How Long Do Coffee Beans Last? Find Out Here

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We’ve all been there. One day, you wake up to find the last of the coffee beans, or granules, sitting alone at the bottom of the jar.

Apart from the annoyance of having to buy more, it also makes you wonder how long they could sit there before going bad. Luckily for you, we have all the answers you need right here!

Keep reading to find out more.

How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

If you’re a hopeless coffee lover, it’s useful to know how long coffee beans last so you can get the most out of your money. The true answer to this depends on the type of coffee you have. 

Let’s take a look at the different types.

Roasted Coffee Beans

A bag of freshly roasted beans purchased from your local grocery store should last for a maximum of 3 weeks once opened.

However, this is also dependent on how they are sealed. Coffee shop beans, for example, last a whole lot longer as they are imported in vacuum-sealed bags and have a longer shelf life of between 3 and 6 months.

Ground Coffee

Ground coffee doesn’t last as long and needs to be consumed within a few days. However, if stored correctly, you can make it last slightly longer. 

We’ve included more about this further down the page. So keep reading!

Brewed Coffee

Believe it or not, you can consume brewed coffee for up to a week after it has been made (if refrigerated).

We’re not sure why anyone would feel the need to store brewed coffee, but it’s certainly useful to know!

If left at room temperature, it will be good for 12 hours. The same can be said for freshly brewed coffee containing milk or cream, as the dairy products will begin to taste sour after a while.

We’re not going to lie, nothing beats a fresh coffee, so if your cup has turned cold, your best bet is to make yourself a new one!

The Science Behind Coffee

When it comes to coffee, the 2 main elements that affect the composition are moisture and oxygen.

Coffee beans will quickly lose both flavor and aroma the more they are exposed to oxygen and moisture. This is why it is important to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

Store-bought coffee beans are already a few weeks old before your purchase them. During the roasting process, the beans form CO2 gasses, which are slowly released when they are rested.

Once the CO2 has been released, the beans will begin to absorb whatever air they can, which is impossible when locked inside a vacuum-sealed bag. Therefore, once it has been opened, the beans will start to absorb oxygen and will become stale over time.

And what about keeping coffee away from the light?

Coffee is extremely sensitive to light. The process is known as photodegradation and results from photons from any light source damaging the beans. Without getting too technical, too much light breaks up the compounds within the coffee, allowing it to become stale.

This happens much quicker in ground coffee than with beans, but the light is bad for both. So keep them covered!

Bad Coffee Beans: Signs You Should Look Out For

Coffee beans don’t necessarily have an expiration date, but if left for a long time, they will eventually begin to lose their flavor and potency.

However, if stored incorrectly, they can turn bad, and consuming them may make you sick. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Mold forming on the beans
  • Unpleasant odors coming from the container
  • If there is no aroma at all, this could also mean the beans have turned bad.
  • If the beans have formed together or the texture is strange

If you do consume coffee that has potentially turned bad, don’t panic too much. The chances of you becoming sick are very slim unless you often consume moldy coffee beans! 

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with a bad batch of beans, so it’s best to throw them in the trash and head on down to your local grocery store for more.

Top Tips for How to Store Coffee Beans

Storing your coffee correctly will not only make it last longer, but it will keep the taste and flavor locked in (which, let’s face it, is the most important thing!). 

Let’s take a look at the best storage options that will make your coffee beans stay fresh for as long as possible.

Tip #1: Use An Airtight Container

One way of storing either coffee beans or ground coffee is inside an airtight container. This will prevent moisture from entering the vessel and spoiling the beans or grounds. Always be sure to store in a dry area away from sunlight.

So, what type of containers should you be looking for?

  • Opaque containers
  • Ceramic pots
  • Non-reactive metal containers
  • Clear Glass or plastic (these should be stored in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight.)

Tip #2: Avoid Warm Areas

Not only is it important to avoid places of direct sunlight, but you should also steer clear of cupboards next to the oven, the boiler (if in the kitchen), and other cooking appliances that heat up.

Tip #3: Do Not Refrigerate

We wouldn’t recommend storing coffee in the refrigerator as this can cause moisture to form inside the packaging, affecting the beans or grounds.

Freezing Coffee: What You Need to Know

Yes, you can freeze coffee if needed. However, we would definitely recommend it as a last resort. 

While there is no evidence to suggest that freezing coffee alters the taste, the act of thawing the coffee is where you may encounter problems.

To reduce the chances of spoiling your frozen coffee, here’s what you need to do:

Step #1: Split into Portions

It is best to split your coffee into portions before freezing, so you don’t have to thaw out a whole pack. This will also make it last longer.

Step #2: Choose An Appropriate Container

Again, you will need to choose either a sealed bag or an airtight container to store your coffee to freeze it. Placing it in the freezer without containing it properly will have a huge impact on the taste once brewed.

Step #3: Never Refreeze

You should only take one portion out of the freezer at a time. Once removed, you should allow it to thaw out at room temperature. If stored in a vacuum-sealed bag, it won’t take the beans long to thaw out.

If they have been frozen inside a glass jar, the glass and the lid will also need time to thaw out, which may take considerably longer.

Coffee: It’s Not Just for Drinking!

So, what other ways can we use coffee if not for drinking? Let’s take a look!

Repel Insects

Placing coffee granules around plants can help ward off nasty critters that have taken a keen interest in your greenery. This is a great way to use up any old grounds and is environmentally friendly too!

Using this method is harmless. It seems most insects simply do not like coffee’s smell or taste. They clearly don’t know what they’re missing!

Compost

Sticking with the garden theme, another way to recycle your coffee waste is to use it as compost. 

This, along with other food waste products such as egg shells, vegetable peelings and stale bread, can be used to help the soil hold onto more water and nutrients, which keeps flowers and plants healthy.

Get Rid of Fleas

As discussed above, insects are not a fan of coffee grounds, and using them in the garden is a good way to ensure your plants won’t be disturbed. 

The same can be said for annoying bugs like fleas on your dog or cat.

While they may not be as effective as products you can find at your local pet store, they are less toxic and harmful. Rubbing them through your dog’s or cat’s fur frequently is a sure way to keep those pesky fleas at bay!

Odor Eliminators

Coffee grounds can be used to remove certain smells from the surrounding environment. While brewed coffee has an overpowering smell, the dry product is mild.

Placing a bowl of ground coffee in your refrigerator or on the kitchen worktop can help eliminate unpleasant odors.

Gets Rid of Cellulite

There is some evidence to suggest that scrubbing areas of your body with a coffee scrub mixture may help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

It is thought that coffee can help improve blood circulation, which may help to smooth the skin reducing the appearance of cellulite. So instead of drinking it, why not apply it directly to your body!

Clean Pots and Pans

Surely using coffee grounds to clean would just make everything dirtier, right? 

The rough texture of discarded coffee grounds actually makes them a great abrasive cleaning tool for pots and pans that look slightly worn. Give it a go!

Reduce Dark Undereye Circles

Here’s another beauty tip for you. Rubbing coffee grounds underneath your eyes is said to act as an anti-aging ingredient that may help stimulate blood circulation, reducing dark circles. Interesting, huh?

FAQ Section

If we didn’t manage to answer your questions above, take a look at our trusty FAQ section, which may be of help!

Are Expired Coffee Beans Safe to Use?

Technically, yes. Coffee beans do not necessarily expire. They just start to lose their flavor. 

This means there is very little chance you will become sick from consuming old coffee beans (unless they’re moldy); they just won’t taste great!

How Long Does Instant Coffee Last?

Instant coffee has a shelf life of around 20 years. This is due to the process used to make it which involves freeze-drying coffee grounds. It may last longer, but it doesn’t taste half as good!

Is Coffee Good For You?

Research shows that drinking coffee may reduce the chance of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Final Thoughts

Shop-bought coffee beans will last roughly for around 3 weeks if contained correctly. Ground coffee, on the other hand, has a shorter shelf life and will merely last a few days.

As discussed above, you can freeze coffee beans. However, the thawing process can be long-winded, so you may only want to do this once in a while. 

Everybody knows that nothing beats freshly roasted coffee beans to start the day!

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AUTHOR

Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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