Does tea expire?
Tea expiration dates: What you need to know
Over the years, we’ve been asked this question many times. Our short answer is always “technically no, but sometimes yes”. If you’re a tea drinker, you’ll notice most teas come with what looks like a tea expiration date. This, however is usually a best before date.
What’s the difference between best before & expiration dates?
Tea “Best Before Dates”
Best before dates are suggested by retailers as a way of letting you know when the product is best consumed before. Based on the on the ingredients used to make or flavor blends, retailers will suggest a date before which a tea will taste best. After a best before date, while tea is usually still safe to consume, it may may lose some of its taste and strength as flavoring or oils used in the blend start to evaporate.
Tea Expiration Dates
Some blends, depending on the ingredients used inside, will come with an expiration date rather than a best before date. These blends, usually blends that use fruits to naturally flavor the blends, may contain ingredients that expire with age. Because apples, strawberries, pineapple, and other dried fruits expire after a certain date, blends that have these mixed in will have expiration dates as guides for when the tea should be consumed by. While not recommended, many tea drinkers drink blends well by the expiration date.
Best before vs Expiration Date: How to tell?
Your blend has a date on it, but you don’t know how to tell if it’s a best before or expiration date?
This is normal, and actually a commonly used trick in the food industry. While using your judgement is best, you should always check the ingredients to see if the blend has ingredients that can go bad. If your blend is made of black tea, knowing tea does not expire, you can probably drink that blend well past it’s best before date. If your blend has fruits and other “likely to expire” ingredients, you may want to think twice about consuming it past its best before date.
I drank expired tea!
Drinking expired tea? It’s probably not as bad as you think. While we do not recommend drinking expired blends, using your judgement when consuming expired products is best. Pick up the bag, look at the ingredients, give it a whiff, does it stink? Foul smells could be a sign of rotting ingredients, so we’d recommend throwing that out asap. Again, most blends, especially those containing tea leafs only, should be okay to consumer a little past the best before date, but your common sense and judgement when consuming these blends is best.
Storing tea for maximizing shelf life
We always recommend storing tea in airtight containers away from direct sunlight, in a cool, dry place (pantries are usually best). Have expired tea and don’t want to throw it away? Try re-purposing tea leafs by using them in your garden, making tea-based hair rinses, or even making awesome art.
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