The Shelf Life of Coffee, and Tips to Keep It Fresh

Around The World Through Coffee – Part Two
August 23, 2021
Coffee FAQ’s
September 13, 2021

Does coffee spoil? Yes, coffee can spoil , but not in the sense that it develops mould. Learn the signs of bad coffee and some proper storage tips to prolong it’s shelf life, freshness and flavour.

The shelf life of your coffee depends on its preparation and storage conditions.

When Sealed/Unopened

  • Ground coffee lasts for 3-5 months when kept at room temperature, but it can last 1-2 years in the freezer.
  • Coffee Beans last for 6-9 months  when kept at room temperature, and up to 2-3 years in the freezer.
  • Instant coffee can last for 2-20 years in a dry cupboard, depending on the packaging. Most instant coffee packets are made with an aluminum layer. This provides an opaque cover that keeps out moisture and heat. Mold spores have no means to get in, so the coffee’s shelf life is prolonged. In the freezer, sealed instant coffee packets will keep indefinitely.

When Opened

  • Freshly ground coffee lasts 3- 5 months in a dry cupboard or freezer.
  • Fresh beans can last 6 months in a cupboard and up to 2 years in the freezer.
  • The shelf life of opened instant coffee is the same as when it is unopened, depending on the packaging. Tightly re-sealed ziplock or rolled-up-and-clipped foil packs can keep freshness intact for a long time.

After Brewing

Brewed coffee can start to taste bad after about 30 minutes, or the time it takes for the coffee to cool. Then you have about a 4-hour window before the oils in the coffee start to go bad. While microwaves can kill pockets of bacteria, because they heat from the outside in, they often leave pockets of cold in the middle of food and drinks where bacteria can thrive. So they shouldn’t be relied upon to kill whatever might be living in that cup.

Signs of Bad Coffee

Coffee doesn’t spoil or develop mould, so it’s hard to tell if your coffee has gone bad based on its appearance. To check if your coffee is still fresh, trust your nose and taste buds. Bad coffee has lost its pleasant aroma, and the flavor is stale when you drink it. This is because when oxygen comes into contact with the organic matter of coffee—the proteins and lipids—it will cause a change in the coffee’s molecular structure

Optimal Ways to Store Coffee

Keep your coffee at its best by storing it properly.

  • Don’t reheat your brewed coffee in the microwave! Use a thermos to store unused brewed coffee to keep it warm and preserve the flavour for a few hours.
  • Store your ground coffee or coffee beans in an airtight container and in a dry place.
  • If storing your coffee in the freezer, be sure to seal bags very tightly, or again store in an airtight container.

How to use coffee that you don’t want to brew anymore, or has gone stale

  • Blend brewed coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, milk, and ice to whip up a coffee milkshake.
  • Give your dessert recipes a kick of mocha flavor by adding coffee to your recipes.
  • Make a coffee soap or scrub for your body using old coffee grounds.

So, the good news is our favourite brew does not spoil easily. It’s all in the storage!

If, however you are in a rush and do not close your storage container properly, there’s no need need to waste, just think of some funky desserts that could do with a little sexy coffee flavour!