What type of coffee are you using? How do you store your coffee? These things matter a great deal when talking about the shelf life of coffee. Be it ground coffee or whole bean coffee, it needs to be out of contact with heat, light, air, and moisture. That’s why it comes in airtight containers and vacuum-sealed packages. So how long do coffee grounds last?
Dry coffee definitely lasts much longer than brewed coffee. But how long that is not many of us know, even coffee aficionados. What about how to keep coffee grounds fresh for longer? That part will also be covered in this post.
Ground coffee, when it goes bad, develops mold or is subjected to discoloration or gives off a foul smell. So be on the lookout for such warning signs, especially if you take your coffee with creamer.
- Coffee Shelf Life Overview
- How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?
- Whole Bean Coffee Stays Fresh for Longer
- What Happens to Coffee After It’s Ground?
- How to Store Coffee Grounds the Right Way
- What Happens If You Consume Spoiled Coffee?
- Other Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Shelf Life
Coffee Shelf Life Overview
Both whole coffee beans and coffee grounds are resilient enough to last for a really long time. It’s dry coffee at the end of the day, meaning there’s no mold or anything of the sort as long as you keep your coffee away from moisture.
Another thing that plays a major role is how you store the coffee. In airtight containers, the flavor, freshness, and aroma of coffee are the least likely to deteriorate.
Also, if your dry coffee is stored in the freezer or fridge, it will have an impact on the taste. But, at the same time, this method of storage preserves coffee for a longer period of time.
How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?
There must be a Best-By Date provided by the manufacturer, which should be printed on the packaging of the product. Keep in mind that you have to store ground coffee in an airtight container or jar. Room temperature storage is highly recommended, plus coffee needs to be protected from environmental elements like light, heat, air, and moisture.
If stored properly, coffee grounds are able to maximize their freshness for anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks.
Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer also works provided that you use sealed bags or containers. In your fridge, coffee remains fresh for around 2 weeks. In the freezer, you can preserve freshness for a whole month.
When in doubt, just go by the Best-By Date mentioned on the packaging. This applies to instant coffee, coffee pods, ground coffee, and the like. After the Best-By Date, the coffee is still safe to drink but don’t expect it to taste as robust and fresh as when it was freshly roasted.
Whole Bean Coffee Stays Fresh for Longer
Coffee grounds are the most convenient as far as brewing at home is concerned. However, ground coffee also runs the risk of losing its freshness and flavor. Now this is not such a big problem with whole beans.
Whole bean coffee, on the other hand, is great at retaining the original flavor and aroma, unlike ground coffee. But then with whole beans, you have to worry about grinding them to achieve the perfect size and consistency. If you struggle with that, it’s better to choose coffee grounds and then store them properly to maximize freshness.
What Happens to Coffee After It’s Ground?
So how and why does whole bean coffee remain fresh for a longer time than ground coffee? It’s all because the former is not subjected to the degassing process. Once the beans are roasted, they begin to emit carbon dioxide. This is when oxygen is absorbed into the coffee, which marks the start of oxidation – the breaking down of the flavor.
After roasting, coffee beans are ground. The grounds acquire a larger surface area, which simply means more of the coffee is exposed to air. Therefore, the degassing process increases where oxygen replaces carbon dioxide more quickly. Thus, ground coffee is well on its way to becoming stale sooner.
How to Store Coffee Grounds the Right Way
For preserving the freshness of a large batch of ground coffee, the best thing you can do is know how to store it properly. You want to do whatever it takes to keep air/oxygen, along with moisture, heat, and light, away from the flavorful grounds.
- Store your coffee in an airtight, opaque container. Even better if this container has a one-way degassing valve, which ensures freshness for even longer by allowing carbon dioxide to escape (through degassing) while preventing oxygen from entering.
- Storage temperature also counts. A higher temperature means a faster deterioration rate. So keep the coffee away from heat as well. In short, store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Storing Coffee in the Fridge or Freezer
I have one word for you – humidity. Think about moisture, condensation, frost, and the like. You might think it’s a brilliant idea to store your ground coffee in your fridge or freezer just because you want to maximize freshness. But this has proved to be counterproductive since moisture is just the thing that affects the freshness of coffee grounds.
Store the coffee in a kitchen cabinet instead.
What Happens If You Consume Spoiled Coffee?
What if your coffee is past its prime? Don’t panic because, more often than not, it’s not dangerous. You’re not going to have to deal with any food poisoning. You just won’t be drinking the most flavorful, freshest cup of brew – that’s the extent of the bad situation.
On the contrary, if “past its prime” means a foul odor, discoloration, or mold, then you have enough proof that the coffee has actually gone bad, hence must be discarded.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Shelf Life
How Long Does Roasted Coffee Last In A Vacuum-Sealed Bag?
In a vacuum-sealed bag, roasted coffee will keep fresh for anywhere between 3 and 6 months. It will eventually oxidate and lose its original flavor, but that won’t happen for 3–6 months.
Want to make it last for longer? Extend the shelf life by freezing the coffee.
How Long Does Unopened Ground Coffee Last?
Unopened coffee grounds stay fresh for around 5 months or so. Open the bag and this is when exposure to air activates the oxidation process. At such times, it’s best to store your ground coffee in an airtight container to extend its lifespan.
Are 2-Year-Old Coffee Grounds Still Good?
If there’s no mold, discoloration, or foul smell, even 2-year-old ground coffee is good to go in your tummy. But it will have lost its true essence which is the bold, rich, aromatic flavor.
Is It Better to Store Coffee Grounds in the Fridge?
It’s not the smartest thing you’ll do if you decide to store your ground coffee in the refrigerator, despite the airtight container. Moisture and humidity are not supposed to come in contact with the grounds. So it’s best to keep those elements away from your dry coffee.
How Do You Know If Coffee Grounds Have Gone Bad?
Fresh ground coffee gives off a very alluring caramel-like scent, that’s how you know your coffee is still in the prime of its life. A foul odor or a dull and ashy smell is clearly coffee gone bad.
1–2 weeks is the span of time for ground coffee to remain fresh if stored properly. That means no moisture, light, heat, or oxygen messing with your coffee grounds.
If you’re really concerned about shelf life, then why not purchase coffee beans instead since they preserve their freshness for longer in comparison to their ground counterpart!