Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?

Coffee is a popular drink for many reasons. Whether hot or cold, Coffee is a great way to start any day. It helps keep people alert and can increase awareness. Coffee beans can be conveniently stored in any container and have a long shelf life. If you have coffee beans sitting in your cabinet you may be wondering, how long do they last?

Quick Answer

An unopened container of coffee beans has a long shelf life and can last for up to 6 months in its original packaging.  Ground coffee will begin to lose its freshness after two weeks if opened. Unopened coffee beans can last up to six months in the pantry. In the fridge, it can last for up to 6 months unopened. Opened coffee beans will stay fresh for 2 weeks in the freezer.


Coffee beans have a long shelf life, yet they will begin to go stale after about two weeks after grounding. How long they last depend on where and how you store the beans. Here are some different places beans can be stored.

How Long Does Coffee Bean Last Outside?

Coffee beans can be stored almost anywhere, even outdoors. As long as the coffee beans are stored safely outside, they are safe for consumption. Here are some things to avoid when storing coffee beans outside.

Do not store Coffee beans in direct sunlight:  It is safe to store coffee beans outside, however direct sunlight can harm coffee beans. Sunlight will cause the bean to lose its flavor. Keep coffee beans in a shaded area to retain freshness when outdoors.

Do not get wet:  Water and other moisture will cause adverse effects for coffee beans. Mold will set in when coffee is exposed to moisture. Beans will develop a fermented bitter taste. Keep beans dry to maintain flavor.

Do not expose coffee beans to air:  Air exposure is bad for coffee beans. If kept outside in the open air the beans will begin to oxidize, take in air, and go stale. Store coffee beans in an airtight container to preserve freshness.

How Long Does Coffee Beans Last in the Fridge?

Storing the coffee beans in the fridge is safe. However, the cold temperature will not prevent the oxidation process. Coffee absorbs the flavors of the foods around it, this will cause coffee to pick up smells and tastes of surrounding foods. Here are some tips for storing coffee in the fridge.

Use an airtight container:  Air is not good for the coffee bean because it dries the coffee out and causes it to go stale faster. Cold air is circulated in the refrigerator and this can be bad for coffee. Store beans in an air-tight container to preserve freshness.

Store for a short amount of time:  Although coffee loses its flavor in the fridge, storing coffee for a short amount of time is okay. Coffee can be kept in the refrigerator without going stale for up to a week.

Store in a dark area:  Store coffee in a dark area in the fridge such as a bottom drawer. Light is not good for coffee and to help it last longer do not keep it out in the open; store it in a dark container away from light.

How Long Does Coffee Beans Last in the Freezer?

Coffee beans stored in the freezer will last longer than those stored in the fridge, however, not much longer. Coffee beans can be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks before they begin to lose freshness. The freezer also increases the chance of ice exposure which is bad for the beans. Here are some dos and don’ts when storing beans.

Do not Store in original packaging: To retain the flavor and quality of the coffee beans, store beans in a Ziploc freezer bag. Remove beans from their original package and place them in a freezer bag. This helps to reduce the risk of ice and other contaminants from damaging the beans.

Date the container:  Whether you store coffee beans in a freezer bag or decide to keep the original packaging, remember to date it. Labeling coffee beans with the date frozen will help ensure you do not leave beans in the freezer for too long. Coffee beans can be kept in the freezer for up to two weeks before losing their flavor.

Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?/How Long do They Last?

Technically coffee beans do not go bad or spoil. They do, however, begin to stale and lose flavor. It takes coffee about two weeks to begin to lose its flavor from the time it was ground. Here’s how to tell if your beans have lost their flavor.

Appearance:  Fresh coffee beans should appear shiny. That’s because oils are released from the beans when they are processed. Id beans are dull in color they are no longer fresh. Even though they are still safe for consumption they will not taste the same.

Smell: Coffee beans are known for their rich aroma. Stale beans will have little to no smell.

Taste:  Coffee made from stale beans will taste bitter. Coffee has a rich flavor, yet when they lose flavor they taste tart. If the taste of your coffee beans changes consider switching out the beans for fresher ones.

Expiration:  Coffee beans have a long shelf life and when stored properly they can last years. However, it is not a good idea to consumer coffee that has been sitting on the shelf longer than seven years. By then coffee is stale and much of the taste is compromised. Some coffee drinkers even reported becoming ill after drinking old coffee. So it is best to use coffee before its expiration date.

How to Store Coffee Beans

Storing coffee beans is not rocket science. Keeping coffee fresh even during storage is easy to do. Here are some reminders to consider when storing your coffee beans.

Avoid Sunlight: Sunlight is bad for coffee beans because it speeds up the oxidation process. When beans are processed they release carbon dioxide and take in oxygen. This process causes them to go stale. Keep beans out of sunlight to slow this process.

Avoid High Temperatures: Do not store coffee beans near a heat source such as a stove or furnace. Heat causes the coffee beans to dry out and lost flavor. Heat also causes the bean to go stale and turn bland. Store coffee beans in a cool location such as a cabinet, to maximize freshness.

Avoid porous containers:  Air is detrimental to coffee beans. The air causes the rate of oxidation to increase. Exposure to air will cause the coffee beans to go stale in 3-5 days. Store coffee beans in an airtight container to retain quality.

Avoid moisture:  Moisture can cause the coffee beans to mold or ferment. This leaves the coffee tasting sour and tart. Also moldy coffee may cause adverse health effects such as an upset stomach. When storing coffee beans, make sure they are kept in a dry location.

Can you Freeze Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans last longer in the freezer than in the fridge. You can store coffee beans for up to two weeks without losing flavor. If stored properly coffee beans can last a long time in the freezer, although some of their flavors may be lost. Here are some tips for freezer storage.

Store properly:  Freezing coffee beans can be a bad idea if the coffee beans are not stored properly. Keep beans frozen in an airtight container to retain freshness longer. Storing in an airtight container prevents the coffee beans from absorbing flavors from neighboring foods. If you do not have an airtight container a zip lock freezer bad will do just fine. Freezing may cause condensation and so a freezer bad and other airtight containers will help keep moisture and other particles out.

Use Dark Storage Container: Light is bad for coffee. Even though there is no light getting to the beans when the freezer door is closed, once it is opened light will get in. Light causes the coffee beans to go stale. TO get the most out of your beans opt for an opaque container. If the container you chose is dark but not airtight, try placing the beans inside a freezer bag before storing them in the container. Doing this will help keep light and moisture out.

How to Thaw Coffee Beans

Coffee beans can be thawed with little effort. Simply remove the beans from the freezer and place them on a dry surface. A countertop is a perfect spot for this. Coffee beans will thaw at room temperature for roughly 24 hours before use.

Do not place coffee beans in warm water to increase thaw time. Moisture can penetrate the coffee beans and cause them to mold. Keep beans dry when thawing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Beans

Will my coffee mildew if it gets wet during storage? Yes, coffee can grow mold and mildew when wet. When storing coffee make sure to keep beans in an airtight container to help stop dew and moisture from setting in. It Is not safe to drink coffee that has mold. It can cause an upset stomach and leave you not feeling well.

Are expired Coffee beans safe to use?  It is not a good idea to use expired coffee being although doing so should be harmless. As long as the coffee shows no sign of mold, it should be safe to drink. Expired coffee will not taste the same as fresh coffee. It may be stale and void of flavor. It is always best to drink coffee before the expiration date.

What to do if my coffee tastes stale?  Stale coffee is not harmful although it may taste bitter. Stale coffee can still be consumed but the taste will be bland. The best thing to do with stale coffee is to discard it. If that is not an option adding in coffee creamer and sugar will help to sweeten the taste.

Wrap Up

Proper storage is important to prolong the quality of the coffee beans. Done right these beans can last a long time. If you have any tips on the shelf life of coffee beans, or any ideas on how to store them, leave a comment below.

 

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