White teapot pouring black tea into Smith Teamaker teacup on wooden tray with tangerines.

Shelf Life & Storage

Does tea go bad?

Most of our teas have a shelf life of 2 years. Dry tea leaves that are kept dry will not spoil or go bad, but will simply lose flavor and aroma after the best by date.

Storing Tea

Most* tea leaves are best kept away from light, air, and moisture.

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Exposure to light has been shown to decrease the intensity of aromatic compounds in stored tea. Using a storage vessel that will not allow light in, such as ceramic or stainless steel, is preferred.

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To keep tea fresh, store it in an airtight container to prevent further oxidation. Tea can also absorb strong flavors from other things stored nearby, so be sure to store it away from coffee, spices, onions, etc.

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The relative humidity of the environment where the tea is stored is also a key factor in determining how long tea will stay fresh. If you live in a fairly dry climate, your tea will likely hold up longer than it would in a humid environment.

*A note on pu-erh storage: unlike most tea, pu-erh improves with age and may be enjoyed for years. For best results, we recommend storing pu-erh in a cool, dry place that is temperature controlled. Read more about pu-erh here.