How do you know if tea has gone bad?

tea bad

Tea can go bad too and there are ways to find out if it has

When something in your fridge has gone bad, you will definitely know. The smell, the way it looks; everything will indicate that it is time to throw it out. But what about food items that aren’t as obvious? For example: with tea it is not as easy to know whether is has gone bad or if it is still drinkable. But there is an easy way to find out.

Smell, taste and color

Navdeep Kaur, director of education at Dona, a company that sells tea leaves, concentrates, and spices from farms around the world, shared the trick with Well + Good. He said that there is a an easy trick that will help you find out whether you can still use the leaves or if you should throw them out. “Bad tea leaves lose color, smell, and taste,” Kaur explains. If your tea doesn’t smell as strong and fresh anymore, it might have gone bad. According to Kaur, this is because of the essential oils that are in the leaves: “The essential oils in the tea leaves evaporate, causing it to no longer be potent, fragrant, and flavorful.” If you’re still unsure about it’s freshness, a taste test would be best. So, boil some water and try a little. It should have a stronger flavor and it shouldn’t taste stale. That way, you’ll know exactly if it’s still okay to drink. If you have a batch of fresh leaves in your cupboard, you can also compare the two for color differences.

“Just like any other perishable good, tea expires, loses flavor, and deteriorates with time. Teas which are not oxidized—like green and white—have a shorter shelf life than the ones which are fully or partially oxidized, roasted, and fermented, like black, oolong, pu’erh tea,” Kaur explains.


If your tea did go bad, there is no need to throw it out. It can still be used in other ways! “Tea leaves can be used as compost for soil and painting or dyeing fabric,” Kaur says. And there are more ways to use the leaves: “Teas that have lost their flavor and aroma could also be used as toppings in soups or broths and as a skincare product—like a facial scrub or brewed to make a refreshing facial spray.” How versatile!

Read more: Should you reuse the same tea bag multiple times?

Source: Well + Good | Image: Unsplash, TeaCora Rooibos