Loose-leaf tea doesn’t expire, because they contain dried leaves. No moisture can spoil the product by attracting microorganisms, such as bacteria and mold. Herbal infusions in bulk usually do not expire.
The flowers stem and leaves used to prepare them are dry and share the same durability characteristics as spices.
For this reason, if you look at the containers of teas, you will see that a preferred consumption date is indicated, but not an expiration date.
They may change color or flavor. If your tea has an expiration date, then it’s just for the best quality, not for safety.
Related article: The Difference between loose leaf and tea bags.2022.
Does Loose Leaf Tea Expire?
Contrary to what you may think, it has an expiration, since it is not a dehydrated product.
Only the leaves are dried, leaving part of the moisture so that fresh aromas and flavors are preserved.
For this reason, tea has a maturity of between two and three years.
The higher the degree of oxidation, the longer its lifespan will also be. Low-oxidation white, green, and oolong teas, for example, tend to stay in good condition for short periods, between 2 and 3 years.
Black teas and oolongs of high oxidation and drying are much longer-lived, living up to 8 years under inadequate storage conditions.
Pu-erh tea is particularly interesting in this regard since, like some wines, it even benefits from controlled aging.
Related article: Is Loose Leaf Tea Better Than Teabags?
How to prevent it.
Related article: How to brew herbal tea.
What to do if you take tea whose consumption date has expired.
- Checking if the infusion box is intact, can sometimes lead to surprises such as the presence of insects or fungi due to humidity and poor storage conditions.
- Look at the color of the herbs and their appearance in general, if you are not better convinced not to take them.
- Check the aroma. If it is chamomile it has to smell like chamomile and not tobacco! Herbs can completely lose their aroma even before the best date if they are not well preserved.
- Watch out for the label! Some freeze-dried or soluble infusions may have an expiration date.
- If you take an infusion after the best before the date indicated by the manufacturer, the worst that can happen is that the infusion has no aroma.
- The loss of aroma and flavor can occur even before the package or sachet is not preserved correctly.
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