What Happens If You Drink Expired Coffee?

If you are a coffee lover, you most likely need to refill your coffee supply frequently. However, it often happens to have some spare coffee beans and only remember them sometime later. Or, even if this has never happened to you, you might have wondered at one point whether coffee expires.

Let’s dive into this topic and see how to tell if and when your coffee has expired, and let’s also explore some exciting ways to recycle your old and stale coffee.

Does Coffee Expire?

Yes, all good things come to an end, including your coffee shelf life. The spoiling of coffee is unavoidable, but you can try to make it happen as late as possible. However, you mustn’t forget that several factors can cause your coffee to spoil, usually affecting its expiration date. The most important is the form the coffee is in (for example, coffee beans or instant coffee), the roasting process, and, obviously, the way you store it.

It is essential to store your coffee in a dry place, far from the sunlight. More importantly, every time you use your coffee, you must check if it is still suitable to be consumed. For example, it shouldn’t be too moist or dull and flat smell. As a natural ingredient, coffee can go bad and even present some mold, so only consuming fresh coffee is very important.

How Long Is Ground Coffee Good For After The Expiration Date?

When you buy ground coffee, you will find the expiration date printed on the package. However, if you have transferred your precious coffee to a jar or cannot remember that date, the safest option is to consume your coffee within a few months. 

If you find some old ground coffee, before you brew it, you should make sure that:

  • It has been tightly sealed and never exposed directly to sunlight
  • It isn’t wet
  • Does not smell of mildew
  • Does not contain visible mold

If your coffee has gone bad, you don’t necessarily mean to throw it in the bin. As we will see together, there are several ways you can recycle your old coffee ground, either for your garden, your home or even as part of your daily beauty routine.

How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Bag Once Open?

Experts and coffee lovers recommend using your coffee beans as close to the roasting date as possible. What is essential to understand is that coffee beans are usually packed with nitrogen, which helps slow down spoilage. However, once you break the seal, you let the nitrogen go and allow oxygen and humidity to enter your precious coffee.

For this reason, you should store your coffee beans in a sealed bag and a dry place, and this will make its shelf life longer.

Does Instant Coffee Expire?

Once you open your pack of instant coffee, the moisture from the air will get in, creating the perfect environment for mold to grow. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your coffee will go moldy in a few days, but it will lose its freshness over time, just like any other perishable food.

A good rule of thumb is to consume your instant coffee within a year since you first exposed it to air and moisture.

Does Brewed Coffee Expire?

What happens if you have accidentally brewed too much coffee? You don’t need to ingest a massive dose of caffeine, as you can store the extra coffee. It will be good for about 4-6 hours and then become stale. The water in which your coffee has been brewed will accelerate the oxidation process, causing it to go bad very quickly. For this reason, you want to play it safe and never drink old brewed coffee.

If your drink is still good after a few hours, you can either drink as it is or re-heat it. However, this is usually not recommended. The heat will break down the coffee’s flavor even more, altering its taste.

How Can You Tell If Coffee Is Rancid?

Coffee doesn’t last forever just because it is composed of various degradable compounds (mainly lipids, carbohydrates, and amino acids), which naturally break apart over time. The longer you store your coffee, the more altered its overall quality and flavor will be. 

The best way to spot if your coffee has gone bad is to use your nose. Whether your coffee is grounded or already brewed, the aroma of fresh coffee is unique, just like the smell from an old coffee can be immediately identified.

What Does Bad Coffee Smell Like?

One of the best things about coffee is its aroma. If your coffee is too old, you will immediately notice a flat smell, likely translating into a bland taste. However, your coffee shouldn’t have any strong or rancid smell. If this happens, it means that your drink has gone moldy, and you shouldn’t taste it.

Should Coffee Be Refrigerated?

Once sealed and stored in the fridge, many believe that coffee will never expire. This is, of course, false.

However, if you want to preserve your coffee for a longer time, you can place it in the freezer. This will help it stay fresh, but it will also make it almost tasteless. In other words, this may be an excellent way to store some extra low-quality coffee that you want to use as a cooking ingredient.

What Happens If I Drink Expired Coffee?

Of course, you won’t immediately feel sick if you drink expired coffee unless it is moldy. The worst thing which will happen to you is to have a nasty aftertaste in your mouth for a few hours or until you wash your teeth with some extra strong toothpaste.

How Do You Use Expired Coffee Powder?

Even if your coffee has expired, it can still have many practical uses around your home and garden. These are some of the most practical and creative uses for expired coffee powder. However, before you proceed, make sure that your coffee powder isn’t moldy nor has a strong and acid smell. If that’s the case, you can add it to your garden as natural compost.

  • Make your flower happy. Coffee contains some essential nutrients that your plants and flowers need for optimal growth. Besides, adding some coffee grounds into your soil will attract worms, which are great for fertilizing plants.
  • Repel insects. Caffeine and diterpenes, found in coffee grounds, are highly toxic to insects and pests. In other words, you can use your expired coffee powder to repel bugs of any kind, including mosquitos and beetles. All you need to do is sprinkle the coffee grounds around your outdoor areas. Without hurting your plants, this will create a barrier against slugs, snails, and bugs.
  • Treat your pet’s fleas. Coffee repels not only bugs, snails, and insects but also fleas. Many flea-removal products on the market contain harsh chemicals, which cannot be suitable for pets with sensitive skin. For this reason, you might want to try your coffee grounds as a natural and environmental-friendly treatment.
  • Neutralize bad odors. If you’re going to get rid of bad or strong odors from your fridge and freezer, you can use your expired coffee grounds. This contains nitrogen, which is a great and natural ally for eliminating the bad sulfur gas from the air. You can also place some homemade coffee-based air fresheners in your gym bag, drawers, or even under your car seat.
  • The best natural cleaning scrub. Coffee has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which you can use to clean several surfaces. For example, you can use expired coffee grounds to clean your sink or cookware without chemicals. However, remember that coffee can cause brown stains, so you shouldn’t use it to clean porous materials.
  • Exfoliate your skin! Since coffee is such a great natural scrub, you can use it as an exfoliating agent to remove dirt and dead cells from your skin. To obtain a gentle and natural exfoliator, mix the expired coffee powder with some water or, even better, coconut oil or honey. Massage this mixture with your clean hands directly onto your face and body. 

Aim For Freshness

As we have seen together, coffee can go bad, and it will go moldy if you leave it for a long time. Before you taste your drink, you can check its freshness by smelling it.

Make sure to avoid drinking very old coffee, just like you wouldn’t eat any expired food, and let your senses (including your common sense) guide you.