If you drink a lot of tea, there comes a time when you wonder whether or not you can freeze tea.
Both loose leaf tea and brewed (liquid) tea may be frozen. Tea, in its natural form, may remain frozen for well over a year if properly prepared. Brewed tea may be frozen for up to half a year before it begins to go bad.
Read on below, discover everything you need to know about freezing tea!
Can You Freeze Tea?
Whether it’s for storage purposes, for a party, or to make tea-flavored ice cubes, tea, in any form, may be frozen with the right preparation and care.
That said, there are several important factors to take into account before freezing tea, such as what type of tea mixture it is, whether it is raw or already brewed, and how long you want it to remain frozen.
Types of Tea Suitable for Freezing
Just about every sort of single or simple tea is good for freezing because their signature taste doesn’t depend on a careful blend of tea mixtures. Most of these “regular” types of tea last for up to 6 months as frozen brew, and as much as two years as properly frozen loose-leaf or tea bags.
On the other hand, mixed tea blends, including loose-leaf mixtures as well as in tea bags, don’t do very well when frozen for longer than a few weeks. If stored for longer than 2 or 3 months, the flavor of these more complex tea types begins to destabilize.
Freezing and storing tea isn’t rocket engineering, but it is more complicated than simply freezing water into ice cubes (even if you’re making tea cubes). Water has no flavor to lose if it stays frozen for years and years, tea on the other hand does.
It is important to note that once thawed out, frozen tea should be used completely rather than refrozen. Technically, tea may be refrozen, but, every time you refreeze tea it loses a bit more of its flavor.
Another crucial aspect to consider is that dry tea far outlasts frozen tea, as it retains its original flavor for years while sitting on a dark and dry shelf in the cupboard. The moment tea is placed in the freezer, a new expiration date is born,
How to Store Frozen Tea
There are two main types of tea to freeze, loose-leaf (and tea bags) and brewed tea. Below, we go over the steps of how to properly freeze and store both types.
Steps for Storing Frozen Loose Leaf Tea
- Place your loose leaf tea into freezer bags
- Compress the bags of tea, removing all air
- Place the compressed bags into an airtight freezer container
- Avoid stacking other frozen items on or around the frozen tea
Steps for Storing Frozen Liquid Tea
- Brew the tea on the stove
- Allow the tea to cool on the counter
- Pour cool tea into an airtight freezer container
- Place the airtight container in the freezer
- Avoid placing other frozen goods on top of the frozen tea
What Types of Tea Should Not be Frozen?
The main types of tea that shouldn’t be frozen include complex mixtures often found in combined teas. These tea types typically include various types of herbs, fruits, or, in some cases, even essence oils.
When frozen, these complex and delicate tea mixtures start taking structural damage, which occurs almost immediately thanks to the oils found on the leaves. The longer they remain frozen, the more the precise flavor intended by the mixture’s ingredients is watered down or otherwise ruined.
Smoked tea leaves are also not ideal to be frozen. Once the moisture of the leaves is drawn out during the freezing process, the smoked flavor is dissolved.
So, before you brew that tasty black chai tea with honey and chamomile oil to freeze for later, think twice. Likewise, avoid freezing such tea bags and loose-leaf mixes for extended periods of time as well.
How Long Does Tea Last in the Freezer?
Tea in the freezer can last for a very long time, maybe even thousands of years (if the fridge stays plugged in). That said, in most cases, you wouldn’t want to drink frozen tea that’s older than 6 months or so.
As far as loose-leaf and tea bags go, those can also stay frozen for as long as the ice lasts but aren’t safe for use after 1 or 2 years in the freezer.
What Makes Frozen Tea Go Bad?
Believe it or not, the whole freezing thing is what makes frozen tea go bad. If kept in a dry and dark place, tea lasts for several years before losing flavor (or becoming unsafe to drink).
However, once frozen, tea’s expiration date starts ticking away immediately. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures and unstable moisture levels opens the door for coliform bacteria to contaminate your tea.
Does Frozen Tea Grow Bacteria?
If tea is left frozen for too long and then brewed or is improperly cleaned after thawing out, it is quite common for coliform bacteria to appear. The common types of bacteria that grow from iced tea are Enterobacter and Klebsiella. However, E. coli may also grow from old and degraded tea.
Can You Get Food Poisoning from Frozen Tea?
Tea can give you food poisoning if it has been frozen and is brewed wrongly or is otherwise contaminated and/or compromised. The symptoms of food poisoning from frozen tea typically include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
A Final Word About Freezing Tea
Loose-leaf, Ice tea, tea-cubes, tea bags, and tea-cicles, may all be frozen and stored with great success. The frozen tea won’t even lose its taste if you thaw it out and use it in time!
Just remember that if tea is in one of its raw forms (loose-leaf or tea bags) it lasts for up to 2 years in the freezer, but if it is in liquid form it only lasts for up to 6 months.