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

Sweet tea is a refreshing drink that many people enjoy in the summer.

There are so many different variations of sweet tea that it can be hard to keep track.

Today, there are many variations on making this popular drink, but most people agree that adding some form of sweetener is essential for making it taste good.

If you’re looking for how long does sweet tea lasts, then read on.

What is Sweet Tea?

what is sweet tea

Sweet tea is a drink made from brewed tea leaves mixed with sugar and water.

The sweet taste of the beverage comes from its high concentration of sugar about other liquids that make up the recipe, usually mostly water.

There is also a popular drink variation, which includes adding lemon, lime, or orange juice to the recipe.

Some people also prefer ginger ale with it instead of water.

The origins of this sweet beverage are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have come from the British Isles in the 1700s.

Whether you prefer sweetened or unsweetened tea, most people agree that adding lemon juice boosts its flavor and makes it more refreshing.

There are many variations of this drink: with versus without sugar, citrus juices like orange juice or pineapple, and even hot water added for a “tea-bag” variation.

Sweet tea can be found all over North America and some parts of Europe, where immigrants brought over these traditions.

Some say that they’re good drinks for children’s parties or other gatherings where healthy food choices aren’t desired because of their sweetness.

How to Store Sweet Tea?

how to store sweet tea

One of the best ways to store sweet tea is in a fridge.

However, if you’re not at home and want your iced tea cold or hot, there are other options.

One way is to pour it into a thermos that has been pre-chilled with ice water for about an hour beforehand.

If you don’t have access to any container – a mug will do nicely.

You can fill up condensation on the outside of a glass window by placing a tumbler full of hot or iced (depending on what’s desired) tea against it and waiting until enough vapor accumulates inside before drinking.

Another option would be filling up small bottles from your tap with either hot or iced tea depending on what you prefer.

Don’t leave your tea in the sun or on a hot spot for too long – it’ll just heat up and spoil your iced tea.

Another way to retain flavor is by filling up an old-fashioned ice tray with water before adding some sweetener.

Fill individual cups of milk, juice, or other beverage that will complement the taste of your tea until you run out of space in the ice cube compartment.

How Long Does Sweet Tea Last?

how long does sweet tea last

In summer, iced tea becomes a staple at my family gatherings.

My great aunt is famous for her sweet, fruity concoction that she serves in giant batches all summer long.

I can’t remember when I was asked what type of drink I want to enjoy and not hear someone shout “Iced Tea.

” from across the room.

Sweet tea has been an American icon since colonial times when it became popularized as a replacement for water due to unsafe drinking water supplies.

Hot drinks like coffee were also considered taboo because they would make people too jittery during church services or work around their plantations.

That said, there are a few things you should know about the old Southern favorite.

Iced tea typically has sugar added to it, making it go bad quicker than many people might think.

So, how long does sweet tea last? The two most important factors that affect its longevity are whether or not there is sugar in the drink and if it’s kept cold enough (you want the temperature of iced tea to be at least 40 degrees).

If your iced tea contains any form of sweeteners – such as cane juice crystals or simple syrup – then you should drink it within one day.

If there’s no sugar in your iced tea, then you can expect the beverage to last for two or four days without going bad.

If you want to keep your iced tea fresh for longer periods, you may want to store it in the fridge.

For best results, you should keep your iced tea at a temperature of 40 degrees or lower and aim for storage times of 4 days when possible.

How to Tell if Sweet Tea is Bad?

how to tell if sweet tea is bad

There is nothing more refreshing than a glass of sweet tea on a hot day.

Those few minutes enjoying the cool drink can be soothing, and when you’re done, it’s easy to walk away from an empty cup until next time.

But what if your saving for that next sip? How do you know if your iced tea is still good or bad?

You can take a few simple steps to find out if your sweet tea is still safe.

First, pour the drink into another container and look at it through the light of day.

If there’s any cloudiness or sediment in the bottom, this beverage might be bad for drinking.

The second step would be to smell it – if all that comes from your cup is an odorless liquid with no fizzing sound when shaken up, then the chances are good that it has gone off.

Finally, do not forget about taste.

Give yourself a sip of iced tea and see how sour or bitter it tastes; too much acidity could mean spoilage as well.

If you’re in doubt and can’t figure out for sure if your iced tea is still good, the best idea would be to pour it down the sink.


The answer to how long do sweet tea lasts will depend on what is in it.

If you make homemade iced tea without any preservatives added, then three days should be a good estimate.

Adding lemonade or other fruit juices could make the drink go bad more quickly.

You’ll also want to consider whether your recipe includes milk or dairy products, which can cause spoilage much more quickly than water.

how long does sweet tea last

How Long Does Sweet Tea Last? Does Sweet 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


  • Sweet tea
  • Air-tight containers or bottle
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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