Does Herbal Tea Expire?

In this article, we will explore the question, “Does Herbal tea expire?” along with other important topics, such as the factors that affect the shelf life of tea and optimal storage conditions.

Does herbal tea expire?

Yes, herbal tea does expire. Typically, herbal tea has a long shelf life before it reaches its expiration date. However, as the expiration date approaches, the taste of the tea may begin to degrade. 

The shelf life of dried herbs used in herbal tea is approximately two years. In terms of fresh herbs, they can remain stable in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, and if frozen, they can last for up to 2 months (USDA).

How long does herbal tea last?

Around 24 months from the date of manufacture, herbal tea bags retain their best taste. To keep them fresh, it is important to store them in a cold, dark, and moisture-free environment using a well-sealed container. 

How to store herbal tea?

The freshness of your tea depends on how it is stored. To ensure proper storage of your tea, follow these basic rules:

1-) Avoid exposing your tea to direct sunlight.

2-) Use a dark container or tin to prevent light exposure.

3-) Stay away from areas with high humidity.

4-) Opt for containers that are securely sealed to minimize airflow.

5-) Keep different types of tea separate to maintain their distinct flavors.

6-) Avoid placing your tea near heat sources or excessive heat.

What are the challenges in determining whether herbal tea has gone bad?

The sensory attributes (aroma, color, appearance, and taste) are still the best indicators to determine if herbal tea has gone bad (2).

 The production of tea beverages has encountered challenges as tea infusion, renowned for its unique and delicate sensory characteristics.

 When the essential sensory attributes of tea extract are lost, refining the taste becomes a complex endeavor. 

Preserving the flavor of tea commercially is a difficult task, and it is even more challenging when preparing tea at home (2). 

What are the main differences between commercial herbal tea and homemade tea?

Commercial herbal tea is typically made using standardized combinations of herbs and flavors. The processing and packaging of commercial herbal tea allows for consistent quality and convenience.

Commercial herbal tea may contain additives, flavorings, or preservatives to enhance taste and prolong its shelf life. While it offers convenience and a longer shelf life.

Homemade tea provides flexibility to customize the blends according to your preferences. When preparing homemade tea, you have the advantage of avoiding or minimizing the use of additives, flavorings, or preservatives. 

Homemade tea is often consumed immediately after preparation, ensuring optimal flavor and freshness. 

Once made, how long will herbal tea keep in the refrigerator?

As a general rule, chilled herbal tea prepared using loose leaves, tea bags, or powder can be consumed for up to five days after brewing without any issues. It can be enjoyed either cold or hot, depending on personal preference. 

However, the taste may not be as excellent as it was on the first day. The use of hot water or the sun tea technique can degrade the flavor.

 Additionally, adding fresh fruit or sugar to the brewed tea may cause fermentation.

When storing the tea in the refrigerator, it is advisable to keep it in a tightly sealed container or jar to prevent spoilage. 

If possible, avoid adding sugar to the entire pitcher of tea; instead, sweeten individual glasses as needed.

What are the risks of drinking spoiled herbal tea?

Consuming spoiled herbal tea can lead to digestive issues such as stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting (3). 

It is important to ensure that green tea is stored properly, prepared with potable water, and consumed within its recommended shelf life to minimize the risk of consuming spoiled tea (3). 

If there are any signs of spoilage, such as unusual taste, smell, or appearance, it is advisable to discard the tea. 


In this article, we have addressed the question, ‘Does herbal tea expire?’ Yes, herbal tea expires. When stored correctly, dried herbs used in herbal tea last approximately two years.


1. USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service [Internet]. [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:

2. Zhao W, Yang R, Wang M. Cold storage temperature following pulsed electric fields treatment to inactivate sublethally injured microorganisms and extend the shelf life of green tea infusions. Int J Food Microbiol [Internet]. 2009;129(2):204–8. Available from:

3. Linscott AJ. Food-Borne Illnesses. Clin Microbiol Newsl [Internet]. 2011;33(6):41–5. Available from:

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