How Long Does Tea Last?

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. It is renowned for its health, social, and cosmetic advantages; many people of different cultures love tea. However, these benefits will be in vain if you aren’t aware of the length of time tea lasts.

Tea results from an herb known as Camellia Sinensis, indigenous to the Eastern regions of Asia.

It can be consumed in various ways, such as made on its own or mixed with cream or milk.

Tea boasts numerous benefits like:

  • High in antioxidants.
  • It aids in metabolism, which aids in weight control.
  • Ground leaves are commonly used in cosmetics. They are included in facial cleansers, masks, hair products, and body creams to promote healthy skin. The leaves are a source of elements that cleanse and exfoliate the skin by clearing pores.
  • Aids in maintaining an active brain.


There are a variety of well-known teas. They comprise green, black, Oolong, purple, and white tea.

Each has the same roots; The only difference is how they’re processed. Here’s a brief overview of each.


Black varieties are the most processed (fermented) out of the three. Also, it is the best delicious. The leaves are cut and dried before becoming oxidized to become completely black.


The tea-producing plant is green, and green tea is made of fresh leaves. There is minimal oxidation and drying of the leaves, which is why this tea is believed to have medicinal qualities.

This style is very well-known in China However, it has also spread to different regions worldwide. It’s not only utilized for everyday wear but also for beauty too.


Another drink that is popular among Chinese along with Taiwanese. Oolong is a middle ground between green and black. It is processed in a limited way and is not as black or green type.


Another interesting variation can be found in the tea called white. This kind of tea is made from still young buds that aren’t yet fully open.

The leaves are harvested when they are still covered in fluffy, white hairs, which is why the name “white tea” was chosen.

It is classified as a fragile variety because there is a minimal amount of processing and the oxidization process is not as extensive.


It is a relatively new entry into the world of beverages. Presently, it is only produced in Kenya as interbreeding between a variety from this Camellia sinensis plant, from which all kinds originate.

The plant used in purple tea isn’t grown as a seedling, rather it is cut and grafted.

The leaves that are used have the color purple, hence the name. The food items with a purple hue are thought to have greater antioxidants than other food items.

This could be the next thing to happen, and people will soon be able to join this purple tea train.

Shelf Life

Drinking tea can cause you to forget other important factors, like the expiration date.

As with all natural substances that are naturally occurring, tea has a shelf-life too. Its storage condition also determines the amount of time it can last.

The prepared tea will have a shorter shelf life compared to loose or packaged tea leaves.

Some of the things to keep in your mind when storing tea are:

  • Keep away from direct sunlight that can alter the quality of your food.
  • Moisture will reduce shelf time and trigger the growth of mold. Make sure that tea is properly packaged and kept in a dry place.
  • Tea is a great absorber of flavors and odors. It is recommended to store it away from items with strong scents, such as fish.

The shelf life can vary depending on the tea type and state of the tea.

If packaged, all varieties will have a longer shelf-life. Tea packaged in a container is best kept within the cupboard.

If stored in a suitable environment, the packaged tea will last up to an entire year in the refrigerator.

Like loose tea leaves, they can last for the entire year if they are kept away from intense sunlight, high temperatures, and humidity.

However, tea prepared in the past can be stored only in the refrigerator or the freezer. It can lose its flavor and strength when kept for a long time, so it is best to drink it immediately.

If stored in the refrigerator, ready-to-eat tea can be stored for approximately five days. When it’s frozen, it can last for up to seven months. I’m not sure who would ever want to keep tea for that long.

How Do I Conserve Tea To Increase The Shelf Life of Tea

Due to the different processing, each kind of product has to be stored in a particular way to maximize the benefits.

Some storage methods tend to favor more oxidized ones because there is less reaction of enzymes.

For each kind, here are the most suitable storage methods and conditions.


Due to the optimal oxidation that black tea experiences the optimal oxidation process, black tea has very little water content. This means that it can last longer.

Keep loose leaves in airtight containers clay pots, ceramic, or tin containers that are both opaque and heavy duty. This prevents sunlight from entering. Keep it in the dark, dry, and closed space.

Do not place strongly-scented foods or spices near because it picks up the smells.

Do not leave the storage containers open to stop airborne contaminants and dust from entering.


Green tea is prone to degrade quickly because it is made of fresh leaves, which are then processed.

The best storage conditions include dry, cool and dark regions. Green tea also loses its color quite rapidly, so it is best to beware of direct sunlight or air that can trigger oxidation.

The type can be stored inside the refrigerator. However, it is important to ensure that the proper temperature has been used.

Be sure that the temperature settings don’t surpass 5 degrees. Keep it in sealed containers, and fill it to the top of the container. The container’s space can cause moisture to build up and reduce the shelf time.


The variety is available in a variety of variants. This is why storing it at a low temperature is recommended to preserve its original condition.

Keep Oolong in airtight, opaque containers to preserve its flavor.


Another tea that is sensitive to store due to the amount of moisture. This kind of tea is best stored in dry conditions, free of air, and far from sunlight.

Be sure to seal it even while in use to reduce air leakage.


Like other plants, the purple variety prefers dry, dark, and air-free areas. Avoid all contaminants and products with strong scents that can alter the flavor.

How to identify soiled Tea

A properly stored tea will last a long time, and the chance of finding a tea that has been spoiled could be uncommon. However, the perception of smell and sight can help you identify.

  • Innocuous – The longer the tea sits, the longer it is, and the more it loses its distinctive odor. A lack of odor could alert you that the tea has passed the expiration date.
  • Visible mold – Moisture can create mold. The mold has a white look or grayish. Beware of food poisoning by throwing away any beverage that is contaminated with mold.

Enjoy the healthful and delicious advantages of this delicious drink by making sure you handle it with care. Proper storage will ensure longer shelf longevity.

Did you find this guide helpful?
Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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