is doesn’t say if it’s best before or expiring date

It smelled okay.I saw a blog saying that it’s okay to use it,but I’m a bit skeptical about it.

  • @aris : so the sign that mice have nibbled on the box is still okay? (I wish I was joking ... it was a mostly full box of gallon tea bags that I had to pitch)
    – Joe
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:34
  • 1
    @A.Leistra : I'd say they're related, but not necessarily a duplicate. If people said it was trash after 1 year, yes ... but they said it was okay at 1 year ... does that still hold true at 9 years? Oh, and Victoria : it's a 'best by' date. There are very few foods that have true 'expiration' dates.
    – Joe
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:39
  • @Joe The link A. Leistra pointed to is perfectly relevant. The article specifically says that"but even long after that [1 year], they're still safe to consume. They just might change colour or flavour" and "more than 3 years old, the packaging had even started to fade, and the tea was still fine" Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


So long as the tea hasn't been contaminated with anything (mold growth, insects, etc.), it should be safe to use.

Depending on how well sealed it was, some of the volatile flavor components may have escaped into the air. Tea will last in an airtight tin, glass jar, or hard metal container for many years (even a decade) past the date on the package with little loss of quality.

Cardboard packages have an advantage that they can help to regulate humidity (reducing the risk of mold), but they're not so great at keeping in the flavors on their own. Individually wrapped teabags, especially if it's a glossy paper can offer additional protection.

My suggestion would be to look for signs of infestation -- if it's bagged, look in the bottom of the box for anything other than just tea leaf dust. So long as there's no problems there, brew up a bag.

If it's weak, just brew it longer, or double up the tea bags. If it doesn't taste good, then get rid of them.


It might not poison you, but what is it going to taste like? There's more to food conservation than death risk.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.