Ever wonder how long does brewed tea last at room temperature? Here is everything you need to know about making and serving tea.
TIPS FOR SERVING TEA
Tea is a great choice to serve at parties, it's inexpensive and most of your guests will be tea drinkers. There are a few safety measures to take when making tea for a party, however.
HOW LONG DOES BREWED TEA LAST AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
The short answer is, don't store tea for more than 8 hours at room temperature. If you left your tea out at room temperature overnight or longer than 8 hours, it would be best to discard it. It's not worth the risk if tea is left out overnight.
HOW LONG DOES BREWED TEA LAST IN THE REFRIGERATOR?
When the tea is stored in the refrigerator, it should be in an airtight container such as a mason jar. This way, it won't' interact with foods such as onions or fish stored in the fridge altering its taste and aroma. Another benefit of a tightly sealed container is that it will ensure minimal contamination and bacterial growth. If you follow these tips, your tea should remain fresh in your fridge for up to 5 days.
CAN YOU FREEZE TEA?
Here is a good idea. If you need to make a large amount of tea for a party, wedding, or another event, try making it ahead and freezing it. On the day of the party, defrost in a warm pan or microwave. It can keep fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
|Storage Method||How Long Does It Last?|
|Room Temperature||Up to 8 hours|
|Airtight Container in the Fridge (unsweet)||Up to 5 days|
|Airtight Container in the Fridge (sweetened)||Up to 2 days|
|In the Freezer||Up to 6 months|
CAN TEA GO BAD AND MAKE YOU SICK?
If tea has gone bad, then it will be obvious from the smell or mold growing on the surface of the tea, so most likely, you will not even drink it. If someone does sip it, it will also taste sour, so they will probably not drink anymore. Old tea can contain coliform bacteria, which can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. So yes, old tea can go bad and make you sick.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR TEA HAS GONE BAD
- You notice a pungent smell coming from your tea, or it doesn't smell the same when first brewed
- You find mold on top of your tea
- All flavor and smell is gone from the tea
DOES GREEN TEA STAY FRESHER THAN BLACK TEA?
It does not matter the type of tea used for freshness. The key is to keep tea in the refrigerator after it is brewed.
IS MY TEA BAD IF IT'S CLOUDY?
Cloudiness in tea is caused by caffeine and tannins bonding with each other when the tea is refrigerated or iced. The hotter the original brewing water, the more caffeine, and tannins are extracted from the tea leaves, and the murkier the beverage will be. Though it may not be very attractive, it does not change the tea's flavor, so it's still fine to drink.
Prevent Cloudiness: If you have the time before serving, allow the freshly brewed hot tea to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill. This prevents the brewed tea from clouding and serves up a clean glass of iced tea.
DOES ADDING BAKING SODA TO TEA MAKE IT LAST LONGER?
A pinch of baking soda makes a world of difference in a pitcher of freshly brewed sweet tea neutralizes the tannins in black tea, giving it a smoother taste. This same trick works to take the bitterness out of green tea as well; you can add a teeny pinch to a mug of hot tea as it's steeping. However, it does not make your tea stay fresh longer.
IS SUN TEA SAFE TO MAKE?
According to the CDC, “The practice of making ‘sun tea’ also called cold brew tea by steeping tea bags in a container of water in the sun may increase the risk of bacteria growing in it compared to brewing tea at higher temperatures. If you do make sun tea be sure to not steep more than 4 hours and refrigerate when done brewing.
WHICH LAST LONGER COLD BREW OR HOT BREW TEA?
Using hot water to brew your tea is apparently more sensitive to bacteria and will go bad faster than cold-brew tea.
If you want to be sure your tea keeps longer, try brewing it cold. If you brew it hot, it will still keep, but there will be almost an entire day’s longevity difference when using proper storage conditions.
DOES SWEET TEA OR UNSWEET TEA LAST LONGER?
Sugar is that it breaks down the nutrients in the tea much faster over time. If you add fruits or fruit juice to sweeten your tea, it can make the tea go bad quicker.
HOW TO MAKE BREWED TEA LAST LONGER?
- Start with freshly dried tea leaves.
- Tea will last longer if put in the refrigerator right after brewing. Do keep in mind that the cold does slow bacteria and chemical decomposition down, but only to a degree. Some bacteria types can grow when the temp gets to 5 C/41 F, so make sure your fridge is set below that.
- Keep your tea covered so air-born bacteria can not land in your tea.
- A great way to keep tea fresh is by storing it in a glass container such as mason jars in the refrigerator.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BREWING ICE TEA SAFLEY
There are a few simple steps to keeping your brewed tea fresh.
- Be sure to start with fresh, dried tea.
- Wash your hands before handling items used to make the tea.
- Be sure your tea kettle, string spoons, and pitcher are very clean.
- Iced tea should be brewed at 195 F for 3-5 minutes.
- For the freshest tea, use it within 8 hours from brewing time.
- If you realized you left sweet tea out overnight, throw it out.
- Brewing iced tea at an appropriate temperature in a thoroughly cleaned container and limiting the time held at room temperature before serving will minimize bacterial contamination risk.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH LEFTOVER BREWED TEA?
According to Do Not Disturb Gardening, Using leftover or freshly brewed cold tea can help hydrate, fertilize, and nourish plants. Be sure to utilize organic brands to limit pesticide use. Also, consider the pH needs of the plants that are being watered. Plants that enjoy marginally acidic soil will do well with the addition of tea.
HOW TO MAKE TEA FOR A LARGE PARTY
It's easy to make a big batch of regular tea for a party. Start with a good quality tea that has plenty of time on the expiration date.
Estimate one drink per person per hour of the event. So, if the party is three hours long, plan on each person having around three tea servings. That doesn’t mean each person will have that many drinks; some will have more, and some will have less. This is just a good average estimation.
Here is a guide for how much tea to serve a crowd with a break down of cup or glass serving sizes.
|Gallon||Cup Size||Cup Example||Practical Number|
|6 ounces||Small paper or|
china tea cup
|8 ounces||Medium paper|
or tea mug
|10 ounces||Water glass or|
1 can of soda
|12 ounces||Tall glass||9-10|
Make your ice tea festive for the party, serve with glasses full of ice cubes and a wedge of lemon on the rim or sprig of mint in the glass.