Do Tea Bags Expire? How Long to Store Tea

Tea is one of the greatest beverages known to man. But, it isn’t always easy to determine when tea bags expire, or how long you should be storing tea. This can make it a lot more difficult to enjoy your favorite tea beverage.

Do Tea Bags Expire?
Do Tea Bags Expire?

Fortunately, though, if you are preoccupied with those questions, then you’ve come to the right place! By reading through this quick guide, you are going to learn all about tea, including when it expires, and how long you can store it.

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So, Do Tea Bags Ever Expire?

The simplest answer to this question is “Yes”. Yes, tea bags will, eventually, expire. But, of course, the answer isn’t quite that simple, and there are a few factors to consider when thinking about tea bags and their expiration.

Just about every major tea company releases their tea bags in small boxes or slightly-large containers. Each one of these small boxes or containers has a date on it. More often than not, this date is marked with “Best By” or “Best Taste Date”; among various other phrases.

None of those phrases, and their corresponding dates, are indicative of when those tea bags expire. Rather, the only thing they are indicative of is the date in which the tea’s taste will transform to such an extent that it doesn’t taste anywhere as good as it can.

How Long to Store Tea
How Long to Store Tea

Because of this, you should make sure to drink the tea that you buy before those dates. But, not because it will go bad and, therefore, you can’t drink it; because if you drink it past that particular date, it won’t taste very good.

Even though the tea may not taste as good as it normally would, it has not expired. You can still drink tea that has gone past its “Best By” or “Best Taste Date”. There are no health risks, but it won’t be the most pleasant experience, due to the poor taste.

When Do Tea Bags Expire?

Tea is very different from other beverages. Milk, for example, due to its chemical content, spoils relatively quickly. Drinking spoiled milk is definitely not a wise idea, due to its poor taste and the various health issues that can arise from drinking spoiled milk.

But, tea doesn’t have that problem. Rather, tea is very dry and very simple. You will not find the same chemical complexity within tea, nor will you find the same level of bacterial complexity that milk possesses.

Since this is the case, you can keep tea bags for many, many years, and it’s likely that you will still be able to drink the tea that can be made from them. Sure, it won’t be very tasty, but there won’t be any harm in drinking it.

So, in a sense, tea bags never actually expire. Right?

The answer is a little more complicated than just “Yes” or “No”. For tea bags of that age to remain safe-to-drink however, you must take a few precautions. Each one of these precautions will ensure that the tea remains safe-to-drink, and that it doesn’t “spoil” – we’ll define that term in the next section – allowing you to drink it later on.

does tea expire
Does tea expire?

How Can You Prevent A Tea Bag From Spoiling?

As mentioned in the last section, tea doesn’t “spoil” – or, at least, not in the same was that milk and other beverages spoil. But, tea can become damaged in a couple of key ways. If your old tea bags have been damaged in a few ways in particular, or if they show signs of that damage, then it’s very likely that they have “spoiled” and that you really shouldn’t drink them.

The most common way that tea bags can get damaged and become “spoiled” is from getting wet. So, if your tea bags have been splashed with water and are soggy and moist, then that can lead to problems. More often than not, these problems consist of things like mold and mildew forming within the tea bag. You, of course, don’t want to drink mold and mildew, so you should throw those tea bags out.

In the end, Tea bags can be used for 1 to 2 years past their expiration date when stored properly. In time, tea bags dehydrate and suffer a loss of flavor. Unless open to little bugs and humidity, tea bags do not expire or go bad. Keep tea bags in a covered box in a cool and dark location.

Since the mold and mildew often forms within the tea bag, noticing that mold and mildew isn’t always easy. But, if you smell the tea bag, and it has a strong musty smell, then that’s a sign that the tea is moldy and covered in mildew.

The second most common way that tea bags can become “spoiled” is laying out in the sun for too long. Just like when tea bags become wet and soggy, laying out in the sun often leads to the formation of mold, mildew, and other nasty things. Because of that, if you find bags of tea that have been out in the sun for a long time, it’s probably best not to drink them.

do tea bags go bad
Do tea bags go bad?

What Is The Safest Way To Store Tea Bags For Longevity?

The safest way to store tea bags for longevity is to place them in a sealed ziploc bag. Make sure that, once the tea bags are in the ziploc bag, that the bag is sealed as tight as it can be. That way, no air or moisture can get in there.

Right after that, it is important to place those tea bags somewhere dark and cool. Many people choose to place tea bags in a cellar or cabinet that is away from everything else. More often than not, this works just fine, and allows the tea to remain unspoiled for years.

But, of course, this doesn’t stop the tea from drying up. Because of this, when you finally drink that tea, it probably won’t taste that great.

how long are tea bags good for
How long are tea bags good for?

As for how long you can store your tea bags, the exact answer is hard to give. But, it’s likely that you will be able to store it for at least several years and that, assuming nothing happens, it will be unspoiled and safe to drink.


In the end, tea bags don’t expire, but they can dry up and, depending on environmental conditions, expire. By storing your tea bags safely, or drinking them before the “Best By” date, the tea that you drink will remain safe and tasty!

how long can you keep tea bags
How long can you keep tea bags?

Tea Bag | Recommended

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tea Bag | Recommended

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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