Tea bags are becoming more and more common thanks to their convenience. However, many customers are unaware of the recommended storage methods for filter tea bags. Additionally, many tea lovers purchase a variety of teas at once and either forget to consume them or are unable to do so before the expiry date. So how long do tea bags last? How to spot and use tea bags that are past their prime? You may learn some interesting facts and practical tips from this article.

1.           How long do tea bags last?

In addition to tea, there are many other materials in a tea bag, such as filter paper, thread, and tags… Normally, tea has the shortest shelf life overall. Each type of tea has a different peak time. If you are unclear about the tea’s expiration date or have misplaced the outer package, you can refer to the shelf life below:

Green tea

Green tea has the shortest shelf life since it is not fermented. Green tea has a shelf life of 12 to 24 months on average. Within the first six months of manufacture, the tea tastes the best. After 12 months, the taste gradually decreased.

Green tea bag from FGC

Black tea

Black tea is fully fermented and has a much longer shelf life than green tea. The average shelf life is 2 years and if stored well can be up to 4 years.

Oolong tea

Oolong is a partially fermented tea that has an average shelf life of 2 years and varies depending on the rate of fermentation. If the tea has a low fermentation rate, the shelf life will be similar to green tea, and the high fermentation rate will be like black tea.

Oolong tea bag from FGC

Yellow tea

Yellow tea is a type of tea with a process similar to green tea but slightly fermented. The average shelf life is one year and can last up to 18-24 months if stored well.

Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh is a special fermented tea that is considered “unexpired” because the longer it is kept, the better it tastes.

White tea

White tea is considered the green version of Pu-erh tea. If stored well, White tea can still be used after more than 10 years.

Flower tea

Flower tea often uses green tea, so it has a similar shelf life as green tea. This tea is especially fragrant in the first 6 months after production.

Fruit tea

If it is a flavored tea, the expiry date can refer to the type of tea used for flavoring.

If there is a lot of dried fruit in the tea, it is best to drink it within 6-12 months.

Peach tea bag from FGC

In addition to tea bags, you can also enjoy many products from fruits such as Fruit Detox, Fruit Juice, etc. Read the post below to explore more healthy fruits for everyday use:

What is fruit detox? 6 popular fruits should be included in the detox juice

Herbal tea

Many herbs can be used to make tea and they have different shelf lives. The average is 12-24 months.

In fact, many situations cause the tea to lose quality before its expiry date. Read this article to the end to learn more.

Moringa tea bag from FGC

Herbal teas are also famous for their detoxing assistance. Read the post below to get more helpful information about Herbal detox tea produced by FGC:

What you should know about herbal detox tea

2.           Do tea bags go bad or expire?

Many tea manufacturers use Best Before Date (BBD) rather than Expiry Date because dried tea leaves if sealed and stored well, can still be used after BBD. But does this mean that tea bags can be used forever and won’t spoil? The answer is No.

Under certain conditions, tea and filter bags can gradually degrade in quality and are better not consumed even before the expiry date. More details will be presented in the following sections.

3.      When do tea leaves and tea bags “expire”?

Typically, within the shelf life, dry tea leaves and tea bags do not easily go bad as long as they have been stored properly away from moisture, heat and direct light. Under such storage conditions, even for 1 or up to 6 months after BBD or expiry date, the tea’s flavor, taste, and nutrients may be reduced compared to new tea, but it is still safe to drink.

In case you notice that the tea is not in the best storage condition, observe further before drinking. Even during BBD, if the tea bag has a strange color, smell, or taste, it has expired.

How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags

The next section will reveal a few tips for you to know when a tea bag has expired.

4.           How do you know when tea bags go bad?

After having a new pouch or box of tea bags, enjoy and try to remember the look, aroma, and taste of the new tea. You can take pictures and record videos if needed. That will be the standard for you to compare and evaluate the quality of the tea bag later.

If you drink tea after some time, pay attention to the following points before and after brewing:

  • Aroma

After 6-12 months, most teas (except for Pu-erh and white tea) no longer have the same aroma as a new tea but still more or less have the characteristic odor of tea. If the scent of tea leaves and liquor is off or you smell a pungent, musty, or strange aroma, do not use this tea bag anymore. It may be too old or moldy.

  •  Appearance

If you observe visible white, yellow, blue, brown, or black spots… on the tea bag or bugs inside the bag, do not hesitate to throw it away. Bacteria may have grown inside the tea bag, so it is no longer safe to drink.

You can also observe the color of the tea after brewing. If the liquor color turns dull or too different from the original, then you should not drink it.

If mold appears in the cup, of course, you should discard the tea immediately.

How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags
Tea liquor with moldy scum is not safe to drink
  • Taste

Expired tea has a more obvious bitter, stale, or unpleasant taste.

Teas (especially green tea, flower tea, or herbal tea) after brewing, if left overnight or over 24 hours, it is best not to drink because the taste is no longer good and may have produced harmful substances.

Within the shelf life specified in part 1, tea bags can be safely consumed if stored properly. The aforementioned signs could occur as early as a few months after purchase if not properly stored. Learn more about how to effectively preserve it in the following section.

5.           How to store tea bags to maximize their shelf life

The best storage conditions for tea bags are to avoid moisture, high temperatures, and direct sunlight. To maximize the shelf life of a box of tea bags in case you can’t finish it quickly, make sure the storage conditions are ideal.

  • If you reside in a cool, dry region, after taking out a tea bag, you can simply close the box or bag. It would be better if there was a layer of the pouch to protect the filter tea bags in the box.
  • How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags
    Gold Label tea bag from FGC
  • In case you live in a hot, humid region, we recommend you buy pre-packed tea bags with an envelope to protect each bag better.
  • No matter what kind of packaging, as long as it is intact, you can seal the box and store it in a dry, cool, dark place like the kitchen cupboard or pantry cabinet.
  • You shouldn’t place other tea, coffee, or scented foods close to the tea packaging if you want to preserve the delicate aroma of each tea. Or you might need to add more packaging layers to keep them separate.
  • If the packaging is not intact anymore, you can move the tea bags into another airtight container. Plastic or metal jars are easy to find but can have odors that interfere with the natural aroma of the tea. Glass, ceramic, and porcelain jars with tight-fitting lids are perfect.
  • You can store the tea in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life, but you should pick a place that is sufficiently cool and does not have the smell of food. Continue to store it in the refrigerator after taking out each package to use. If you take it out and forget to put it in the fridge after a few days, it is possible that the tea will grow moist again and become unsafe.

Additionally, since you can still use the tea bags that have expired for other purposes, you don’t need to repent it.

How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags

6.   How to make use of expired tea bags

Do not rush to throw away expired tea bags because they are still very useful. Unless the tea bag has already developed mold, you can use as follows:

  • Beauty uses

You can brew green or black tea bags with hot water and use it to incubate your hair.

In addition, you can use green tea bags after brewing to apply to the eyes to help relax.

Expired tea bags are also good ingredients to make a foot bath/massage every night, helping you relax and have a better sleep, through which your skin and health are improved as well.

How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags

  • Natural detergent

Tea contains tannins and is alkaline, so it also has a pretty effective cleansing effect. With pots and dishes, you just need to soak them in hot tea liquor.

The scale in the kettle can be removed by adding a few tea bags and a little water, boiling, and steeping for a while.

  • Fertilizer

Numerous nutrients included in tea leaves are beneficial for plant growth. Replace fertilizers by soaking expired tea bags in water for approximately 4 weeks and then dilute them to water plants.

  • Deodorant

Tea bags have a strong hygroscopic ability and have a pleasant smell. Putting tea bags in shoes or new cabinets will also help absorb shoe odors and varnish/paint odors from wooden cabinets.

This article may have partly answered the question “How long do tea bags last?” and provided interesting facts about tea bags. It’s also important to buy tea from a reliable supplier as you can be assured of the tea’s quality and packaging.

How long do tea bags last? Interesting facts about tea bags

If you plan to buy bulk tea bags with a variety of packaging (single/double chamber, round or pyramid tea bag, with or without envelop/pouch, etc), Future Generation Co. Ltd. is where you can put your trust.

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Author: Ms. Hang Gina – FGC Sales Executive

Experience our fantastic Private Label Service by accessing this website: https://oem-fgc.com/