Does Ground Coffee Go Bad?

Contrary to popular belief, coffee is not as long-lasting as we think. Yes we see 3-5 months as the Best By date, but this is its shelf life; the time for which it can remain fresh when sealed. Once unsealed, coffee becomes exposed to air and moisture, thus decreasing its life span.

Quick Answer

Yes, ground coffee can go bad if stored poorly, too long, or past its expiration date. “Stored poorly” here means it has been exposed to either of its greatest rivals; oxygen, light, heat, or moisture. Stored too long (after unsealing) or past its expiration date (when sealed), the coffee loses its flavor, making it less desirable for consumption.


This article will help you understand better, how long your ground coffee can last, as well as the best condition to keep it stored.

Does Ground Coffee go Bad? How Long Does it Last?

Experts recommend that ground coffee is consumed at most a week after roasting. But like most food, the length of its life depends on where and how it is stocked.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last Outside?

Keeping ground coffee outside (in the pantry, on the shelf, or in the cabinet) is one of the best ways of preserving the product. This is because these areas are dry and hardly exposed to coffee’s enemies; rather they have just the right composition for your coffee. Sealed, it can last here till it’s expiration date, which is usually 3-5 months. Unsealed, it can last about 2 weeks. After these periods, the coffee will become flat (without flavor).

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last in the Fridge?

This is probably one of the worst things you can do to your coffee – keeping it in the fridge. It tends to absorb the aroma of other things in the fridge especially when unsealed. If you must refrigerate your ground coffee, the National Coffee Association recommends you get a perfectly airtight container and we recommend you consume it in about a week!.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last in the Freezer?

Frozen ground coffee can retain its flavor for over a year. If you want to preserve a batch of ground coffee for a long-term period, freezing it is a possible strategy.

Use an air tight container and only open it when you are ready to start sing this batch. Once opened, use the coffee in about a week.

Do not refreeze ground coffee, as once exposed to moisture, it will start loosing its flavor.

So, clean your pantry, get a clear, airtight jar and let’s get storing!

How to tell if Ground Coffee Has Gone Bad/How to Know if it is Fresh

When it comes to ground coffee, the sense of smell is one important way to tell if it’s still good for consumption. Let’s explore.

The Sour Smell: When coffee is bad, it smells sour. At this stage, it is absolutely not safe to drink and should be tossed in the trash with immediate effect.

The Flat Smell: Sometimes, you open your coffee and it just doesn’t have that alluring aroma, neither does it smell sour. Well at this stage, it is beginning to lose its freshness. It is still ok to consume for one or two days, but be sure to get an equally flat (tasteless) taste. Bear in mind also, that from smelling and tasting flat, it degrades more and more, so don’t ignore this warning sign!

The Look: Did your coffee change from that deep brown color to a lighter brown? Then, my friend, something is going on there. It is advisable to do away with that ground coffee and get to the grocery store to buy a fresh one!

So there are three ways to check the quality of your coffee, especially when you can’t remember how long you’ve stored it. If you can, just work with the time frame, and you won’t go wrong in determining how fresh or otherwise your ground coffee is.

How Best to Store Ground Coffee

According to the National Coffee Association, the greatest enemies of coffee beans, grounded or whole, are moisture, heat, and light. Let’s find out how best to store ground coffee without attracting these enemies.

Get an Airtight Container: As earlier established, once moisture, light, or heat gets to your coffee, you can forget it. Also, “Oxidation obviously contributes significantly to flavor degradation and loss”(Cooking.stackexchange.com) Get a container that doesn’t allow these to penetrate. According to Blue Bottle Coffee, get an airtight container with a one-way valve. If you don’t have a sealable container available, wrap the bag tightly and secure it with a rubber band or tape (canitgobad.net).

Keep it in the Pantry: Room temperature is the best place for ground coffee, as it is not too cold nor too hot.

Bearing these two in mind, you are good to go, storing your ground coffee without worry.

Can you Freeze Ground Coffee? Why Not?

No, you should not freeze ground coffee. This causes it to be exposed to moisture and more so, lose its flavor. If you must freeze your coffee, make sure it is still sealed. That way, it is less exposed to moisture. Also, according to the National Coffee Association; “If you are to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Ground Coffee

Can I Consume Ground Coffee After its Expiration Date? We do not advise that you take ground coffee past its expiration date. Ground coffee only has a shelf life; it is not best to freeze it to extend its life span. So once that shelf life expires, the best thing is to do away with it.

Does Ground Coffee Grow Moldy When it is Bad? Yes, ground coffee can start to get moldy if exposed to water or moisture. However, it may not get to this stage before it goes bad, so watch out for other warning signs as discussed in earlier sections.

Wrap up

Well, that’s a wrap. Now you know how best to preserve your ground coffee and that though it is dry food, ground coffee is more fragile than you think! To this effect, ensure you take good care of it for the betterment of your health and enjoyment!

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