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Can You Buy Tea With Ebt?

With its array of health benefits, tea is a budget-friendly beverage for EBT recipients. But can you actually purchase tea leaves, bags, instant powders, and prepared teas with SNAP benefits?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, you can buy various types of tea with an EBT card as long as the retailer accepts SNAP payments. However, some restrictions apply in terms of where you can shop and what types of tea you can purchase.

Below, we’ll explore in detail if and how you can buy tea with food stamp benefits.

What Is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. It is a system that allows recipients of government assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to receive and use their benefits electronically.

EBT cards are like debit cards and can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers.

How Does EBT Work?

When a person qualifies for SNAP benefits, they are issued an EBT card by the government. The card is loaded with the amount of benefits they are eligible to receive.

To make a purchase, the cardholder simply swipes their EBT card at the point of sale device and enters their PIN number. The purchase amount is deducted from their EBT balance, just like a regular debit card transaction.

How Does EBT Work

What Can You Buy with EBT?

EBT benefits can only be used to purchase food items that are considered eligible under the SNAP program. This includes items such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, bread, cereals, and non-alcoholic beverages.

However, EBT benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items such as alcohol, tobacco, pet food, vitamins, hot foods, or prepared foods. Each state may have its own specific list of eligible items, so it is important to check with your local SNAP office for more information.

Can You Buy Tea with EBT?

Yes, you can buy tea with EBT as long as it is not a hot prepared beverage. This means that you can purchase tea bags or loose tea leaves with your EBT card.

However, if you want to buy a ready-to-drink iced tea or a hot tea from a coffee shop, you will not be able to use your EBT card for those purchases.

What Kinds of Tea Can You Get with SNAP?

If you rely on SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), you may be wondering if you can use them to buy tea. The answer is yes! As long as the tea is not hot or ready to drink, you can purchase it with your EBT card.

This includes a wide variety of tea options, such as:

1. Bagged Tea:

Bagged tea is a popular choice and is widely available at grocery stores and supermarkets. You can find a range of flavors like green tea, black tea, herbal tea, and more. Bagged tea is typically affordable, making it a great option for those on a budget.

2. Loose Leaf Tea:

If you prefer a more customized tea experience, loose-leaf tea might be your go-to choice. Loose-leaf tea comes in various flavors and allows you to control the strength and brewing time. You can find loose-leaf tea in specialty tea shops or online.

3. Tea Mixes:

Tea mixes are convenient options that often come in powdered form. They can be mixed with water to create a refreshing beverage. Tea mixes come in various flavors, including lemon, peach, and raspberry. They are widely available at grocery stores and can be a great alternative to traditional tea bags.

4. Herbal Tea:

If you’re looking for a caffeine-free option, herbal tea is a fantastic choice. Herbal teas are made from dried flowers, herbs, and fruits and come in a wide array of flavors. Common types of herbal tea include chamomile, peppermint, and hibiscus.

They can be found in most grocery stores and health food stores.

It’s important to note that while you can purchase tea with your SNAP benefits, there are certain restrictions. You cannot use your benefits to buy hot tea or tea that is ready to drink.

Additionally, any tea accessories or equipment, such as teapots or infusers, are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.

If you want to learn more about the specific guidelines and eligible products for SNAP benefits, you can visit the official website of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the regulations to ensure you make eligible purchases.

herbal tea

Where Can You Buy Tea with EBT?

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a program that allows eligible individuals and families to purchase groceries using government assistance.

While the program primarily focuses on providing access to essential food items, there are certain exceptions when it comes to purchasing tea with EBT.

Retailers Accepting EBT:

Many grocery stores and supermarkets accept EBT as a form of payment, allowing recipients to buy a variety of food and beverage items. When it comes to tea, both hot and cold, there are several options available at these retailers.

You can find a wide range of tea products, including tea bags, loose-leaf tea, herbal teas, and even bottled iced teas. So, if you’re looking to buy tea using your EBT card, you can head to your nearest EBT-approved grocery store or supermarket.

Farmers’ Markets and EBT:

In addition to traditional grocery stores, some farmers’ markets also accept EBT. These markets often offer a variety of fresh produce, but they may also have vendors selling tea products.

While the selection may vary depending on the market, you may be able to find locally made tea blends or specialty teas that are eligible for purchase using your EBT card. It’s a great way to support local businesses and enjoy a delicious cup of tea.

Online Retailers:

While most EBT transactions are limited to in-store purchases, there is an exception when it comes to online shopping. In recent years, some online retailers have started accepting EBT payments for eligible food items. This means that you may be able to purchase tea online using your EBT card.

However, it’s important to note that not all online retailers accept EBT, so it’s best to check with the specific retailer before making a purchase.

Important Note: It’s worth mentioning that the eligibility of tea purchases with EBT may vary depending on the state you live in. Some states have stricter guidelines in terms of what can be purchased with EBT, while others have more lenient policies.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the guidelines and restrictions set by your state’s EBT program.

How to Use EBT for Tea and Coffee

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) is a government assistance program that provides eligible individuals and families with funds to purchase food.

While EBT can be used to buy a variety of food items, including groceries and some beverages, there are certain restrictions when it comes to hot tea and coffee.

EBT Eligibility for Tea and Coffee

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), EBT benefits can be used to purchase tea and coffee from authorized retailers if they are sold in a container and are not meant for immediate consumption.

This means that if you buy a cup of coffee or tea from a participating store or café, you may be able to use your EBT card to pay for it if it is not meant for consumption on the store’s premises.

Restrictions on EBT Use for Hot Tea and Coffee

However, it is important to note that not all retailers accept EBT for tea and coffee. While some establishments like convenience stores, coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants may accept EBT, others may not.

It is always best to check with the specific retailer beforehand to confirm if they accept EBT for these beverages.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that if you buy hot tea or coffee that is ready to drink, you cannot use your EBT benefits to pay for them. EBT can only be used for tea and coffee in a package or as loose leaves from a grocery store.

Hot Tea and Coffee

Other EBT Eligible Food and Beverage Items

EBT benefits can be used to purchase a wide range of food and beverage items, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Bread and cereals
  • Canned goods
  • Snack foods
  • Beverages (non-alcoholic)

It is important to note that EBT benefits cannot be used to buy alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, or hot prepared foods that are ready to eat immediately.

For more information on EBT eligibility and the specific items you can purchase, you can visit the official USDA website.

So, while you can use your EBT benefits to buy hot tea and coffee from certain authorized retailers, it’s always a good idea to check with the retailer beforehand to ensure they accept EBT for these items.

Remember, EBT is designed to help individuals and families access nutritious food, so it’s important to use your benefits wisely.

Non-Food Items You Can’t Get with EBT

EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfer, is a government assistance program that provides eligible individuals with funds to purchase food items.

While EBT can be a helpful resource for those in need, it’s important to understand that there are certain restrictions on what can and cannot be purchased using these benefits.

1. Non-Food Items

EBT benefits are strictly reserved for the purchase of food items. This means that non-food items such as household supplies, toiletries, and cleaning products cannot be bought with EBT.

It’s important to remember that EBT is designed to assist individuals and families in accessing nutritious food, so these restrictions are in place to ensure that the benefits are used for their intended purpose.

2. Prepared Foods

While EBT can be used to purchase groceries and ingredients for preparing meals at home, it cannot be used to buy prepared foods. This includes items like hot meals from delis, fast food restaurants, or food trucks.

The rationale behind this restriction is to encourage individuals to make healthier food choices and to promote home cooking.

3. Alcohol and Tobacco Products

Another category of items that cannot be purchased with EBT benefits are alcohol and tobacco products.

These items are considered non-essential and can have negative health effects. Therefore, EBT benefits cannot be used to buy alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, or any other tobacco-related products.

4. Non-Food Services

EBT benefits are strictly limited to the purchase of food items and cannot be used for non-food services. This means that you cannot use EBT to pay for services such as restaurant meals, transportation, or utility bills.

EBT benefits are solely intended to assist with the purchase of food for individuals and families in need.

It’s important to note that these restrictions may vary slightly depending on the state you live in. To get more detailed information about what can and cannot be purchased with EBT benefits in your specific area, it is recommended to visit the official website of your state’s EBT program.


In summary, EBT cards can be used to purchase most types of tea, including bagged, loose-leaf, instant, and bottled teas. Grocery stores, wholesale clubs, convenience stores, and other SNAP-authorized retailers sell EBT-eligible tea and coffee.

Just be aware that additional items like cups, sweeteners, tea makers, or brewing accessories cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits.

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