Tea is being consumed since time immemorial. Having originated in the Eastern countries, green tea is a famous beverage all over the world. This healthy drink is a part of the everyday lives. With every sip of green tea, people are heading towards a healthier life.
When consumed regularly with ample exercise and a healthy diet, it works really well in keeping you in shape.
You must have always heard about the health benefits and qualities of green tea but have you ever thought about the expiry date of the green tea lying in your pantry?
Well, it is a well-known fact that foods do tend to get spoiled after a specific time period. However, do green tea leaves also have something called an expiry date?
Let’s find the answer to this question!
Tea leaves don’t ‘expire‘ in the real sense. Unlike other foods and drinks, tea does not have an ‘expiry date‘ but a ‘best before date‘ which means that it is ideal to use the tea before the specified date.
Thereby, even after the best before date has lapsed, you can use the tea safely.
The only issue is that once the tea goes past the best before date, it tends to lose its flavor and the change is quite prominent when you consume it.
The shelf life of any sealed tea pack is between 12 months to 36 months but in the case of loose leaf tea, it is shorter because the leaves easily absorb the moisture and odor from the environment.
Why does green tea lose its flavor?
As mentioned above, green tea leaves lose their flavor with the passage of time. This is because the compounds present in tea undergo a chemical process and get affected by being exposed to humidity, high temperature, and excessive sunlight.
This brings down the tea quality. Thus, it is important to store tea the right way, especially green tea leaves.
Right way of storing green tea
Generally, you can use green tea until one year if it is stored at a room temperature. As green tea does not retain its freshness for too long, it is better to purchase it in smaller quantities and finish off the pack fast.
That is the best way out!
The main enemies of green tea are moisture, heat, light, air, and odor. If you manage to keep them away from these 5 enemies, you can extend its shelf life.
Is there a way of extending the shelf-life of tea?
By storing unopened green tea pouches in the freezer, you can extend the shelf life of the tea. However, once you have opened a pouch, you should not store it in the freezer again as it will get dampened.
How to find out if your tea is spoiled?
The easiest way to find out whether your tea has gone bad or not is with the help of your senses. Yes!
If the tea is spoiled, it will no longer have its distinct pleasant aroma. Remember that the tea term ‘tea gone bad’ only means that its natural oils have been evaporated with the passage of time and it has turned less flavorful.
Safety issues with green tea
Drinking green tea past its expiry date is not wrong. Green tea leaves do have certain kinds of bacteria that can multiply if kept for too long. So far, there have been no reports of an illness due to green tea but you must exercise caution in this regard.
For this reason, don’t consume the tea if it is way too far past the date stamped on the pack.
Always brew green tea at a temperature of about 90 degrees Celsius for 3-5 minutes. This will kill the bacteria present in the leaves if present. You should do what is best for you and drink tea beyond the expiry date responsibly.
It is okay if you don’t feel like drinking it. There are many other ways to use it and some are mentioned below.
Ways to use up extra green tea
If your pantry is overflowing with green tea and you want to get rid of it, there are many different ways of using it other than consuming it. Like already said, safety comes first.
Here are some ways of using up green tea that has crossed its best before date.
- Use the tea leaves to get rid of odors. For example, if you have been working in the kitchen and have smelly hands you can use tea leaves to get rid of the unpleasant smell. You can also hang tea bags in cupboards so that they absorb odors.
- You can use tea bags by using them as eye compresses. If you suffer from puffy eyes, dip two tea bags in cold water and place them over closed eyelids for about 20 minutes and relax.
- You can dump the tea leaves in your garden’s compost bin which can be later used as a fertilizer. This way you are minimizing waste and are doing a favor to Mother Earth and our environment.
The bottom line
Green tea does not expire; it just loses its flavor over time because its natural oils get evaporated. You can extend its shelf life by storing it the right way.
Green tea that has crossed its best before date should be consumed responsibly.