but some of them I haven’t gotten around to doing, so a bunch look the same adding to the confusion!
  • I want a better shelving unit for my teas. Probably a bigger one too. Or maybe a bigger shelf would be a bad idea as I’ll just fill it with more tea.
  • There are way too many packages of unflavored oolong unopened. I realized that I tend to only open maybe 6 oolongs and drink those until they are gone, then I open some more, review them, and drink them down. With that said, I got a really big oolong backlog!
  • I don’t have enough pu’er. Seriously. My non sample pu’er stash is under 20. NOT ENOUGH!

Where are the Tea Owls? They were helping out writing the review by the computer! They work in shifts to watch the tea stash and pose for tea photos.

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