What is Matcha?

Matcha is a shade-grown green tea originated from Japan and now used globally. Several weeks before harvest, tea plants are covered with tarps or bamboo mats, limiting the amount of sunlight absorbed by the leaves. The shading stimulates the tea leaves to increase the production of chlorophyll, creating the bright green color, a distinctive characteristic of Matcha tea. These leaves are handpicked, steamed to stop oxidation and have a high level of caffeine. And, because the entire leaf is consumed, rather than being infused in water, it can have a higher level of caffeine when consumed. Many people around the world choose Matcha as a substitute for coffee because it has just the right amount of caffeine and gives you energy without any jitteriness. 

Caffeine Level in Matcha

In half a teaspoon of Matcha, there us 25-30mg of caffeine, which is a lot less than coffee. Moreover, it has a combination of L-Theanine and amino acid compounds that also help relax your nerves and instantly gives you energy. In comparison, caffeine in Matcha takes time to dissolve in your body and stays for approximately six hours in your body. It is a good choice of beverage for people who want to get energy for the day but can only handle caffeine in small doses.

Does Matcha go stale or expire?

As many of you know, green tea hardly expires or goes stale. However, if you keep it in an unstable environment, one that is too hot or too moist, then it is likely to form clumps and taste stale. Matcha is sensitive compared to other green tea varieties because it loses aroma, color and freshness quickly. An opened cannister only retains it’s optimum freshness for six months. An airtight pack at a comfortable room temperature stays fresh much longer. 

However, as it is exported and sent abroad, its expiration date can be one-year minimum. Some people keep their sealed Matcha in a refrigerator to extend the quality of the tea. But an open package can absorb aromas in a refrigerator. After opening your Matcha tin, it can only stay good for 3-4 weeks minimum. After the set date, it is not recommended for you to drink it as a premium beverage. Of course, you can cook with it or add it to smoothies. It is not that it is bad for you, but it does lose color, flavor, and aroma. For this reason, people who love the flavor of fresh, premium Matcha prefer to use some that has been compromised in other ways. 

Matcha soft serve in a dish
Homemade Matcha Mints - Photo of finished mints
matcha flavored cookie. Matcha is swirled through the dough.

Does caffeine level go down when Matcha becomes stale?

After Matcha becomes stale, it won’t be good for your everyday energy-boosting cup of tea. Once you open your jar of Matcha, it is exposed to oxygen that speeds up the oxidation process. Oxygen deteriorates the nutrients present in the Matcha despite you keeping it in an airtight container after opening it. Each time you open the box, it exposes to air and heat, which oxidate the nutrtional components. You can try to keep it in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out or Matcha special containers to slow down the oxidation. 

It is inevitable to say that caffeine levels get lower as the Matcha becomes close to the expiration date set by vendors or goes stale. As you know, Matcha can easily go stale and at a faster rate compared to other green tea types, the nutrients and taste of tea also declines quicker. With time nutrients lose their effectiveness that includes caffeine too. Just like any product that expires and makes its nutrients harmful, the same goes with Matcha but instead of making it harmful it just loses its health benefits. Therefore, it is not good to consume expired or stale Matcha because it will not give you caffeine boost and also tastes bad. 

Prepared cup of matcha next to powder in a bowl