What Happens When You Drink Expired Tea?
It’s easy to overlook expiration dates in the kitchen. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ignore them. Drinking expired tea might not have the dire consequences of eating outdated food, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe either.
What Is Expired Tea?
Unopened packages of tea usually have a two year expiration date. Tea past its sell by date will start to lose flavor and potency, but it’s still safe to consume. As tea ages, oxidization takes place and color and aroma fade away. In essence, it becomes slightly stale.
The Risks of Drinking Expired Tea
Although expired tea is generally safe for consumption, several risks remain.
- Reduced Antioxidants: Tea is renowned for the antioxidants it contains. These protect you from many health conditions, from the common cold to long-term illnesses like diabetes. When tea passes its expiration date, the antioxidant levels decline significantly.
- Buildup of Harmful Bacteria: High levels of humidity can cause a buildup of some types of bacteria at room temperature, potentially making expired tea unsafe to drink.
- Off-Flavors and Smells: Old tea has an off-flavor and bad smell that won’t be enjoyable to most.
Tea is a wonderful beverage, and can be a great accompaniment to all sorts of meals. But it’s important to avoid drinking expired tea, as it may contain harmful bacteria or have significantly reduced antioxidant levels.