Does Tea Go Bad?

Yes, tea certainly go bad. Although different varieties of tea do not have specific expiration dates, their quality will deteriorate with time. Tea, on the other hand, may age or lose flavour more quickly if not stored properly. Tea may truly deteriorate if exposed to heat and humidity. If you’re unsure about the quality of your tea, it’s usually best to replace it with new tea and enjoy a wonderful, fresh cup. 

Without water, tea doesn’t truly go bad, although the majority of varieties lose quality over time. As a result, the date on the label serves as a better guide as to how long you may anticipate to enjoy tea’s full flavor. After that time, it will still be secure to use. 

5 Warning Signs That Your Tea Gone Bad 

does tea go bad

If you have an old tea that you’re not sure about, you’ll want to know if it’s expired. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The three-year-old black tea was totally gone when I discovered it in my mother’s cupboard. There is no taste at all. We’ll discuss both here, beginning with the spoiled, do not consume’ form.

  • Fungal contamination of tea can occur at any stage of manufacturing. Tea can be vulnerable to diverse microflora invasions depending on the variety. (Reference 1)
  • If it’s been kept like this for several months, or even a year, your tea may have a very musty odour.
  • However, if you had a box of tea and tea bags, and the mold begins in one little spot at the bottom of the box, you may not detect it at first. It may be a little patch, and it occasionally does not smell, especially if the tea has preserved any flavour, but it will undoubtedly give you a horrible time.
  • When your tea has entirely lost its aroma and flavour, it may be too late. Even if there is no mold or a musty odour, you should probably avoid handling that tea. That tea is completely depleted.
  • Last but not least, throw away any brewed tea that has been left on the counter for longer than a day. It could still be safe to drink (or not; see the photo above), but the flavour will be unpleasant.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Unopened Tea?

It’s crucial to store loose leaf tea properly if you want to keep its flavour and freshness. Due to its susceptibility to air, moisture, light, and heat, tea will start to deteriorate if any of these components are present for even a little period of time. Recent studies have mainly examined temporal variations in antioxidant capabilities during product storage following processing. 

Tea bags (unopened or opened)Best by + 6 – 12 months
Loose-leaf tea (unopened or opened)Best by + 6 – 12 months

Earlier research revealed that packing materials and storage circumstances might play an important impact in preserving antioxidant quality stability throughout processed tea preservation (Reference 2). Mason jars and other glass containers should only be used if you store your tea in a cupboard or drawer that is completely dark. In general, tea stays best when kept out of direct sunlight or heat in a cool, dark location.

Does Organic Tea Actually Expire ?

does tea go bad

All will lose their flavour with time, as will the phytochemicals (mainly flavonoids) they contain. Dried tea leaves, on the other hand, will not spoil if kept dry, and the flavour and phytochemical content may be preserved for up to two years if kept away from heat, water, light, and air.

Camellia sinensis is the plant that produces black, oolong, green, and white teas. The way the leaves are treated after harvesting and before drying differs. All will lose their flavour with time, as will the phytochemicals (mainly flavonoids) they contain. Dried tea leaves, on the other hand, will not spoil if kept dry, and the flavour and phytochemical content may be preserved for up to two years if kept away from heat, water, light, and air.

Can Using Expire Tea Make You sick?

Yes, stale tea may make you ill. It is recommended that you consume this as soon as possible. Tea loses its taste and antioxidant benefits after lengthy storage, and it becomes unpleasant. It should be avoided at all costs, even if it is unlikely to cause sickness. However, expired tea leaves may be safe to drink if stored properly, however, they will be of poorer quality than new tea leaves. Some of the consequence that is found during the research are: 

  • The worst-case situation is that you could get a really unpleasant aftertaste or an upset stomach.
  • With time, tea’s taste and fragrance begin to deteriorate owing to oxidation and deterioration. Typically, it will taste stale and have a blender flavour than it should.
  • If there are insects or mold, it could make people sick. Tea should be stored in plastic bags or other dry containers. To help keep moisture away, store with silica gel packets.


Q1. Is tea still good after 5 years?
Ans. Yes, 0ld tea is likely to be less delicious and fresh than new tea, resulting in a weaker cup with a stale flavour. In this sense, tea does not have a “expiration date” beyond which it is no longer safe to drink. Tea, on the other hand, can turn stale or bland if kept incorrectly.

Q2. Do tea bags go bad?
Ans. Tea bags have no shelf life. Also, loose leaf tea does not. Before quality starts to decline, dry tea leaves and bags are normally only good for a staggering two years. All teas produced from the camellia sinensis plant, whether they are green or black teas, eventually start to lose flavour.

Q3. Does loose-leaf tea go bad?
Ans. Tea, both packaged and loose leaf, typically lasts 6-12 months in the pantry; it is strongly advised to consume tea within a year after acquiring it. Pu-erh and some white and oolong teas are the only teas that improve with age.

Reference Link: 
National Library of Medicine:
National Library of Medicine:

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