Due in part to its unique color and scent, those unfamiliar with matcha might be left wondering just how long their matcha is good for. Does matcha expire? Even infrequent matcha drinkers can enjoy a fresh mug of their favorite matcha anytime at home if they follow our easy storage guide!
Keeping matcha fresh
Unlike other teas where the whole leaf is left intact, teas that are ground to a fine powder, like matcha, can become stale much more quickly. The key is to limit your matcha’s exposure to air and light. Air will oxidize your matcha and light will erode the chlorophyll that keeps your matcha nice and green. A daily matcha consumer won’t have to worry about their matcha’s freshness as much as the occasional indulger, who only enjoys a cup every once in a while.
If you are a frequent matcha drinker, we recommend storing the matcha at room temperature in its original bag or transferring it to an air and light-proof container. This method will keep matcha almost as fresh as the first time you opened the bag for about 4 weeks.
Storing matcha in a light proof and low temperature environment will increase the length of time matcha will stay fresh. Keeping matcha in an air and light-proof container in the fridge will extend its shelf life up to 6 months. In areas with hot and humid climates, this is also an effective way to prevent mold from growing. While it is unusual for matcha to mold in general, improper storage or accidentally allowing a humid environment to develop inside the container could cause mold to grow. If you store your matcha in the fridge, allow it to return to room temperature before opening the container otherwise the difference between the air temperature and the matcha could cause condensation to form. The moisture could make your matcha clumpy.
To store matcha for up to a year, we recommend eliminating as much air from the original packaging as your can before closing, then putting that bag into a freezer bag (again, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing) and putting it into the freezer. Just like when storing matcha in the fridge, allow the matcha to warm to room temperature before consuming.
Found a bag of matcha in the back of the freezer from who knows how long ago? Don’t throw it away just yet! First, allow the matcha to warm to room temperature. Open the bag and look. Has its color turned yellow-green or lost its vibrant green hue? Next, smell it. Does your matcha smell like grass or has it lost its scent entirely? Matcha that has changed color or lost its aroma is no longer fresh but is not what most would deem “expired.” Using this matcha to make an unsweetened beverage would most likely taste bitter. Adding sweeteners or using it in a smoothie will help balance out any bitterness. This kind of matcha can also be used in culinary applications. Old matcha might not taste the best as is but it still has some benefits.
Drinking fresh matcha ensures its best flavor but also that you’re getting the most out of each cup. Once oxidation begins, matcha begins to slowly lose some of its antioxidants. Proper storage is essential to keeping your matcha fresh and nutritious. When stored correctly, you can enjoy your favorite matcha for many months to come!
More information about preparation and storage can be found here.