How Long Does Coffee Last

Posted in  Coffee  on  October 16, 2019 by  Urban Bean Coffee Team

Coffee has a lot of fans around the world. Its taste may vary depending on the variety, country of manufacture, roasting, and the method of its preparation. If good coffee beans are not stored properly, it may become unusable. In order not to lose the invigorating taste and pleasant aroma of the drink, you need to know how to store coffee.

Let’s look at how long does coffee last and how to make this time longer.

How long is coffee good to drink?

How long is coffee good to drink?

Dry goods (coffee beans, coffee grounds) with proper storage can last a long time – weeks, months, even years. Will it keep its freshness and pleasant aroma? Unfortunately not.

If coffee is stored in a dry, cool and dark place, it can be consumed for a long time. But this does not mean that it will still taste fresh. Over time, it will lose its aroma and the many delicious notes in the taste. The fresher the coffee, the better it will taste because, with age, coffee begins to deteriorate.

Like other food products, a date (or two) will be indicated on the packaging, indicating when it should be consumed. If there is no date, I would skip this brand.

If you store coffee properly, then it can be used before the expiration date, maybe even after if you’re happy to sacrifice perfect taste. We will review this later. Keep in mind this is different for milk! Milk deteriorates soon after the expiration date, even if stored properly.

Another date that you can see on your coffee packaging is the date of roasting. The closer to this date you consume coffee, the better in terms of taste and safety.

How to store ground coffee?

How to store ground coffee?

The vulnerability of coffee increases after grinding. Therefore, the rules for storing powder differ in some ways.

Sealed packaging, from which air is evacuated, makes it possible to preserve the powder for a long time. Therefore, the powder is almost always packaged this way. At home, it is very difficult to replicate, unless you have a vacuum packer at home.

In everyday life, the purchased ground coffee is often stored in the same packs in which it is purchased. And this has its advantages:

  • This pack provides optimal protection against moisture and light.
  • It eliminates the formation of condensation.
  • Effectively protects against odors.
  • Given the very high hygroscopicity of ground coffee, this last point seems to be extremely important. The powder dampens much faster than beans, so moisture protection is an important factor.

The package cannot be kept open. It must be twisted or tied so that the air does not get inside. Many manufacturers supply them with special devices for tightly closing the neck after the packaging is depressurized.

How long does brewed coffee last?

If you drink your coffee black, you can still drink the remains left on the kitchen table after returning home after work. If you add milk to the drink, then such coffee will deteriorate in about 2-3 hours, because milk is poorly stored at room temperature. Therefore, I recommend putting it in the refrigerator and coffee can hold out until the end of the day. Ordinary coffee without any additives will not spoil or grow mold over many hours, so drink it!

But we certainly will not drink coffee which stood in our room for more than twelve hours because none of us wants to be poisoned. There’s a certain period that spoiled coffee can retain its pleasant smell and will not become moldy, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Also, coffee that stood for so long certainly would not impress you with its taste! If it stood for more than 4 hours, the coffee probably would have acquired a taste of bitterness due to the decomposition of oils in it.

Coffee loses its taste about thirty minutes after brewing. It loses taste during its cooling, which is why every barista recommends drinking a cup of aromatic coffee as quickly as possible to enjoy the most intense taste possible, but just do not burn yourself!

It happens that people who come home after work decide to finish their morning coffee and put it in a microwell or they warm it in a Turk to have a hot drink. But is it worth it? I assure you that it’s not. Due to the high temperature, coffee will lose even more of its taste and aroma This is somewhat reminiscent of a warming meal. Hot food will never be as tasty as just cooked.

How long should you keep cold coffee?

How long should you keep cold coffee

The situation changes a bit when we talk about iced coffee. When properly sealed, cold coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for about two weeks. It is brewed using cold water or room temperature water, so it has a taste profile different from hot coffee. It is often sweeter – without the bitter notes of aroma that can accompany chilled hot coffee. Iced coffee is also a concentrate, so it retains its taste better.

How to store instant coffee?

Instant coffee has the longest shelf life and is much easier to store. This is because manufacturers in the manufacturing process add special substances that protect the product from moisture. Of course, it’s not worth talking about the degree to which instant coffee is natural but it has its advantages:

  • Simplicity and speed of preparation – it does not require preliminary brewing, just add a spoonful of granules to boiled water;
  • price – instant coffee is cheaper than beans or grinds;
  • storage duration – does not deteriorate for several months, even in an open bank.

Best instant coffee perfectly retains its positive properties in a glass package. Although its price is slightly higher, it does not oxidize the product as tin does. When buying a product in a bag, you should immediately pour it into an airtight jar. If you do not do it on time, it can quickly lose its aroma.

Instant coffee must not be stored in the freezer. It is best to leave it on a cabinet shelf. It should be located far from the window to avoid moisture.

In general, all connoisseurs of this drink should understand how to store coffee beans, ground or instant. It is important to remember that the main enemies of such a delicate product are moisture, sunlight, and oxygen. If you protect it from them, you can effectively preserve the taste of coffee and delight yourself with a wonderful and aromatic drink.

Chemistry of coffee oxidation

Upon contact with air, roasted coffee beans oxidize. This is the same thing that happens with apples when you chop them and leave them for a while.

Although oxidation of the best coffee beans is not as visible as the browning of an apple, it has a significant effect on their taste. This is because oxidation causes a deterioration in taste compounds in coffee and their ingress into the air upon contact.

With proper storage of roasted coffee beans, the oxidation process slows down, so they remain good for several weeks.

However, as soon as the beans are ground, they will begin to oxidize faster, because their surface area increases by more than 10,000 times with fine grinding of espresso.

The coffee brewing process itself is oxidation. When coffee beans come into contact with water, they begin to release their aromatic substances, oils, and acids into the water.

This chemical reaction is what produces a fragrant cup of coffee that we know and love. You just want to avoid this before roasting. As you can see, heat plays an important role in the taste of hot or cold coffee.

What’s the problem with expired coffee?

Surely, in the process of reading the article, you have repeatedly asked the question: what is the danger of coffee whose official shelf life has long expired? Let me explain.

Such a drink does not directly affect your health. After all, there is absolutely no evidence of cases of poisoning or negative reactions that occurred after drinking expired black coffee.

Although beans (as well as powder) lose their taste and aroma after the expiration date, you need to understand that this process does not occur at the click of a finger. In fairness, it must be said that for beans it lasts a little longer than for ground coffee.

With age, the dose of caffeine in coffee decreases. That is why drinks prepared based on expired raw materials are often not able to give much of an invigorating effect.

If you are using expired coffee, we recommend you consume it with additional ingredients to improve its flavor. Not just the traditional varieties – sugar, milk, and cream, but also ingredients like spices and syrups can revitalize the taste. We recommend you try coffee with chocolate and vanilla toppings. They are the best suited for adding to stale coffee. After all, syrups have a good taste and a bright aroma.

How Do Coffee Marketers Deceive Us For Profit?

If you are like me (or anyone else, for that matter), you probably thought the coffee was fresh for several weeks or months. I mean, coffee bags have a “best before” date that comes in a few months, right?

This is all smart marketing.

Some coffee companies are trying to pull the wool on our eyes, claiming that coffee is fresh for months as if it were a fact. We know now that this is not true. These claims are so that coffee companies can store stale beans for months on grocery store shelves, even if we don’t realize that this is bad.

Supermarket coffee is almost always stale coffee.


I hope that I helped you figure out the question of how long does coffee last and your coffee will always be fresh.

Expired coffee is not harmful to human health. However, it is certainly not as tasty. Therefore, we encourage true coffee lovers not to forget about the coffee stored in the kitchen cabinet.

Recall that in the material on how to properly store coffee, we talked in detail about what should be done so that the raw materials stay fresh for as long as possible. We advise you to purchase a package of coffee so that you use the open pack for 1, maximum 2, weeks. For example, if you drink coffee twice a day, then it will be enough for you to buy a pack of coffee, a volume of 250 grams.

About the Author

Urban Bean Coffee Team

Coffee is part of the lives of everyone on the Urban Bean Coffee team. We are a group of professional baristas, coffee bean roasters, and coffee machine repairers. Coffee has connected us, and together we strive to provide the best information to our readers. Our responsibility is to provide advice on any and all coffee-related issues. And we know that to do this we must be experts in this field. The coffee consumption culture has changed dramatically over several centuries. New brewing methods, bean quality control methods, roasting methods, and much more have appeared. We are sure that coffee will change further, and we want to be involved in changing it for the better.

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