After a warm, fresh cup of tea it can be stored properly and saved for days or months. Frozen will last the longest, up to 6 months, and in the fridge for a week or so.
Factors That Affect How Long It Lasts
There are a few different ways to store made tea, such as, if covered or uncovered. One will last longer than the other. How the tea leaves or bags were stored beforehand also affect how the brewed tea will taste and last. The brewing technique will also matter, because heat is more sensitive to bacteria than cold is.
Airtight Containers Will Keep Tea Longer
Save those containers to save your brewed tea for later, because the lack of airflow makes them perfect to stop tea from going bad in the fridge or freezer. In fact, little to no odor gets inside, and where air temperature won’t harm it.
Even if keepin the tea on the counter, keep it covered.
Avoid Adding Sugars or Additives
If there are any sugars or fruits in the tea, it’s best to enjoy it hastily. Leaving these types of teas in the fridge or at room temperature will ferment faster due to the heavy amount of sugar in them.
If planning to include additives to stored tea, it’s best to do so right before serving.
Fruits also contain acid, which will deteriorate the tea faster also.
The key to saving the newly made tea is to put it in an airtight container in a cool place such as the fridge or freezer. This technique will save any tea for up to a week to a month.
Room Temperature Should Be Covered
The Center for Disease Control states that uncovered tea at room temperature shouldn’t be ingested after 8 hours. These factors also only take into account that the tea may be fresh, but whether or not it’s healthy may not be so.
For the most enjoyed fresh tea, drink it within the first 6 hours of consumption if left to set at this temperature.
Leave in the Fridge for Quick Access
If planning to leave brewed tea in the fridge for the longest amount of time, put it in an airtight container to last for up to 5 to 7 days. If left uncovered, it may still last for up to 48 to 72 hours, but bacteria and odors will still get to it.
Freezer For the Win
The longest time to save brewed tea is by putting it in an airtight, sealed container, which can keep for up to six months. This will keep it safe to digest by freezing all of the bacteria that would otherwise get to it.
Did It Last?
A reheated or cold stored tea should still have a nice color to it, smell fresh, and have its delightful taste to it.
After storing the tea for the suggested time or less, it’s still important to know when it’s still good to keep drinking. Tea can go bad and potentially make one sick. There are 3 signs to look for to know if stored tea is still safe.
If the leftover tea has molded or changed colors in any way, it’s time to discard it. Keep in mind what it looked like right after it was steeped, and it won’t look like that when it’s gone bad.
It may look darker or lighter when it’s rotten.
Along with the color, cloudiness is a normal part of the tea storing process. This is caused when the tannins and caffeine in tea bond when cold or iced.
Depending on how long the tea has been brewed will cause more caffeine and tannins to release, which will make the tea look a little foggy. To avoid this, let it come to room temperature before storing in the fridge or freezer.
The luscious smell of tea will no longer be present in a tea gone bad. Fermentation will leave it smelling rotten.
Take note how the fresh tea smelled after brewing, and it won’t smell like that once it’s passed its expiration date. The fermentation smell may be quite pungent.
Tasting tea is the final option if necessary, and will taste bitter or acidic. Do not consume tea if the look or smell of them are not what they once were when fresh.
Baking Soda Myth
Adding a pinch of baking soda to just-made tea doesn’t make it last longer, but it will eliminate the bitterness. This happens because the tannins are neutralized by the baking soda. Adding while it’s steeping or hot while reep the most tastiness.
Sun Tea Brewing
One technique of cold brewing is called sun tea, which allows tea bags to steep in cold water, covered in the sun. According to the CDC this may increase bacteria risk if kept in the sun for longer than 4 hours. Refrigerate immediately after brewing, and follow proper storing protocol.
Tips to Make Fresh Made Tea Store Longer
- Always work with clean hands and clean utensils, tea pots, cups, and anything else the tea is touching.
- Use fresh dried tea leaves that have been stored properly according to their tea type.
- Brew iced tea for 195 F for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Enjoy within 8 hours of making it.
- Refrigerate brewed tea immediately.
- Keep it covered so it’s safe from bacteria, hair, dust, air, light, and temperature.
- Discard sweet tea that has been left out overnight.
Garden With Leftover Brewed Tea
A little bit of leftover brewed tea can be given to plants to hydrate them. Plants that love acidic soil will be nourished by tea. The nutrients in the tea are nourishing to plants considering their certain pH levels and if the tea brand is organic.
Keeping Things Fresh
No matter what tea was just brewed, there are steps that can be taken in order to get the longest stretch out of that batch of newly made tea. When stored properly –without sugars or fruits and in a sealed container –steeped tea will last for days to months. Freezing will have the longest fresh date compared to room temperature.