We get a lot of questions about tea. And that’s great! Who better to ask about tea than the staff at a loose leaf tea shop? We talk about tea with everyone. We’re going to break down some of the most common tea questions we get in this post and a few posts to come. Today we’ll discuss how long tea lasts.
Does Tea Go Bad?
Technically, dry loose leaf tea does not go bad. However, there is a shelf life. Dry tea leaves are considered to be shelf stable and can last for years. The longer you keep them, though, the weaker the flavor and aroma will be. Some of the amazing antioxidants and flavonoids will degrade over time. Always store your tea away from heat, light, and humidity. Keep reading for more details.
How Long Does Tea Last?
This question comes up a lot, especially now when people are shopping for Christmas stocking stuffers. Is it okay to buy loose leaf tea now? Yes! Will it stay fresh until Christmas? Yes! Unopened, we recommend that people use their tea within 18 months. Once a package has been opened, we recommend using it within a few to several months. Furthermore, tea ships really well. Skip the stress of last minute shopping and find a few flavors in advance for the tea lovers in your life.
Differences Between Types of Tea
Some tea lasts longer than other tea. This is due to how different teas are processed. Processing styles result in different flavors, leaf shapes and sizes, and different colors of tea when it’s steeped.
- Shortest: prepared tea. Drink hot tea while it’s hot. Iced tea should be refrigerated and used with a week.
- Short: matcha, certain fresh spring teas. Ideally, these should be refrigerated and used within a couple of months after they are opened.
- Medium: green tea, oolong tea, flowers and leafy herbals, etc. These keep for up to 18 months unopened. Use within a few to several months after opening.
- Long: black tea, whole spices, roots and bark herbals, etc. These can last for a couple of years unopened, sometimes longer.
- Longest: pu-erh tea is deliberately fermented, sometimes for decades.
When shopping for tea lovers, it’s definitely okay to get your holiday gifts in advance. They will stay fresh in their sealed packages, and they’ll make someone very happy every time they make a cup.