Does dry tea go bad? (+5 dry tea storage tips)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does dry tea go bad” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of different varieties of tea. Moreover, we are going to discuss the factors that affect the freshness of the tea and the tips to properly store dry tea.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does dry tea go bad?

Yes, like any other food item dry tea tends to go bad after a certain time as they lose their flavor, aroma, color, and overall quality. Different varieties of tea have different shelf lives.

The more fermented the tea is, the longer will be its shelf life. The shelf life of dark oolong tea and that of black tea is about 3 years when they are kept in cool, dry, and dark places. The shelf life of the light oolong tea is approximately 2 years. After this time the flavor and the aroma of the tea start to fade. 

You can read more about different types of tea here.

Do tea bags go bad?

Yes, tea bags do go bad after a certain time and it is recommended to use them within 6-12 months. The smaller the size of the tea leaf is the faster the rate at which it expires. Teabags mostly contain fannings that are the small pieces of the leaves and the dust (the remains that last at the end of the barrel in which tea leaves are stored) as they brew quickly. As it is difficult to vacuum seal the tea bags therefore they lose their freshness and flavor at a faster rate. You should always read the labels of the teas for the best before dates.

Does white tea go bad with time?

According to some users, white tea is that type of tea whose flavor enhances as it ages while for others white tea has 1 year as its prime quality time. So this thing entirely depends upon the taste preference of people. 

Does Lipton tea expire?

Lipton advises users to consume the tea within 18 months from the manufacturing date written on the pack of the tea. Afterward, the tea begins to lose its flavor, aroma, and quality over time.

What are the factors that affect the freshness of the tea?

The factors that determine how long the tea will stay fresh include the level of dryness, processing, oxidation, and roasting.

Level of dryness

The shelf life of the tea leaves directly depends upon the extent to which they are dried. If the tea leaves are dried thoroughly then the tea will have a considerably longer shelf life. On the other hand, if the tea leaves are not dried thoroughly then they will have moisture in them because of which they will lose their flavor and aroma quickly and will have a short shelf life.


The more processed the tea leaves are, the easier will it be to dry them thoroughly and the longer will be their shelf life. That means that the shelf life of the black tea is more than that of the green tea as the former is a more processed one.


Oxidation is the process that brings out various flavors in the tea and also plays an important role to stabilize the otherwise volatile flavors and constituents of life. 


Roasting further helps in drying the tea leaves thoroughly, thus it helps to further stabilize the constituents of tea. Roasting also enhances the flavor profile of the tea. 

Other FAQs about Tea which you may be interested in.

Does green tea help bloating?

How to properly store dry tea?

  1.  It is recommended to store your tea away from direct sunlight. Moreover, moisture is also an enemy of the freshness of the tea therefore dry tea should be kept in air-tight containers, jars, or air-tight bags lined with aluminum foil to reduce its exposure to air.
  2. It is a good practice to store the tea in stainless steel containers or jars that have a tinted or dark-colored glass. It is not recommended to store the dry tea in clear glass jars as there are chances that the tea can get exposed to direct sunlight in the clear glass jars which can degrade its flavor and overall quality.
  3. It is best practice to store the dry tea at room temperature as the fluctuations in temperature can affect the tea negatively. 
  4. Tea picks up smell easily therefore it should be kept away from foods having a strong smell like garlic, onions, and fish, etc. 
  5. It is not advised to store the tea in the refrigerator as the moisture content of the refrigerator is quite high and it can damage the quality of the dry tea. If you still want to store it in the refrigerator then it is recommended to keep it in vacuum-sealed containers.

How to tell if your tea has expired?

The absence of the characteristic aroma or the weak aroma of the tea is the indication that it has expired. 

Moreover, the color of fresh-brewed black tea is bright amber so if you notice dull and grey color hues then it means that your tea is past its prime age.

The tea that has expired will have a dull taste and its flavor will be weak.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “does dry tea go bad” with an in-depth analysis of the life span of different varieties of tea. Moreover, we discussed the factors that affect the freshness of the tea and the tips to properly store dry tea.