Can Drinking Old Tea Make You Sick?

When you buy tea and store it, there is a big chance that some of the tea has gone bad without you realizing it. So now the question arises, can old tea make you sick?

While the answer to this question is “NO” there are several factors you need to take into account and in this article, we will be going through these factors.

We will also talk about what happens to different types of teas when they are stored for a long time.

“But first” we will talk about the raw and unbrewed tea, and if it has been stored for a long time can old tea make you sick?

Can Old Tea Make You Sick?

Although we have already given our answer, we still think that talking about this in more detail will make things much more clear.

Now, by drinking tea that has gone bad the worst thing that can happen to you is you may get a rubbly stomach. Not to mention a bad taste in your mouth if the tea is really old.

“So drinking old tea that has expired is not necessary harmful to you”

However, with that being said, there is that small chance that old or expired tea can make you sick if you have a weak stomach.

When you store the tea for a prolonged period of time, the tea’s degradation starts to happen, which causes the tea to taste bland, losing its flavor and aroma.

So, while the tea is still drinkable, we prefer you not to drink it if you like your tea to have good quality.

In some cases, tea has maintained some quality for a much longer time, and so nothing can be said about when the tea will start to go bad.

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Can Old Tea Bags Make You Sick?

Most people have a hectic routine, and we don’t usually get time to brew the tea and so having tea bags at hand is an easy fix for our tea cravings on the go.

Those of us who like drinking tea already know that teabags contain small pieces of leaves that are cut from the fresh tea leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant when processing.

However, tea bags are much more prone to oxidation as the tea leaves in the tea bags are of a low quality which means they can go bad much faster than other good quality teas.

So does this mean that by drinking old tea bags it will make you sick “NO” not really not unless you already have a weak stomach?

Can Old Tea Leaves Make You Sick?

No matter what tea you have, every tea can go bad with time. When you buy fresh loose tea leaves, you need to transfer it to an appropriate container and away from sunlight immediately.

Some people buy premium quality tea leaves in the hopes that it will last for a much longer time, and while that is true, many factors decide the lifespan of the tea.

For example, there are many types of tea leaves on offer and the larger high-quality teas that are tightly rolled tend to last longer when stored.

“However, tea leaves that are exposed to moisture and sunlight can develop coliform bacteria and if consumed could make you sick”

So when storing your tea an appropriate environment is needed, Although the tea bags, for example, are not likely to develop bacteria, it is still better to be careful than sorry.

Can Old (Expired) Iced Tea Make You Sick?

Iced tea can be a tricky one and can also too bad very quickly. It’s the kind of tea that needs to be refrigerated and can typically last for up to 8 hours before going bad.

If you feel like the iced tea’s taste or smell has changed, it means that the tea has gone bad and expired, and again if you have a weak stomach then drinking it could make you sick.

Sometimes when the iced tea is cooled down, it starts to cloud. There is no need for concern in this manner as this can be caused by antioxidants being bind by the minerals found in water.

Even though the iced tea can survive awhile when refrigerated, it is better to be sure as Iced tea can contain a lot of bacteria.

“When iced tea goes bad the fruit and sugars start to breakdown causing a build-up in bacteria”

In the matter of how old is old? The answer to this question really depends on multiple factors. For example, if you have left the tea for 4 to 5 hours, it is sure to have lost its taste and smell.

If you have used ingredients like creamer, milk, or sugar, then your tea may have also started to grow mold, and if that is the case, please refrain from drinking it.

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Is drinking sun tea safe?

The practice of making sun tea involves steeping tea bags in hot water while sitting in the sunlight. Many of our ancestors have been doing this, however, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says otherwise.

According to the CDC, in theory, making tea in the open air has a much higher chance of developing and multiplying bacteria.

What Is The Proper Way Of Storing Tea?

Now that we have gone through the scary part where we discussed the consequences of drinking old tea. What exactly is the proper way of storing the tea so that it does not develop bacteria?

The correct way of storing tea leaves

As mentioned, the air’s oxidants are one of the top causes of making the tea leaves go bad. The sunlight and air can make the leaves go wrong, so you must avoid the leaves’ contact with oxygen.

It is best if you use an airtight container to store the tea.

However, when choosing a container for storing tea, make sure that the container does not absorb the smell of something that has been previously stored in it.

The odors may cause the smell and taste of your tea to get altered.

Another factor that may change your decision about the container is that the container should not let the sunlight pass through it, otherwise, your tea may develop bacteria.

“Your best bet would be going for a stainless-steel container or a container that has dark glass”

One of the common questions that people ask in this situation is whether freezing the leaves is much safer or not?

For those people, we would like to say that many of the top manufacturers of tea freeze the tea leaves to preserve the taste and quality of the leaves for prolonged periods.

“One thing they do is that they vacuum the container to take the air out of the box”

But, if you plan to do the same, you need to make sure that the container you are using is not used by the other tea you use frequently.

Otherwise, the air would flow inside the box each time you open the container and take out the tea, exposing all tea to moisture, which would ultimately cause the tea to develop bacteria.

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Sometimes when you make tea, you end up with more tea than you initially thought you would, and that’s when it hits you to store the tea for later use.

This though leads you to keep the tea on the shelf or in the kitchen, and by doing this think of what can happen to the tea? However, the reality is that your tea can go bad in that span of time.

What you need to do is to store the tea in such a manner that it does not get spoiled or tasteless. There are a number of factors that can help you in preserving your brewed tea.

“These factors are somewhat similar to the way you store your unbrewed tea”

To preserve the tea, you must make sure that it is kept away from the exposure of light and air, which can cause moisture and make the tea go bad.

Half of the tea’s essence is the smell of the tea and so not to spoil the taste or smell of the tea; you should also store it in a place that does not let other odors from getting to the tea.

You can use airtight containers to store your tea or keep your tea in a cool and dry place while avoiding it getting exposed to food odors.

But you cannot store the tea in a freezer as it can cause a fatal blow to the tea’s quality.

What Are The Signs That Your Tea Has Gone Bad?

So by now, you know that tea can go bad quickly when it is not stored correctly, and so here are some of the things you can notice to know if the tea has gone bad.

  • The tea’s taste would have gone bland, as well as the aroma of the tea
  • There will be traces of mold growth in the tea, caused by moisture.
  • Colored spots appear on the tea bags indicating they have gone bad.

If you have gone through all articles written about can old tea make you sick? And yet, you are not getting your answer as to why you are experiencing vomiting and nausea when the tea you drank had not gone bad at all.

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You feeling nauseated has nothing to do with the tea going bad sometimes.

It happens to everyone. Part of why this happens is that tea has a substance tannin in it, which is also present in wine. This substance is responsible for making our mouth dry when we are drinking tea.

And so, when you consume the tea on an empty stomach, you can feel nauseated.

It has also been speculated that a tea brewed for a longer time will have more tannin in it. And so, if you want to avoid feeling nauseated, you can make tea on low heat for a shorter time.

Another way to make you less nauseated is by adding milk to the tea as it binds the tannin. Most people do not drink tea on an empty stomach, which does not make them feel nauseated.

However, when you feel nauseated, here are some things you can do…

  • Eat starch like rice or bread
  • Chew ginger without swallowing it
  • Drinking baking soda and water

These are some of the tips that might take away your nausea.


Most of the time people tend to buy more tea than they need and end up storing it and even purchase different teas for different occasions and end up storing it away.

These teas sometimes make their way to the back of the cupboard, where the eyes cannot reach due to all the tea blocking the way.

And that tea sits there waiting for it to be sipped upon until one day it is taken out, and now you are thinking, can old tea make you sick?

Sometimes people make more tea than they require and end up storing the leftover for later use. However, they do not keep it appropriately, which ends up making the tea bad.

The bottom line is if you can buy fresh tea or even tea bags then it’s a far better choice than drinking old tea with no flavor.

Simmering Tea
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