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How Long do Coffee Beans Last? + Top Freshness Tips

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How long do coffee beans last
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We can all agree that there’s a myriad of myths and misconceptions concerning coffee beans and their freshness. Mainly because most people don’t take into account one thing – whether the beans are roasted or not. So how long do coffee beans last?

Roasted coffee beans might last from 2 to 6 months if you put them in a freezer.

Unroasted coffee beans last much longer – around 2 years and even beyond that if you store them in a freezer.

However, it’s worth mentioning that although the beans might last that long – that doesn’t mean they’re fresh!

Still – these are only estimations that are meant to give you a rough idea of how long they can last.

That’s because there are many variables involved like the particular type of coffee and roasting method used.

Regardless, It’s no secret that the beans in their raw, green and natural unroasted state can remain fresh for way longer.

That’s because roasting them makes the beans more fragile and their flavor starts diminishing way quicker.

How Long Do Roasted Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?

Coffee beans remain as fresh as they get for around 2 weeks after the roasting date.

If you want the best aroma, flavor and taste then you better use your beans within this 2-week time frame!

Thus, once the roasted beans go past 2 weeks, those super delicate and nuanced flavors will start to diminish.

However, you can use the roasted coffee beans for up to a full month once they’ve been roasted as they can still be quite tasty.

Although I’d personally not go beyond 1 month as the beans will most likely be stale after this period.

And don’t get me wrong, you can still brew coffee with beans that were roasted months ago. They won’t be bad or harmful.

Keep in mind that freshly roasted coffee beans need 2-3 days of “rest” so that the beans release their natural gasses for the best taste!

In fact, you can definitely brew coffee with roasted beans that are months old if they’ve been stored adequately (e.g. in an airtight opaque container).

The only issue would be the not so optimal flavor since roasted beans typically start losing plenty of their awesome flavor after 1 month.

Planetary Design Airscape Coffee and Food Storage Canister

How to Keep Coffee Beans Fresh?

The best way to keep your coffee beans fresh is by storing them in an opaque airtight container that has a gas-release valve.

Using an airtight container that comes with such a valve will help to push the air out.

This is essential if you want to preserve the freshness of the beans.

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Alternatively, you can just store the coffee beans in the original bag in which they arrived.

Although you have to ensure that it’s opaque and has a seal.

In a nutshell, here’s what to focus on if you’d like to keep your coffee beans fresh longer:

  • Store them in an opaque airtight container
  • Keep them in a dry and cool place
  • Don’t keep them exposed to light

Still, the moment you open a bag or canister, the beans get exposed to air and thus oxidation that eventually makes them go stale over time.

You can’t avoid this since oxygen is everywhere.

But you can still focus on limiting the impact of 4 main things that can make your beans lose flavor faster:

  • Air
  • Moisture
  • Light
  • Heat

Nonetheless, no matter what you do all the precious aroma and flavor will slowly evaporate as time goes by.

So use your coffee beans as soon as possible.

How long do coffee beans last, spilled beans

Top 5 Tips For Always Having Fresh Coffee Beans At Your Home!

By utilizing these top 5 tips, you’ll make sure that you always have fresh beans at your disposal to brew delicious coffee with.

1. Buy smaller batches on a more frequent basis

Getting small bags of coffee beans greatly decreases the chances of them going stale before you use them, simple as that.

So if you want optimum freshness, don’t be tempted into buying massive amounts of beans.

Unless you’re 100% certain that you’ll use all of them in time.

2. Grind the beans yourself

Coffee beans start losing flavor and aroma right away when ground.

That’s why your best bet would be to grind the coffee beans yourself before each brewing session for the best taste and flavor.

3. Always buy coffee beans that have a roasting date

Going for a local roaster would be your best bet most of the time as they (should) stamp the roasting date on each bag.

Because what good is a bag of freshly roasted beans if you have no idea when they were roasted?

They could’ve been roasted 10 days ago for all you know!

4. Only grind as many beans as you’ll need for brewing

Most people make the mistake of grinding all their beans at once.

But that’s a huge no-no if you’re after maximum freshness.

Although it might not be as convenient, opt to only grind as many beans as needed to make coffee.

Otherwise, they’ll become stale faster.

5. Avoid storing them in a fridge

Firstly, the temperature inside your fridge isn’t cold enough.

On top of that, unpleasant odors from other items inside might creep into your beans.

That’s because coffee beans can absorb external odors quite easily.

And the last thing you want your beans to smell like is garlic.

How long do coffee beans last, freshly-brewed beans

Do Whole Coffee Beans Go Bad?

Yes, whole coffee beans can definitely go bad in terms of taste and flavor.

However, they will not make you sick even if there’s a rancid aroma.

That’s all normal since coffee can go bad in general, regardless of whether it’s roasted, unroasted, ground, brewed etc.

If mold starts to appear on the coffee beans then just throw them away, period!

In all honesty, you shouldn’t consume anything that has mold or mildew on it anyway.

Still, the main thing that is affected when consuming old (i.e. not fresh) coffee beans will be the quality of your drink.

How long do coffee beans last, coffee beans in a hand

How To Tell If Your Coffee Beans Are Bad?

Use your nose – if there’s a moldy smell then you can bet that your cup of Joe will taste like mold.

In fact, if the coffee beans have an earthy, sour, bitter or musty smell your best bet would be to ditch them.

All of these nasty aromas will transfer to your cup so unless you mask it with plenty of milk and sweeteners, your java will taste horrid.

Coffee beans will go bad much quicker if they’re stored poorly i.e. in moist and warm places and not in an airtight container!

Also, if there’s any kind of condensation inside the container then the beans are most likely long gone in terms of taste, flavor and aroma.

On a side note, it’s also an issue if you can’t smell anything at all because it means that the beans went stale.

And here are two other things to consider when trying to figure out if your coffee beans have gone bad:

  • Residue – If the beans leave an oily residue on your hands then they’re good. So having oily coffee beans means they’re still fresh – otherwise they’ve gone off.
  • Appearance – If the coffee beans look dull, without any gloss then they’re most likely stale (although lighter roasts are less oily by default).

How Can You Tell If Coffee Beans Are Rancid?

Again – use your nose and smell them.

If they have a rancid aroma then be certain that this unpleasant odor will be present in the coffee you brew with these beans.

How long do coffee beans last, refrigerator
Yeah, your coffee beans can absorb all kinds of smells and odors from the stuff that’s in your fridge!

Should You Keep Coffee Beans In The Fridge?

No, we don’t recommend storing your beans in the fridge.

Why?

Because coffee tends to absorb moisture and odors fairly well due to the fact that it’s hygroscopic (i.e. absorbs moisture from the air).

Basically, the conditions in your fridge result in moisture forming in the bag or container (unless it’s really air-tight).

Even worse though – nasty smells and odors from your fridge may creep into your coffee beans. Bleh!

FAQ

1. How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Sealed?

Sealed unroasted (green) coffee beans can last about 6 to 9 months if stored on the pantry shelf and roughly 2 to 3 years in the freezer.

Roasted beans, on the other hand, won’t last as long – up to 2 months if stored properly (pantry) and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Regardless, these are only estimations for how long they last depend on factors.

Such as the type of coffee beans and the roasting method used.

2. How Long Does Vacuum-Packed Coffee Last?

Generally around 1-2 years, although each bag will have a specific ‘Best By…’ date that should give you a specific time period.

But if you’re uncertain if the coffee is good for brewing, just open the bag and smell it.

If there’s no aroma whatsoever then the coffee is stale.

And if it there’s a rancid or musty odor – ditch it.

3. How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Bag Once Opened?

They can last many months if you store them properly once opened i.e. in an airtight, opaque container and in the freezer.

It’s the roasting process that really makes them lose flavor much faster.

Should you keep coffee beans in the fridge?

Conclusion

Apparently, roasted beans can last up to 6 months, while green (unroasted) coffee beans might last over 2 years.

Still, roasted beans are at their best for around 2 weeks past the roasting date.

And you have to consider other factors related to how long the coffee beans will last such as the:

  • Roasting method
  • Type of beans
  • Storing container and place

We’d now like to know your opinion on the subject!

How do you store coffee beans, both roasted and unroasted?

And what is your favorite method for keeping them fresh?

Come on – drop a comment below with your answer!

Last update on 2021-10-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Simon Slavchev

Simon Slavchev

Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind - I'm Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I'm off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!

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2 thoughts on “How Long do Coffee Beans Last? + Top Freshness Tips”

  1. I am considering storing my coffee beans in an Airscape plunger-style airtight container. I am stuck deciding whether to buy a 22 oz bag of beans and split them up between two 1-lb canisters, which I would consume in about two and a half weeks, or to buy a larger bag of beans and store them in the same containers, and would consume them in a little under 4 weeks. I know the former is a better choice from a freshness perspective, but would cost twice as much per ounce. Can I get away with buying the larger bag which would take nearly 4 weeks to consume if I’m buying whole-bean and grinding fresh and storing in an Airscape?

    1. Hello Travis and welcome to CL!

      As already discussed via email, it’s perfectly okay to buy a larger bag, even if it’d take you 4 weeks to finish it.

      Airtight containers like the Airscape model are pretty good at retaining the aroma and flavor of your coffee.

      But if you’d like to learn more, head over to our “How Long do Coffee Beans Last” article.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

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