One thing I love about Steepster is that the people on it like to do swaps. You can look at someone else’s cupboard, contact them (politely, of course) to express your interest in trying something they have, and find out if they’re game to exchange teas with you. Hell, people often arrange mass tea swaps in groups in a box that travels from home to home.

Steepster-folk are generous, is what I’m saying.

So warmed my heart when I saw a surprise in Monday’s mail: a padded envelope full of samples from Yunnan Sourcing from a fellow Steepster member in the GTA. We’ve agreed to subscribe to a few tea boxes together and split them so we each get to try new varieties. I guess this was her way of starting things on a high note!

The only problem? The cabinet I use to store tea is full near to bursting. (But there’s still more on the way. Heh.) Which made me think: why not talk about what teas I store and how I store them?

So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my tea cabinet.

tea_cabinet_openI got this fellow last summer when the hodgepodge of baskets I used to store things threatened to take over the dining room table and I was begged to reduce the clutter. After quick search on Kijiji, I saw this lovely specimen on sale nearby for $25 and picked it up. It’s about 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and a foot or so deep. A nice deal, if I may say so myself.

The baskets in the tea cabinet are colour-coded for each type of tea: caffeine-free herbals in the orange basket on the top shelf next to the teapots and gaiwans; green and white teas on the second shelf, with separate baskets for flavoured and unflavoured greens; black teas on the third shelf, again split into flavoured and unflavoured; and pu’erh, oolong, and rooibos teas on the bottom shelf. The bottom shelf also has some miscellaneous empty tins.

It’s not a perfect system since some baskets are really overloaded (the unflavoured black tea basket in particular is an explodey sort of place), but I’m quite happy with the results. It also smells damn nice inside — all herbal and sweet and comforting.

If you’re curious about the baskets themselves, I got them from Home Outfitters. However, their site doesn’t list what products they sell. (Seriously, Home Outfitters? It’s 2015. Your site should show more than your most current flyer.) These ones from Amazon look pretty similar.

There are lots of other ways to store tea, and I’ve seen some lovely and inventive storage spaces among my friends and fellow tea drinkers. I’ll share their photos and stories in the future.