How Long Does Brewed Tea Last Unrefrigerated?

Many love tea, but have you ever wondered how long it lasts unrefrigerated? 

The quick answer is that brewed tea lasts up to 8 hours. However, it tastes better within the first 2-4 hours. The longer the tea sits, the more the taste and quality degrade due to oxidation and bacterial growth.

Cup of tea

Does Tea Go Bad if Left Out?

Yes, tea can go bad if left out. Like most beverages, brewed tea is susceptible to bacterial growth, which can spoil it. Temperature, humidity, and the type of tea are among the factors that affect this process. 

However, if properly stored, you can prolong the freshness of your tea.

How Long Does Brewed Tea Last at Room Temperature?

Drink tea within 2-4 hours or up to 8 hours for the best flavor and freshness. The longer the tea sits, the more the taste and quality degrade due to oxidation and bacterial growth. 

Drink tea within hours of brewing for the best taste.

Can Tea Go Bad and Make You Sick?

Drinking spoiled tea can potentially make you sick. Bacteria, mold, and other pathogens can grow in brewed tea, especially if left out for too long. Contaminated tea may cause foodborne illnesses with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How to Know if Your Tea Has Gone Bad?

There are several tell-tale signs that your tea has gone bad:

  1. A sour or off smell
  2. A change in color, usually darker or cloudy
  3. Mold growth, which can appear as fuzzy spots or a film on the surface
  4. A change in taste, such as a bitter or sour flavor

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the tea and brew a fresh cup.

Does Tea Need to Be Refrigerated?

Tea doesn’t require immediate refrigeration after brewing. However, if you do not intend to drink your tea within the first few hours of brewing, it’s best to refrigerate the tea to slow bacterial growth.

How Long Does Tea Last in the Fridge?

Refrigerated tea lasts 3-5 days in a sealed container. Be sure to keep it away from strong-smelling foods to avoid absorbing any unwanted odors. Remember to discard the tea if you notice any signs of spoilage.

How to Make Brewed Tea Last Longer

To prolong the freshness and quality of your tea, follow these tips:

  1. Store your tea in an airtight container.
  2. Keep it refrigerated if you plan to consume it later.
  3. Add lemon juice or citric acid to hinder bacterial growth.
  4. Consume within a few hours for the best taste and quality.


Tea is a delightful beverage, but knowing how long it can last unrefrigerated is essential. Consume tea within 2-4 hours or refrigerate for more extended storage. 

Keep an eye out for signs of spoilage, and always prioritize your health when consuming beverages.


Does Adding Baking Soda to Tea Make It Last Longer?

No. Baking soda neutralizes acidity in tea but doesn’t extend shelf life significantly.

Which Lasts Longer: Cold Brew or Hot Brew Tea?

Cold brew tea lasts longer due to lower brewing temperatures, reducing bacterial growth risk. Cold brew tea lasts 7-10 days in the fridge, while hot brew lasts 3-5 days when refrigerated.

Can You Reheat Tea That’s Been Left Out?

Yes, you can reheat tea left out for under 2-4 hours in the microwave or on the stovetop. Discard tea left at room temperature for over 4 hours due to spoilage risks.

What Happens if You Accidentally Drank Moldy Tea?

Accidentally consuming moldy tea may lead to mild symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Symptoms usually resolve in a few hours to a day. Seek medical help for severe or ongoing symptoms.

Does It Make Sense to Freeze Brewed Tea?

Freezing brewed tea is an option to preserve it for an extended period. Freeze tea in ice cube trays or containers for a chilled drink later. Freezing and thawing may slightly change the tea’s flavor and texture. Consuming frozen tea within 1-2 months is best for optimal quality.

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