If you are wondering whether the pack of tea resting on your shelf will expire or whether the tea you brewed last night is fresh enough to drink, fear not. We are here to answer all your doubts.
When does tea expire?
The answer to this question highly depends on how you store your tea. Tea leaves do not expire in general. When you take a look at the packaging of your tea and search for the expiry date, you will be confused. You will find the “best before” date but not a “use by” date. That means your tea doesn’t go bad.
But beware, your tea can lose its essence and taste. So a simple answer to our question “does tea really expire?” is technical; Yes, but practically; No. Tea leaves lose their taste and aroma when not stored with caution. Moisture and heat can seize the quality of your tea leaves and it will eventually lose its freshness. So the factors in determining the freshness and sustainability of your tea leaves are –
- Type of tea you are consuming.
- The process went through to be readied to serve as tea.
- How you stored your tea.
Almost everyone we know is a tea lover but they also have their preferences with them and rightly so because this beverage has tons of options! Let’s talk about each of these teas, shall we?
Does Black tea expire?
It might seem bizarre to some people that different types of teas, despite being the product of the same plant have different expiry dates and tastes. Black tea leaves are the most processed tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plants. If the tea leaves are more fermented, the lesser the chances will be of its expiring anytime soon.
In comparison to other types of teas, Black tea is more fermented. Black teas are highly oxidized teas and go through a lot of processing thus removing the trace of water and moisture. This dryness of the leaves preserves it from going bad sooner than other teas. You can expect Black tea to last and stay full of flavor for at least 18 – 24 months but then again, storage is the key to expand your tea’s shelf-life.
Does Green tea expire?
Green teas are the least oxidized tea types. This helps it maintain its fresh taste and live up to its name but this also makes it prone to going bad sooner than other teas. Green tea has a relatively shorter shelf life. You can expect it to lose its taste in 6-12 months.
The natural oil evaporates and leaves behind a tasteless pack of tea leaves (if not cared for). Since Green tea is more likely to expire, you should take special care keeping it away from sunlight and heat.
Does brewed tea expire?
If you are wondering whether you can consume yesterday morning’s brewed tea, we suggest you read us out. Brewed tea doesn’t go bad anytime sooner than 2-3 days of proper storage. You can drink your day-old brewed tea and it will not cause any harmful effects on your health but we’d definitely suggest brewing yourself a fresh tea in the morning. When tea leaves are mixed with water and other ingredients like lemon or any fruit, it has a chance of changing the flavour or even oxidizing further which may cause bitterness.
The other ingredients mixed in the tea may lead to its contamination. So be wary of the other products you put in your tea if at all you plan to drink your tea later (Sugar can also lead to spoiling of your brewed tea). If you do want to preserve your brewed tea, we’d say you store it in the freezer. You can also alternatively cold-brew your tea which means you can infuse your tea leaves in room temperature/cold water and leave it in the fridge so the flavors infuse slowly and you can certainly forget about there being any bitterness!
Does Loose leaf tea expire?
If the tea is crammed together or broken, it loses its authenticity to some extent. Fannings are small pieces of tea leaves and these have higher chances of going bad. Loose leaf tea, on the other hand, remains intact. They are not crammed together and live their goodness until brewed. So, no. Loose leaf tea does not expire. In fact, you can keep Loose leaf tea stored for a long time and still expect it to taste as good.
Using loose leaf tea within 24 months is considered best. You can drink Loose leaf tea after this time span but perhaps you would miss some of the intricate, delicate notes or flavors. Again, preserving your tea correctly is important. Keep the tea leaves in airtight containers and away from sunlight and heat. Enjoy your loose leaf tea and all its goodness.
Does Chamomile tea expire?
Chamomile tea is an extract of a flowering plant that is not the usual Camellia sinensis. So its properties are different from those of other tea leaves. But Chamomile tea has a life limit like the other teas. Consuming it before 18 months is considered best but you can drink Chamomile tea even after 18 months and not worry about its flavor being totally lost. Store it carefully on your kitchen shelf in an airtight glass container and enjoy its rich flavor.
When does Tea expire?
When can you expect your tea to go bad? Teas do not expire unless they aren’t preserved right. If you expose freshly bought Green tea to sunlight, it can expire within 30 days. On the other hand, if you preserve your tea in an airtight container, away from sunlight and heat, you can expect it to last longer than the stated date on the pack.
Teas do not expire; they just lose their smell and taste a little. An expired tea won’t do any harm to you and will neither make you ill. But a brewed – stale tea can. Be cautious with brewed teas and their consumption if they are old. There are more chances that the ingredients in the water mixed with your tea can turn it bad or even poisonous; if left for several days.
Do Teabags expire?
Teabags contain Fannings and tea dust that makes it easier to brew it. Also, tea products in tea bags are crammed together. This pushes tea bags in losing their taste and aroma. You can expect tea bags to expire in 12 months. But you can consume tea even after this time barrier. The taste will be a little milder but it won’t harm you in any way.
Does Herbal tea expire?
No, just like Chamomile tea that is course an herbal tea itself, these teas do not expire. Again, only carelessness and incorrect storage can lead to its going bad. You can expect a little fade in taste and smell but it will be as good to consume as new.
So enjoy your tea time without worrying too much about its contamination but do pay attention to preserving your tea leaves. After all, caring is love. So, show love to your tea just like they show to you!