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Can I Travel With Matcha?

By Eric Gower Sep 24, 2015

Can I Travel With Matcha?

Throughout this website, in our packaging, and in our written and spoken communications, we stress that matcha must be refrigerated. Nothing has changed there; matcha most definitely must be refrigerated.

By over-emphasizing how important it is to keep your matcha very cold, we hammer home the point that storing matcha in your refrigerator is the optimal way to keep it most vibrant.

But what we don’t emphasize much is that matcha can easily and happily live without refrigeration for smallish chunks of time. So what is smallish? Matcha will remain fine and unharmed at room temperature for a few weeks. I try not to push it beyond two weeks, though you can certainly can if you need to.

After all, almost no retailer refrigerates matcha — think of picking up a tin of matcha at Whole Foods; it’s in the aisles, with the other teas, which is kind of insane and guarantees a loss of vibrancy. So that matcha sits on the shelf for months on end, unrefrigerated.

It’s not as if matcha can go rancid, as oils can, or fatally deteriorate in other ways. It just gets kind of . . . dead. It becomes dusty. The more unpleasant aspects of industrial-grade matcha come out in force, with a lot of swampy/froggy off notes.

So in short, yes, you can easily travel with matcha: it’s fine to let it sit out, unrefrigerated, for a few days, and indeed up to several weeks. But the point is to get it refrigerated in a reasonably rapid fashion when you settle into wherever you’re going. Keep it refrigerated in principle, as your default, to the greatest extent you can.

Eric is the founder and chief matcha evangelist at Breakaway Matcha. He's also an author, ghostwriter, editor, cooking instructor, and private chef. For 16 years, he lived and worked in Japan, where he took deep dives into all things matcha, food, literature, arts, and culture. Eric is the author of three cookbooks: The Breakaway Cook, The breakaway Japanese Kitchen, and Eric's Kitchen. He lives and works in Marin County, CA.