Matcha is the heart of adept tea drinkers across different divides. The tea comes handy with a wealth of beneficial supplements such as amino acids, vitamins, tannin and caffeine. However, not so many people can tell a good Matcha from a bad one. And, you may be wondering whether the product goes bad or not. Today we are going to answer some basic questions that revolve around Matcha’s shelf life, storage and how to use a stale Matcha.
So, does Matcha go bad? In a real sense, the tea does not go bad. It only loses some of its crucial elements when stored for long. Long here relates to beyond its shelf life. If you check some popular sites such as eBay, you will find different people selling old tins of Matcha. The products are commonly called hulk. You will even be more surprised about the attention and traffic such products attract.
The average shelf life of a Matcha
Just like any other kind of tea, Matcha does not have an absolute shelf life. Depending on the conditions of storage, your tea can stay for a short or long period before it loses its basic elements. However, a processed Matcha comes in a tin with details on “best of use” and expiry date on its surface. Usually, this period ranges between ten months two years.
A tin of processed Matcha is highly delicate. Factors such as light, heat, moisture and air can easily alter its composition. Therefore, the moment you open your tin of Matcha, you will be thinning its best date of use to an average of five months.
How does a quality Matcha taste like?
Matcha features a complex taste. It is full of a distinct aroma that leaves behind an alluring post-drinking sweetness. When you take this astringent and full-bodied herbal drink for the first time, you will notice that its taste range between the heavenly flavours of black chocolate or red wine. It is a unique vegetal taste riddled with phenomenal after taste. This type of taste is brought to reality by its high chlorophyll content.
However, the taste of your cup may differ depending on the varying style of preparation and grades. High-grade Matcha prides exotic taste due to its rich contents. On the other hand, culinary grade Matcha may taste a little odd more so for users who prefer the high-grade counterpart. Additionally, you will realize that a warm cup tastes a little different compared to the cold-brewed one. Cold brewing usually brings out the creamy feel that supersedes the stringent taste of a warm drink.
An inferior Matcha comes with an odd flavour. It tastes bitter. You may be compelled to use a little bit of honey on it to make it drinkable. A quality taste in Matcha is because of a combination of amino acids. These elements give any high-quality Matcha a natural sweetness that tastes more like agave or honey.
Related Article: How To Make The Perfect Frothy Matcha Tea
Other qualities of an exotic Matcha
Choosing between a tin of inferior and exotic Matcha can be a little bit confusing. This is due to the deceptive nature of inscriptions on the tins. You can only know the quality of your purchased good once you break open its packaging.
You can know an exotic or inferior brand of Matcha from the smell. Bring the grounded leaves near the nose and take a deep breathe while at the same time sniffing its contents. When you smell a fresh air with the vegetal scent then you got the right brand. However, when the smell is an old-hay-like and bald, then you better toss the can and its contents.
Exotic Matcha comes in a distinct colour. Depending on the brand of leaves used for its processing, the colour can alternate between electric green and bright green. Something dull green, army green or yellowish will automatically give you a bald and bizarre taste that does not meet the expectations.
The finish is a gigantic clue when assessing the product’s quality. An exotic Matcha has a superb finish that lasts for at least 30 seconds. Anything below that duration is a huge NO.
Signs that your Matcha has overstayed
Prolonged storage of Matcha highly affects its quality. This happens even when you keep the crushed and powdered leaves in ideal conditions or not. An overstayed Matcha exhibits qualities such as:
1. Poor flavour
The taste of Matcha is defined with the complex vegetal chlorophyll components. A fresh Matcha is rich in the chlorophyll components. It is rich in aromatic sweet flavour that is unique and highly defined. However, the more you keep your Matcha, the chlorophyll components get denatured and altered.
An overstayed Matcha is bitter. Do not confuse this kind of bitterness to that of culinary grade. Any aromatic flavour, even with bitter taste relates to viability. Otherwise, anything that is not deep, umami with stringent aftertaste is completely off the mark of quality drink.
2. Bald smell
The smell of quality Matcha is unique and not always strong. It has a vegetal grass-like smell comes handy with a sweet undertone. This is the reason why you must keep the breath deep enough for the faint smell to reach your olfactory.
You can know the product has overstayed from a plain scent. Whenever you sniff the product and nothing reaches your scent sense organs then, definitely your product has overstayed. Without a smell at all, all you need is to finish it or leave it behind for other kitchen recipes.
3. Awkward appearance
The moment your Matcha overstays, it gradually develops an awkward appearance. The bright or electric appearance starts to fade. Finally, the product becomes dusty with dull-green colour. Beyond that, the product starts to develop a yellowish tinge. Once you observe anything yellow, the only alternative is to toss your can of Matcha away. Otherwise, the culinary grade is often duller in colour. So, before tossing anything, kindly have a final check of the product’s description to ascertain its brand.
Related Article: High vs Low Quality Matcha
Proper storage of Matcha
Proper storage preserves the freshness, flavour and ideal scent of Matcha. It is what determines whether you will get your value for money or not. Generally, powdered Matcha or the green leaves deteriorate in quality under four factors. These factors include; heat, moisture, air and light. Eliminating these factors means adopting efficient combat mechanisms such as:
1. Taking just what you need
Whenever you open your Matcha’s tin or can, there is always a rush of air inside it. This air is detrimental to the product since it contributes to oxygenation. The first precautionary measure for effective elimination of this problem lies with scooping only the required amount. You can choose to work with an amount that can take you for up to three days. Just make sure not to open the packet, sachet or tin so often. Otherwise, once you open the tin, use the product as soon as possible. It is also prudent to reseal it as soon as possible.
2. Keep the tin at a room temperature
Have you tasted a cup of Matcha made with boiled water? How was the taste? And, did you compare it with a cold-brewed cup? Hopefully, you noticed some difference.
The taste of Matcha is due to the blending of its integral chemical compounds. These complex compounds usually degenerate when exposed to intense heat. Boiling is one of the ways that you can use to ascertain this.
When you store your tin at a temperature slightly above the room temperature, the tin will absorb some heat through conduction. And, since there is no potential cooling effect, the products inside the tin will attract heat hence leading to gradual degeneration of its quality. To avoid this, keep the tin and its components in a cool, dry place with prevailing temperature equalling room temperature.
However, when you reside in a hot place, or where your rooms become hot in the day, you can keep the tin in a refrigerator. Even a freezer works well as an alternative to the fridge.
3. Keep the tin in a dry environment
Keeping the Tin or opened Matcha in a dry environment helps with the elimination of moisture. Choose a place that is not damp when storing your Matcha. This can be inside the tea cupboard or the tea shelve. It is worth noting that dampness or moist environment can cause the Matcha to:
- Attract unpleasant smell due to reaction with the chemical compounds in water
- Enhance the formation of mould over product
- Reduce its lifespan a great deal
Generally, the best precaution to inculcate in your daily Matcha storage is ensuring the places mentioned above are overly dry. Vacuum any damp place before placing your Matcha can over it.
4. Avoid strong smell
Just like any other type of tea, Matcha attracts any smell nearby. This is the reason why you must always check that the place of storage is away from any bizarre odour. The place of storage should be away from popular spots in your homestead that are susceptible to odour. These places include kitchen cabinets and bathroom closets. Ideal places for your Matcha storage include cupboards and bookshelves. Otherwise, any trustable place can benefit you.
5. Store in a dark container
You will hardly see anyone keeping a Matcha powder in a transparent or translucent material. Sunlight or any other form of light degenerate the complex chemical substances that define the quality of Matcha. This leads to a decrease in its shelf life. An ideal storage condition is therefore dark enough to prevent penetration of light rays. Popular storage cans are made with double-wall to create the required darkness. Otherwise, places such as tea shelves or tea drawers can save you the effort of looking for ideal storage equipment.
Related Article: How to Store Loose Leaf Tea Properly?
Telling a good Matcha and the bad one is not something daunting. You can do it from a glimpse. However, where the degeneration is gradual, you may fail to notice the change. As a result, you can end up eating something that does not add any value to your health. It is, therefore, advisable to remain vigilant about what you are making.
Finally, don’t throw away your stale Matcha. Other than selling it, a stale Matcha has some other general kitchen use. For example, you can use it to make Matcha banana bread, cream puffs, ryokans, ice creams and many more.