Tea, like a lot of other drinks usually has a best before date, and not an expiration date or use by date. It is so because after some time it loses its flavour and aroma or may go completely stale. However, the time period up to which tea may remain good depends on its type and the way it is packed. For example, loose leaf tea kept in containers will eventually lose its flavor, whereas dry leaves will last longer. Although, after some time their natural flavour might evaporate too. Therefore, it’s good to know your tea before you pour your tea.
Talking about the types of teas, most of us are aware of the four most popular types of teas, but we may not be aware of their best before dates.
Here’s an Overview of after How Long Loose Leaf Tea May Not Remain Aromatic and Fresh.
White Tea : White tea is considered a special treasure among others. It is said that the longer of the storage time, the higher its medicinal value will be. When properly stored, the shelf life of packaged tea is usually 2 years. Beyond this period, the aroma will be gradually lost. However, its medicinal value will only increase with time. Thus, if you have one for more than 10 or 20 years, that means you have an extremely valuable collection.
Green Tea : The average shelf life of green tea is approximately 18 months as it is unfermented. After this, its flavour begins to fade. However, if kept away from light, air, heat, moisture, and odor, it may last up to three years.
Oolong Tea : Oolong tea is a semi-fermented, and the shelf life of this tea is also about 2 years. However, for loose leaf Oolong tea, the shelf life is shorter. In addition, the shelf life of Oolong depends on the degree of fermentation and storage method. To keep it at its best, all you need to do is choose a sealed container and put it in a dry, dark, airtight and odor free place.
Black Tea : Black tea has a longer shelf life than green tea as it is fully fermented. It may remain fresh for more than 18 months if stored in bulk, while its tea bags do not go stale up to 24 months. Tins or aluminum foil bags of black tea can be stored for about 3 years.
The small difference in the use by dates of these teas is usually because of the difference in their fermentation level. Although, for people who love drinking tea, it is not difficult to figure out if tea leaves have gone bad. One could easily sense that tea leaves have lost their aroma and freshness just by looking at its colour.
Also, for those who use loose leaf tea need to pay more attention while storing them as they may easily absorb moisture and odor from the outside environment. This will affect the quality of the tea and make it lose its original flavour even before the best before date.
However, it is not necessary that all of us would use only loose leaf tea, some might as well prefer using tea bags or keep loose tea in tins, and in that case, it becomes necessary to figure out how long they may remain fresh.
The answer is – it depends totally on how they have been stored.
Let’s Have a Look at a Few Tips that Can Be Followed to Keep Tea Bags in Their Best Quality for about 18 to 24 Months
- To maximize the shelf life of tea bags (including black, green, white and oolong), they must be stored in a cool, dark place, away from direct heat or sunlight.
- Storing in airtight containers to keep them away from moisture and odour.
- It is recommended not to store tea bags in the refrigerator or freezer as condensation can result, which will harm the taste and flavour of the tea.
The good thing about storing tea bags properly is that they can be used even after their best by dates. The best by date of any type of tea is usually not an expiration date, but the manufacturer’s estimate of how long will the tea remain in its peak quality. Thus, if stored properly, the commercial tea bag are good to go at any time.
Keeping all these points in mind, we can definitely make our tea last longer and in its best taste. However, the good news for tea lovers like us is that we don’t really have to worry about our tea getting stale because usually our tea gets consumed even before it is half way through its use by date.
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