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How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

How long do coffee beans last and whether they ever go bad, are the questions that many people struggle to understand. Some people assume that coffee beans are dry food and can last for a long time, which makes them buy the beans in bulk, especially if the bargain is pocket-friendly.

Buying fresh coffee beans in bulk is an excellent idea as it saves you money and the agony of repeat visits to the store. It is for this reason that you need to know how long do coffee beans last before making that decision of buying in bulk.


So, how long do coffee beans last?

Just like any other type of food, coffee beans cannot stay fresh forever, and they go bad after some time. The factors that determine the longevity of coffee depend on the type, growing, harvesting, processing, and storage methods. In this article, we look at the shelf life of coffee in its different states. The various coffee states include unroasted or green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, ground coffee, cold brew, and instant coffee, among others.

Before coffee beans go through any kind of processing, they are green beans. The shelf life of unroasted or green coffee beans is longer than that of roasted beans. Green coffee beans, if stored in the right conditions, can go for months and even years without going bad.

The enemies of green coffee beans are humidity, sunlight, and storage methods. If you want to keep green coffee beans fresh for longer, store them in a dry, cool, and dark place. Also, ensure that you store them in airtight containers away from direct light and too much heat.

After harvesting, processing, and packing, green beans start degrading, which means that the only option you have is to roast them. Roasted coffee beans, unlike green beans, have a shorter shelf life. Roasting the beans causes some chemical reactions that give the coffee beans its amazing flavor notes, and aroma, while at the same time reducing its shelf life.

After roasting, coffee beans release carbon dioxide that helps to develop the flavor. After a while, oxidation starts to take effect, reducing the freshness, flavor, and the taste of the beans. If you still want to enjoy the freshness, aroma, and flavor of roasted coffee beans, you should allow them to last for up to 2 to 3 months.

Read our complete guide about How to Grind Coffee Beans.

How Long Does Coffee Last In The Fridge?

To prevent oxidation, some people store their coffee beans or ground coffee in the fridge or freezer. However, storing coffee beans in the refrigerator makes them absorb moisture, which in turn could lead to a build-up of condensation, especially if the storage source is a bag or container. Condensation leads to mold, which makes the coffee not healthy enough to use.

The best thing to do if you plan to store your coffee for an extended period is to ensure that the container you use is airtight and in a dark room and dry room. Instead of the fridge, you could use the pantry or a cupboard. When you want to use your coffee, all you do is take small amounts out during the time you want to use it instead of exposing the whole coffee to oxidation. If you still plan to use the fridge, ensure that you consume your coffee within a week and make sure you store it in an airtight container.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?

How Long Does Coffee Last In The Fridge

If you ask any coffee enthusiast how long they should store their ground coffee, most probably the answer will be- never. According to Brian Roberts, former travel contributor at Forbes, and many other coffee lovers, you need to brew your coffee immediately after grinding the beans to capture the flavor and aroma of the beans in their best state. Grinding the coffee increases the surface area, which in turn exposes the coffee to degradation.

However, not every coffee lover can brew their coffee every time they need a fresh cup of coffee. The best period to keep your grounded coffee would be between 5 days to a week or slightly more if you still hope to capture the aromas and enjoy a delicious coffee brew. After a week or so, you start to notice a dulled flavor, smell, and an unpleasant aftertaste from your coffee brew.

How Long Does Coffee Creamer Last?

How Long Does Coffee Creamer Last

The most encouraging factor about coffee creamers is that manufacturers indicate the expiry date on the labels. However, that is a regulation they have to follow to avoid any legal actions. There is more to the lifespan of a coffee creamer than the indicated date of expiry. First, coffee creamers come in different types, and not all are diary-based. So, how long does coffee creamer last?

Single-serving coffee creamers in sealed cups are popular with people that like drinking their coffee on the go. They are also the easiest to use and most common as they are ready for consumption on demand. The lifespan of these coffee creamers is 6 months, which means you can stock up on them if you are a regular traveler. You should note that once opened; you cannot keep any remaining coffee creamer.

Powder-based coffee creamers have a longer lifespan, and with proper storage, they can go up to 2 years. If you want it to last for this long, ensure that you store your powder coffee creamer in an airtight container and away from moisture. If you notice clumping or lumpiness of the powder, throw it away because it will not give you the aroma and flavor of the coffee.

Dairy-based creamers are the most sensitive and joking around with them might get you sick. The best time to keep dairy-based creamers is 2 days after the indicated expiry date and not any longer.

How Long Does Brewed Coffee Last?

If you keep your freshly brewed cup of coffee at room temperature, the best time to hold onto it would be 12 hours if you do not drink it up immediately. However, you can store brewed coffee in the fridge for three to four days.

How Long Does Cold Brew Coffee Last?

Those new to the coffee brewing industry, think that cold brew coffee is just any regular coffee brew with ice. The art of making cold brew coffee is different from that of making regular coffee. The brewing process starts by immersing ground coffee beans in water for a day before sieving the liquid from the ground coffee. What remains after straining is a potent concentrate of cold brew coffee with an intense flavor and mild to strong bitter taste.

After immersing the cold brew coffee in water 24 hours, drink it with diluted with milk, cream, or water to tame the bitter taste. Undiluted cold brew coffee can last for up to two weeks in the fridge, while diluted coffee brew lasts for two to three days. The flavor is better in the first week than it is in the second week for undiluted cold brew, while for diluted cold brew the taste changes after the third day.

How To Store Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is actually freeze-dried ground coffee. People that use instant coffee like it for its speed of preparation and convenience. For that tantalizing cup of instant coffee in seconds, what you need is hot water, a spoonful of the coffee, and you are good to go as it dissolves in seconds. Unlike coffee beans and ground coffee, instant coffee also has a longer lifespan and can last even past the date of expiration on the label.

How do you store instant coffee to ensure that it stays fresh for long?

Instant coffee keeps its flavor intact as long as it stays dry. If exposed to humidity, it spoils fast and loses its flavor. The most common methods of packaging instant coffee are glass jars, tins, and resalable vacuum-packed bags.

To keep your instant coffee fresh, you may need to transfer it to a smaller airtight container as the level in the big jar goes down. Moving the instant coffee to a smaller pot ensures that there are fewer spaces and fewer chances of introducing humidity into the container. When scooping the instant coffee from the jar, always ensure that the spoon is completely dry.

You can store your coffee on the kitchen countertop, pantry, or on the dining table as long as the place you choose does not have direct light and is dry. People that live in high humidity areas can also store their instant coffee in the fridge, but with tight capping. Some people, though, may not agree with the idea of storing instant coffee in the refrigerator, but it is necessary for people that live in humid places.

What Happens If You Drink Expired Coffee?

Before answering this question, you should first ask if coffee goes bad. Thousands of different compounds make up the composition of coffee, whether in bean or ground form. It contains compounds such as amino acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Coffee gets its aroma and flavor notes due to the compounds going through physical-chemical changes.

Poor storage or keeping the coffee longer than its expiry date leads to the lipids going rancid and the carbs going stale. The coffee may not expire as such, but it will go stale due to the oxidation and evaporation of the compounds. Whichever way, stale coffee is not different from expired coffee.

So what happens when you drink expired or stale coffee?

Physically, an expired cup of coffee will not bring any harm to you. You may not fall sick, but the taste will be horrible, and your mouth will have an aftertaste that you cannot stand. Stale coffee smells and has no aroma or flavor.

However, if you see expired coffee with mold, it means that it has contamination, and it will most likely make you sick. Mold could be an indication that the coffee contains some levels of mycotoxins, which are harmful to health. Expired coffee may not have you running to the bathroom or throwing up, but if you consume it in large quantities, it could be harmful.


How Can You Tell If Coffee Is Rancid?

If you store your coffee correctly, whether it is whole, ground or instant, it will not lose its flavor and aroma. However, if you store in poor conditions, moisture, and even particles from the environment may change the texture of the coffee. Besides the two, excessive heat can also damage the coffee. The damage could lead to smelly or rotten coffee, and that is when you know you have rancid coffee with you.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Vacuum-Packed Coffee?

Vacuum packaging is one of the most common coffee packaging practices in the world. The packaging material is foil, with inert gas replacing the air in the bag. The process stops or slows the oxidation process, ensuring that coffee stays fresh for long. Coffee can stay in a vacuum-packaged bag for 18 months and retain its aroma and flavor.

Can You Use Coffee Grounds For Gardens?

Many farmers tout for the goodness of coffee grounds for their immense and valuable enrichment in compost piles and soil. Crops grow healthier, and there are harvests with more yields when you use coffee grounds on the plants. Before adding coffee grounds to the garden, you should ensure that they are dry to prevent the crops from rotting.

Wrapping it up

Even though storing coffee for long periods to keep consuming, it seems like such a great idea, drinking it while it is still fresh with its aromas and flavors is the best thing to do. If you have to keep it for longer, ensure that you store it properly, where there is no humidity, moisture, heat, or light. If you have any hints that you could be having stale coffee with you, toss it away and start with a fresh pack.

Let us know what your thoughts are concerning this topic by leaving a remark, comment, or questions in the comments, and we will get back to you.


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