How Long Does Coffee Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 Months to 2 Years

Can coffee go bad? The explanation is no. Coffee does not turn bad and, this so-called cup of bad coffee does not make anyone sick. Yet, if coffee beans or grounds get wet, then, possibly can not be reused and require to be discarded.

Coffee is a type of dry, packaged food similar to many other dried food items, and there is no specific expiration date to keep in a trace. Coffee beans are very shelf-stable dry food items when stored in suitable conditions. But, the disadvantage is, coffee beans past their expiration date deteriorate, and the coffee beans that are not stored properly lose their flavor, quality, and freshness.

How Long Does Coffee Last?

Type Of CoffeeDuration After Sealed; Unsealed
Whole Beans3 to 5 months; 12 months past the roast date
Ground Coffee3 to 5 months in the pantry or freezer; Same as Sealed
Brewed Coffee3 to 4 days in the refrigerator; 12 hours
Instant Coffee2 to 20 Years in the pantry or freezer; 2 Weeks

The shelf life of the coffee depends on its preparation and storage condition.
When sealed, ground coffee will last for 3 to 5 months when kept in a pantry at room temperature, but it can last 1 to 2 years if stored in the freezer.
Whole bean coffee lasts up to 6 to 9 months in the pantry and up to 2 to 3 years in the freezer. Instant coffee can last for 2 to 20 years in the pantry, depending on the packaging.

Most of the instant coffee packages come with an aluminum layer inside the box or a pouch. It provides a thick cover that keeps out external moisture and heat. Molds or spores do not have the means to get inside the package. Hence, the coffee’s shelf life is prolonged. Sealed instant coffee, In the freezer, have an indefinite shelf life.

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On unsealing, freshly ground coffee lasts 3 to 5 months in the freezer or pantry whereas, fresh beans can last up to 6 months in the pantry and last up to 2 years in the freezer. The shelf life of unsealed instant coffee in the pantry and freezer is the same as sealed, depending on the packaging. Tightly re-sealed foil packs can retain the freshness unimpaired for a long time.

After brewing, if anyone purchases their beans whole or maybe already ground, it’s preferred to drink the freshly-brewed coffee within 1 to 2 hours otherwise it begins to lose its quality and flavor.

Why Would Coffee Last That Long?

Coffee never spoils or develops molds, so it’s difficult to know if the coffee has gone bad based on how it looks. Coffee is a dry product, so there is very little moisture to let mold grow. To check if the coffee is still good, one must trust their nose and taste buds. A Bad coffee will lose its pleasing aroma, and the flavor goes stale when they drink it.
After brewing, coffee is always prone to oxidation. When oxygen comes in contact with the organic matter of coffee, the proteins and lipids will cause changes in the coffee’s molecular structure. It’s the identical process that turns an apple to dark brown, but here, the result is staleness. To keep the coffee at its best by preserving it properly.

Some important things to remember for coffee storage: Never reheat a brewed coffee. Instead, use a thermos to store the unused brewed coffee to keep it warm and preserve the flavor for some hours. Store the ground coffee or coffee beans in an airtight, concealed container and a dry spot. This prevents photodegradation, where light and air modify the organic composition of the coffee, making it stale.

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If the coffee has spoiled, the pleasant aroma will be gone and with the taste. But using this coffee is not harmful but will not have the same flavor if the smell is gone. It may also lose its luscious dark color and appear lighter brown. Coffee will slowly lose its flavor soon after grinding as the oils start to evaporate.

Conclusion

Coffee can degrade over time and spoils faster depending on the surface area, which means that whole beans will last longer than ground coffee. It is the same theory as with dried spices.

So, it is best to buy whole beans and then grind them as necessitated for maximum freshness and coffee flavor. The safest way to store these beans is to place them in a tightly closed container in the freezer and grind fresh only the amount you plan to use that day. Storing coffee in this way will keep out moisture and other contaminants and help it last longer.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996997000021
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12393-009-9010-8

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