It’s great that you want to explore more about the expiry dates on your Matcha tea. And find out the definitive answer to “does Matcha powder expire”.
Here’s where I outline what expiry really means for Matcha, how long you have, and what you can do to extend the life of your Matcha tea. Along with real-world examples and manufacturers guides – as well as my own take.
Matcha powder does expire and comes with an expiry date. Unopened Matcha powder lasts 6-12 months. Opened Matcha powder can last 4-5 months. However, this is only a best before or best by indication. Matcha powder may last longer after the expiry date before going bad if stored correctly.
But there are so many questions that arise even from this short answer, so let’s dive into more of the details…
What the expiry date on Matcha powder means
Most of us know about expiry dates, but what does the expiry date mean exactly when it comes to Matcha.
Lots of people have misinterpreted the expiry date as an indication of the safety to consume a product. Meaning many believe it’s not safe to consume a product beyond a specified “expiry date”.
While this may be true for many teas and foods we consume, the indication of an expiry date is also a mandatory requirement for manufacturers to ensure safety.
However, the expiry date doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe to consume beyond that date for some products, especially tea.
To make it clear old tea can often be rather expensive in china and the Chinese consider old tea as a delicacy.
In my previous related article does loose leaf tea expire, a comment from one of my readers stated that…
“I found some Da Hong Pao in airtight individual wrappings, and inside an airtight box at the bottom of a drawer. It’s been in there for at least 6-7 years. It was still good to drink, even though it does not retain its full flavor”
This real-world example from an actual Matcha tea drinker lends weight to the idea that tea does not always expire by a specific date, and that the expiry date on Matcha powder is perhaps less significant with regard to the tea …and more significant for the food and safety officials.
However, we do need to be careful. First of all, I wouldn’t want any lawsuits on my hands …and secondly, because Matcha powder is quite different from green, black, or white tea, even though it’s made from the same tea plant.
And besides, generally speaking, the expiry date on Matcha powder refers more to the “best before” or “best by” date and is an indication of the quality value …up to a specific point.
In simple terms, the Matcha powder expiry date is more about quality assurance from the producers and manufacturers than health and safety.
The fine and powdered texture of Matcha is a result of how it’s processed. It’s more delicate and different from regular tea.
This naturally makes the shelf life and properties of Matcha powder more sensitive to other kinds of external influences.
How long it takes Matcha to expire
On average, unopened Matcha powder lasts for 6-12 months. If you store it in the freezer, the lower temperatures will keep Matcha powder fresh to last more than one year.
If the matcha is opened, the expiry date can then vary from anything between 4-5 months.
This is again assuming that the Matcha powder meets the correct storage requirements. More on that later…
Whereas an opened high-quality or ceremonial grade Matcha powder has an expiry date that varies from 6-7 months.
So if you’re considering consuming Matcha after its expiry period, then consume it by the end of 1-2 weeks. This should then ensure you get the same taste profile after expiry – as the profile is what will begin to fade.
Here’s a quick summary table that compiles all the dates I’ve mentioned…
|Storage||Unopened Matcha||Opened Matcha|
|Room Temperature||6-12 months||4-7 months|
|Freezer Storage||12-18 months||9-12 months|
What happens to Matcha powder after the expiry date
So does Matcha powder expire? Yes …and the expiry date of Matcha powder is a concern more with regard to quality than safety. So here’s what happens to it after that date…
After expiry, the texture, aroma, or flavor of Matcha powder may not be the same as before expiry and will begin to diminish.
This means a cup of Matcha brewed using expired powder may not give you the best Matcha experience. In simple terms, the properties of Matcha powder deteriorate after expiry.
To offer a kind of time-scale, the flavor and related profile properties may taste okay – or even pretty good for 1-2 weeks after expiry.
But as we know from good old father time, everything deteriorates …from the flavor and taste profile – even through to its beneficial compounds.
Beyond expiry, Matcha powder is likely to taste bitter or just bland, and decline further over a period of time to almost unbearably bitter – making it hard to drink.
Is it safe to take Matcha powder after the expiry date?
In general, it’s safe to take or consume Matcha powder beyond its expiry date, but as well as my “don’t sue me I’m not liable” caveat, it also comes with a few exceptions.
One of the reasons why manufacturers indicate an expiry date is on the basis that many people store Matcha teas inappropriately. In fact, the same goes for the storage of most loose leaf tea!
This doesn’t just stop at incorrect storage by the consumer, but also by everyone else in the supply chain – because Matcha powder will likely be kept under incorrect storage conditions until it’s sold.
After it reaches consumers, the storage conditions may then vary.
This includes the tea being kept in unsuitable or harmful environments.
So if you’re sure that your newly purchased Matcha has been stored as per instructions, then it’s “probably” safe to consume after expiry. If you’re not, then your safety could be at risk.
Matcha powder is delicate and so it can easily change texture, color, or even form mold with improper storage.
If you observe these changes in the Matcha powder after expiry then assume it’s not safe to consume it.
See also my article on does green tea expire.
Expiring prior to the expiry date
It’s also important to consider another aspect that many overlook.
Products (not just tea) can expire even before reaching their expiry date – depending on how you store them.
This means that if your method of storing Matcha is completely ineffective, then this could potentially shorten the shelf life – and therefore the expiry date.
So your Matcha can expire (become bad or unsuitable to use) before even reaching this expiry date.
However, again, expired Matcha powder can be very bitter that may not be palatable – or perhaps just give you a bland taste.
Similarly, unused Matcha powder can also become tasteless or bitter when stored for long. So taking unopened Matcha powder after expiry doesn’t always mean a promising flavor.
But as we know Matcha powder is expensive…
So dumping your favorite, perhaps unused Matcha powder into the trash may not feel like the start of a good day!
In which case, there is something else you can do with it.
You can use Matcha powder to flavor baked goods, like cakes, cookies, and so on.
Some experts say green tea can give out a harsh taste when used in baking. So using a bland version of Matcha could add the right amount of green tea notes to your baked goods.
And if it’s too bitter, they recommend adding some sweetening agent such as sugar or honey.
How to extend the expiry date or shelf life of Matcha powder
Utilizing the right storage for your Matcha powder goes a long way in extending its expiry date.
It’s often the correct storage used in the Chinese tea culture, which helps the Chinese consume teas that are so many years old. In truth, expiry date or tea “going bad” is a much less significant concept for tea among the Chinese.
While this is a much more detailed topic to cover, you can start by following the manufacturer’s storage instructions.
Keep Matcha away from oxygen, heat, light, and moisture. Choose an airtight container that has a dark color. Dark colors will reflect heat and light without absorbing them into the Matcha. Do not opt for clear containers either.
Tins are a better option to store in than bags because they are more airtight.
Sometimes Matcha powder from the “bulk section” in grocery or health stores can expire relatively quickly.
It’s also believed that Matcha stored at lower temperatures can retain its freshness for longer.
Matcha packet instructions
Typically, the instructions for storage on Matcha powder is pretty simple and is mostly added to comply with regulations.
Here’s an image showing the storage instructions on a typical packet of Matcha powder. It states
“store in a cool dry place, away from heat sources, even after opening”.
So follow these instructions for sure, and once opened, you might want to try to store them in a freezer.
But just be careful regarding moisture …or other odors that could potentially be absorbed into and spoil the Matcha.
Also, when Matcha is exposed to a higher temperature, the antioxidant compounds of the powder can break down – reducing its health benefits.
“ Culinary grade matcha: I am coming to the end of my first packet, delivered about ten weeks ago, and am about to order another. I have been careful about resealing the packet after each use and keep it in the refrigerator. The remaining content still seems fine. No idea how much longer it would keep, but my experience suggests it can be kept for at least several months after opening if carefully stored.”
Matcha powder options
If you’re looking for lower-priced Matcha or trying it for the first time, then you could purchase culinary-grade Matcha from Amazon instead.
Many find it hard to tell the difference in taste unless they’ve become an experienced tea drinker.
If you are already a Matcha tea head, then you should probably go for the ceremonial grade matcha.
Alternatively, if it’s for a gift, or you’re new to it yourself, then you’ll ideally need the whisk, spoon, and scoop too. So go for something like this Matcha Tea Set. It’s just more “gift-like”.
To finish up…
Hopefully, this answers the question, “does matcha powder expire?”.
I think it’s great that you wanted to check on expiry dates for Matcha tea. Storing tea correctly is important, and I talk more about storage in my tea sommelier course.
We often throw our tea leaves and herbals into a bag and stuff them into a cupboard. But you’d never find a tea sommelier doing that. They’re trained to store tea as preciously as a wine sommelier would correctly store a fine wine.
We don’t all want to be professional tea sommeliers, but many of us would like to improve our tea skills. So why not become the expert tea sommelier in your family and circle of friends.
My simple course takes you from novice to experienced, with just the right amount of knowledge and an easy tea tasting process – without sitting expensive and lengthy exams.
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This course keeps it simple with step-by-step tea tasting and easy reference guides
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Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!
Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!