How Long Can Bubble Tea Be Kept For Before Turning Bad?

How long can you store bubble tea?

Some manufacturers give a guarantee that the unprepared bubble tea shelf life us up to 12 months. The twelve-month bubble tea shelf life applies from the date of its manufacture. However, the bubble tea shelf life changes once the tea has already been prepared for a state that one can drink. It can be refrigerated for a day or so. This is influenced by the fact that bubble tea is made up of other ingredients with a high propensity for getting spoilt or getting stale within a short period especially during summer. As such, as a business owner or as a consumer, be careful to watch the bubble tea storage after it has been prepared.

There are 4 main ingredients when preparing bubble tea, and you should account of their different shelflife:

  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Sweeteners
  • Tapioca Pearl

Different tea types

The storage, consumption, and freshness of tea are vital; hence need to be considered. However, the shelf life of tea defers depending on the nature of preparation and storage conditions like humidity. An example fresh green tea put in direct sunlight in summer will result in a poorer taste and fragrance in under an hour.

Green tea – 6 to 12 months

It preserves its aroma and flavor for a shorter period because it is not fermented. The shelf life of green tea is usually about a year from its production It is advisable that to consume within a year of production. Green tea stored longer will be less aromatic and also loses its flavor.

Black tea – 2 to 3 years

This type of tea is oxidized hence has a high ability to stay for an extended time without losing its flavor. It can be used to between 2 – 3 years, depending on the mode of storage and conditions surrounding it.

Oolong tea – 2 to 3 years

The tea is fermented, and its expiry period varies depending on the temperature of fermentation. The expiry date is usually between 2-3 years from manufacture. 

White tea – 2 years

It is considered to be the most expensive type of tea and has a long shelf life as well. It is essential to consume it within two years from the packaging period.


Milk is a key ingredient of bubble tea. Milk tends to go bad very quickly, especially when other substances like sweeteners have been added to it. In its natural state, milk has its natural sugars, which is why you will notice that milk tastes a little sugary even before adding any sweetener. Milk is a rich source of protein which is accompanied by a yummy taste. There are different types of milk and their expiry period.

Powdered milk – six to nine months

This kind of milk is prepared by removing water from pasteurized milk, thus containing the same nutrients with similar proportions. However, it is supplemented with vitamin D making it very important in bone health. The milk can last for six to nine-month, but when you open the bottle, keep it under cool and dry condition. Please protect it from water and light band when you want to dissolve the powder milk, use cold water.

Ultra-heat-treated (UHT) milk – six to nine months (unopened), 1 week when used

The milk is sterilized in by heating in high temperature then stored in special cartons referred to Tetra packs. This type of milk can stay in a normal state without being refrigerated for up to nine months. However, on opening the carton, the milk must be refrigerated and used within a week.

Fresh pasteurized milk – 1 week

This is liquid milk that is in the refrigerator part where they sell. Remember to keep the milk in the refrigerator until the expiry date. This milk stays for not more than seven days. Note that when you buy pasteurized milk, it should be cold.

Sweet condensed milk – 1 year

This is a combination of pasteurized milk with sugar, which has a high concentration level. The milk appears to be yellow in color and creamy. This applies to both cooking and sweets preparation. Under cold and dry conditions, it can last for a whole year. Note that it is not advisable to be consumed due to its high level of calories and sweetness.

Note that milk contributes positively to bubble tea storage.


There are 2 common types of sweetener used in bubble tea

Fructose – This is a sweetener from fruit juices and good during prolonged storage. Refer to the manufacturer for expiry date

Honey – It is natural and sweetest, but also it is said to have health benefits when used as required. Natural honey has a long expiry date, up to 5 years.

Tapioca Pearl

Tapioca Pearl – up to 12 months (uncooked)

Tapioca Pearl is a vital ingredient in preparing the bubble tea; you usually refer to that as Boba. Proper tapioca storage dictates that one should keep the bags unsealed and store them at a temperature of 25 degrees. Once you unseal the bag and take out the pearls that you intend to use, make sure that you reseal it. This bag is to be kept at the same temperature. It is also crucial to ensure that the tapioca is stored in a dry environment due to their sensitivity to humidity. They can last up to 12 months without getting spoilt, provided that they have not been cooked. Therefore, they are advisedly stored in their raw state. Tapiocas are made of starch, which gives them the popular chewy edge. These pearls are generally susceptible to humidity and certain temperatures. Once the cooked, the tapioca pearl shelflife reduces drastically. How long they last is highly dependent on their storage. When stored for long after being prepared, the pearls tend to get hard in the middle and very chewy and soft on the outside.  For you, as a consumer, this may not be very desirable. Business owners can soak the pearls in sweetened syrup to prevent becoming too hard when they mix in with drinks.

Tapioca storage, once they have been cooked, can be done by freezing them. As a consumer or business owner, you may freeze the after cooking and unfreeze them when ready to prepare for drinking to ensure appropriate tapioca pearl storage. This method of pearl storage also comes in handy in ensuring the chewiness and integrity of the pearls are maintained. For business owners, this is beneficial since it ensures that the consumers of their products get the best quality of the bubble tea. As for consumers, the storage ensures that you shall have a scrumptious cup of bubble tea.

Even after cooking, you need to take great care of the tapioca pearl. It is recommended that they be used within the first four hours of cooking since the tapioca pearl shelflife is quite low. However, if this is not practicable, and you need to use the pearls at a later time, you may use some of the tapioca storage methods that are listed below;

a) Tapioca pearl is sometimes coated in honey or sugar syrup or fructose concentration. Naturally, honey and sugars are used as preservatives. They would prevent the tapioca seeds from getting stale. In addition, they would make sure that the consistency of the pearls remains good, such that they don’t get too hard on the inside and too soft on the outside.

b) It would be best if you stirred the tapioca after making them periodically. Since the tapioca seeds are starchy, they tend to merge and form lumps. This is especially the case when you coat them with sugar and honey since they are also sticky substances. When the pearls form these lumps, it becomes impossible to separate them. Therefore, in order to avoid this lumping, you ought to add some lukewarm water to the pearls each time you stir to stave off the lumps.

c) Monitoring the temperature at which you store the pearls is also important. You should consider how long you would like to store the pearls. Freezing the cooked pearls would inevitably lead to hardening. It will require reheating when you are preparing them again.  In turn, leaving them in a warm and somewhat humid environment would make them mushy and turn bad quickly.


Bubble tea is a unique beverage that makes a tasty drink. However, as a consumer or a business owner, you should know how long can bubble tea be kept before turning bad. When you are starting a bubble tea business, taking account into the shelflife will allow you to purchase adequate ingredients for your shop. In summary, the period of bubble tea storage is determined by various factors, as discussed above. The ingredients used in the preparation of bubble tea plays a significant role in the bubble tea shelf life. Similarly, the mode of preparation of bubble tea differs from one person to another; hence it becomes a hindrance to how long the tea can stay fresh. Generally, once the bubble tea is prepared, you should not be keeping the drink more than a day.

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