Matcha is one of those tea that you don't really want to muck up. It's expensive and fragile so you really need to keep it well.
But how do you store Matcha to keep it bright and fresh ?
The answer is that you keep it as you would any other regular tea leaf, except this one's got a shorter shelf life. Let's get into some very specific details about how to store Matcha, so you know just what to do.
So how do you store Matcha ?
Storing Matcha is pretty much like storing any other loose leaf tea, except it's a bit more fragile due to how delicate the whole tea is.
Ideally, your Matcha should be kept in a place that's:
- cool, away from heat
- dry, away from any moisture
- in an airtight container, to prevent oxidation and moisture from seeping in
- in a room with no strong smells, as it might absorb said smells
- somewhere dark, away from direct sunlight or just too much light
Matcha is sensitive like that, and it might sound like you have no such place in your home but there's always a place.
You can make up for some of the items on the list. For example say you keep your tea in the kitchen, as most folks do. Even if you have direct sunlight and it smells of food when you're cooking, you can keep the Matcha in an airtight, moisture-tight container that's also opaque.
And keep said jar out of direct sunlight, like in a cupboard, just to be safe. And there you go, your Matcha's safe as long as your kitchen doesn't get extra hot.
If you're not completely sure why these conditions need to be met for Matcha to really be at its best, let's break each of them down.
1. Keep Matcha away from direct sunlight
Matcha, as any tea be it loose leaf or teabag, doesn't do well in direct sunlight. Sunlight helps oxidize the tea, and ruins the final flavor.
This is especially true for Matcha, since it's a tea that was kept away from sunlight as long as possible, even when the leaves were growing. It's a tea that was grown in the shade and only steamed, not fired in a pan or oven, and that's what gives it its flavor of pure green and crisp.
Sunlight (and heat) ruin the flavor, and are generally meant to stay away from all tea.
So wherever you store your Matcha is going to be alright for other teas.
Whether you're keeping your Matcha in an opaque jar or container, or in a clear one in a place where the sun never hits, that's up to you. I would recommend doubling the protection here - opaque container in a cupboard, just to be safe.
2. Keep Matcha away from heat
The room you keep your Matcha in is going to matter as well. I mean a room that gets direct sunlight might get very warm quickly. You know your home best, so pick out a room that doesn't get too hot, or a part of the room that's easy to cool off.
Keep in mind that dramatic temperature changes will result in condensation on the inside of the container, which will ruin the Matcha in time.
So try and keep the tea in a room that gets a steady temperature.
Can you store Matcha in the fridge ?
Some folks recommend this, however I wouldn't do it. I'll tell you why, and you judge by yourself of it's alright or not.
Keeping Matcha in the fridge will ensure that you're keeping it cool, so that's a plus.
But my problem is that when you take out the cold Matcha to grab a couple teaspoons and open the container, some moisture will develop due to warm air (warmer than inside the fridge) hitting the Matcha in the container.
This might make condensation more likely, and it'll show up in time as a decline in your Matcha's flavor.
Keeping Matcha in the fridge or freezer only works if you can somehow:
- make the air in the container completely dry, and I don't know how to do that at home.
- or remove all air from the container, and keep the Matcha in a sort of vacuum seal.
Neither option sounds like something feasible for the average Joe, since I have no idea how most homes can get the kind of equipment necessary to dry or remove air from a container without it being an industrial operation.
So I say no, don't keep the Matcha in the fridge, the same way you shouldn't be keeping regular tea in the fridge or even coffee beans in the fridge or freezer.
You risk way more by opening and closing the container and letting moisture seep in.
3. Keep Matcha away from moisture
A home with a moisture problem will not be okay to keep Matcha in. But if you use an airtight container then it should keep the moisture out as well since the moisture will come in via air.
A good moisture seal is often a simple rubber or silicone seal or lining that you might find on many containers. Or, just any plain jar that's got a good screw-on lid, and not the short screw ones.
The shorter screw ones allow some air to get into the jar, and this is not what we're looking for.
Make sure the container you get for your Matcha powder has a good lid or closing mechanism. Wither it has a rubber or silicone lining isn't very important, as long as it keep the air and moisture out.
Otherwise the moisture will slowly but surely brew the Matcha, and will also make it clump together which will make the process even faster.
4. Keep Matcha away from smells
As any tea, spice, or coffee, Matcha is very absorbent when it comes to smell. It can and does 'evaporate' if left out in the open, in an open container.
Meaning it will also absorb any flavor that's close to it if left in the same container or cupboard and there isn't a tight seal between them.
For example if you're keeping Matcha in a plastic bag, maybe the one it came in, and it's not very well closed or sealed, and you keep it on the same shelf as a bag of fresh coffee beans that's also not well sealed, then your Matcha will absorb that coffee flavor.
So if your container is airtight, it'll also keep out any weird smells, or your Matcha from losing its color and flavor as fast.
5. Keep Matcha in an airtight container
Finally, keep Matcha in an airtight container. I know I've repeated this several times, but really it's the most important factor of all.
Air exposure will bring moisture, foreign smells, and can let bacteria and fungi enter then container. So make sure that whatever you sue to keep your Matcha in is airtight.
You'll know your Matcha's been exposed to the elements if it no longer smells of bright, green tea, and if its color has gone from bright green to a dull shade, or even worse got a yellow tinge.
Clumped Matcha's no good, so don't bother with it if you notice yours has clumped.
The best container to store Matcha in
Combining all the items we just discussed, it turns out Matcha needs a container that's going to be :
- small, but large enough to allow you to use remove or add Matcha at will
- airtight, and will also keep out any moisture or smell
- opaque, will keep out the sun
The heat part is up to you, to keep it in a room or part of the house that's not too hot.
For everything else I know just the container that's going to make things very easy. This black glass container from Infinity Jars is meant to keep anything inside it safe and undamaged by sun or air or moisture.
It's designed specifically for herbs, spices, cosmetics, or anything delicate or sensitive that needs some very specific storage conditions.
This particular jar/container is a medium-sized one, can hold a weight of 250 ml/8.3 fl oz. The top screws on and it's a good seal.
You can find the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
Average shelf life for unopened Matcha
If you've just bought a packet of Matcha then you should know it's good for about a year after its production date. You should find the date somewhere on the side or bottom of the pack, but it's always printed.
If it's not printed don't buy it.
This is valid for unopened Matcha that's been kept under ideal conditions - no direct sunlight, air, moisture, heat, or smells.
As for Matcha that's already opened, it'll be good for a few months, somewhere around 3 months if kept properly.
This is a very sensitive tea and there's really no getting around it.
Due to how the plant was grown and then the leaves processed, it's more fragile than other tea types and as such needs more care from you when you store it.
Matcha has a short-ish shelf life. This means you shouldn't be saving it for special occasions. It's not the kind of tea that gets better in time - like Pu'erh - so there's no reason to keep it long.
When you do buy Matcha, make sure you get a smaller pack that you're definitely going to finish within 3 months, rather than a larger one that might keep you for a full year but wear off in a couple of months.
Matcha is a very sensitive tea, and keeping it safe from the elements is a bit of a chore but it's always going to be worth it. Keeping your Matcha powder bright green, fresh, and flavorful in the long run is something you'll thank yourself for later.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?