Sometimes you end up with far more tea than you could ever drink.
Perhaps you simply brewed too much hot tea by accident. Or you made a large batch of iced tea that you hope will last for several days.
But how long does brewed tea last?
Short answer: it lasts up to 5 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.
But that’s not always true.
There are factors that can shorten those times considerably and there are things you can do to lengthen its life.
And even if your tea does last, it will likely undergo some changes. Would you even still want it after a few days of sitting in the fridge, or after a few months in the freezer?
We’ll tackle all those questions and more.
How To Make Brewed Tea Last Longer
Brewed tea typically lasts three to five days. If you’ve ever been guilty of brewing a big pot of tea and then promptly forgetting about it, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some tips you can follow to ensure you stop pouring your tea down the drain.
First, store your tea in the fridge. Doing so will make it last longer. Brewed tea can last as long as five days if you keep it in the fridge.
It should be kept in an airtight container in order to prevent it from absorbing any of the smells or flavors of other foods and beverages in the fridge. It will also help to prevent bacteria from growing.
Storing Tea In The Freezer
For some, this option is a no-brainer. But others, myself included, may not have even known that tea keeps well in the freezer.
If you want to whip up a few pots of your favorite beverage and save some for later, then any amount you won’t be able to consume within three to five days should go in the freezer. Brewed tea can easily last in your freezer for a period of six months.
How Long Does Unbrewed Loose Leaf Tea Last?
If stored correctly, a loose tea leaves can last up to two years. If you have some that you’re not sure about and you want to know if they’re still usable, steep them for the recommended amount of time. If the resulting brew tastes weak or it has a very faint smell, then you should toss it.
In order to extend the life of your tea leaves, make sure they are kept in an airtight container. Storing unprepared tea in the fridge or freezer is a bad idea, since the condensation can affect the flavor.
How Long Does Iced Tea Last?
Iced tea should only be kept in the fridge for eight hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That said, most of us have brewed a batch, put it in the fridge, and continued to drink it for a few days after.
However, you probably noticed that it started to lose its flavor after the first day. The reason why it should be tossed after a day in the fridge while plain brewed tea can last three to five days has to do with the sugar in iced tea.
Sugar in the tea will slowly begin to cause fermentation after the first day. Additionally, if you’ve added fruit or fruit juice, it can also cause begin to ferment after the first twenty-four hours. Fruit contains sugar, after all. If you make your iced tea without sugar, it will last 3 to 5 days, like a regular tea.
Is there anything you can do to make it last longer than a day in the fridge?
In order to protect the flavor, just like plain brewed tea, make sure you store it in an airtight container, instead of your favorite glass pitcher.
The next time you brew up a batch, leave the sugar out.
While many people prefer sweet tea and feel it tastes pretty amazing, making tea with the sugar, can cause bacterial growth and faster fermentation. Making it without sugar is also healthier. If you absolutely need sugar, you could leave it out of the pitcher, but add it to your cup later.
Using higher quality leaves can also impact how long it lasts. The better the quality, the longer your brewed tea will last. I recommended always using high-quality loose leaves as opposed to the generic teabags.
While tea bags are a lot easier, they are not great for any type of tea, including sun tea and iced tea, since tea from bags tends to taste bland and not have any of the unique characteristics of each type of tea. If you’re not sure what type of tea to get, read my guide on choosing the right one for you.
How Long Does Brewed Tea Last At Room Temperature?
If refrigerated plain brewed tea can last up to five days, how long does tea kept at room temperature last?
Most people will not store brewed tea at room temperature since it usually tastes best when it’s either piping hot or ice cold. But if you’ve accidentally left a pot of fresh brewed tea out overnight, you may be wondering if it is still be safe to drink or if the temperature has affected its flavor.
If you do ever leave your tea sitting at room temperature, make sure you drink it within an eight hour period. Any longer and bacteria may have begun to grow. This is especially true if you live in a hotter climate.
Aside from bacteria, when it’s left at room temperature for several hours, it will begin to lose many of its health benefits, not to mention it will start to taste off.
What Is A Glass Teapot Infuser?
Every tea maker knows that the right tools are essential. Using the right type of teapot can mean the difference between a weak bland brew and a strong, flavor-packed cup of tea.
Glass teapot infusers are great for loose leaf teas and especially for blooming teas. They’re not only beautiful, but they also serve a functional purpose. These teapots are long-lasting and durable, made from a combination of boron trioxide and silica. Tempered glass can also be used.
They’re also versatile and can brew either bags or loose leaves. Their easy pour spout makes it much easier to pour, while giving the pot an elegant, delicate look. The built-in infusers prevent large and small particles from making their way into your tea.
But the main reason I love glass teapots is that you can watch as the tea slowly spreads out in the water. Not only does it look cool, it also makes it easier to judge when your tea is strong enough and it is time to remove the leaves.
These multitasking teapots are a must-have for the avid tea-drinker and the beginner interested in bringing tea into their life. If you’re not sure which glass teapot with infuser to get, this buyers guide covers the best ones on the market.
What’s The Right Way To Brew Green Tea?
Brewing green tea can be a little trickier than brewing black. That’s because the leaves are only minimally oxidized, which makes them much more delicate. This is true of all green teas, but especially Japanese green teas.
Chinese green teas are actually fairly easy to brew. It doesn’t take much to brew an authentic green tea the way the Chinese have for centuries. We actually have an article on how to make tea in a teapot.
The first key is to use water at the correct temperature of around 80 degrees Celsius, depending on the specific type of green tea. Water that’s too hot can scald the leaves and negatively impact the flavor, plus it can even destroy some of the nutrients in the tea.
Steeping the tea for the right amount of time is also important, though less so for the Chinese teas than the more delicate Japanese ones. Steeping too long will make the resulting brew too bitter and steeping for too short a time results in a weak tea.
Using high-quality leaves is perhaps the most important factor of all. Tea bags will give you the worst results. Low quality loose tea is better, but still far from ideal. You definitely want to get a quality green tea brand. The good news is: even great tea is not that expensive.
While brewing loose leaf green tea is more difficult than making tea from tea bags, it is not nearly as complicated as some would have you believe. Anyone can prepare tea like a Chinese tea house.
Another option is to brew your tea using cold water. The cold brew green tea benefits are many, from additional health benefits to a sweeter flavor, with no bitterness.
Maybe you’re making a large batch of iced tea to enjoy over a period of several days or you accidentally brewed more hot tea than you intended. Now you know how long brewed tea lasts in the fridge, freezer and at room temperature, and how long iced tea can be safely stored in the fridge.
Hopefully this knowledge will also help you prepare your tea accordingly in the future. Remember, if you want your plain brewed tea to last longer, store it in the fridge where it can remain safe to drink for up to five days as long as it’s kept in an airtight container.
If you’re making iced tea, it should also be placed in an airtight container. Additionally, avoid adding sugar, at least until you’re ready to serve, since this can cause fermentation.
If you’ve brewed more tea than you’re able to consume in a five day period, it can be safely stored in the freezer for a period of six to eight months.
If you’re not sure whether or not it’s still safe to drink, carefully look for any mold growth before drinking. Smell it as well to note whether or not it has begun to smell sour.
Tea that’s past its prime is not usually harmful, but it will have lost its fragrant scent, flavor, and many of its health benefits.