Do Teabags Go Bad? How Long Do Teabags Last?

Do you have an old teabag sitting in your drawer? Maybe it has been days, months, or even years. You are probably wondering if it is any good to drink. Worry no longer, I have researched this very question and will share what I found with you in this article.

Quick Answer

The date listed on teabags is not an expiration date but more, so a best used by date. If stored properly, tea bags will not spoil. Dried leaves are the primary ingredient in tea bags. Dried leaves do not go old. The best used by date is for consumers to know how long they will have until it loses its freshness.


Now let us dive into a more detailed explanation on whether tea bags go old. I will discuss some signs to look for and some storage tips.

Do Teabags Go Bad? How Long Do Teabags Last?

Teabags do have what appears to be an expiration date. However, it is not an expiration date. No, it is when the tea bags are no longer of recommended use.

Do Teabags Go Bad or Expire?

The best used by date on the containers of teabags shows when they are best to use. The recommendation date is so that consumers get the best quality of their products. With that said, teabags do not have a firm date when they will go bad, because teabags are herbs. And herbs do not expire.

How a best used by date is different from an expiration date: A best used by date means the product will not expire. It also means that consuming it will not harm you. However, it will lose its smell and flavor with time. For most teas, the best used by date is roughly two years from buying the product.

The ingredients in a teabag: Teabags consist of herbs or dried tea leaves. These leaves come from a variety of tea plants.

How Do You Know When Tea Goes Bad?

There are three noticeable things you may see or experience in tea past the best used by date. Those are loss of taste, loss of smell, and the presence of mold.

Loss of taste: After two years, tea bags can lose their original flavor. You can drink tea with old tea bags, but they will have a dull taste.

Loss of aroma: Teabags will begin to lose their original scent or smell.

Presence of mold: Although teabags do not naturally spoil, they can if not stored properly. If not stored properly, they can develop mold. If that happens, do not use the tea =bags.

How to Store Teabags So They Stay Fresh for a Long Time?

Teabags do not need a lot of maintenance to keep them fresh for a long time. To preserve teabags, keep them away from water or areas that tend to have moisture, light, and heat.

Keeping teabags in sealed bags helps keep them fresh: Using sealed baggies will keep water from the dried leaves. Additionally, sealed teabags ensure they are fresh and not exposed to the air.

Store teabags in a drawer or cabinet to preserve them: One of the best ways to store teabags is to put them in a dark space such as a draw or pantry. Doing so helps keep them away from light. It is pertinent not to place them around the stove where heat can spoil the teabags.

How Different Flavors React to Being Left Out for a Duration of Time?

Different flavors of tea leaves affect how long the teabags can stay out. Four kinds of teas come from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis plant. These teas are most commonly known as black, green, white, and oolong. Though they come from the same origin, they have different fermentation processes. The fermentation process helps determine how long they will last.

Black Tea: The leaves in black tea are more fermented than other tea leaves. Black tea will last the longest out of the four.

Green Tea/White Tea: Green and white tea leaves are not very fermented and will not last very long. They are consumable but will not have a pleasing taste.

Oolong Tea: Oolong tea is semi-oxidized tea. Meaning, it won’t last as long as black tea but will last longer than green and white tea bags.

What Will Happen to Teabags That Sit Out for an Extended Period?

Teabags, left out for an extended length of time, can become less effective. Teabags are potent and have various therapeutic effects. If not used within two years, they could lose their concentration.

The reason teabags lose their potency over time: Teabags consist of broken leaf pieces. These pieces are also known as fannings. Fannings begin to degrade over time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tea Shelf Life

Few people think about how long teabags last. That is okay because tea bags are not like bread or fruit. Teabags last a sufficient amount of time because teabags consist of dried herbs. Still, though consumption should be within two years, that does not mean they have to be. Below are some common questions about tea shelf life and their answers.

How Long Do Teabags Last After the Best by Date? Teabags last about two years. After the two-year mark, they start to lose their flavor. Also, teabags will not be able to produce therapeutic effects. For example, tea that helps sleep or digest food may not be able to do so if used past two years.

Can You Drink Expired Teabags? Yes, you can drink tea that has expired. As long as it is stored correctly, then it is safe to drink. The leaves may lose smell and flavor; however, it will not prevent you from using them.

Can Old Tea Make You Sick? No, old tea will not make you sick, as long as it is stored correctly. The only way they will make you sick is if they are left out. Do not leave in areas near water or heat because that can cause mold to develop.

Can You Freeze Teabags? Yes, you can. If choosing to freeze teabags, you should freeze them in separate baggies. Doing so will prevent the other unused teabags from being exposed to the outside air. Another tip when freezing tea bags is to use light protective baggies.

Wrap up

The biggest thing to remember with teabags is that they do not expire. Teabags are safe to eat if stored properly. They might be bland, but they will not cause any harm if consumed. Leave a comment below about your own experiences when drinking old tea. We would love to hear your feedback!

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