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Matcha tea is quite different from green or black tea, even though it’s made from the leaves of the same plant – Camellia Sinensis. Because of the way in which it’s grown and processed, fresh matcha comes as a powder instead. Matcha powder stands out because of its appearance and method of use; naturally, this changes what you can expect to find on supermarket shelves when compared against regular teas!
In today’s post we’re going to take a look at a burning question for most: Can matcha expire? Just in case you aren’t sure!
If that sounds like your question then read along for more information.
What is Matcha?
Matcha tea is a form of powdered green tea that’s made by grinding ceremonial-grade Japanese green tea leaves into a fine powder. You can mix this powder at home with a hot liquid or as an addition to a smoothie for added flavor!
How Long Does Matcha Keep You Awake?
Matcha powder has more caffeine than any other type of tea, packing 280mg per 4 teaspoons. However, this added stimulant does not cause jitters or the undesired “caffeine crash” like coffee may do for some people. Instead, matcha offers long-lasting energy. It contains L-Theanine — a rare amino acid that alters the alpha brainwaves. This increases attention span, alertness and focus without causing anxiety or nervousness associated with high levels of caffeine intake. It also has the ability to put you in a relaxed state.
Ah, the joys of natural caffeine!
What Makes Matcha Tea So Unique?
Matcha tea is very unique in that it contains the amino acid L-Theanine, mentioned above. This allows the tea to have some amazing health benefits without all the negative side effects from coffee
Aside from having ALL the caffeine without the side effects, it also provides you with powerful cancer fighting antioxidants and lowers insulin levels in your body.
Due to the presence of L-Theanine, this increases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which can help promote feelings of happiness and well being. It has been shown to reduce stress related hormones such as cortisol. This makes matcha an excellent choice for those who are looking for something before bedtime or need relief from anxiety or depression.
This mega antioxidant powerhouse does not even require a blender! Simply mix two teaspoons of matcha powder into one cup of hot water, milk, smoothie, or even sauces on food!
How is Matcha grown?
Matcha tea is also unique in the way it’s grown, even though it comes from the same plant as black and green teas. The entire process of matcha tea cultivation is done by hand, from planting the delicate shade-grown green tea plants to harvesting and drying them. It takes ten times longer to produce matcha tea than other green teas.
Matcha grows best in shade which creates a dense environment for the plants and helps regulate their growth cycle. It also helps boost chlorophyll production, giving it the vibrant green color and amino acid content.
A unique aspect of the plant is that it does not require large amounts of fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides. The only thing needed to keep these plants growing strong is shade! Matcha thrives under an exclusive canopy of trees during its final days as this provides just enough sun exposure while still maintaining optimal levels of humidity and temperature (which are factors that can affect quality).
In Japan, where most matcha comes from, farmers often hand-pitch each leaf individually onto bamboo poles before finally hanging them up on racks to dry out slowly before being ground into the matcha powder we are familiar with!
Health Benefits of Matcha
The health benefits of matcha powder are plentiful in number!
- High in powerful antioxidant that help help fight free radicals in the body and prevent damage to cells
- Can help protect your skin from UV rays
- Helps with weight loss by boosting energy and metabolism.
- A natural body detoxifier.
- Helps reduce stress
Does Matcha Expire?
So now for the answer to the dying question. In short, yes, matcha does expire, but not in the traditional sense. The expiration date generally exists only for flavor and aroma degredation, not because it will spoil. Depending on the quality of matcha you buy, unopened matcha generally has an average shelf life of 12 months. After it’s been opened, you can expect it to last a few months at most.
The expiration date does somewhat depend on how well sealed the product is. Matcha loves airtight containers after being opened, and being away light. Make sure to keep it in a cool dry place in your pantry.
Can You Consume Expired Matcha?
So now you’re left with expired matcha. Is it still safe to consume? Unlike other foods you’l want to stay away from after expiring, yes, you can still use matcha well past its expiration date. It may not taste as fresh, but you can still use it. It technically never really expires.
What do I need to know about expired matcha?
Matcha will last for much longer than other teas because the powdered nature of the leaf is less susceptible to any changes. However, if your tea’s expiration date has passed and you’re unsure whether or not an older package of matcha is safe to consume, I recommend that you throw it out rather than risking illness from consuming a spoiled product.
How Do You Know If Matcha Is Expired?
Being expired is one thing. what you really want to know is if it’s too bad to consume! It is safe to consume matcha tea past its expiration date. However, over time, there will be some noticeable changes. Here are some things to look out for.
Over time, the bright vibrant green will turn a dull yellow or gray. If it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean it’s not expired, but rather dyes were added at the time of manufacture to keep the color. The better quality grades will actually turn to this dull color.
The strong taste will start to degrade over time. You might not be able to drink it straight anymore due to the bland taste. In this case, it’d be perfect to add to a smoothie, you’ll never know it’s there!
It’s also important to note that expired matcha powder won’t have the same health benefits due to the oxidation (the combining with oxygen). It will lose some of the chemicals and properties.
But, high grade matcha powder isn’t cheap either. It’s still worth consuming, for your pocket and your health!
How To Store Matcha
Unless unopened, you should store matcha in an air tight container in your pantry at room temperature. Never in the refrigerator! The idea is to keep the matcha powder fresh and away from any potential moisture. The cold can also dry it out further.
Store it away from direct sunlight or heat sources like a stovetop or oven that will cause high temperatures.
Creative Ways To Use Expired Matcha
If your expiration date has passed already there are still some things you can do with it.
- Make it into a latte with espresso or make mixed drinks like matcha martinis
- Add to oatmeal or cereal
- Mix it in yogurt
- Add to an omelette
- Add to pancake batter
- Use as an ice cream topping
- Make frosting for your favorite cake recipe
Mix well before adding in the matcha powder in order to avoid lumps on finished product!
If you have any other questions or you own suggestions about using up that leftover Matcha from a while ago don’t hesitate to comment below! I’ll be happy to help!
Teami Matcha Powder
If you are looking for somewhere to start in the matcha buying world, I do suggest Teami’s Matcha ceremonial grade powder. I fell in love with Teami for their Colon Cleanse tea and Green Tea face exfoliating (by bye acne), but I have since added this powder to my routine! Teami sources the best organic ingredients and this comes straight from Japan, where it’s been living in the shade and hand picked! They even offer mango, chocolate, and blueberry flavors! I personally like the chocolate, but if you try one let me know what you think!