The Shelf Life of Fresh Coffee Beans

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Is there an expiration date for fresh coffee grind?

Yes. Yes there is unfortunately. When you open that bag and get a strong whiff of that amazing coffee aroma, that potency does not last. It will get stale if you leave it out for too long! Some types of  coffee last longer than others and depending on where you store it and how you store it can significantly lengthen or shorten the shelf life of your expensive coffee. Before we answer how long coffee can actually last, let's first talk about the proper storage of coffee beans.



How to properly store coffee

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The shelf-life of coffee beans is highly affected by 5 factors:

  1. Sunlight
  2. Moisture
  3. Heat
  4. Roast
  5. Grind

If you leave your coffee just hanging out on your kitchen counter during the summer heat...that will make your coffee become real stale real quick! The best way to keep your coffee long lasting is to store it like potatoes as odd as that combination sounds. Have it stored in your kitchen cabinet or pantry that is cool and dry. This method can help you lengthen that delicious coffee experience and really get your money's worth. Also, always have the container your coffee is in tightly closed. You don't want other types of smells to infuse with your coffee beans.

Also, lighter roast coffee lasts longer than darker roasts as it takes a longer length of time to "de-gas" the nice flavorful aroma without getting too much into the science of it. So, if you want to buy in bulk- lighter roasted coffee could be better for your coffee quality at home. This is the same with whether your coffee is whole beans or pre-grinded. This is quite straightforward as you might have guessed. Whole beans can make the shelf-life as longer as when you grind them yourselves it can release a bit more of it's aroma and impactful flavor. If it has been grinded beforehand, then it can go stale pretty quick!


How long does coffee last?


Coffee tends to stay in its peak brewing condition for about 2 weeks after it has been roasted. So, definitely know the date of roast on your coffee bag. If you don't mind losing the "smell" of your coffee, as long as your coffee just tastes great then there is better news. Coffee keeps it's flavor for about 6 weeks.


"I found coffee in my grandparent's pantry that had been aging for awhile. Can I use it?"

Don't worry if your coffee has gone stale as there aren't any harmful side for a very long time. The only thing is that it just won't taste that great as it would be the first time. This is because of the coffee's natural character. Caffeine is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal; it is the coffee tree's natural defense mechanism against diseases and bugs, just like our immune system!

When coffee goes stale and the flavor becomes bitter, its due to caffeic acid and quinic acid (which was broken down from roasting) forming back to chlorogenic acid, which tends to have a bitter nutty taste. So the the simple truth is that coffee doesn't technically go bad.. at least for awhile, but it will lose its delicious flavor and aroma.