Skip to Content

My Tea Bags Are Expired, Can I Still Use Them?

Have you ever found a box of tea bags in the back of the cabinet that has been there for an unknown amount of time- are they still fresh?

Or perhaps you are a coffee drinker and only use tea bags for visiting family and friends- does tea go bad?

Whatever the scenario, it is a common occurrence to find a box of tea bags in a pantry that has seemingly been there forever unless you are a die-hard tea drinker.

My Tea Bags are Expired, Can I Still Use Them?

While it is always prudent to pay attention to the expiration date of the tea that is posted or stamped on the package, it is a general guideline for quality and optimal flavor, not so much a food safety issue. Most tea bags are fine and flavorful for a year- or more- in your cupboard or closet, but old or expired tea bags are still safe to consume.

Wondering what to do with expired tea bags? Keep reading to learn more!

Drinking Old Tea Bags

The most obvious way to tell that your tea bag, or loose leaf tea, is old is by flavor. Over time, the flavor of tea can decline and diminish.

If stored improperly, it may taste musty and stale. In fact, the method of storage for tea is critical to preserving the taste of your tea. How do you store yours?

The expiration or ‘best by’ dates on the tea package serve as a guideline- know that after this date, the tea is fine to drink when stored right but it may not be as full of flavor as it once was.

Experts suggest that an unopened package of tea bags will last up to a year after the expiration date, while others recommend storage tips to preserve them up to three years after the ‘best by’ date on the package.

While drinking tea that is past its expiration date, even if it is years past, won’t harm you, it may not taste as good as fresher tea.

Tea is a type of herb and many consumers keep herbs around for years- time does have an impact on robust flavors and aroma.

As long as your tea is stored thoughtfully, it should be fine to drink- some sensible storage suggestions coming up next!

Storing Tea Properly

Flavor and freshness come down to how you are storing your tea– are you protecting it from moisture?

Tea bags- and loose teas- belong in airtight containers that are tucked in cool, dry locations for best results.

Try to use containers that are not made from wood- and do not store your tea in plastic bags for prolonged periods.

Also, do not put your teas in the fridge or freezer- this can shorten their life and impact their flavor.

Signs of Tea Trouble

If you notice moisture or condensation in the bag or container with your tea, this could mean trouble.

This can foster mold- which ruins your tea and renders it undrinkable. If you see white fuzz or green mold on the tea, dispose of it right away.

Try to buy tea in quantities that you can drink within the expiration date for the freshest, most flavorful tea.

Frequently Asked Questions About My Tea Bags Are Expired, Can I Still Use Them

Do tea bags go bad?

Tea bags can go bad if they are stored in damp, musty, or humid places. If you repackage and store the bags properly, the tea should last up to three years. Put your bags in airtight containers in a cool, dry location for best results. Avoid storing tea bags in the fridge or freezer.

Do tea bags get old?

Consumer experts suggest that tightly closed tea bags can last about a year after the expiration date, though this could impact the flavor of your tea. Again, it comes down to how you store your tea.

Does loose leaf tea go bad?

Loose leaf tea can spoil if it becomes moist or damp. Think of it as an herb- when stored properly, it can last a long time though the flavor may diminish over time.

How often can you reuse a tea bag?

You can reuse a tea bag several times, depending on how strong you prefer your tea. Generally, the tea flavor is gone after the third time the bag has been steeped. Tea enthusiasts assert that white and green leaf teas can be reused more successfully and satisfactorily than black teas.

How long is tea good after its expiration date?

Tea is typically good for at least a year after the expiration date, depending on how you store it.

Is loose leaf tea better than tea bags?

It is theorized that loose leaf teas offer more flavor than tea bags, since you are not restricted to the size of a bag for your leaves- you can add more leaves and a variety of teas when adding your own to a tea ball. Regarding convenience, however, tea bags are tough to beat!


Found a box of tea bags in the back of your pantry? Even if they are expired or old, they are likely fine to consume.

Tea is a type of herb- the flavor can dissipate over time, but it doesn’t spoil when stored properly.

Dates on tea typically refer to when the product will be at its best, though they likely taste good and are fine to consume for much, much longer than that when stored in a cool, dry place.