The Signal Your Tea Has Expired Before You Brew It

Even the most attentive people know that there are certain kitchen staples that we are likely not to check the expiration date of. The sack of flour in your cabinet may be quite a few years old, and the spices on your counter may have even been through a few apartment moves with you. From certain condiments to essential baking ingredients to coffee grounds, there are plenty of foods that we never really think twice about when it comes to their age. But the truth is many of these foods do have expiration dates. Even if you can't quite keep track of their age, it's important to know the signs that these ingredients may be past their prime.

When it comes to tea, we are likely all guilty of leaving behind a few tea bags in kitchen drawers from old phases of trying to replace coffee with tea or attempting to drink green tea before bed every night. And, even if you are a big tea drinker, it's still possible you have plenty of leftovers in a forgotten cabinet or a collection that's simply too large to drink in a timely fashion. Don't worry! You don't need to know exactly how old that tea bag is before you go to use it. Just look out for these important signs your tea is past its prime.

Give it a sniff

You don't need to memorize expiration dates to know your tea is no longer good to drink — all you have to do is use your senses. Observing the leaves, smelling the tea, and even tasting it will give you a clear indication if you should just throw it out or not.

According to Coffee and Tea Corner, examining your tea leaves is a good first step. If you notice obvious mold growth you should just throw the tea away. It may even be a tiny spot of mold, but it is not worth risking getting sick.

Another good way to tell if your tea is expired is through its smell. According to Well + Good, if your tea leaves have little to no scent they're definitely not fresh, and they may be starting to go bad. Navdeep Kaur, director of education at Dona, tells the outlet that, "essential oils in the tea leaves evaporate, causing it to no longer be potent, fragrant, and flavorful."

At this point, after a visual inspection and putting it through the smell test, you still may be unsure if the tea is good to drink. In that case, feel free to brew the tea and taste it. If you think it tastes off and isn't flavorful at all, just pour it out and buy some new tea.

Make sure to follow these simple tips before you brew a long-lost tea bag and regret it.