Iced tea is one of the most profitable drink offerings for your restaurant or convenience store, and customers will make a special trip for their favorite fresh-brewed iced tea. So it’s worth investing in the top-quality tea customers crave and making the effort to store the tea right to protect that investment.

Here are answers to three top questions on the best way to store tea.

1. Where Should I Store Tea?

Tea should be stored in a dry place, to prevent it from getting moldy. If possible, use a storeroom that is cool and dark, since heat and light can cause tea to lose flavor and get stale.

Tea is usually well sealed for shipping. Leave those sealed packages intact as long as possible. Once you open them, the tea can either lose its flavor, or pick up flavors from other products stored nearby. You don’t want the tea you offer customers to taste like coffee!

2. How Long Can I Store Tea For?

Tea will only lose flavor if it isn’t properly stored. You can keep black and green tea up to 24 months. Flavored teas are best if used within 12 months.

Of course, you don’t want to keep your operating capital tied up for that long, so ideally you’ll be turning over your inventory more often than that.

3. How Much Tea Should I Store?

Restaurants and convenience stores that offer fresh-brewed iced tea generally buy tea in six-pound cases (typically X cases per location per month). Each case is packaged in pre-measured brewing packs: either 48 two-ounce packs that make two gallons at a time, or 32 three-ounce packs that make three gallons at a time. Many stores prefer the versatility of the smaller packs.

Larger batches of tea can lead to waste, with more product discarded at the end of the day if sales are slow. Because of the high profit margin for tea, however, that doesn’t necessarily reflect “money down the drain” – you cover the price of the batch with the first glass sold, and everything above that is profit.

Smaller batches can also provide fresher flavor, since the tea is held for a shorter amount of time. Customers definitely appreciate that quality taste.

Ensuring Fresh, Delicious Tea

Tea-loving customers appreciate being able to get the fresh-brewed beverage they love. By following these basics of commercial tea storage, you can ensure your customers get the iced tea they crave, while protecting the inventory you need to keep on hand.