One of the questions we’re most often asked at Ocha & Co is, “How to store matcha to keep it fresh”.
There really couldn’t be an easier answer - in fact, we’ll wager it’s already on the tip of your tongue. But, here at Ocha, we do enjoy a bit of ceremony when it comes to tea, so we’re going to keep you guessing just a wee bit longer as we slowly open the Golden Envelope containing the sought-after knowledge...drum roll please...and, without further ado, the answer is...
“...keep it in your refrigerator.”
It really is that simple. But, this being about Matcha, a drink of complex, some might say fussy, character, there is of course a much longer answer...
DOH! The Golden Rules On How To Store Matcha to Keep it in Tip Top Condition
Matcha has a delicate soul and can be a little temperamental and there are three conditions that especially get its goat!
Heat (and light)
it’s a trio of sensitivities always worth bearing in mind if you want to keep your matcha in tip-top condition. Think Homer Simpson’s inevitable outburst - DOH! - and you’ll remember to observe them.
Your tea should never be exposed to moisture - ahead of when you actually need to expose it to, well, water - as this will cause it to degrade and in some cases result in mold. Again this is where the airtight container comes in.
Make sure you put the lid back on your tea as soon as you have taken out what you need to ensure it doesn’t absorb moisture from the environment.
The minute your tea is exposed to the air the fantastic health benefits of catechins (those super powerful anti-oxidants found in large quantities in Matcha) start to deteriorate. If you have bought your tea not only for its wonderful fresh flavor but also for health purposes you will need to make sure you store it where it is not exposed to the air.
To avoid this, store your matcha in an airtight container, preferably one with a vacuum pump and an airtight seal. If you do not have a completely airtight jar or caddy, make sure you store the powder in a small container that limits the amount of air allowed in.
Matcha tea does not respond well to heat at all, hence our recommendation is that you store it in the refrigerator. Once you’ve opened the tea, whether you keep it in the sachet or decant it to a caddy, as long as the seal or lid is secure it should keep for up to three weeks
Although we recommend buying your tea regularly in small amounts, if you do have an UNOPENED pack that you don’t intend to use straight away, it can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.
It is worth mentioning here that refrigeration can cause issues with moisture from condensation. So if you use your tea straight from the fridge It’s always best to allow it to come up to room temp before making a brew.
One last word of warning about storing in the fridge, Matcha likes to pal up with other items in the fridge and will readily take on the flavors of other foods stored in there. Make sure then that it is kept away from last night’s leftover chili. Yes... this is becoming repetitive but we’re back with the airtight container.
We wouldn’t go as far as saying that Matcha is the Dracula of the tea world, but the two share something in common, they both HATE sunlight. Matcha goes a step further - it simply does not play well with any form of long-term light exposure.
Always avoid storing your matcha in a clear jar or caddy, no matter how beautiful that vibrant green looks on the windowsill.
Remember, your tea has been grown in the shade to develop all those distinctive umami flavors and aromas. After that kind of sheltered upbringing, it’s bound not to take kindly to being exposed to light. Have we mentioned that an opaque, dark-colored container will help your matcha tea stay fresher - and happier - for longer?
Finally, matcha tea is meant to be enjoyed at its freshest and this is best achieved by buying “little and often” While you might save your best tea set for a special occasion, matcha tea should be enjoyed regularly.
Lovely as they are, you don’t need fancy tea caddies when you purchase your supplies from Ocha & Co. All of our matcha teas are packed in sturdy, air and lightproof resealable pouches or, for our high-end single cultivar matchas stylish, airtight, brushed-metal tins. So it really is as simple as popping your tea back in the ‘fridge to keep it as fresh as the day it arrived on your doorstep, with love from Japan.