We receive a lot of inquiries here at Breaktime about the expiration dates on our products, especially about our canned beverages. It might surprise you to know that not everyone is aware that things like soda have expiration dates. Even bottled water is dated!
Here are a few guidelines when purchasing snacks and beverages:
Bagged Tea: Because tea leaves are dried they last quite a while. The general recommendation for bagged tea is about 18 months for the best flavor, however, if you keep yours in air tight containers (which also helps keep the tea from absorbing other flavors and odors) they can last even longer. I have actually kept tea around for a number of years and had no problem.
Coffee: Coffee grounds are a bit more fickle than tea leaves where flavor is concerned, but it really is a matter of preference. Some recommend keeping ground coffee no longer than 7-10 days at room temperature after the container has been opened while others prefer refrigeration in an air tight for up to 3 weeks. We are fans of portion packs (coffee packets pre measured to make a full pot) because the grounds stay in a vacuum packed bag until you are ready. In our experience here at the office we have found that keeping grounds in an air tight container yields tasty coffee for about a month or so.
Soda: There is more variety in expiration dates on soda than you might think. Much of it depends on the container and the type of sweetener. Most people are surprised to find out that Diet sodas have a much shorter shelf life than their sugary counter parts because of the artificial sweeteners. Regular canned sodas are typically good for about 9 months from the date of production while diet drinks or those in plastic bottles are dated about 3-4 months out. After these time frames the flavor or carbonation may be affected, but they are still safe to drink for quite some time when stored properly. Something to keep in mind is that these are shelf lives from production, so by the time the beverages have been distributed and purchased, the sell by dates may be much closer. We recommend not purchasing any more diet or bottled soda than you can go through in about a month, and for regular sodas no more than about six months.
Chocolate: Ahhh…the way to my heart. I don’t often see chocolate last long enough that anyone should worry about it expiring, but for those who enjoy it more in moderation here are some guidelines. Regular unopened chocolate bars can last up to two years when stored properly! This varies a bit depending on ingredients and is definitely different for chocolate bars containing nuts (see below).
Nuts: Because of the high oil content in nuts, they have a tendency to turn rancid and develop an unpleasant flavor when kept too long. Salted shelled nuts are generally good for about 4 months while unshelled last about 6 months. Better yet, store them in air tight containers in the refrigerator to get a couple of extra months out of them.
For more guidelines on the expiration of your snacks and drinks (as well as just about everything else!) check out Shelflifeadvice.com