How Long Do Coffee Beans Last and Stay Fresh?

  • Date: March 9, 2021

The lifespan of your coffee depends on several factors, such as the preparation method and the roasting process. Most importantly, you should always check the best before date on your coffee pack.

Coffee has a delicious flavor and many proven health benefits. However, to make sure you enjoy them for a long time, you should store it properly. By doing this, you can preserve your coffee aroma for several months!

We have investigated and reviewed some of the most common ways to store your coffee and found some tips on how to save it for a long time.

How Long Does Coffee Last as Whole Beans?

Whole beans can last for a long time, especially if they are in an unopened packet. Make sure to store them in a dry place, far away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight, and they will be good to use for up to 9-12 months.

Usually, whole beans can still be used for a few months beyond the use-by date written on the pack, although you should never consume expired food. The best thing to do is always smell your coffee to check if it is still good.

On the other hand, if you have already opened the packet, you should consume all your coffee beans within 6 months.

You should only grind the coffee beans that you intend to use each time, as the brewing and roasting process will make them deteriorate quicker.

How Long Do Roasted Coffee Beans Last?

The shelf life of roasted coffee beans depends on the way you store them. This shows how essential properly storing your coffee is, and how it can be beneficial to avoid wasting your precious beans.

When storing your roasted coffee beans, you should remember the following:

  • Roasted coffee beans stored in a vacuum-sealed bag can last for up to 6 months. However, they will begin losing their freshness and aroma within one month.
  • Vacuum sealed bags can be stored in the fridge, too, and they will last up to one year.
  • You can store unopened bags of coffee beans in your freezer for up to 2 years.
  • It may take a few weeks before you start noticing that your coffee’s taste is different.
  • Ground coffee beans should be consumed within a few days. They will still be safe to drink after a few weeks, provided that the drink stays dry and you prevent it from going stale.

How Long Does Instant Coffee Last?

Believe it or not, instant coffee can last up to 20 years if left in its unopened packet. However, you should always check and follow the use-by date.

You can store instant coffee in the freezer as well, making its shelf life potentially indefinite, although this isn’t necessary. Why store your coffee for decades, when you can buy and brew fresh coffee beans every time you want it?

How to Store Coffee Beans?

If you prefer to purchase whole coffee beans, you should only grind them whenever you plan to use them. The grinding process increases the surface area, exposing the coffee to oxygen and moisture, as well as heat and light. This will jeopardize your coffee shelf life.

The best way to store your coffee beans is to put them inside an airtight container. This will keep oxygen, coffee’s worst enemy, away from your precious beans. If you buy large quantities of coffee or if you wish to store it for a longer time, you should consider investing in an airscape coffee canister, or a vacuum-sealed canister. These are all designed to protect your coffee against air.

It is also recommended to store your coffee at room temperature unless you wish to freeze it. If you do decide to freeze your coffee beans, store them into airtight containers and try to not open and close your freezer a lot.

Can I Leave the Coffee Beans in The Bag They Came In?

Premium coffee beans come packaged in foil bags, which can be easily closed and reopened without allowing too much moisture and oxygen to come into contact with your beans. This is a good option to store your coffee for a couple of weeks.

However, if your beans are packaged in a paper bag, you should transfer them in a proper container as quickly as possible.

Should I Store My Coffee Beans in The Dark?

Oxygen and light will irremediably impair the flavor of your coffee. This means that storing your beans in a beautiful glass jar may not be enough unless you place them away from sunlight. Even better, you should use opaque storage containers.

Do All Coffee Beans Have the Same Shelf Life?

The shelf life of your coffee will depend on the quality of your beans, as well as the way you store them. On the other hand, if you are struggling to prevent your precious beans from going stale, you might try green coffee beans. This type of coffee is more resistant, and if it takes longer before it goes bad.

Green beans can be used to make a very strong and flavored coffee, although this variety of coffee is usually pretty expensive and hard to track down. Besides, you need to roast the beans before they can be brewed.

How to Store Ground Coffee?

Ground coffee is sold in airtight containers, which keeps it away from moisture, heat and light. Once you have opened the package, you must protect it against any unnecessary exposure to air.

The best way to store your coffee is by using a tight storage container, or a sealable bag. If you don’t have any of those, you need to make sure to wrap up the coffee bag tightly. You should also secure it with tape or a rubber band, and store it away from heat and the sunlight.

How Long Do Ground Coffee Beans Last?

The average shelf life of ground coffee is three to six months at room temperature, far from direct sunlight and other contaminants. You can try and give your coffee beans a longer lifespan by storing them in the freezer, when they can last for six months to up to two years, depending on if the package has been opened already.

Does Coffee Have A Different Smell When Stale?

The best way to check if your coffee is still god is to use your nose. When coffee beans have gone bad, they have a very strong, unpleasant aroma, which will irremediably translate into an awful taste.

Old coffee is usually very bitter or, in other cases, it may have a dull and cardboard-like taste. Besides, it will have a light brown color once brewed. Drinking old coffee will not harm you unless you mixed it with any dairy-based flavoring before it went bad.

Don’t forget that there are always many health risks associated with spoiled and expired drinks, meaning that you must always follow all the relevant food safety guidelines to enjoy your coffee before it goes bad.

If you used any dairy-based addition when first brewing your coffee, you should be very careful before drinking it after a few days. You will immediately notice a stronger and unpleasant smell, as well as a yellowish color. These are just some of the signs that your coffee has gone bad, and you shouldn’t definitely drink it.

How Long Does Coffee Last After Brewing?

Brewed coffee only lasts for a few days, or up to two weeks if you keep it away from heat and moisture.

Usually, coffee starts oxidizing and going bae right after the roasting process, although it doesn’t become immediately rancid. Coffee beans will emit carbon dioxide (CO2) only for a few days. After this time, their flavor will be at its peak, and then it will slowly start deteriorating until all the freshness dissipates.

This process is usually quicker when it comes to ground beans since the surface area is bigger than whole beans. Once you brew your coffee, it will stay fresh for as long as one week or two, if stored properly. Then, you will still be able to drink it without feeling sick, but it won’t be a particularly delicious experience.

How Long Does Coffee Last in A Vacuum-Packed Bag?

Once you have placed your coffee inside the bag, you must make sure to tightly seal it and press out any excess air. To make your life easier, you should also write the date on the outside of the bag, so you can keep track of your coffee’s age. By doing this, you can make your coffee last for a couple of weeks.

How Long Does Coffee Last in The Fridge Or Freezer?

Unopened coffee beans can be stored in the freezer, and they will preserve their flavor for up to two years. If the package has been opened, the shelf life can go down to five or six months.

It must be noted that you cannot store your coffee in the freezer forever. Repeatedly removing the coffee from the freezer and then replacing it will inevitably introduce excess moisture and oxygen to the grounds.

In other words, freezing ground coffee is a great idea provided that you don’t plan to regularly open the container. If you need to store a huge quantity of coffee, you can portion it out in more freezer bags.

How to Tell If Coffee Is Rancid:

It may sound surprising for many coffee lovers but yes: coffee can go bad. Don’t forget that your favorite drink is made of roasted beans which, just like all other beans, can go bad. Besides, coffee beans contain oils, which will begin to evaporate and go rancid after a few months. Rancid oil smells unpleasant, and you are most likely going to notice that as soon as you open your coffee container.

Coffee Can Age

The roasting process makes coffee drier, eliminating potential contaminants. This is the very moment when your coffee beans start deteriorating and losing their flavor. This means that your coffee might not show any signs of mold or bacteria unless you add more moisture.

When coffee ages, its flavor compounds disappear. Old coffee might still be safe to drink, but it won’t taste very good. This can happen after a few months, even if you haven’t opened your coffee package yet.

Excess moisture in your coffee grounds will give your drink a cardboard taste, which is definitely an unpleasant experience. The best way to check if your coffee has gone bad is to smell it. If its flavor has significantly diminished, then you shouldn’t drink it. Any beverage made by old coffee may still be safe to drink, but it won’t taste as good as fresh coffee.

Tips to Extend Coffee’s Shelf Life

Coffee tends to degrade faster depending on where it is stored. Besides, whole beans last longer than ground coffee. Starting from these general guidelines, there are many ways to preserve your coffee for a longer time, such as:

  • If possible, buy whole beans and only grind them as needed. This will always ensure maximum freshness.
  • Always store your coffee beans in a dry place, inside a tightly closed container.
  • Don’t mix all your coffee with milk and syrups unless you are sure you can consume it within a few hours. Dairy-based products will make your beverage go bad quickly.
  • Keep your coffee beans far from any source of light or moisture.
  • If you plan to store your coffee for a long time, put it in your freezer immediately after use.
  • Use vacuum-sealed bags to store instant coffee, as they are the best solution to keep away excess and unwanted heat and moisture.
  • If you need to keep your coffee warm for many hours, you should use a thermos. Re-heating your drink many times is never recommended, as it breaks down its freshness and aroma.
  • If you prepare some coffee, you must use it within 4-6 hours of brewing.

How to Use Extra Coffee Before It Goes Bad?

If you made too much coffee and now it’s too late to drink it, you can still use it in many ways instead of wasting it. Try one of the following before you toss your drink down the drain!

Using Your Old Coffee Grounds for Cooking

Although it may have lost almost all its original flavor, old coffee can still be used as a great ingredient for many, delicious recipes. However, the following ideas only apply to dark coffee, with no added milk. Before you use old coffee with milk or very old and stale coffee grounds, you should always smell them to check if they can still be ingested safely.

  • Brew the coffee and process it in a blender along with some milk, a scoop of your favorite ice cream, and a handful of ice. Add some whipped cream to get the most delicious coffee milkshake you’ve ever had.
  • Iced coffee is delicious, so what about coffee ice? Pour the drink into an ice cube tray and leave in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Now you have a bunch of coffee-flavored ice cubes you can use to spice your milk up.
  • Add some of the coffee in your favorite cake recipe along with water and other liquid ingredients, to give it a more distinct flavor.

Additional Creative Ways to Recycle Your Old Coffee

  • Protect your pets against fleas. Fleas and ticks don’t seem to like coffee as much as pet owners are, so you might want to try to use it as a natural treatment to get rid of parasites. Rub the grounds throughout your pet’s fur and rinse them off after shampooing.
  • Get rid of unpleasant odors. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which can help absorb and eliminate certain odors. To put it to the test, place a bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge, and all odors from spoiler or fragrant foods should go away within a few hours.
  • Use It as a Natural Scrub. Coffee grounds are naturally abrasive. Consequently, they come in handy to take care of hard-to-clean surfaces instead of other chemicals. Once your cookware is clean, leave the coffee grounds in the sink to scour it.
  • Use it as a Scrub (For Your Skin). Pots and pans are not the only ones who can benefit from the natural effects of coffee. You can use your old grounds to exfoliate your skin by mixing them with water or coconut oil. You can also make a mixture with coffee grounds and honey to gently exfoliate your dry lips on wintertime.
  • Use It as a Natural Dye. We all have stained our favorite white clothes with coffee at least once. It does not surprise that coffee grounds can be used as a natural dye for most fabrics, such as lined, cellophane, paper, and cotton.
  • Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite. Applied topically, caffeine may help break down the fat deposits under your skin and increase the blood flow to the area. Mix the coffee grounds with coconut oil and scrub them twice weekly on the affected areas.

Can I Use Coffee Grounds Good for Gardens?

Coffee is one of the best sources of organic matter, which can make your garden happier and healthier. Just like you get more energy by drinking coffee, your flowers and plants will benefit from weeding and pruning. This is also one of the best and most environmentally friendly ways to use old coffee.

Coffee grounds are nearly neutral in pH and they give up their nitrogen when mixed with other dry materials. This will enrich your soil. However, if you are growing certain vegetables, such as broccoli, radish and sunflower, coffee grounds may have a negative impact on your soil. For this reason, you should always do your research before proceeding.

How to Fertilize with Coffee Grounds

The best and quickest way to share your coffee with your plants and flowers is to put the ground directly to the soil. You can either place it underneath the soil or sprinkle on top of your yard.

If you want, you can also make your own natural liquid fertilizer at home. You only need to leave a couple of cups of coffee grounds to steep in a bucket of water overnight. You can spry this mixture directly on the leaves and stems of your flowers and plants.

Coffee Ground to Keep Pests Away

Coffee grounds are abrasive, so they can form a natural barrier against slugs and snails. However, this may not be enough if you have several pests trying to enter your garden.

Besides, cats usually dislike the smell of coffee grounds, so you can try using your used coffee to prevent some pts from using your garden as a public litter box.

Compost Your Coffee Grounds

Composting is a natural process that turns organic items, such as food scraps or coffee grounds, into a material called compost. If added to your garden, this will provide the soil with plenty of nutrients and water.

Research confirms that compost made with coffee grounds is very rich in nutrients, which will make your plants healthier. If you don’t have enough coffee to produce your compost, you can mix your grounds with fruit and vegetable trimmings, eggshells, and shredded newspaper.

Coffee Can Grow Mushrooms

Although mushrooms are notoriously difficult to grow in certain conditions, you can mix your coffee grounds with your soil to make the perfect substrate. All the nutrients of the caffeine sill stimulate the mushrooms to grow.

Coffee is one of the most popular and delicious beverages in the world, used in many types of recipes or to enjoy a tasty shot of energy.

To ensure that your coffee lasts for long, you must store it properly and follow a few tips. This is essential to prevent any extra moisture to jeopardize your coffee beans aroma and make them last as long as several months.

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