Can Green Tea Expire?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can green tea expire?” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of green tea, factors that play a role in spoiling tea, storage conditions, as well as the harmful effects of drinking, expired tea.

Can Green Tea Expire?

Yes, green tea can expire. Green tea can go bad, making it unsafe to drink and even harmful to our bodies. Going bad means green tea has become contaminated with the growth of mold and it is rotten and no longer safe for drinking.

Tea rots due to the presence of water or humid environment, in places where they are stored. Sometimes green teas can spoil due to internal factors such as the presence of moisture in the tea leaves.

Does Tea Go Bad?

It is interesting and controversial to note that tea has an expiry date because it is a processed commodity. And every processed produce has an expiry date. Unlike fruits and vegetables which do not have an expiry date.

You can tell if they are fresh or spoiled just by looking at them. The freshness of the fruits and vegetables depends on the factors such as time and conditions under which they are harvested.

If some fruits are rotten in the lot you can leave them and buy the perfect ones. It’s no big deal when it comes to fresh produce. But the green tea we consume is not quite like that. It’s different from green tea because it’s not about fresh leaves.

 They are dried through processing. So you cannot tell which ones are fresh and spoiled. It takes a keen eye to differentiate between good and bad tea. There are no preservatives added in green tea to increase their shelf life. Therefore they are vulnerable to mold growth and spoilage.

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Tea:

Let’s discuss two important factors that could possibly play a role in the spoilage of green tea. First are the exterior factors, which include packaging and the environment.

The second is the interior factor, which comes from inside the tea leaves themselves such as moisture content.

Tea Storage:

The big enemies of tea storage are direct sunlight, water, heat, and odor. In order to prolong the shelf life of green tea, it is crucial to store them in air-tight containers. Green tea should be stored in a cool and dry place where sunlight may not reach. This helps increase their shelf life.

If tea is stored properly, it takes months or even years to go bad. That means that green teas may not lose their flavor and fragrance when stored under proper conditions. It is the same as yogurt. When stored under optimum conditions yogurt may stay fresh longer than it is intended to.

Although it may lose the good bacteria or they may not work as effectively in supporting gut health as the bacteria in fresh yogurt would.

Improperly stored green teas are easily spoiled especially if the tea leaves have a higher moisture content. So, always get your tea from a source you trust.

Effects on Health:

Around 2010, The Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention spot-conducted research on the shelf life of tea. Aflatoxin was present in most of the samples that they collected from the market. These aflatoxins can cause liver damage and even liver cancer.

To enjoy the freshness and therapeutic properties of green tea, it is important to store it under optimum conditions. Green teas are prone to contamination with molds under poor storage conditions.

Becoming a home for aflatoxin, E. coli, and other microorganisms. It’s important to set your taste buds correctly and recognize the difference between aged tea and spoiled tea.

The Expiry Date for Green Tea:

There is no hard and fast rule for determining the expiry date of green tea. And there is no strict point in time that tea becomes expired, but there are some simple guidelines and time frames we can rely on.

In fact, the guidelines regarding the expiry date of green tea, yellow tea, black tea, and green oolong teas are not specific. Most companies put their recommendations varying from 18 months to 3 years on the package.

This provides a good guideline, but not a strict rule. Nevertheless, high-quality green teas last longer and taste better even with the passage of time. So choose a brand you trust for the wholesome experience.


It is better to buy authentic, properly made tea that provides a rich aroma, thick flavor, and mouthfeel for which we all prefer green tea over black tea. Well-made high-quality green tea has a relatively long shelf life.

The very nature of green and yellow tea values freshness and briskness, so don’t hesitate to drink those up. Although they won’t lose their flavors fast, they also don’t improve with time. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.