Does Matcha Powder Expire? Is It Even Safe?

Bought some matcha in the spur of the moment but never got to use it up? Whether you want to make use of a tempting discount or are contemplating stocking up, you should be asking ‘does matcha powder expire‘ in the first place.

If you have some matcha powder sitting around, don’t get rid of it yet; we have the details about the expiring period of this superfood.

Topics Explored

  1. Matcha’s Average Shelf Life
  2. Does Matcha Powder Go Bad?
  3. 3 Quick Tests to Tell If It Has Gone Bad
  4. How To Store Matcha Powder
  5. What Can You Do With Old Matcha Powder?
  6. FAQ

Matcha’s Average Shelf Life

As with many other products, the expiring period is different for opened and unopened Matcha powder. The average shelf life of Matcha is 6 months to a year.

After opening, and if you make sure to keep it in a dark and cool place, it’s good for use for up to 5 weeks.

The manufacturer decides the shelf life of Matcha, and it can vary between brands. Sometimes, it can even range from 12 to 24 months. Generally speaking, the shorter the shelf life, the greater the quality.


Does Matcha Powder Expire?

Brewed Matcha
Brewed Matcha

Matcha powder has a best by date, not an expiry date. After the ‘best by’ period, it loses the original flavor, turns pale green, even yellowish, and becomes more bitter. Matcha doesn’t go bad or become unusable, but it doesn’t have the same qualities over a certain time.

Oxidation Process

The main culprit for Matcha changing and losing its qualities over time is the oxidation process. Due to Matcha being ground up, it has a larger surface susceptible to oxidation.

That’s why you can sense more bitterness and notice the change in color in Matcha that’s been hanging around your shelves for months.


How Can You Tell If It Has Gone Bad? 3 Quick Tests

Matcha Powder
Matcha Powder

While it doesn’t necessarily go bad, Matcha is not as tasty and beneficial after it’s been sitting for an extended period. If you’re not sure if your Matcha powder’s best by date has passed, there are a few giveaway signs.

Smell Test

The change of smell is the most obvious sign your Matcha is long overdue. Fresh Matcha powder has a naturally high content of amino acids(1), which give it a sweet scent.

After being exposed for a while, Matcha might lose all smell or start smelling like hay.

Color Test

You know Matcha when you see it – the bright green color is its ultimate trademark. When it changes color, you know it’s no good anymore.

Over time, due to oxidation, the vibrant color is lost, and the bright green powder turns unrecognizable yellow and even brown.

Matcha Discoloration
Loss of vibrancy and slight oxidation noted in sample above

Flavor Test

The original taste of Matcha is earthy with a lingering sweet undertone. A Matcha powder that’s past its best use date no longer makes an enjoyable drink. The initial taste is lost; it’s bitter and more astringent.

Even if the color and smell are fine, you’ll know your Matcha is not good if the taste is off.


How To Store Matcha Powder

Even if you were an avid Matcha drinker, you might end up tossing the powder after it’s been sitting around for a while. It’s a costly and painful thing to do. To prevent this, switching up your storing methods and can keep it fresh for longer. You can easily prevent the fast oxidation process with the proper storage solution.

Brewed Matcha & Whisk

Keep it in the fridge

Keeping your Matcha powder in the fridge, especially during hot weather, will prevent heat damage and preserve it fresh longer. Take it out of the fridge a few hours before use and let it warm up to room temperature to avoid other humidity-damaging effects. Beware, while you can refrigerate, you can’t freeze Matcha powder.

Keep it in a cool place

If you can’t keep it in the fridge, keep it in the coolest part of your pantry. Avoid placing it anywhere near a heat source, for example, the cabinets closest to your stovetop. Again, store it in an air-tight container as a best practice. Matcha quickly absorbs surrounding scents, and it will end up smelling like anything placed next to it.

Matcha is essentially ground green tea leaves. These leaves are shade-grown and go through a delicate process of grinding. While Matcha is technically a type of green tea, not every green tea powder is Matcha. If it doesn’t follow a strict growing process, it’s not Matcha.

Avoid exposure to light

Store it in a dark place or pick an opaque air-tight container for your Matcha powder. While it can be tempting to display it in a clear container due to its vibrant color, light is known to damage it fast.

Light helps the plant produce chlorophyll, but it also kills chlorophyll in already processed Matcha, giving it a metallic taste.

Store it in an airtight container

Containers

Pick an air-tight container to store your Matcha powder in after opening. Prolonged exposure to air leads to fast oxidation of the tea. When air penetrates into the Matcha powder, it quickly degrades it and robs it of beneficial antioxidants.

Air-tight containers can further prolong Matcha’s shelf life.

Use what you need

Keep your Matcha powder tightly sealed in a cool and dry place and each morning, scoop out just enough for the day. Keep that amount in another air-tight container on your kitchen counter.

This will prevent the whole pack of Matcha from getting exposed to light, heat, and humidity a couple of times a day and prolong its shelf life.


What Can You Do With Old Matcha Powder?

Matcha Baked Goods
Photo by May Lawrence

If you have a pack of Matcha that’s a little past its best by date and was improperly stored, don’t hesitate to use it. While it might not taste great as a beverage, it’s still culinary grade.

You can use it in baking; just make sure to mix it in with other ingredients that will balance out its astringency.


Does Matcha Powder Expire – Final Thoughts

Does Matcha Powder Expire

The Matcha production is time and labor-intensive, so the powder comes at a higher price. If you were wondering does Matcha powder expire, you can rest assured it never goes bad.

With proper storage, you can enjoy a cup for more than 5 weeks after opening. Even if you failed to use it up, add some vanilla and bake delicious Matcha cookies.


FAQs: Does Matcha Powder Expire

Is expired Matcha still healthy?

If the health benefits are the main reason you’re consuming Matcha tea, you won’t be getting them from an expired Matcha powder. A large portion of the health qualities is lost due to the oxidation process. The longer you expose Matcha to air, light, and heat, the smaller the number of antioxidants will remain.

Does unopened matcha expire?

Unopened Matcha powder has a limited shelf life which is longer than when it’s opened. The manufacturer sets the best by dates from the moment Matcha is ground. An unopened, properly packed, and stored Matcha can be good for up to 24 months in some cases. However, after opening, it’s good for up to 5 weeks.

Is it OK to freeze Matcha?

Matcha has a certain amount of humidity inside, and when you freeze it, it will crystalize, modifying the structure of the cells, changing the taste, and causing it to lose all aroma. Frozen Matcha will not taste good, and it might suffer freezer burns. It’s not okay to freeze Matcha, but it’s fine to refrigerate it.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213777/