Is It Ok To Drink Expired Tea Bags?

June 30, 2023

Leftover teabags are very much common in most households, including mine. I know what you think in such situations; is it ok to drink expired tea bags? It’s the same thought I also had before I conducted my very own research. Today I’m going to share my experience of drinking expired tea; come and join me. 

Do Tea Bags Expire?

Well, yes, they do expire similar to all other food items, but as far as you see no mold in the tea bags, there shouldn’t be any problem to consume. Simply put, even though you notice the tea bags are beyond the expiry date, you should be able to drink them. However, the taste and color of expired tea might not be the same as the ones that are within the expiration date. 

How Long Is Tea Bags Good For?

The best part of the story is that tea is something that has a considerable lifespan. When packed in a bag, tea should retain its quality at least for three or four months. The said time period gets even longer if you store tea in an airtight container. 

Moisture, heat, air, and light are some of the deciding factors that determine the lifespan of tea. So, I would say it’s better to stay away from these factors regardless of the form you use tea in your house. 

How Long Are Tea Bags Good After The Expiration Date?

Even though we are still at the beginning phase of the article, I assume you can understand that the expiration date for tea bags is kind of irrelevant when it comes to consumption.

However, one could ask, “ I have 10 year old tea bags, can I use them”? So, it’s better to know about the shelf life of tea bags precisely. 

Well, it is not straightforward to provide you with an exact answer to this question as it very much depends on the tea brands and the quality of tea leaves. That said, in most cases, the quality of tea and tea bags should remain around one year after the best-by date. 

Please note that this is the norm; I have seen tea bags that had their quality more than one year and some that even failed to last even six months after the best-by date.  

is it ok to drink expired tea bags

Is It Ok To Drink Expired Tea Bags?

Yes, on a general note, drinking old tea is not something you need to worry about. However, as I said, the freshness, taste, or smell would not be the same. Although you sense that the flavor or freshness is a kind of change, it doesn’t necessarily suggest that your tea bags have gone bad.

In order to be on the safe side of things, it would be best if you have a closer look at the below-mentioned indications when trying to drink expired tea.

But before that i recommend to read this guide on whay coffee maker so expensive, if you are coffee lover.

Signs of Bacteria

Although I pointed that tea bag expiration is not a huge factor, still you should keep an eye on whether the tea bags contain bacteria. Identifying bacteria in tea is not a demanding task; just look for,

Acid-like smell: When bacteria formation is thorough, there will be an acidic taste or odor coming from tea, which is easy to understand if you know the authentic tea smell. 

Sticky tea leaves: Tea is something that should be dry all the time when it is in its optimal condition. However, it tends to get sticky because of bacteria. 

Signs of Mold

Moisture is the main culprit for mold in tea. If you are storing tea bags long term, it is imperative to keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent molding. The unusual smell is the primary giveaway of mold-hit tea. In addition, the color of the tea is also going to change when there is mold; typically, the molds are white, yellow, and grey in color. 

How to Tell If Tea is Fresh?

On the other hand, I want my readers to identify the fresh tea as well. The flavor and aroma of fresh tea are unique, and evaluating them must be a cakewalk even for the rookies. If you are unsure, the best possible method is to compare the old tea with the new tea. 

Moreover, once you brew a fresh cup of tea, it has to be dark in color, and the taste should be flavorful. When it becomes old, the color of brewed tea will deteriorate, and the taste will be more or less dull.

Still, I’m not saying such tea is not suitable to drink; all I’m saying here is that they are not as fresh as they used to be. Get my point?

Can Expired Tea Make You Sick? Then What Kind of Sicknesses? 

We all know what tea brings to the table in terms of health benefits, and most of them are scientifically proven by experts. Ok then, is drinking old tea bad for you? Let’s turn our focus on this all-important aspect.

Well, drinking expired tea has fewer chances of making you sick. The first thing that you will after you sip expired tea is the horrible taste (that also happens when you consume too old tea). 

The worst-case scenario is that it can lead you to an upset stomach. It’s not only with tea, but when there are bacteria, anything can bring harmful consequences. So, I want you to read the previous section of this article to learn how to identify unusable tea. 

Let me keep it this way. If you notice no change in appearance, no bacteria growth, or mold, the tea bags should be fairly safe to drink. As far as I’m concerned, we are not here for thousands of years, so why do you drink spoiled tea? 

can i drink expired tea bags

What to Do With Expired Tea Bags? 

At this point, you should know two important things with regards to expired tea bags. Number one is, tea bags are still brew-able even if they are beyond expire date. The second is you have to inspect bacteria and mold growth to stay on the safe side.

Anyway, is there anything you can do with expired tea bags if you find them not brewable?? Indeed, there are a handful of opportunities. Let me elaborate on a few. 

For Composting

No, your old tea bags don’t deserve the trash bin, but they absolutely deserve your compost pile. The compounds in tea help to speed up the composting process as they are full of useful acids. 

Use as a First Aid

Yes, if you or your loved ones suffer bruises or scratches, old tea bags can be a great first aid solution as they have the tendency to stop relatively small bleeding spots. 

As a Shoe Deodorizer

Amazing, ha? You have the opportunity of using old tea to get rid of smelly shoes. All you have to do is shove the tea leaves in your shoe and leave them overnight. Boom! The smell is gone!

To Hydrate Skin

The used tea bags are a great source to keep your skin hydrated and refresh the parched spots. Just brew the tea and let it cool. Then use a cotton cloth to apply to the concerned areas on your skin. The antioxidants in the tea will take care of your dry skin. 


Can I drink expired tea bags? Yes, you should be able to consume expired tea as long as there are no bacteria or mold growth. That is the summary of today’s article. The expiry date on the package is really irrelevant when it comes to the usability of tea. If you have any question, let me know it in the comment section. Have a great day!

1 Comment
  1. You can use tea bags to dye material.

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