How long do you keep your tea?


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How long do you keep your tea?

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Dez 30, 2010, 1:27 pm

I've read in a few places (maybe here, maybe elsewhere) that tea should be kept for a year. Just wondering how long most of you keep your tea, and do you throw it away after a year? Does it really make that much difference in taste? I tend to have lots and lots of tea because I like to have a variety of flavors to choose from, and I'm always finding some kind of tea I want to try. Since I live in climate that's very hot in summer, I don't drink tea year round. This year I ordered several samples from Adagio and I know I'll use those up in a year's time, but many companies don't sell amounts that small.

Jan 4, 2011, 6:53 am

Yes to all of it :-) You can keep tea for much longer than a year, but the taste will suffer. I tend to drink very good tea very fast (my xmas gift of a couple of 100 g single estate darjeelings are almost gone) and bad tea very slowly.

Do whatever you feel like and don't feel bad about keeping the tea longer than a year.

Jan 4, 2011, 11:54 am

I keep it until I finish it. I only have a couple of teas that really do "expire" but even then I can't bring myself to just throw them away.

Jan 4, 2011, 12:20 pm

If you keep your tea in a dark, cool, dry place, it will retain its flavor longer; above all, don't keep it in glass containers!

Abr 9, 2011, 10:17 pm

I don't think I've ever had a package of tea that I didn't finish within a year. Come to that, I don't I've ever had a package of tea that survived more than a three months in my keeping; I drink far too much of it for that.

Jul 23, 2012, 1:53 pm

I don't think I've ever had any tea for that long. If I did, I wouldn't throw it out. It might become weaker, but I don't think it's harmful.

Jul 24, 2012, 1:28 pm

I think shelf life of up to a year is mainly for green teas. On tea caddies of Twinings for most black teas a shelf life of 2 years is indicated, but I would go on drinking the tea after that.

Rolled and fermented teas also have longer shelf life. For all teas, shelf life can be extended through proper storage.

It seems for many teas (except green), a usage of up to 3 years seems reasonable.

In China, I receive a lot of tea as gifts. The gifts also often consist of large quantities. I pass the cheaper teas on to my Chinese colleagues or the compost heap.

I drink most teas including greens up to 3 years before tossing them. It also depends on the taste.

Jul 24, 2012, 4:38 pm

I try to avoid having more than a year or so on hand so I don't have to try and remember how old the tea is. I drink almost exclusively black teas, and 2 years hasn't been a problem that I could tell. I keep tea in airtight, opaque tea caddies, and they seem to do fine.

If I buy teabags (which I try to avoid), and they are not in individual foil wrappers, I put them in an airtight caddy, ziploc bag, or equivalent.


Jul 29, 2012, 10:41 pm

My husband and I buy loose leaf and try not to let it sit around for longer than a couple of months.  If we suspect it's been on our counter for about a year, we toss it.  I think I've read that it can be a decent fertilizer for plants.

Good point on the tea bags, Osbaldistone.

Jul 31, 2012, 8:25 pm

I collect teas from around the world (and sometimes steal them from lounges) so I end up with A HUGE collection. Needless to say, most of it stayed with me for years but I only drink the ones I recently bought or stole.

I asked Whittard's saleslady this summer about the expiration and she told me they can stay up to a year but it entirely depends on their freshness. If the pack is sealed, there's a good chance the tea will retain its freshness; however, if you open it and the smell is gone then that's an indication it has expired (or something like that).

Ago 1, 2012, 2:01 am

My mother-in-law drinks tea quite rarely, but keeps tea in her cupboard because she knows I like tea. However, she buys whatever catches her fancy which will always be teabags and usually in paper packaging. Once she removes the cello wrapper to use one bag, the rest are at risk of going stale in a few months. So, I bring my own tea with me when I go to visit. I open and wet a few of her tea bags, then throw them away, while surepticiously brewing my cuppa with my own, fresh tea. Am I an evil son-in-law?


Editado: Ago 1, 2012, 3:26 am

Only if I'm an evil daughter-in-law for planting good cocoa and condiments around my in-laws' kitchen.  On top of that, I added a plastic whisk (they have so much teflon!) and a Good Cook spatula to their artillery.

Ago 1, 2012, 10:43 pm

Ok now I'm jealous of you two. I wish I had a mother-in-law to buy tea for.