People often ask if tea should be kept in the fridge. This is an interesting question as we can chat about 3 forms of tea – loose tea leaves, brewed tea, and tea bags.
In general, most people I know don’t keep tea in the fridge. It is usually found in a cabinet or pantry. Some people like to show off fancy designer teas in special displays on a sideboard or kitchen island.
Iced tea is one drink that springs to mind that definitely can be stored in the fridge. I mean – it wouldn’t be iced if it were not!
Let’s take a closer look at each of the three forms and whether they can be stored in a fridge.
Should loose tea leaves be refrigerated?
In general, loose tea leaves should not be kept in the fridge. They should be stored in a cool, dark, dry spot away from direct sunlight. However, some of the more rare teas like white tea, light oolong, and flower teas can be refrigerated. This will preserve the delicate flavor, color, and aroma.
The best way to store loose leaf tea is in an airtight container that is kept in a cool, dark, and dry spot. As tea ages, it oxidizes. This process changes the aroma, color, and flavor of the tea leaves.
Tea can be stored for many months in this way. You need to ensure that it does not get damp or is exposed to direct sunlight. Both of these factors can cause mold and bacteria to grow on the leaves and render the tea useless.
A few exceptions to storing tea like this are the more rare and expensive teas. Falling into this category are teas that are less oxidized like white tea and light oolong tea. Many tea manufacturers store this type of tea in industrial fridges where the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius.
The cold temperatures help to preserve the freshness, aroma, color, and flavor of the tea throughout the year. This ensures that when it reaches your local store, it is still as fresh as when it was picked.
Other specialty teas that are made with flower blossoms can also be kept in the fridge to preserve the color and freshness.
Store your tea in a totally dry airtight container. Mark it with the name and date of the tea so you know what is in it.
When you remove a cold container of tea from the fridge, allow it to stand and reach room temperature before opening the container. This will ensure that condensation does not occur on the leaves. Condensation can cause the leaves to become damp and susceptible to bacteria.
Should brewed tea be refrigerated?
Brewed tea should not stand for longer than eight hours at room temperature. Do not allow it to stand overnight either. You can store brewed tea in the fridge for up to five days. Ensure that no sweetener has been added. Store in an airtight container so it does not absorb odors.
How often have you made a cup of tea and forgotten about it because life happened? When you get back to it, it is icy cold and has been standing on a desk or kitchen counter for hours.
Do you warm it up and make a new cup? Making a new cup is probably a better idea because you have no idea how many little nasties in the air have had a sip! That being said, it is still quite drinkable after a few hours.
If you get called away from your tea cup, try to remember to quickly put your cup into the fridge. It can stay there for up to 5 days and still be fine to drink.
The best way to store brewed tea in the fridge is as follows:
- Make your brew
- Do not add sweetener
- Pour it into an airtight container
- Don’t seal the container
- Allow it to cool down to room temperature
- Seal the container
- Label the container with the name of the tea and the date
- Place it into the fridge
Brewed tea can also be frozen to make tasty ice cubes. Simply brew as normal and pour into your ice tray. Store in the freezer. Like most frozen liquids, brewed tea can remain in the freezer for months.
Kids will love tea ice pops! Tea granita is great for using in decadent desserts.
Should tea bags be refrigerated?
Dry tea bags should not be stored in the fridge or freezer. The cold air in the fridge will cause condensation which impairs the taste and flavor of the tea. A used tea bag can be kept in the fridge for a short time of a few hours. Ensure that it is in enough water to keep it wet.
Tea bags do not store well in the fridge. The cold and damp air will affect the flavor and taste. It can also encourage condensation which allows mold and bacteria to flourish.
If you have used a tea bag and want to use it again the same day, you can store it in the fridge for a few hours. Ensure that it is covered with water and does not dry out.
Place the bag in a saucer or a cup that can be covered. Ensure that it remains wet. If you forget the bag, throw it away the next day and use a fresh one. Teas bags are not expensive and it is not worth taking a risk.
Do not leave wet tea bags standing for hours in your kitchen and then reuse them. Bags at room temperature can start to grow mold and attract bacteria.
Frequently asked questions about should tea be refrigerated
Can I refrigerate tea?
In general, do not put your tea in the fridge. Keep it in a cool, dry, and dark spot out of direct sunlight.
Can I freeze brewed tea?
Yes, you can. Frozen tea makes great ice lollies, granita, and refreshing ice cubes to enhance iced tea.
What teas can I keep in the fridge?
If you are a tea connoisseur and have purchased white tea, light oolong, or flower bud tea, you can store these in your fridge to preserve the freshness, color, and taste.