Years? Months? If stored properly, the answer is variable.
Do you have boxes upon boxes of unused teas sitting in your cupboard? Did ‘Nightly Nettle’, ‘Piercing Peppermint’ and “Cinnamon Twist’ sound delightful on purchase, but after a few months have lost their luster and now lie forgotten in a jumble that you rarely look at, let alone touch?
We’re with you. I won’t tell you how many boxes of old tea are in my kitchen. (I actually don’t know).
The thing is, tea seems like one of those items that never really goes bad, right? During some recent spring cleaning however, my own growing pile got me thinking.
There are two camps when it comes to tea disposal, I found.
The heads at places like TeaMuse.com feel that most teas should be consumed within a year of purchase. Some, however, are more delicate and need to go down the hatch within 6 months.
If you store your tea well, black teas and oolongs could last even more than 12 months. It all comes down to the freshness you’d like to taste, and how long a tea keeps its flavor, (in your own opinion).
What about used tea bags?
People like Leon Siciliano with Business Insider.com advise that you don’t throw them away immediately. Use the bags to flavor your rice or pasta water, and keep black tea on hand to remove the heat from a sunburn, which it can do when rubbed on sore skin, apparently.
The choice is purely yours. For more on storing tea, click here.