How long can tea sit out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can tea sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of 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 tea sit out?

Tea without milk and sugar 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 there will be chances of bacterial contamination as well. 

You should discard the brewed tea without milk 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 tea being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 8 hours.

In the case of milk tea, as it has perishable commodity milk added to it, therefore care should be taken while storing it.

Milk tea lasts for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. You should discard the milk tea that has been left out in the open for more than 2 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 tea being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard milk tea that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the optimum temperature to store brewed tea?

You should always store your brewed 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 tea at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

You can read how to make bubble milk tea here.

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.

Color

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. 

Texture

In the case of milk tea, if the milk tea is curdled or has lumps present in it, then it is an indication of bad tea and you should get rid of it.

Smell

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.

Taste

If the tea has passed the visual and smell test, then you can go ahead and taste it. If you notice a sour or slightly bitter taste after taking a little sip of milk tea then it is an indication that the tea has gone bad. 

Moreover, the brewed tea that has spoiled will have a dull taste and its flavor will be weak.

Tips to properly store tea

  1. Always be sure to refrigerate tea at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Store your brewed tea in an air-tight container or jar on the shelf of the refrigerator. Tea has the general ability to pick up odors so by keeping your iced tea in an air-tight container, you can also save it from picking the smell of other foods present in the fridge.
  1. In case you are thinking of storing tea in the refrigerator, you should not add sugar to the brewed tea as sugar will initiate the fermentation process of the 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 tea.
  1. It is a simple rule, the fresher the tea leaves are, the fresher the brewed tea and the longer will be its shelf life.
  1. It is better to store brewed 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.

You can read about different types of tea here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can tea sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of tea at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad tea.

Citations

https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/how-long-can-milk-be-out-of-the-fridge

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.