If you are staying away from coffee for a while but craving for a bit of caffeine in your system, matcha green tea could be the answer. It is a Japanese green tea powder with a slightly bitter taste, contains caffeine but not as much as coffee and has a vibrant green color. It recently earned raves globally because of its health benefits and has become a “star ingredient” of beverages, food and even pastries. Read on for more insightful details on whether matcha tea goes bad and measures on how to maximize its use and benefits.
Does matcha go bad?
No, matcha does not go bad or expire that makes it unsafe for consumption. Tea generally does not have an expiry date compared to other food and drinks. However, it does come with a “best by” or “best before” date to indicate the quality as opposed to safety. Matcha tea that expired is safe but stale.
Beyond the specified date, matcha loses its pleasant umami taste which means savory or delicious in Japanese and applied to mean good tasting matcha. Umami is the so-called fifth flavor and a distinct taste from other flavors like sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Aside from the umami taste, matcha loses its rich flavor and aroma along with beneficial compounds after its specified “best by” period.
Just like other beverages such as coffee, matcha tea could also develop off-flavors and become bitter with time. Its natural antioxidants catechins will also degrade after a certain period.
How long does matcha last?
Matcha can last for up to six months if it is still unopened and it will remain fresh for up to one year especially if it is kept in the freezer. If packaged ceremonial grade matcha tea is already opened, you should consume it during a period of four to five weeks. During such time, it should be kept away from heat, light and moisture. Culinary grade matcha tea could last up to seven weeks after being opened.
What are the main categories of matcha green tea powder?
These are the two main categories of matcha:
1. Ceremonial grade matcha green tea powder
This is considered the highest quality of matcha. It has a vibrant green color, delicate taste and very fine texture. It is made from the youngest tea leaves which are stone-ground to yield thick-style tea. It is not meant to be mixed with sweeteners and other ingredients. It has a naturally sweet and mild flavor and best enjoyed pure, mixed only with hot water.
2. Culinary grade matcha green tea powder
This grade is usually used for baking and cooking and has a slightly different taste compared to the ceremonial grade. It is still considered a good quality grade but only prepared differently for certain uses. It is specifically blended to be used for food like cakes and beverages like matcha smoothies and green tea lattes. The culinary grade is less sweet, with more bitter notes and less vibrant in color.
The five types of culinary grade matcha tea are the following:
- Premium grade
- Cafe grade
- Ingredient grade
- Kitchen grade
- Classic grade
How to properly store matcha green tea powder?
Here are some vital tips on how to properly store matcha green tea powder:
1. Keep matcha powder at lower temperatures.
Matcha’s freshness, flavor and antioxidant activity tend to last longer if it is stored in low temperatures such as inside a fridge or freezer. Matcha lovers usually store unopened tins of matcha in the freezer to extend its freshness. Once unsealed, you should thaw matcha each time you use it but be sure to be careful with this procedure as it could lead to excessive condensation.
Do not take matcha tea in or out of the fridge too often as variations in temperature could lead to the degradation of volatile compounds and key substances.
2. Store it in an airtight Ziploc bag or opaque container.
Matcha tea could pick up smells very quickly and it could get or absorb the odors of other refrigerated or frozen foods. Keep your matcha tea tin or packets in an airtight Ziploc bag to prevent odor contamination. You could also place it in an airtight opaque container to limit exposure to oxygen, moisture and light to avoid mold growth. The presence of light can speed up flavor deterioration and loss of color and vital substances so always keep your matcha tea in a cool and shaded or dark area.
Catechins, a class of antioxidants found in matcha green tea, are preserved if you keep matcha tea away from humidity and high temperatures. Caffeine levels are also maintained if you store matcha in a dry area with low temperatures.
Health benefits of matcha green tea
These are the health benefits of matcha green tea:
- It is high in antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage and lowers the risk of several chronic diseases.
- It can protect the liver.
- It boosts brain function.
- It can help prevent cancer.
- It can promote heart health.
- It can help you lose weight.
If you are not in the mood for coffee but craving some caffeine fix, matcha green tea can save the day. This Japanese green tea wonder has many health benefits and also has a moderate caffeine level. It comes with a “best by” or “best before” date to indicate its quality but its flavor and umami taste will diminish if left unused for a long period. Matcha can last for six months to a year if unopened and stored in an airtight container inside a freezer. Once you open it, you should use it within four to five weeks.
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