I am attempting to preserve the shelf life of ice tea up to six months with citric acid, I need a perfected ratio?

I have tried several ratio, but still end up with molds in a week time not refrigerated.

The last ratio I tried was 4 cups of warm filtered water 3 of 1/8 of a teaspoon of citric acid. 27 bags of tea steep

also tried again,but this time with less tea bags.
17 bags...still horrible smell and mold!

Does anyone know a ratio that can prolong at least 3-6 months with out being refrigerated?

  • Are you doing a cold infusion, instead of the traditional hot (boiling) infusion for tea?
    – derobert
    Jan 27, 2016 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


If the tea was distilled water, a 5% solution would have been sufficient. That is, you'd need 50 grams of acid to 950 grams of water. The problem is, the impurities of the water and the tea itself buffer it somewhat, so it's impossible to predict the exact amount you need. You'll have to use a pH meter, and an accurate one, not strips, to make a pH solution at 1.8 or below. And then hope than you don't have high-acid liking mold around.

The problem is, at this concentration, tea will taste more sour than pure lemon juice, in fact it will have to be more acidic than your own gastric juice. Drinking it will feel like having heartburn all the way from the mouth to the stomach.

My suggestion: ditch the whole project. Tea is not a shelf stable product. Trying to invent home methods for food preservation is dangerous, you were lucky that mold is visible. You'll have to step your tea fresh.

  • 1
    Or you could dry the main flavoring component, and maybe put it into some kind of a filter-paper container and steep it in water when needed.... :P Nov 6, 2017 at 16:02

The ph of your final product should be 4.6 or below for it to be shelf stable. You can get a ph meter and experiment at home and when you are confident about the ph, send it to the food lab to get the ph tested. Once you have it certified from the lab, you can hand that over to the department of agriculture. The will certify you and get plan review or whatever licenses required from the health department and you are good to go! Good luck!

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