Find out how fast matcha can go bad, simple ways you can test it is no longer fresh, and things you can do with older matcha, so it doesn't go to waste – such as using it in baking recipes!

Does Matcha Expire? How to Tell if Matcha Powder Has Gone Bad | 5 Signs Matcha Tea is Stale

If you are a matcha lover, you've probably started preparing your matcha tea at home – and chances are you've asked yourself, "how long does matcha last?"

Matcha green tea powder does not expire, per se. Rather, matcha powder has a best-by date — after this 'best-by' period, your matcha may begin to lose its grassy, umami flavoring  becoming more bitter and often taking on a more yellowish, dull coloring. No chemical reaction makes matcha tea powder unstable and unsafe, but matcha green tea powder definitely loses its quality over time.

Does matcha go bad?

Keep reading to find out how fast matcha can go bad, simple ways you can test it is no longer fresh, and things you can do with older matcha, so it doesn't go to waste – such as using it in baking recipes!

Does matcha powder expire?

As with many other food products, the expiration date of your matcha powder varies depending on whether you've opened yours or left it unopened. Regarding food categories, Matcha tea powder falls into the category of dried goods. Most dried goods often last a long time and can maintain their quality as long as you are good with a proper storage protocol. 

Matcha maintains a high quality for up to 1-2 years when stored properly

According to most matcha manufacturers, the expiration date for matcha powdered green tea can range from 1 to 2 years. Our matcha, for example, is given an expiration date of 2 years after it has been processed and packaged.

Your time window of optimum matcha green tea powder freshness really depends on your matcha's storage conditions. Make sure to store your matcha in an airtight container somewhere dark, cool and consistent in temperature, and dry.

What makes matcha go bad over time?

Since matcha is such a finely-ground powder, it has a lot of surface area, making it very susceptible to oxidation. Oxidation is responsible for the deterioration of matcha's compounds over time, leading to the shift of bitter flavors and dulled yellow coloring. (1)

Is it safe to drink expired matcha?

Expired matcha – or oxidized matcha – is generally safe, but it will likely taste stale and bitter and won't carry all the same health benefits as a fresh matcha powder. 

This is because, with time, matcha tea powder will deteriorate in healthful compounds, flavor, and aroma. (3)

Is it safe to drink expired matcha tea?

How long after opening does matcha go bad?

After opening and when stored correctly, matcha is best consumed within 60-90 days of opening if you want to experience optimum health benefits, vibrant flavors, and an enticing aroma. Once opened, your powder will likely be suitable for preparing matcha at home for up to 12 months. (3)

Of course, this timeframe of freshness is valid as long as your powder is not exposed to moisture or left in a clear container in sunlight. 

For example, an excellent spot for storage is your fridge leaving your matcha powder in a dark, airtight container. 

Learn all about what to do with matcha: Proper storage, preparation, recycling, and more.

Learn how to tell how matcha has gone bad

Though matcha doesn't necessarily expire, it won't be as flavorful or packed with as many supportive health benefits when it's sitting on your shelf for too long or stored improperly after opening.

Wondering how you can tell if the matcha green tea powder in your fridge or pantry has gone bad?

Five ways to test and tell if your matcha has gone bad:

Here are five simple tests to perform.

The color test

Matcha powder's bright, almost incandescent green coloring is one of the most uncomplicated factors in identifying if matcha is fresh and of high quality. Once your matcha begins to lose its brighter, emerald green coloring – becoming dull – it's a telltale sign it's oxidizing and starting to lose flavor. If your matcha green tes powder begins to take on a yellow hue, it's likely on its way out. However, keep in mind that lower grades of matcha – such as culinary grade matcha – may have a duller shade of green than the ceremonial grade you use for your daily cup of matcha in the mornings. 

the color test for if matcha has gone bad - good matcha should be bright.

The sniff test

Matcha powder doesn't have a powerful scent to begin with, but it has a unique and very identifiable scent. When you smell your matcha by placing your container a few inches from your nose – you should be able to sniff out notes of earthy, grass tones with a subtle sweet undertone. It won't be the strongest – compared to some herbal teas such as mint – but you should be able to identify it. If the smell is gone from your matcha powdered green tea – or it's completely taken on the smell of something else in your fridge or stored near it in the pantry – that's a powerful sign your matcha is quickly losing its properties and oxidizing.

The sniff test: how to tell if your matcha is degrading

The sift test.

Pay attention to the texture of your matcha while you are sifting it – if it feels like it is mixing easily – fluffy and soft – it is likely still fresh. However, if you notice your matcha feels grainy and sand-like while sifting – it has likely become bitter with age and is not suitable for drinking.  

The sift test: how to tell when match is stale or gone bad.

The whisk test

If you just can't decide if your matcha powder is fresh or not using the smell, taste, color test, or sift test, you may want to try making some matcha tea. If the whisking of your matcha doesn't produce the same tiny bubbly frothy layer, it may be a sign your matcha green tea powder is not so fresh. Do keep in mind however the water temperature and other factors can influence your bubbly frothy surface.

This means you should finish it or use it in another way – like a baking recipe or as a hair mask.

the whisk test: how to tell if matcha has expired

The taste test

If your matcha is looking a bit more dull than usual and you just aren't able to smell it anymore or tell the difference while preparing it – then it may be time to taste it. If it wasn't bitter before, but you notice more of a bitter flavor, it's definitely breaking down and nearing the end of its shelf life.

If your matcha tastes bitter, it has likely gone stale.

What should I do with matcha that has gone bad or stale?

Just because your matcha is its 'best by' date and may have lost some of its strength, it doesn't mean it's something you want to throw away. After all, every bit of matcha powder is precious.....matcha green tea powder doesn't really expire.

You can use your stale or 'expired' matcha for:

You can use your stale matcha for baking. Dont let it go to waste.

What is a non-negotiable sign I should throw out my old matcha?

Mold!

The only sign of matcha that has truly gone bad or expired and is not suited for any other type of use is if you find mold in your matcha. Moldy matcha can happen to your matcha powder when you leave it stored improperly in a humid environment where water gets into your matcha container. (2)

If this is the case, it is best to discard it and buy some fresh matcha powder.

The bottom line: Look for a fresh production date when buying matcha

While quality matcha powder can last 1-2 years and is safe for consumption after this timeframe, the expiration date of matcha powdered green tea is not something to focus on when selecting your matcha powder packaging. You also want to avoid matcha powder with any added ingredients that would increase the shelf life beyond that.


Instead, we encourage you to look for matcha tea powder with the freshest production date. 

Disclaimer: These statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes

References:

Estévez, M., Li, Z., Soladoye, O. P., & Van-Hecke, T. (2017). Health Risks of Food Oxidation. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, 45–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.afnr.2016.12.005

Food & Safety Inspection Service. (2013, August 22). Molds on Food: Are They Dangerous? In USDA. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/molds-food-are-they-dangerous

Hazra, A., Dasgupta, N., Sengupta, C., Saha, G., & Das, S. (2020, February 21). Temporal depletion of packaged tea antioxidant quality under commercial storage condition. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 57(7), 2640–2650. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-020-04300-0

Koláčková, T., Sumczynski, D., Minařík, A., Yalçin, E., & Orsavová, J. (2022, April 30). The Effect of In Vitro Digestion on Matcha Tea (Camellia sinensis) Active Components and Antioxidant Activity. Antioxidants, 11(5), 889. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11050889