Black tea is a fully fermented tea, which is almost completely fermented, so there will be a shelf life. At present, the shelf life of black tea in different packages is long or short. The shelf life of black tea in bulk is 18 months, the shelf life of black tea in bags is 24 months, and the shelf life of black tea in cans or foil packaging can be up to 3 years.
In short, the shelf life of black tea is about 1 to 3 years. Just check the shelf life label on the package of the black tea you buy. If the black tea has no shelf life, the words "suitable for long-term storage" will be noted on the packaging. But generally speaking, only Pu-erh tea, white tea, dark tea, and rock tea can be stored for a long time, and the outer packaging will also be marked with a prompt such as "suitable for long-term storage under storage conditions."
In addition, the shelf life of black tea is also related to the production process. Most of the current tea leaves are made by machines. If the black tea is made by the traditional charcoal roasting process, its shelf life will be longer, 3-5 years. However, the traditional charcoal roasting process is very time-consuming and energy-consuming, and the operation process is complicated and requires rich practical experience, so it is rare.
The purchased black tea is best consumed within the specified shelf life, but it is not necessary to discard it immediately after the expiration date. As long as the preservation method is proper, black tea can be used for drinking even if it has expired and not deteriorated, but the taste will be deviated. Normal black tea, its dry tea strips are complete, bright in color, and can be easily broken or crushed; the aroma is fresh and natural, even with fruity and floral aromas; the taste is full and fresh, and the taste is comfortable.
However, if the dry black tea has a relatively high humidity, it cannot be easily broken or crushed, the color will appear gray, lose its luster, or it will smell unpleasant musty, miscellaneous or rotten, and it will not taste good to drink. If it is light, or even has an obvious water smell, then it is likely to have deteriorated, and this black tea is not suitable for drinking.