Does tea expire?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does tea expire” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not tea expires. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of tea and whether or not tea should be refrigerated.

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

Does tea expire?

So whether or not tea expires is a tricky question and we can settle it this way that no doubt tea has a long shelf life if it is properly stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. 

But after a certain time as they lose their flavor, aroma, color, and overall quality. So we can say that the tea expires when it loses its flavor and aroma but it is worth mentioning that as long as your tea does not have any mold or other organic growth present on it, you can consume it and it won’t harm you but certainly it won’t provide you with the same flavor and aroma as that of the fresh tea.

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. 

It is a good practice to store the tea in stainless steel containers or jars that have 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. 

It is best practice to store the dry tea at room temperature as the fluctuations in temperature can affect the tea negatively. 

Moreover, as tea tends to pick up smells easily, therefore, it should be kept away from foods having a strong smell like garlic, onions, and fish, etc. 

Black tea

The more fermented the tea is, the longer will be its shelf life. Thus, the shelf life of black tea is the longest and it lasts for about 3 years if it is properly stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat.

Oolong tea

There are two variants of oolong tea and both of them have different shelf lives. For instance, the dark oolong tea lasts for about 3 years while the light oolong tea lasts for about 2 years if it is properly stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. 

After this time the flavor and the aroma of the tea start to fade. 

It is worth mentioning that you can store teas in a dry and dark corner of your pantry or kitchen cabinet. 

Moreover, care should be taken while storing tea, as humidity is also an enemy of the freshness and quality of tea, therefore you should never store tea in a humid environment.

It is only when the tea is stored for too long in a humid environment that it becomes prone to organic growth and sometimes mold can grow on it and thereby spoil it.

Teabags

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.

The smaller the size of the tea leaf is the faster the rate at which it expires. 

Thus, tea bags have a shorter shelf life and they last for about 6-12 months when stored properly in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

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. But it is worth mentioning that the best before date is the indication of quality rather than safety, it is the time within which you can enjoy the best quality of tea.

 If you have stored the tea bags properly, you can even use them for some time even after the best before date.

White tea

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 and that is the time for which you can enjoy the peak quality of white tea. So this thing entirely depends upon the taste preference of people. 

Can I refrigerate tea?

It is not advised to store dry 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.

But once the tea is brewed, you can refrigerate it in an air-tight bottle or container.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does tea expire” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not tea expires. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of tea and whether or not tea should be refrigerated.

Citations

https://eco-cha.com/blogs/news/how-long-does-tea-stay-fresh

https://pathofcha.com/blogs/all-about-tea/does-loose-leaf-tea-go-bad

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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.

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