Fresh beans, and freshly ground coffee creates the best tasting coffee.
Coffee beans typically come in air tight or sealed bags, but generally when you make a coffee you won’t consume hardly any of it and there’s a lot left in the bag.
So, here’s an explanation of how long coffee beans last in the bag after they’ve been opened.
Below, I will explain how to know if coffee beans have gone bad, if old coffee beans will make you sick, and in detail how long ground coffee and roasted coffee beans stay good for.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Last Opened?
A good cup of coffee is a balance of brewing it really well, and the quality of the beans.
The good thing about coffee is it can last a long time after it has been opened.
But, how long does ground coffee last after being opened?
When not stored in an airtight container or in the freezer ground coffee will go ‘stale’.
This occurs because the CO2 gas in the coffee escapes slowly over time.
Stale coffee still tastes perfectly fine.
But, it’s a night and day difference in taste compared to freshly ground coffee.
Ground coffee beans have a larger surface than whole coffee beans.
A real coffee snob, or put in a nicer way someone who really enjoys maximizing the taste of the coffee will tell you that the quality of the beans and how fresh they are is important.
But, the whole coffee beans tend to take longer to go stale.
Putting ground or whole coffee beans into a vacuum-sealed container will make them last for a year or more.
This has been shown by coffee experts.
For example, here’s a side by a side taste test of coffee beans that have been kept in the freezer for over 6 months, and fresh coffee beans:
A humid environment can promote the growth of mold.
And a humid environment goes hand in hand with a warmer environment.
And hotter temperatures speed up chemical reactions.
This means your ground coffee or coffee beans will release carbon dioxide faster.
Temperature fluctuations from cold to hot don’t have much of an effect, the main concern is warm temperatures.
Therefore, you should aim to keep them in a dry place.
For example, not on a shelf above the stove.
Where, steam and hot temperatures can get into the cupboard, or create a warmer environment around the cupboard where you’re keeping your coffee beans.
Why coffee goes bad/stale and how to keep it from occurring
The roast date should be as close to when you want to consume your coffee if you’re storing it for prolonged periods such as in the freezer.
Once you remove whole coffee beans from the freezer you can grind them up using a coffee grinder in the same way you would fresh coffee beans.
Room temperature can be ok provided the coffee beans are kept in a vacuum-sealed container.
But, the best way to keep coffee beans or ground coffee for long periods is in the freezer.
This will maintain them at their optimum freshness.
There is an oxidation process, where the coffee beans react with the air, and they also degas carbon dioxide.
Once the original bag is opened, it needs to be kept as air-tight as possible.
And for long-term storage, it’s best to keep a vacuum-sealed bag or air-tight container in the freezer.
Buying roasted or ground coffee in small amounts is better because you will consume it before it begins to go stale without needing to store it in the freezer.
Roasted beans bring out the oil and the flavor of the coffee.
Roasting and grinding your own beans ensures your coffee grinds will have a fresh flavor, which produces the most delicious coffee.
Stale coffee is caused by beans that have released all of their carbon dioxides.
Your local roaster is a great place to get a bag of coffee, and they generally sell coffee beans or ground coffee.
And the quality of the coffee is a function of the quality of the green beans they use, and how well they roast them.
As you may know, they blast green coffee beans at high temperatures to lightly cook them.
After they make it they will store it in a bag of coffee.
But, after it has been ground it will begin to go stale.
Therefore, most coffee connoisseurs recommend only getting enough coffee that will last you for a few weeks.
The important factors for storing coffee beans and ground coffee are:
- The temperature
Proper coffee storage aims to limit each of these factors.
Coffee pods are already vacuum sealed to make them last as long as possible.
This reduces how much carbon dioxide they can release and keeps them from going stale.
Why fresher coffee tastes better
Using green coffee beans or unroasted coffee beans to make coffee doesn’t have the best taste.
These coffee beans don’t really break very quickly and can last for up to 12 months in a burlap bag or similar.
The roasting process changes the chemical composition of the coffee and makes it more porous.
When hot water is poured over them the microparticles in the coffee grounds get suspended in the water.
Coffee bags that you buy from the grocery store are vacuum-sealed to limit the amount of airflow.
And the first thing you should do to preserve the taste is to put the coffee grounds into a vacuum-sealed container.
Coffee shops generally roast their coffee beans on-site or pick them up or get them delivered by a coffee roaster.
Generally, you want to use coffee beans within a couple of weeks when stored under normal conditions.
This means it’s better to buy or make roasted coffee beans in smaller batches.
The paper bags that coffee you buy at a coffee shop in general is not the best way to store coffee beans for the short to the long term.
Ideally, it should be stored out of direct sunlight. And an opaque container is better than clear canisters/containers if possible.
This will limit UV rays that hit the coffee beans stopping them from breaking down as fast.
When freezing whole coffee beans a good way to store them is in a Ziploc bag, or vacuum-sealed container.
Such as, the general-purpose plastic containers you find in supermarkets for storing food.
As well as, the plastic containers that have one-way valves.
Vacuum sealing coffee beans in bags will limit the amount of airflow and reduce how much CO2 they release.
There are a few different sweeteners you can use in coffee.
Sugar is high in calories and therefore artificial sweeteners can be a better option.
I recently took a look at the best ones and summarized what I found in this article about the best artificial sweeteners for coffee.
Ground coffee can be made in a french press, an espresso machine, or poured through a paper filter.
In general, coffee beans should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place.
Doing so slows down the outgassing process, which turns coffee beans stale.
And also stops mold from growing on the coffee beans.
There are a few different types of roasted coffee beans.
They can be a dark or light roast.
The type of coffee can be roasted at higher temperatures and for longer times to produce a darker or lighter roast.
In either case, the storage conditions for coffee are very important.
How long coffee can keep its flavor when stored properly
The shelf life of coffee beans can be extended for as long as 2 years if they are kept in the freezer.
They can last for a very long time and in general, coffee kept in the freezer can go well past its expiration date.
How long coffee beans will last before going stale can be extended by keeping them as cool as possible.
A cold brew can be a good way to mask the flavor of stale coffee beans because the cold temperature slightly numbs the taste buds.
Your best bet for long-term storage is to keep them in the freezer.
There are some containers that can be used to store things like tea, milo/chocolate milk powder, sugar, and cereal.
And can also be used as a coffee container.
But, ideally, you should use something like mason jars which are completely air-tight.
Some types of plastic containers have clips that keep the air in but plastic is known to be slightly porous and the coffee flavor can soak into the container.
Lighter roasts of coffee aren’t as strong in flavor.
The flavor of instant coffee also degrades over time, and you should use the same storage methods recommended for ground coffee, and roasted coffee beans.
Proper storage of coffee beans or ground coffee can extend how long they remain fresh by up to a year or more.
Old coffee has a blander flavor that isn’t as good.
The flavor of the coffee degrades as more time passes.
How Do You Know if Coffee Beans Are Bad?
A cup of coffee is best with freshly roasted beans, and freshly ground coffee.
The good news is there are ways of keeping coffee so that it keeps its delicious flavor much longer.
But, many foods especially beans such as coffee beans can go bad over time so here’s a summary about how to know when coffee beans have gone bad.
Coffee beans lose their flavor because they release CO2 gas.
This CO2 is released slowly from coffee beans over time.
So, the more time that passes the more the flavor of coffee beans degrades.
Freshly ground coffee will lose most of its amazing flavor after about 2 weeks in the original package, according to the National Coffee Association (source).
Will Old Coffee Beans Make You Sick?
Coffee beans can technically sit in your pantry or freezer for very long times without showing any visible changes.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that they are still perfectly fine to grind and use to make coffee.
However, I wanted to know if this is actually the cause and if it’s possible for old coffee beans to make you sick, here’s what I found.
The most important thing to watch out for is mold.
Many molds are toxic and if you use coffee beans or ground coffee with mold on it you can develop food poisoning type symptoms such as vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
You’ve likely come across a chai latte.
Because of the name where it’s a combination of chai tea and a cafe latte, it’s a bit confusing what it is exactly.
I looked into how it’s made and explained in this article whether a chai latte is a coffee or a tea .
Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?
Coffee beans are roasted and can be roasted a lot making very dark beans, or hardly roasted at all, and produce lighter colored beans.
Coffee beans are fruit, and fruits tend to go bad over time. But, here’s an explanation of whether coffee beans go bad.
Keeping them in a dry area such as in a kitchen cabinet or cellar is ideal. Cellars are almost always very cool as well.
Which will slow the chemical reactions that cause coffee to go stale.
How Long Do Roasted Coffee Beans Stay Good?
Avid coffee drinkers will tell you it’s a good idea to drink freshly roasted, and freshly ground coffee.
But, you may want to buy a lot of roasted coffee beans all at once to save time.
So, here’s the long and short of how long roasted coffee beans stay good.
But, this is provided that they are kept in an air-tight container or vacuum-sealed.
Doing so limits the amount of CO2 that is released by the coffee beans over time.
Which results in the flavor getting worse.
The very cold temperatures of the freezer also slow down the rate of chemical reactions which cause coffee beans to lose their flavor.