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How Long Does Loose Tea Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

Loose tea is a popular alternative to traditional teabag.

It is made from high-quality leaves, usually organic and hand-picked.

Loose leaf tea has been around for centuries, and its popularity continues to grow as more people discover how tasty this type of tea can be.

There are many health benefits associated with drinking loose leaf teas, including how they help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in your body.

But how long does loose tea last? We’ll tell you how long that depends on the type of loose leaf tea you have purchased.

How to Store Loose Tea?

how to store loose tea

Loose leaf tea is the best option for a premium cup of brew because it’s less processed than other tea types.

Not only does it have more flavor, but you can choose what type of leaves and how much to use in your cup.

More importantly, storing loose leaf tea is a little bit different than bagged or canned brands because of the way they’re processed:

  • Store loose leaf teas with care as they are susceptible to being crushed by the impact. Don’t store them near anything that could cause damage, like heavy objects or heat sources.
  • Keep an airtight container for storage so moisture doesn’t get into the pouch and ruin the quality of the tea.
  • Make sure not to overfill containers – this will make it less likely for them to close appropriately, which increases the chances of oxygen getting inside.
  • Seal any containers with tea to avoid the possibility of moisture getting in from outside.
  • Managing your loose leaf tea is easy when you keep good storage practices and replace older leaves as needed. Using fresh, quality ingredients means that brewing a cup of tea will be more fulfilling than ever before.

Not only does it have more flavor, but you can choose what type of leaves and how much to use in your cup.

Can Old Tea Make You Sick?

can old tea make you sick

Old tea will have a stale taste and a decreased level of antioxidants.

The tea may not make you sick outright, but it is not worth consuming due to these qualities.

It’s also important to remember that old tea leaves may be safe as long as they are correctly stored, though their quality will significantly diminish.

Tea may be more prone to molds, but high-quality teas are often dried at a higher temperature, eradicating the problem.

However, this doesn’t mean you can drink ancient tea safely – it’s best to stick with fresh leaves if possible.

How Long Does Loose Tea Last? Does Loose Tea Go Bad?

how long does loose tea last

Like with any tea, the shelf life of loose leaf tea is dependent on several factors.

The more quality leaves you use and how well stored in an airtight container will determine its longevity.

Tea experts recommend storing your tightly closed jar out of direct sunlight and in a cool place.

Loose leaf tea should last anywhere from 18 to 24 months, depending on the type of tea and how it’s been stored.

Green teas, for instance, are best enjoyed within 18 months, while black teas and oolongs will last a bit longer at about 24 months.

Is loose tea safe to drink after the “best by” date on the package? Yes, provided it is appropriately stored and commercially packed with a date of expiration.

These dates are not safety warnings but just estimates for how long they will remain at their best quality.

How to Tell if Loose Tea is Bad?

how to tell if loose tea is bad

The best way to tell if tea is past its prime is by looking for the color change from an intense green or brownish hue to duller hues of yellow-green or amber due to oxidation.

The leaves themselves may also present as more brittle than they were when fresh.

A musty smell can also indicate that your loose leaf has gone bad, especially in humid environments where moisture lingers on the leaves after brewing and as time goes on.

Loose tea leaves can also become moldy or develop a fuzzy appearance, unsafe to ingest, and should be discarded immediately.

If the loose leaf smells strong and musty, tastes too astringent (too much tannin), or lacks the depth of flavor, then it has gone bad as well.

Tasting brewed tea can offer you insight into how your particular blend may taste at its prime; however, tasting steeped leaves will give you an idea about what life might have been like in that cup had they never expired from old age.

Some people find these aged teas more complex than their fresh counterparts because all those flavors are just starting to unfold – try drinking them side-by-side and see for yourself.

does loose tea go bad

How Long Does Loose Tea Last? Does Loose Tea Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Loose tea
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Check the u0022Best-by-dateu0022 to know when it expires.
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
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