Royal New York

Managing Inventory 101: Does Tea Expire?

Have you ever wondered, does tea expire? Well, fresh tea is the best tea, but the good news is that tea has an excellent shelf life if stored in proper conditions. Keep reading for our tea storage tips & tricks!

loose leaf specialty black tea on a spoon at Royal Tea New York

So, does tea expire?

Due to low moisture content, tea has a very impressive shelf life. The approximate length of time can vary because of several factors, such as the type of tea, how it was processed, and how it is stored. If kept properly, tea leaves can taste fresh for about 1 year. After the year mark has passed, tea will still be safe to drink—the flavor will just begin to weaken, and you may notice that some of the aroma is starting to fade.

How do I keep my tea fresh?

It is important to keep tea away from air, light, moisture, and heat. These elements can cause your tea to deteriorate quickly! When packaging your tea for retail sale, we always recommend using something that has an airtight seal. Opaque stand-up pouches with a heat-sealable lock will do the job. Tins are also a fantastic option to keep the elements at bay. Stay away from clear containers like glass jars or translucent baggies. Exposure to excessive or harsh light can cause tea to taste metallic and unfavorable. Do not store your tea in humid conditions. Keep your tea in a cool, dry environment.

Keep your tea away from other strong odors! Anything especially fragrant can contaminate your tea if they are stored too close together. Smells from spices, cleaning products, and flavorings can all cling to your loose leaf if left unchecked.

What’s the shelf life of brewed tea?

Cold brewed tea can be stored in the fridge safely for 24 hours. Exceeding that time frame will cause a lackluster flavor, and you may also face the risk of bacteria growth. If you’re brewing a larger amount for food service, try to limit the amount to what you need for the day.

As always, if you have questions, your Royal Tea New York traders are here for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us!