What Is That Floating Thing in My Iced Tea? 4 Most Likely Suspects

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Tea is the world’s second most popular beverage, with water coming in top. Tea may be found in over 80% of American kitchens. Its popularity is widely recognized, but what is floating in your tea is less obvious.

What is the Stuff Floating in My Iced Tea?

There might be various things floating in your tea. They include tea leaf fragments, tea scum, insects, and mold. Some of them are hazardous to your health, while others are merely unpleasant.

Tea Leaves

This is the one to wish for out of all the things that may be floating in your tea. Small tea leaf fragments may pass through tea bags and into your drink. This is most likely the source of little particles the same color as your tea.

Larger chunks of tea may be found in your glass if you drink loose leaf tea. This is due to the fact that this tea is not produced in a tea bag, which has microscopic pores that keep bigger bits from escaping.

Tea Scum

Tea scum is another option. This appears on top of the tea like a film. This isn’t toxic, but it’s also not especially pleasant.

A mixture of chemicals in the tea and compounds in the water causes this. Because of its high calcium concentration, hard water is more prone to generate tea scum. In fact, the scum in your tea contains 15% calcium.


Now for the sometimes troubling objects that may be floating in your tea. Molds and fungus may grow in a variety of foods and drinks, including tea.

Some of these are completely safe. They are even desirable in the case of scoby. Some, on the other hand, may make you quite sick.


A scoby often resembles leather. It has a slimy texture and often floats on top of the tea. The scoby is essentially a cellulose-based colony of helpful bacteria and yeasts.

Kombucha is made from Scobys. The tea is made, then the scoby is added. The scoby ferments the tea over time, producing kombucha. Unlike traditional tea, kombucha has an unique sour flavor.

Unless you’re producing kombucha, you’re unlikely to discover a scoby in your tea, but it’s not impossible.

Gelatinous Mold

Gelatinous mold is very frequent in tea. It may be revolting. It is often likened to mucus or even jellyfish. When these gelatinous mold spores are in the air, this happens. As the tea is exposed to air, it takes up mold spores.

After the spores have entered the tea, they begin to multiply, resulting in a visible jelly-like mass floating in the drink.

The good news is that, other from being horrible, this sort of mold is completely safe.

It may be found in both bottled and freshly brewed teas. When it is discovered in bottled teas, it is mainly owing to the lid not being properly closed. When the lid is properly closed, it forms an airtight seal. Mold spores may enter the tea if this seal is not there.

Similarly, freshly brewed tea is often exposed to air. This indicates that it can also grow this form of mold. This is unusual since this sort of tea is not generally stored for lengthy periods of time.


This is the most frightening item that may be in your tea. Mytoxins are produced by some molds. Mold may grow on tea at any stage of its life cycle.

Mold spores may taint tea leaves before they are picked. Mold is more typically acquired throughout the manufacturing process. Mold may also be found in tea bags or in your kitchen cabinet.

The issue with these molds is that they can withstand high temperatures, even boiling water. Aflatoxin, one of the most dangerous molds that may enter tea, needs boiling for at least 60 minutes to eliminate the mold spores. Tea also contains ochratoxin and fumonisins.

As a result, the procedure of preparing tea with boiling water cannot eradicate all varieties of mold that may be present.

Mytotoxins may induce anything from a stomach discomfort to a serious or even fatal sickness. If you have a robust immune system, your body should be able to fight off most forms of mold.

The greater the concentration of mold, though, the more likely you are to get unwell. A weaker immune system increases the likelihood of undesirable consequences. Finally, certain molds are more prone than others to cause severe sickness.

If you have a weaker immune system, you may have a life-threatening response to mytotoxins. They may induce an infection, which usually starts in the lungs. Fever, trouble breathing, and bloody cough are all symptoms.

Nevertheless, stomach problems are more prevalent. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Mytoxin poisoning may cause liver damage in severe situations.

Insects in Tea

Insects are another option for what’s floating in your tea. Tea, especially the caffeine level, repels many insects. Certain insects, on the other hand, like tea. Some insects may be drawn to the sugar in sweetened tea.

Meal Moths

Meal moths are drawn to dry products, especially tea. Tea bags, loose leaf tea, cereals, and other dry commodities may all be infested. They will also deposit their eggs in dry products. These bugs may contaminate food.

The moths are white gray and reddish brown in color. Its eggs are whitish and almost impossible to discern with the naked eye.

Insects Falling Into Tea

There are several flying insects that might end up in your tea. Houseflies and even bees may find their way into your tea cup.

Most of the time, you may just remove the bug and continue drinking your tea.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is The Stuff Floating in My Tea

What is Tea Dust?

Tea dust is merely microscopic particles that remain after tea leaves have been crushed or processed. Tea dust is often seen in bags of tea. Regrettably, tea dust is the primary component of tea in standard tea bags.

Is Loose Leaf Tea Better Than Bagged Tea?

In general, loose leaf tea is of greater quality than bagged tea. Tea dust is commonly used to make bagged tea, while entire or broken tea leaves are used to make loose leaf tea.

Conclusion On What Is The Stuff Floating in My Tea

There might be a variety of things floating in your tea. Tea scum, mildew, insects, and tea particles are examples of these. Some of them are not hazardous, however others might cause serious illness.


Why does my iced tea have floaties?

When tea is cooled or iced, caffeine and tannins bind with one other, causing cloudiness. The higher the temperature of the initial brewing water, the more caffeine and tannins are extracted from the tea leaves, and the murkier the beverage.

What is the weird floaty stuff in tea?

According to the study, the scum on tea is mostly constituted of calcium carbonate (approximately 15-25%), with the remainder consisting of a complicated combination of organic compounds or minerals. According to some studies, it is also related to the oil in tea leaves. If you reside in a hard water location, this might be a much greater issue.

What kind of mold grows in iced tea?

Coliform bacteria may be present in tea leaves. Iced tea may develop coliform bacteria, most typically Klebsiella and Enterobacter, and less commonly E. coli, if brewed at insufficient temperatures or in an insufficiently cleaned urn, or if kept for an extended period of time.

What is the stuff at the bottom of my iced tea?

In the high temperatures used in the production of tea beverages, strictinin reacts with water to form ellagic acid. According to a green tea research, when ellagic acid mixes with proteins, it generates sediment (Niino et al. 2005).

How can you tell if iced tea has gone bad?

Take note of the scent and flavor.

If the tea contains mold, or if the scent, look, or flavor has altered, it is time to throw it out. This might indicate bacterial contamination. According to Intentional Hospitality, freshly brewed iced tea should be refrigerated for no more than three days.

What does tea look like when it goes bad?

Tea leaves may darken or change color when exposed to heat or light. If you believe your tea has changed color after you acquired it, it may be time to start again with new tea. In most circumstances, aged tea will simply be less flavored and taste bland or stale.

Is it OK to drink tea particles?

Since PET plastic emits plastic particles at 169F, you can’t avoid drinking a harmful dosage of plastic with every cup. To prevent consuming microplastics from your teabag, you must cold brew it, which involves steeping it in cold water rather than boiling water.

What are the particles in tea?

If you use a plastic tea bag, microplastics and nanoplastics may end up in your cup. According to researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a single plastic tea bag emits 11 billion micro-sized and 3 billion nano-sized plastic particles into 95-degree water.

Can you drink the sediment in tea?

Since the leaves are what contain the health benefits from your cuppa, the loose leaf tea residue is entirely safe to consume and rich in minerals and antioxidants! You may research into the advantages of each kind of tea leaf, but they are all rich providers of vitamins and immune boosters.

Can moldy iced tea make you sick?

A: Indeed, drinking mold may result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and skin rashes. Mold is present in food, water, air, and soil.

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