How Long Does Coffee Last: A Quick Guide on its Freshness and Storage
The distinct taste and smell of coffee is one thing that many people love.
There is perhaps no other perk-me-up drink that is as popularly enjoyed as a cup of coffee.
Especially early in the morning, it sets up your mood and provides you with the energy to get through the day.
Thanks to caffeine (Source), surviving a day at the office just became a lot easier!
Rather than buying expensive coffee in overrated shops, why not make your own coffee instead?
You just need to have the right equipment and beans. Plus, you need to know how long does coffee last to be sure that it won’t go stale.
If you keep it longer than what is necessary, the quality of your drink will be significantly inferior.
Shelf Life of Ground Coffee
First, you should know what kind of coffee is the person talking about? (Source) Is it ground coffee, coffee beans, or coffee that has already been brewed?
Let us first talk about the case of ground coffee.
For ground coffee that has been unopened, it can last for up to three to five months after the “best before” date that is indicated on the packaging.
This is the case if you keep it in the pantry. On the other hand, if you keep it in the freezer, the storage life will be one to two years after the “best before date.”
If you open the packaging, on the other hand, the shelf life of ground coffee in the pantry remains the same, while for one in the freezer, it only becomes three to five months. (read more)
The Case of Coffee Beans
For people who would like to be more versatile, they purchase coffee beans instead.
This is because you have the option to select the fineness and coarseness of the grind depending on the drink that you will prepare. (Source)
Even coffee beans do not have an infinite shelf life. If you keep it in the pantry, it will good for six to nine months.
To extend its shelf life, consider putting it in the freezer while it is in a vacuum-sealed bag. When frozen, coffee beans will be good for two to three years.
How About Brewed Coffee?
For brewed coffee, on the other hand, you need to consume it as soon as possible. Give it some time to cool down, but do not wait for too long.
By consuming it the soonest possible time, you will be able to take advantage of its optimal flavor and aroma.
Even after brewing, coffee will continue to oxidize, and hence, it will go stale. With this, it is recommended that you do not allow it to sit for more than four hours.
Once coffee gets in contact with water, oxidation will be faster, and hence, it won’t be long before the aromatics will be released.
Tips for Proper Storage
Regardless if you have ground, whole beans, or brewed coffee, proper storage will be essential to keep it in its best state.
This will help to preserve its flavor and aroma.
External elements such as air, humidity, and temperature, among others, can have negative impacts on its quality.
For both beans and ground coffee, do not open the packaging unless you are ready to grind or brew.
After opening, on the other hand, transfer it to a container with an airtight seal to avoid penetration of elements that could break down the properties that are responsible for its robustness.
Keep it in a location that is dry and away from the direct heat of the sun.
On the other hand, for brewed coffee, do not allow it to sit in the cup for a time longer than 30 minutes.
If you are not yet ready to drink, the best thing to do is to keep it in a thermos with excellent insulation to preserve its temperature.
How to Know if Coffee Has Gone Bad
Pay attention to the signs that your coffee is no longer fit for consumption. It is rare for coffee to show signs of mold. At its worst, ground coffee will appear hard and clumpy.
There are parts that will form a hard ball through time. There may also be changes in color. It might appear paler than how it originally looks.
Smell the ground coffee or the whole beans. If it seems like there is something off or there is a pungent aroma, it is no longer good.
You must be able to smell a hint of bitterness or chocolate flavor, depending on the kind of coffee that you have.
Tasting the coffee is another way to know if it has gone bad. After brewing, if it tastes bland, this is surely a sign that you have to throw it away.
Sure, this is not a thing that will cause your death, but it loses the rich elements of coffee and will not provide the caffeine fix that you are looking for.
As it has been pointed out in this article, here is a quick summary:
- For ground coffee, it will last three to five months in the pantry past the printed date. On the other hand, if in the freezer, it will last from one to two years after the printed date.
- For whole coffee beans, you can keep it in the freezer for two to three years and in the pantry for a maximum of nine months.
- In the case of brewed coffee, drink it within 30 minutes.
- To make coffee last longer, it would be best to keep it in a place that is away from light, moisture, humidity, and air.
About The Author
Miguel of Here Coffe is a caffeine enthusiast who believes that good coffee should be within reach for everyone.
With this, in his website, he shares some practical advice on how to make high-quality coffee at the comfort of your own home.
He provides tips on choosing basic coffee equipment and shares insights on everything about coffee.