In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can sweet tea sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sweet tea at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad tea.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
How long can sweet tea sit out?
Sweet tea lasts for about 8 hours when allowed to sit out at room temperature. Not only the flavors of the tea will be faded to a great extent after this time but also sugar can start to ferment and there will be chances of bacterial contamination as well.
You should discard the sweet tea that has been left out in the open for more than 8 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the sweet tea being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 8 hours.
What is the optimum temperature to store sweet tea?
You should always store your brewed sweet tea at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store sweet tea at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
Different ways to spot bad tea
There are a couple of indicators that point out bad tea. You should consider the texture, smell, and taste of the tea to give a final verdict on whether or not it has gone bad.
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.
If you smell something foul while taking a sniff test then it is an indication that the tea has gone bad and the best thing to do is to discard it.
If the tea has passed the visual and smell test, then you can go ahead and taste it. The brewed tea that has spoiled will have a dull taste and its flavor will be weak.
Tips to properly store sweet tea
- Always be sure to refrigerate sweet tea at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Store your sweet tea in an air-tight container or jar on the shelf of the refrigerator. Sweet tea has the general ability to pick up odors so by keeping your iced sweet tea in an air-tight container, you can also save it from picking the smell of other foods present in the fridge.
- In case you are thinking of storing brewed tea in the refrigerator, you should not add sugar to the brewed sweet tea as sugar will initiate the fermentation process of the sweet tea and will provide a good medium for the bacteria to grow. It is better if you add the sugar at the time you want to take the sweet tea.
- It is a simple rule, the fresher the tea leaves are, the fresher the brewed tea and the longer will be its shelf life.
- It is better to store sweet tea on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
Tips to properly store dry tea
- You should always store dry tea in an air-tight container or jar and store it in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry or kitchen cabinet to preserve its freshness for a long time. You should never store your dry tea in a humid environment as humidity is the enemy of the delicate flavors of tea and it can even spoil your tea (if tea is stored for too long in a humid environment and that too uncovered).
- Tea can pick up smells and that is another reason why we advised you to store your tea in an air-tight container.
- UV radiations present in the sunlight can also mess up the delicate flavors of tea, therefore it is recommended that once you open your tea pack, store the rest of the tea in a tinted or colored air-tight container. The reason behind using a tinted or colored container is that the sunlight won’t be able to penetrate it, thereby the quality of tea will be preserved for a long time.
- Another thing that you should always remember is to never use a wet spoon to scoop out tea.
- Moreover, you should close the lid of the container in which you stored tea as soon as you are done scooping out the tea that you needed.
You can read how to make sweet tea here.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can sweet tea sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sweet tea at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad tea.