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How Long Does Brewed Tea Last?

June 12, 2018

How Long Does Brewed Tea Last?

Many people are curious to know how long tea is good for. Even though it seems like a simple question, there’s not really a single resource that provides you with all the information that you need to know in one place.

Because there are so many different species and varieties of tea, the length of storage time may vary. However, there are certainly basic guidelines to follow that will work just fine no matter what tea you are brewing.

How Long Does Brewed Tea Last In the Fridge?

How-Long-Does-Brewed-Tea-Last-iced-teaWho doesn’t love iced tea? It’s a perfectly refreshing drink on any hot day. Rather than buy premade iced tea from the store, many people prefer making their own iced tea at home to keep some on hand in the refrigerator. Not only that, but making a large pitcher of tea at once can be convenient so that it’s ready to sip as soon as someone wants a drink.

If you are one of these people, then you might be wondering, “How long does brewed tea last in the fridge?” Well, if we want to be technical and follow the “rules”, then you’re not going to like the answer...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that your refrigerated tea should be consumed within eight hours. Yes, you read that right. It seems a bit extreme, but if you want to take the absolute safest route, then this is what the CDC says to do.

A More Realistic Answer

However, as you might have already experienced first hand, tea certainly lasts much longer than eight hours in the fridge. As a general rule, we suggest that you consume tea within 24 hours.

If you keep tea for longer than 24 hours, the flavor begins to change and doesn’t always taste the best. In addition, if you’re somebody who likes to add sugar to their tea, then it can even start to ferment if stored for over 24 hours.

With that said, most teas are probably ‘good’ for three or even four days, and many people do indeed store their tea in the refrigerator for this long. If you store it for over 4 days, however, it might start to taste stale, sour, or bitter.

If you don’t notice a difference in flavor when you keep tea in the fridge for longer, then by all means keep it for as long as it tastes good to you. However, it’s probably only safe to keep it for a week at the most because bacteria will begin to build up, and you will eventually see mold forming in your container.

How Long Does Brewed Tea Last at Room Temperature?

How-Long-Does-Brewed-Tea-Last-room-temperatureThe answer to this question is much more straightforward. Most people don’t store brewed tea at room temperature, however, because it tastes best hot or cold. If you are debating storing tea at room temperature, then you might just want to make smaller batches so that you enjoy it freshly brewed. It doesn’t get better than that.

However, there are of course times when we brew more tea than we can drink right away, and we also aren’t planning on refrigerating it for later. Therefore, in these cases one might wonder “how long does brewed tea last at room temperature?”

We recommend drinking tea left out at room temperature within 8 hours, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate. When tea is left out at room temperature, bacteria grows much faster, and the taste of the tea is negatively affected as well. In addition, most of the health benefits of the tea will be diminished.

Therefore, if your tea becomes murky, and certainly if you see mold, don’t drink it.

How to Correctly Store Brewed Tea

An important first step is to allow your brewed tea to cool. You want the tea to get down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator because this minimizes bacteria's chances of growing. Make sure to keep your tea covered while it is cooling. By doing so, you preserve its flavor and its freshness.

How-Long-Does-Brewed-Tea-Last-storageWhile your tea is cooling, you want to prepare the container that you will store it in. Make sure you thoroughly clean and sterilize your container before storing your tea in it. Never use plastic. If you can, always use glass. However, anything stainless steel will work as well.

Our favorite way to store tea is to use Mason jars or any other glass container that has a lid. The tightly-sealed lid prevents your tea from picking up flavors or odors from other things in your refrigerator. In addition, oxygen exposure causes tea to go flat.

Therefore, a container with a lid also prevents your tea from going flat. Unfortunately, many people overlook this simple technique, and the flavor of their tea is degraded because of it.

Storage Hack: Store Your Tea as Ice Cubes

One thing that we love to do at Aum Tea is make tea ice cubes. Not many people think to do this, but it’s such a useful and fun way to store your tea. In addition, tea ice cubes can be stored more or less indefinitely unlike brewed tea or even the dry tea itself.

How-Long-Does-Brewed-Tea-Last-ice-cubesOne thing that we love to do is make a concentrated batch of Jiaogulan tea by doubling the amount of tea we would usually steep. Then, we allow it to cool (as recommended above) before pouring it into our ice cube trays.

Once these concentrated ice cubes are fully frozen and ready to use, we simply put a couple of them into a glass of pure, cold water and let them melt. As a result, we are left with a perfect cup of tea without having to actually brew the tea! After the tea ice cubes have melted, we fill our glass with regular ice cubes as needed to keep it nice and cold.

Alternatively, you can make your tea regular strength and follow the same steps. However, in this method, you would simply use more tea ice cubes than if they were made from a concentrated batch of tea. This method also works great because you don’t need to use any regular water ice cubes, and therefore, your tea won’t become diluted.

Other Uses for Tea Ice Cubes

Using tea ice cubes in other drinks instead of regular ice cubes can add a lot of flavor. If you want to make your own tea blends, then you could add tea ice cubes of one kind of tea to a batch of a different kind of tea. You could also add it to your lemonade or even your juice.

In addition, tea ice cubes are perfect for smoothies! Most people already put ice in their smoothies, so why not use tea ice cubes instead? Not only does it enhance the flavor of the smoothie, but it also adds an extra health boost. You can have a lot of fun experimenting because there are so many different kinds of tea that you can try adding to your smoothies and other drinks.

REFERENCES

  1. Center For Disease Control, "Memo on Bacterial Contamination of Iced Tea"




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