Ever wonder how long your fresh coffee will last? That's what we're here to talk about!
Few things can quite compare to opening a freshly roasted bag of coffee, especially if it's in your favorite flavor or from a special gourmet blend. The aroma, the velvety liquid pouring in your cup, and that first smooth sip? Pure bliss.
However, few things are more frustrating than going to brew a cup of coffee and realizing that it tastes stale, lackluster, and, well, just plain bad. Nobody wants old rancid coffee! That's why you always use fresh coffee beans, right?
But exactly how fresh are the coffee beans that have been sitting on your counter, and does grinding your own beans guarantee freshness in coffee? Moreover, does coffee go bad?
"Coffee is a packaged dry good with no definitive expiration date. We recommend storing coffee and a vacuum-sealed valve bag, in a cool, dry place, and consuming it within a month or two of the roast date. Coffee should be stored the same way as olive oil, away from direct sunlight, or extreme temperature fluctuations. "
Before you invest in another batch of delicious coffee beans, understanding how long they actually are meant to last is important. After all, nobody wants anything less than the perfect cup of coffee in the middle of a busy morning.
With that in mind, here's what to know if you want to make sure that your coffee isn't expired and how to prevent it from getting that stale taste.
Does coffee expire?
Technically, coffee beans don't expire as other items in your kitchen or pantry might, and a bad cup of coffee will not make you sick. However, it might make you mad! After all, stale coffee doesn't taste great. And if your coffee beans get wet or grow mold or mildew, you should always toss them in the trash. So why is this?
Coffee beans contain oils that give them signature flavor nuances and a smooth finish. Just like olive oil or coconut oil, these coffee oils are meant to be consumed within a specific time period for the best taste. For the optimal flavor results, use freshly roasted coffee beans or grounds within a month of when they were roasted. This produces the ideal taste with a nice, smooth finish.
How long does coffee last, anyway?
It depends on whether you are talking about coffee beans, coffee grounds, or coffee that you have already brewed. If you are talking about coffee grounds or coffee beans, you can store dry coffee for up to a year in a cool dry space.
For the ideal taste, we recommend consuming your freshly roasted coffee beans or grounds within a month of their roast date.
After brewing coffee, it can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. After that, you may notice that oils within the coffee start to separate. If you make at-home cold brew coffee, it's best to make it in quantities that you will be able to consume within about 3 days.
Is buying coffee in bulk a bad idea?
Not always, as buying coffee in bulk can save you money. It depends on your preferences. However, this practice might end up losing you money if you can’t drink all of the coffee you bought before it gets stale. This can be a massive bummer, especially if you are particular about the way your coffee tastes.
The thing is, the oils in coffee grounds and beans begin to break down and change over time. This can cause significant flavor differences, many of which are negative. Instead of buying in bulk, consider getting your fresh-roasted coffee in small batches.
Try to figure out how much coffee you will consume in a month, and stick with that amount. That way, you don’t have to deal with staleness, dryness, damage from moisture, or rancid oils.
Why buy coffee in smaller batches?
There are many reasons to get your coffee beans and coffee grounds in smaller batches. For one thing, with smaller batches, you will be able to easily store your coffee grounds and beans properly. Plus, this can save you money and let you sample more flavors. Best of all, you will be able to get all the way through each bag of coffee while it’s still fresh!
How to keep coffee fresh?
Always store coffee in a cool, dry place. Your cupboard is a great option. If you have the opportunity, buy your coffee in a vacuum-sealed valve bag. That way, the coffee can “breathe” properly as it ages.
Once a bag of coffee is opened, try to consume it in the next two weeks. If a freshly roasted bag of coffee is unopened, enjoy it within a month (two months maximum) of the roast date. Many online coffee retailers (like OneGreatCoffee.Com) roast their coffee fresh on the same day it ships!
FAQs on the Shelf Life of Coffee and Coffee Storage
Now, let's go over a few frequently asked questions about how long coffee lasts, what its shelf life is, and how to properly store your coffee grounds. That way, you can always enjoy the best flavors in your coffee cup!
Can coffee go bad?
Technically, no, coffee doesn't actually go bad. Meaning, old coffee will not usually make you sick unless the beans or grounds have gotten wet. In that case, they will need to be tossed out as they could be harboring mold.
Coffee is a dry-packaged product. While there are no firm expiration dates on coffee, we recommend consuming freshly roasted coffee within a month of the roast date. Coffee contains oils, and these oils are not meant to last for months and months without being consumed. Once a bag of coffee is opened, try to use it up within 2 weeks for the best flavors.
Can coffee grounds go bad?
Unopened coffee can be kept for up to a year in a cool dry place. However, it’s better to enjoy it fresh. Freshly roasted coffee is most satisfactory within the first month of the roast date. Once opened, the flavors and aromas of coffee begin to dissipate as the oils dry out or go stale. So, if you have just opened a bag of coffee grounds, it's best to consume it within two weeks.
Can coffee beans go bad?
Since coffee is a perishable product, it can, and eventually will, go bad. Coffee beans contain natural oils that are brought to the surface during the roasting process. As these oils begin to oxidize after exposure to air, they can begin to go stale, rancid, or at the very least, lose some of their delicious flavor nuances.
Therefore, while coffee beans take a very long time to actually go completely bad, it's best to consume them while still fresh, ideally, within 30 days of their roast date.
Does coffee go bad if left out?
A cup of hot black coffee will taste pretty bad if you leave it sitting on your counter for a couple of hours. This is because coffee inherently contains natural oils. These oils are meant to be consumed fresh and hot, or prepared for cold consumption, as in a cold brew or iced coffee.
The same concept applies to coffee beans and coffee grounds. The oils in coffee beans and grounds will begin to dissipate, go stale, or lose some of their flavor, the longer they are exposed to air, This is due to oxidation.
So, it is best to store your coffee grounds in a vacuum-sealed valve bag, in a cool dry place, such as your cupboard. Consume opened coffee within 2 weeks if possible for the best taste.
How to store coffee?
We recommend storing coffee and a vacuum-sealed valve bag, in a cool, dry place. Coffee should be stored the same way as olive oil, away from direct sunlight, or extreme temperature fluctuations.
A vacuum-sealed valve bag will allow your coffee beans or grounds to let off natural gasses as they age. This leads to better flavors and fresher results, while also extending their life.
How long do coffee pods last?
Freshly roasted and packaged coffee pods can last a long time without technically going bad. However, after the coffee in pods has been freshly roasted, it's best to use the pods or K-Cups within a month of the roast date, just like with coffee grounds or coffee beans. This gives you the tastiest flavors and smoothest finish in the drinks you brew. If you see the foil lids of the coffee pods starting to "puff up" it's time to use them or toss them out.