Can you drink tea that has been sitting out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you drink tea that has been sitting out” with an in-depth analysis of drinking tea that has been sitting out for several hours as drinking such tea may pose certain health risks to the consumers.

Moreover, we are going to highlight what is sitting out of tea, how long tea can stand, what changes can occur in tea with time, and how you can store tea under different conditions.

Can you drink tea that has been sitting out?

Yes, you can drink tea that has been sitting out for several hours, especially up to 8 hours. any longer than this duration is thought to be problematic as it may alter the quality as well as the safety of tea with time.

Sitting out of tea:

Sitting out of tea usually refers to the tea that has been standing for several hours and is no longer great enough to be consumed. Tea, when kept for several hours, loses vitamins and other nutrients and is considered unfit for consumption.

Besides drinking purposes, the tea that has been sitting out can be used for many external therapeutic purposes, such as rinsing the mouth, soothing a sore throat, treating inflammation of the mouth and skin, and stopping bleeding from gums.

How long can tea stand:

The tea sits out at room temperature for about 8 hours. if you leave the tea at room temperature for more than that can ruin the texture, flavor, and color of the tea. The main risks associated with the prolonged keeping of tea at room temperature are the growth of bacteria and molds in the tea.

In the refrigerator, it can last longer for about 2-5 days. The lasting effect can also be affected by the types of tea, the method of preparation or brewing, added ingredients, and the environment in which it is kept.

Cold brewing versus hot brewing:

The brewing method impacts the quality of tea and affects its standing time. In hot brewing, heat breaks down the chemical bonds in flavors and nutrients and can go bad more quickly than that prepared through cold brewing. In cold brewing, the temperature is not enough to alter the chemistry but is good enough to support the growth of bacteria.

Changes in tea with time:

Oxidation in tea:

The tea, when allowed to sit for too long, becomes oxidized as a result of which the tea changes its color and taste. During this, the oxygen present in the air starts reacting with the chemical components present in the tea. The oxidation in brewed tea is rapid as compared to that in dry leaves and this can be avoided by storing the tea in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Color change:

The color of the tea changes with time from lighter to a darker black color. This black color of tea is not acceptable or liked by the people.

Change in taste:

The taste of the tea is also altered as a result of keeping the tea in inappropriate environmental conditions for a longer duration. The taste of the tea is no fresher and a bitter flavor is developed in the tea.

Change in aroma:

The fresh aroma of the tea is also lost with time and cannot be recovered.

Change in texture:

The texture of the tea also becomes unfavorable when kept for too long. The texture becomes thick due to the appearance of bacterial or moldy strands in the tea.

Microbial growth:

The bacteria and molds can also grow in tea that is kept in improper conditions. The most appropriate temperature for a wide range of bacteria is between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. These bacteria and molds produce a lot of changes in the color, texture, and flavor of the tea.

Storage of tea:

Try to store the tea in an air-tight container to prevent the exposure of oxygen and then the oxidation that is the major reason behind alterations in the qualities of tea. The containers should be sterilized to avoid the contamination of tea with bacteria or molds. Avoid adding ingredients, especially sugars to prevent alterations in quality.

Cooling down:

The brewed tea should be cooled down immediately after its preparation as the warmer temperature is a danger zone because it allows the growth of microbes in the tea. You can cool down the tea at room temperature by placing it in cold water and can be placed in temperature-resistant jars to prevent the uptake of heat by the tea.

At room temperature:

The tea can be stored at refrigerator temperature for a bit longer duration, such as for 2 to 5 days.

In freezer:

The tea can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

You can view more about the shelf life of tea here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you drink tea that has been sitting out” with an in-depth analysis of the consequences of drinking tea that has been sitting out. Moreover, we discussed what is sitting out of tea, what changes take place in the tea, and how you can store tea at different storing conditions.

Citations: drinking,to%20lose%20 all%20its%20flavor.text=So%2C%20it’s%20probably%20best%20to,been%20left%20for%20too%20long.

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.