How long does brewed tea last at room temperature? In general, you shouldn’t leave your brewed tea at room temperature for more than 8 hours. If left at room temperature for more than 8 hours, it will slowly lose its flavor, and after 12 hours at room temperature, it will become sour.
It happens to all of us: we brew our favorite hot tea, place it on our kitchen counter to cool down a bit, and then completely forget about it until several hours later. Should you drink such tea? To learn how long brewed tea should be left at room temperature, keep reading this article!
Table of Contents
How Long Does Brewed Tea Last At Room Temperature?
No matter how you brewed your tea: using tea bags or you cooked a loose leaf tea, you shouldn’t let it sit at room temperature for more than 8 hours. Not only will it lose its flavor and even become sour after 8 hours at room temperature, but it can also be dangerous for you to drink such tea.
After several hours at room temperature, there is a possibility of bacterial growth in the tea, which can lead to food poisoning if you drink it. After 2 or more days, a mold can start to appear on the surface.
Keep in mind that 8 hours of safe sitting at room temperature is only a rough estimation because many other factors can shorten or prolong that time.
How Long Can Brewed Tea Sit At Room Temperature?
This depends on whether you plan to make a plain brewed tea, or you will add sugar, milk, honey, or other ingredients. Adding other ingredients will cut in half the safe time for tea to sit at room temperature.
Also, the type of tea being brewed also affects how long it will be able to sit at room temperature before going bad. Fruit or green tea can sit at room temperature for 4 hours only. Herbal and black tea can sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
A tea brewed from tea bags, in general, can stay at room temperature for longer than the tea brewed from loose leaves.
Can Brewed Tea Be Stored At Room Temperature?
After brewing tea, you can store it at room temperature for 4-8 hours. If it stays any longer at room temperature, it will go bad, so try to store brewed tea in the fridge whenever you plan to drink it later.
How Long Does Iced Tea Last At Room Temperature?
Apart from herbal and green/black tea, there are other types of tea:
- Iced tea is another name for cold brew tea, brewed by adding the tea leaves or bags to the cold water, then increasing the temperature and brewing.
- Sun tea is made by brewing the tea in sunlight instead of in boiling water.
- Sweet tea is made by adding sugar to green tea, black tea, or herbal tea and then brewing.
All 3 of these tea types can last at room temperature for 8 hours max.
Does Brewed Tea Spoil?
Brewed tea spoils when left at room temperature for more than 4-8 hours. The first sign that your tea got spoiled is when it loses the complexity of its flavor. If you leave it at room temperature after that, it can become sour or have a harsh flavor.
Soon it will start developing bacteria which can be harmless in some cases, but such bacteria often lead to food poisoning and stomach pain. Finally, if you somehow forget about your tea for 2 days and more, expect the mold to appear.
Can I Drink Tea That Sits Overnight?
Absolutely not. Apart from the already mentioned reasons against leaving your tea at room temperature for too long, there are a few more. First, when tea sits at room temperature, a substance called tea polyphenol, which is found in tea, starts to oxidize, changing the tea color and darkening it.
Also, sometimes drinking cold tea can irritate your digestive system, even if there are no bacteria or mold. That’s why you should try to drink tea while it’s still hot, or at least lukewarm.
Does Brewed Tea Need To Be Refrigerated?
A good alternative to letting your tea sit at room temperature is to pour it into an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Brewed tea will last you longer this way, even up to 2-4 days.
Before placing it into the fridge, we suggest you take out the tea bags or loose tea leaves from the tea. This will further reduce the possibility of bacterial growth or any other unwanted chemical reaction.
You can also freeze your tea in case that you made large quantities that you won’t be able to drink any time soon. Simply pour it into an airtight container, remove the teabags or tea leaves, and place it in the freezer. This way, you can store tea for up to 6 months.
How Long Does Freshly Brewed Tea Last?
A hot and fresh brewed tea will last up to 8 hours at room temperature, 2-5 days in the fridge, and up to 6 months in the freezer.
However, it is advised that you drink your hot brewed tea while it’s still freshly brewed because that way, you will get all of the benefits and flavor.
Now you know how long does brewed tea last at room temperature. In general, you shouldn’t leave your tea at room temperature for more than 8 hours. However, there are also other factors that can influence this: type of tea you are brewing (herbal, green, black, fruit, iced, etc.), and whether you brewed plain tea, or you added sugar, milk, or other ingredients.