How Long Can You Keep Tea Bags?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How Long Can You Keep Tea Bags?” and will discuss some signs when tea goes bad.

How Long Can You Keep Tea Bags?

After their best before or expiry date, tea bags may be maintained for up to two years if they are kept in a cold, dark location in a sealed container (such as a Ziplock bag). Teabags lose taste as they dry out over time. However, unless they are exposed to dampness or insects, they will remain fresh.

Do tea bags go bad or expire after a certain period?

Yes, in a nutshell. Tea Bags have a short shelf life and may become bad or expire. When I looked for information on the internet, all I discovered were forums and people’s thoughts, so I went straight to the source: the makers. Even though there are hundreds of tea businesses, I only looked at the most well-known ones throughout my study. What I found was as follows:


Their teas have a “Best taste date” date stamped on them. Contrary to popular belief, the expiry date on perishable food products is not the same thing. This only means that Lipton believes the product tastes its best when used by a certain date range. It doesn’t imply the product is bad or shouldn’t be eaten after that date.

Having said that, the shelf life of different types of tea varies somewhat. Almost all of their teabags must be consumed within 18 months of when they were first produced.  They suggest utilizing their Powdered Iced Tea blends within a year after manufacture for best results.


To tell you when to utilize a product, Celestial Seasonings employs a date code. Here’s how to figure out what’s going on in the code. It just depicts the passage of time by showing how quickly the days, months, and years pass by. As an example, the date “09FEB19” is the ninth day of the year 2019.

While this may be the case in the United States, in Canada, the year is listed first, followed by the month and then the day. They do, however, emphasize that, like Lipton, its “Best By” date is a measure of flavor and quality rather than safety. It’s safe to consume beyond the “Best By” date, even though they can’t guarantee that tea will satisfy their flavor criteria after that.


“Tea does not go bad like a carton of milk,” according to Tetley. There is a two-year shelf-life recommendation from the date of manufacture. Containers are also marked with the date that they were purchased at a “Best Buy” store. It’s also worth noting that tea may be consumed for up to two years beyond the “best by” date on the package. It’s okay to drink it, but be aware that it won’t be as delicious as when it was new.


There are no “health or expiry issues with our teas,” as Bigelow says. They also utilize a date code, much like Celestial. This may be found on the bottom of the box, as well as on each tea bag, next to the barcode.

There are nine or 10 characters in their manufacturing code. The year is denoted by the last number on this list. If you see a code with a 9 at the end, that indicates it was created in 2019. However, they’ve just lately begun to include a “Best before” date on their packaging.

What are the signs when the tea has gone bad?

Most well-known tea producers recognize, as I’ve said, that their goods are still excellent years after the “best by” date appears on the box. However, they have no idea about you, your kitchen, or how you’ve kept the goods.

The only thing that will happen to your tea bags is for them to dry out if you store them in a Ziplock bag in your pantry or kitchen cabinet (like that container of Allspice you have with your spices). Remember, dried spices used to be fresh herbs’ plant leaves.

Tea isn’t all that different from coffee. Your tea bags may be “bad” if they’ve ever been exposed to moisture or the sun. The following are things to look for in tea bags that have been around for five years or more but you simply can’t force yourself to throw them away.

  • Take a whiff of the tea bags (can you detect anything off-putting, musty, or sour? (Get rid of them.)
  • Keep an eye out for signs of pests (movement in the tea bags, holes in the tea bags)
  • Mold or mildew growth is very obvious.
  • Toss them out if you’re uncertain. Treating a foodborne disease is much more expensive than buying a new container, in most instances.

To learn about how to use old tea bags, click here


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How Long Can You Keep Tea Bags?” and discussed some signs when tea goes bad.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.