The smell and aroma of brewed coffee can trigger a firework of emotions in any avid coffee lover. Yet, coffee deteriorates with time. As a result, your cup of freshness can turn into a cup of staleness within just a couple of days if you are not careful about the way you store your coffee grounds. So ultimately, do you know how long do coffee grounds last?
An opened bag of coffee grounds is good for about 2 weeks, while an unopened one can last anywhere from 3-5 months, depending on how they’re stored.
And if you decide to store your ground coffee in a freezer, then they can retain their freshness for approximately 2 years.
But if you buy store-bought ground coffee that doesn’t come with any specific expiration date printed on the bag, you can either:
- Store it properly in an airtight container that’s placed in a dark and cool cabinet
- Neglect storing it the right way and witness the dramatic reduction of its shelf life, for example by exposing the coffee grounds to moisture, heat and oxygen
Note that we’ve based the coffee shelf life information presented here on Eat By Date’s relevant data (1).
So if you want to preserve freshness, taste and quality of your coffee grounds and learn a fact or two about coffee shelf life, check out the next paragraphs!
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How to Properly Store Coffee?
Consider using any of our top 6 tested and proven methods that you’ll find below if you want to maintain the freshness of your java for as long as possible!
1. Store it in an Opaque Airtight Container
You should make sure that no air and light penetrate the container you are using to store your coffee in.
And that’s where a quality opaque airtight container comes into play!
Of course, you don’t have to open a new coffee bag just to transfer it to a container, but once you open it – put it in the container right away.
And not only should the container be airtight, but it needs to be opaque as well.
It’s crucial to seal the container and store it in a dark cabinet, without direct exposure to sunlight.
- Also read: Can coffee go bad?
Leaving it to sit on a countertop can make your coffee turn stale within 5 to 10 days if it’s not stored in an opaque container or somewhere dark.
2. Keep Humidity Levels Low
Keep the moisture away if you want to make your coffee last longer.
Once the moisture creeps into your coffee container, you can rest assured mold will begin forming.
This will result in spoiling your precious ground coffee and it’ll no longer be drinkable.
3. Store your Coffee in a Cool Place
Store your coffee (especially if it is roasted) away from direct sources of heat.
Otherwise, it will start losing flavor.
Thus, make sure to keep it far from any heat, except for when you are ready to brew it that is.
4. Don’t Buy too Much Coffee
Although not a storage tip, one of the best pieces of advice you can get is to buy coffee you can use within 2 to 3 weeks max.
Or in other words, try to buy small batches of ground coffee that you know you’ll be able to use within 3 weeks.
Coffee freshness typically lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, although it’s best to consume it before that.
5. Buy Freshly Roasted Beans
If your favorite beans come with the “roasted on” date on the package, don’t buy bags older than one week.
You see, the real culprit is called oxidation and this naturally-occurring process takes place immediately after the coffee beans are roasted.
The oxidation of freshly-roasted coffee s inevitable as it begins the moment it’s been exposed to oxygen as it slowly starts losing its delicate flavors and aromas.
So your best bet is to always strive to get coffee beans that have been roasted as recently as possible.
6. Grind your Coffee Beans at Home
Grind your beans at home instead of having someone else grind them for you.
This way, you can grind only the amount you need per one, two, or three cups – depending on your needs.
And instead of grinding the whole batch in the coffee shop (that will go stale in the blink of an eye), get yourself a high-quality grinder and grind them on a per-use basis.
P.S. Never store your coffee grounds in a grinder!
How Long Does Ground Coffee Stay Good?
An unopened package of pre-ground coffee can last between 3 and 5 months, assuming that you’re storing the bag in an opaque airtight container placed in a cool and dry place.
But if you store it in the freezer, a bag of pre-ground coffee can last for about 2 years and it won’t lose any of its freshness.
Once you open a bag of ground coffee, it can retain most flavor and freshness for a maximum of 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, it will gradually start losing its aroma and it’ll eventually become stale after 4 weeks.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
An unopened package of coffee beans can last for years, literally (unlike ground coffee).
- Also read: How long do coffee beans last?
Beans release carbon dioxide during the roasting process, while absorbing oxygen simultaneously.
Now, if you are a coffee fan, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a small hole in your favorite coffee bag.
This is a one-way valve that prevents the air from slipping inside as it also releases carbon dioxide at the same time.
But that doesn’t mean the beans can stay good forever!
It takes a while until coffee beans go stale, although we wouldn’t recommend using them after than 7 to 10 days once you’ve opened the bag.
How Long Can You Store Instant Coffee?
Prepare to be blown away – you can store instant coffee for up to 20 years or even indefinitely if stored correctly!
Still, you will see an average expiration date on most instant coffee packages of around 12 to 18 months.
The secret that helps it stay good for so long if unopened is the layer of aluminum on top of each bag of instant coffee that prevents the air, heat and moisture from creeping in.
What’s even more striking is that even an opened bag of instant coffee can virtually stay fresh forever!
And once you open your package, store instant coffee the same way you would store ground coffee and coffee beans – in an airtight opaque container in a cabinet or a freezer/fridge.
Will Freezing Coffee Beans Make Them Last Longer?
Yes, freezing your coffee beans can help – but only as a last resort solution and if they’re in an airtight container!
Note that freezing coffee beans means that they’re introduced by moisture and each time you take them out and then freeze then again you’re ruining their freshness big time.
The National Coffee Association of the US warns that coffee beans can suffer from a phenomenon called freezer burn if they’re stored in a regular (not 100% airtight) container (2)!
Although freezing pre-opened coffee bags can extend their shelf life, freezing coffee beans won’t make them last much longer.
Either way, we wouldn’t recommend storing your coffee in a freezer for more than several days, except if you have no other frozen treats inside.
That’s because frozen foods can affect the coffee’s taste as coffee is prone to absorbing aromas and smells quite easily.
How to Tell if Ground Coffee is Bad?
If you can clearly spot mold in the container, that means you should discard the ground coffee.
When the water gets inside the container, it encourages the growth of mold and bacteria and this makes your coffee unsafe to drink.
- Also read: How long is brewed coffee good for?
Another obvious sign to point that your ground coffee went bad is how it smells and if there’s a lack of color.
For instance – if you typically enjoy darker coffee but you notice that the grounds have turned light-brown, then that is a tell-tale sign they went bad.
Hooray, now you know the answer to the age-old question – how long do coffee grounds last!
Ground coffee can last:
- Up to 2 years in a freezer
- 3 to 5 months if unopened (but stored in a cool and dry place)
- 2 weeks if opened (but stored in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place)
Whole bean coffee has a longer shelf life (up to 3 years) while it can last around 6 months after you open the package.
And instant coffee can last almost indefinitely, although you should store it in the freezer (or at least in a proper container) to prevent it from absorbing aromas.
Now – how do you typically store your coffee?
And how long does it typically lasts after you open the package?
Also, do you prefer grinding beans at home?
Leave your comments in the comment section below!
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!
Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API