Because of its energy-boosting properties and numerous health benefits, matcha has grown in popularity. If you're new to using matcha powder or are still planning on buying one, you might wonder if it goes bad and how long it lasts.
While matcha powder does not expire, it does lose its quality over time and can even spoil depending on how you store it. Generally, properly stored matcha powder lasts up to two years, but you have to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place.
The grade and quality of matcha also play a significant role in determining its shelf life. Read on to learn everything from how long matcha lasts in storage and how to store it properly to how you can tell if it has gone bad.
Table of Contents
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea that has become increasingly popular worldwide due to its numerous health benefits. Matcha comes from the same green tea leaf, but the difference is that matcha involves grinding whole leaves into a fine powder.
Nowadays, more people appreciate matcha over coffee. Both contain caffeine that boosts energy, but matcha provides gum health benefits and does not stain the teeth as coffee does.
Does Matcha Go Bad?
While matcha does not expire, it does have a "best by" date where it maintains its highest quality. Eventually, you will end up with stale matcha, lose some health benefits, or even get spoiled.
Matcha is a relatively shelf-stable product. If stored correctly in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, matcha can last up to two years, although the quality and flavor of the tea may decrease over time.
Air, heat, and light exposure are the top factors that affect the matcha's shelf life. The more air, heat, and light that matcha gets exposed to, the quicker it will lose its quality. If possible, store matcha in a dark place to avoid oxidation.
The other factor to consider is the type of matcha you have. High-quality matcha can last up to two years, while lower-quality matcha may only last for a shorter time.
To make sure you get the best matcha, it's important to buy it from a reliable source.
How Long Does Matcha Powder Last?
Matcha powder typically has a shelf life of around two years when properly stored. However, this dramatically differs depending on the quality of matcha and how you store it. To ensure the best quality, I suggest finishing a batch in 6 to 12 months.
However, if you buy small batches, you will be able to finish it within months and won't have to worry about stale matcha.
How Long Does A Matcha Drink Last?
Although matcha powder has a prolonged shelf life, it changes when you turn it into a drink. A matcha drink lasts about six hours at room temperature and about 48 hours in the fridge.
Iced matcha has a longer shelf life than brewed green tea or hot matcha, as cold water does not degrade enzymes like boiling water does. However, you could always make just a serving that you could quickly finish, so you won't have to worry about storing your matcha drink.
Buying the best matcha powder is essential to achieving that perfect taste without bitterness. Furthermore, higher quality means better stability and a longer shelf life.
Here are the different grades of Japanese matcha powder:
Ceremonial-grade matcha is the highest grade of Japanese matcha and is reserved exclusively for any traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Ceremonial matcha comes from the youngest, most tender regular green tea leaves, which are ground into a very fine powder with a bright green hue. It has a smooth and silky texture, a sweet, grassy flavor, and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
This grade is slightly lower in quality than the ceremonial grade but still of high quality. Premium-grade matcha comes from older tea leaves, so it has a slightly darker green color and a stronger flavor than the higher grade.
You can also use premium-grade matcha for ceremonial purposes, although it is more famous for drinking and baking.
Culinary-grade matcha is the lowest grade of matcha and is a common ingredient used in cooking and baking matcha-flavored food. It comes from the oldest tea leaves, so it has a darker green color and a more robust flavor than the other grades.
Culinary-grade matcha is not suitable for drinking, but it is ideal for adding flavor to dishes and providing nutritional benefits.
Latte-grade matcha is a specialty grade designed explicitly for making matcha lattes. It is a blend of premium and culinary-grade matcha and has a milder flavor than the other grades.
Latte grade is also less expensive, so it is a popular choice for making lattes and other beverages.
Top 3 Ways to Tell If Your Matcha Has Gone Bad
Although Japanese matcha green tea powder does not expire, it does go bad if you don't store it properly. Here are the top three signs that should tell you that your matcha has gone bad or has started losing its quality.
Change in Color
One of the most visible signs that you have bad matcha is a change in its color. If the vibrant green of your matcha green tea has faded or turned a shade of yellow, brown, or black, it's likely gone bad.
Most of the time, the color change is caused by oxidation, which happens when air gets into the matcha and breaks it down, causing it to lose its flavor and nutrients.
Change in Smell
Another sure sign that your matcha has gone bad is a change in its aroma. If the typical grassy-fresh aroma of matcha has turned musty or sour, it's probably gone bad.
A foul odor is usually due to bacteria or mold, which can grow on the matcha if it is not stored correctly or exposed to air.
Change in Texture
As with other types of powdered tea, fresh matcha should have a smooth, powdery texture. If your matcha has become lumpy, hard, or clumpy, it's likely gone bad.
Moisture causes the matcha to break down and lose its flavor and nutrients, resulting in lumpy matcha green tea powder.
How To Keep Matcha's Quality
Store Matcha in an Airtight Container
It's essential to store matcha in an airtight container to keep out air and moisture. This will keep the matcha as fresh as possible and stop any oxidation that could ruin the taste. Be sure to check the seal on the container to make sure it's tight and secure.
Store Matcha in a Cool, Dark Place
It will help if you store matcha away from direct sunlight and heat. Keeping it in a cool, dark place will help to protect the flavor and color of the matcha. The refrigerator is a great place to store matcha, but it should be kept in an airtight container.
Use the Matcha Within 6 Months
Although matcha does not expire, its quality will start to degrade once you open the packaging. Finish the whole batch in six months to ensure you get a quality drink every time.
It's generally safe to consume old matcha beyond its "best by" date as long as it does not have any signs of spoilage. You should also look for the presence of fungi or mold before consuming it.
No, refrigeration is not necessary for storing matcha. However, it helps if you store it in a cool, dry, and dark place to avoid oxidation.