I'm trying to understand if it's safe to eat tea leaves. Not as an evening meal, more about if I make a drink with loose leaf tea and leave the leaves in the bottom of the drink and drink some, will it cause any ill effect (drinking 10 cups a day).

My research on Google brings up many results, but everything I've found is about eating green tea leaves (and even that matcha is a powder made from green tea for consumption). My question is about white and black tea.

Some sites I've read explain how little difference there is between the teas, and ultimately I can't find anything on non-green teas to confirm that it is safe (despite my instinct saying "hey, it's still tea, yes it's safe").

Is it safe to eat white and black tea (before or after it is used to make tea)?

  • 2
    Note that some people avoid eating tea leaves because they may contain small amounts of lead and other heavy metal contaminants. This is due to lead in the soil (from pollution), so it depends on where it was grown. This applies to green tea as well. Most people have nothing to worry about, but if you eat very large quantities of tea leaves you may want to consider getting your tea from somewhere that guarantees lead-free leaves.
    – Era
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 19:42
  • 1
    @era thanks I did more research on that and found very interesting reads green-tea-guide.com/green-tea-lead.html (despite being on green tea)
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 5:33
  • 2
    It might also be a concern that the tea leaves may contain a pesticide which is not water-soluble, so theoretically they may stay in the leaves rather than be released into the liquor.
    – user50726
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


It is safe to drink the tea made from tea leaves and it's safe if you eat the tea leaves themselves at the bottom of the cup. People avoid eating the leaves because they aren't pleasant tasting, the consistency isn't very nice, and they aren't that easy to digest.


Last Spring I was in Wuyishan, a tea region in China, to source tea. By surprise I discovered locals oil-frying oolong tea leaves. So yes, I guess you can eat other types of tea as well. However, in my cause the leaves are recooked after they're used for steeping.


After further searching, I eventually found some answers, which was the following Google search string

matcha with white tea


Since this comes back with valid results I feel this is safe enough to assume it's fine to eat.

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