Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Does Tea have an Expiration Date????

expired tea shelflife
How Old Are your Tea Bags? Since I'm a huge fan if tea I was concerned after going on vacation last week whether the tea I have had in a sealed Tupperware container was still good. I looked and didn't see any dates on the tea bags????? But, I am one with a very sensitive tummy so I decided to chick them rather than drink them. 
Now after doing some researched I wish I had kept them. I know they were from last year and I see now that tea is like honey, it never really expires.... But tea can taste stale, meaning that the flavor will decrease over time. And if you are like me and drink your tea black, then that could really hinder the savoring of a good cup of tea!
Bottom line is that tea really Never expires as long as its sealed tight with no air, humidity or light peeking in on it!
In China they sell very expensive tea that is 100 years old.
Lots of experts say that since tea does not contain any nutritional value "calories", if properly stored away from air and light it could last for many, many years.
Most manufacturers put 2 and 3 years expiration dates on their tea as only a guide since most consumers will not accept a food product with no expiration dates!
"Mary" at Salada states that the code on the tea bag box- "B4063" meant the "tea was manufactured in 2006, the 4th day of March." And that she believes "Two years is the best shelf life. Tea lasts a long time, but after two years is begins to dwindle in overall quality. However, it can safely be used indefinitely. I would say that if your tea is over a year old then toss it if you like to really taste the tea flavor. If your just looking for some flavored water to warm you up then drink it. Most tea bags aren't expensive to buy unless you really want to get into some exotic teas. 
Newer Salada Tea Bags Have "Best By" Dates Lipton Teas Are Either Date Stamped or Have Manufacturing Codes 
So how long you can you keep Lipton tea. Just to let you know, Lipton Original Tea in the 16-ounce bottle has a "drink by" date. Look on the cap of Lipton Iced Tea to find the expiration date. So does Snapple one of my favorite ice teas.
As for other teas, according to Lipton, the shelf life depends on the type of tea it is. The majority of their teas, "Black, Iced Tea Brew, Cold Brew Tea, Herbal, Black Flavored Teas, ChaiLatta, Earl Grey and English Breakfast can be enjoyed with quality, up to 18 months from the production date." Iced tea mix powder, in the can, has a "maximum shelf life of 12 months from the production date." And if you look into the can and it is all stuck together toss it!
How to Read Lipton's Manufacturing Codes 
Lipton places date codes or manufacturing codes on their tea bags and powdered mixes. To understand the code, the first number is the year, the next letter is the month, and the two numbers that follow denote the day. The letters and the months they represent are: A- January; B- February; C- March; D- April; E- May; F- June; G- July; H- August; X- September; J- October; K- November, and L- December.
The date codes on some Lipton tea bags and powdered tea mixes are "Best if Use By" dates. According to the web site, the products "will generally maintain good quality for several months after that date. Your best guide to freshness is simply to smell and taste the product." I myself keep my tea in a dark cool place and I will drink it way before it has time to expire. 
To avoid having a "stale" cup of tea keep it in a dry, cool, air tight container, some people even store it in the freezer. When in doubt, brew it up and give it the "taste test!"
Tetley Teas FQA
Bon Appi-Tea.....

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