Coffee is considered “dry goods“, and as long as you keep it dry and cool it will not go "bad". Whether ground coffee or whole beans, if it is kept in an airtight container in a dry and cool place, coffee will remain safe to use for a very long time.
Unfortunately, lengthy storage does compromise the flavor of coffee. For this reason, stocking up on large amounts of coffee to hold onto for months or years is not a good idea.
In this article, we will discuss ideal storage conditions and shelf life for coffee beans, ground coffee and instant coffee. We will also touch on the subject of how long brewed coffee can be kept. Can coffee go bad? Let's find out!
Best Way To Store Coffee
If you prefer to purchase fresh roasted coffee beans and do your grinding at home, authorities with the National Coffee Association have some suggestions for keeping your beans fresh.
- Buy in small amounts; beans start to age as soon as they're roasted. Buy no more than you need for a week or two.
- Store beans in airtight containers and keep them out of the light.
- You can freeze coffee beans, but condensation can be a problem. If you're going to freeze beans, avoid letting them thaw before re-freezing, and keep them in a truly airtight container.
- Ground coffee and coffee beans can be refrigerated, but they are sensitive to humidity and will absorb odors around them. Store coffee in an opaque container and keep it sealed.
One thing you should realize is that the shelf life of coffee is not a vast and complex mystery. There are many highbrow coffee gurus who would like to tell you that keeping coffee fresh is a big challenge and if you don't do it exactly right, your coffee won’t be worth beans! This is really not true.
If you brew coffee every day (or even just several days a week) you can buy a vacuum sealed can or package of ground coffee or coffee beans, keep it in your pantry and brew perfectly good coffee every day for 3 to 6 months.
How long do coffee beans last? Coffee beans are perfectly good for as long as nine months when stored in a sealed container in a cool and dry place.
You will not notice any discernible difference in the flavor of the coffee from day one until the last day. Using a high quality coffee such as Kona coffee may also help retain flavors.
The main thing you should understand about coffee beans or ground coffee is that you should only measure out the amount you need at any given time. Be sure to keep the remainder in a sealed container in either a cool dry place or in your freezer.
If you do this, your coffee will never "go bad".
Keeping Coffee In The Freezer Is Overrated
If you rarely drink coffee, you can keep your ground coffee or your coffee beans in a sealed container in your freezer. Ground coffee will stay nice and fresh for one or two years when kept like this.
How to store coffee beans? Coffee beans will last for two or three years when kept in a sealed container in the freezer; however, flavor may diminish.
If a great deal of time passes, you may notice that there is no longer any delectable coffee scent when you open the container. When this happens, you will probably also notice that your coffee is lacking in flavor. At this point, you should toss that coffee into the compost heap and get some fresh coffee.
Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?
Theoretically, freeze-dried instant coffee shelf life is between 2 to 20 years when kept in your pantry and forever when kept in your freezer. The veracity of this claim hinges upon whether or not you believe instant coffee is usable to begin with.
Coffee connoisseurs will tell you that instant coffee is a travesty and should be avoided at all costs. Be that as it may, if your main concern is whether or not it is safe to drink instant coffee, the answer is that great periods of time can pass and instant coffee will remain as safe as it ever was.
Although the experts do testify that instant freeze-dried coffee will remain usable for many, many years if properly stored in the pantry or freezer, anecdotal evidence often indicates otherwise.
Can instant coffee go bad? Yes. For example, opened instant coffee has been known to solidify to the shape and consistency of a hockey puck in the bottom of the jar after a significant passage of time. It can also grow mold under the right conditions.
SEE ALSO: Mold In Coffee Maker
Humid Conditions Will Spoil Any Coffee
As long as you store ground coffee or coffee beans correctly, they will stay fresh and tasty for a lengthy period of time and safely usable indefinitely. If you keep your coffee in a warm, damp place it will truly go bad! Coffee that is stuck together, has visible mold or smells bad is bad!
For best results, purchase a reasonable amount of coffee to suit your use habits. Store in airtight container in ideal conditions.
Remember that freezing does extend the life of your coffee, but it also takes a bit of a toll on the flavor. This is why it is preferable to keep coffee at cool room temperature whenever possible.
Does Brewed Coffee Go Bad?
One of the best ways to keep your coffee beans or your ground coffee from going stale is to use it up fairly quickly. If you don't drink a lot of coffee, this may be a challenge.
You may be happy to know that you can brew a larger quantity at a time and keep a pitcher of brewed coffee in your refrigerator just as you would a pitcher of iced tea.
You can also drink it iced. Fill ice trays with coffee to have coffee flavored ice cubes for cold coffee. Additionally, brewed black coffee can be used in flavorful mocha desert shakes or instead of water when baking desserts.
How long is brewed coffee good for? You can brew a full pot of strong coffee and enjoy it heated by the cup for several days.
What If You Forget To Refrigerate Brewed Coffee?
How long can coffee sit out? Generally speaking, black coffee can sit out at room temperature all day without spoiling. Just be sure to turn off the heat as soon as the coffee is brewed. Heat makes coffee taste harsh and strong.
You can keep your coffee warm in a thermos to enjoy a cup at a time throughout the day. Alternately, you can heated a cup at a time in your microwave. This amount of heat does cause a bit of a harsh case, but it is nothing compared with leaving your coffee sitting on the burner for hours.
If you purchase coffee by the cup, you needn't feel any qualms about finishing a cup of black coffee several hours after you purchase it. If you buy it with milk added, you should put it in the refrigerator if you want to save some for later.
Safe Food Storage And Preparation Habits Keep Your Coffee Safe
Storing and preparing coffee is no different than storing and preparing other foodstuffs. Use common sense to protect your coffee beans and ground coffee from extreme temperatures, humidity and light.
Use clean equipment and fresh water when brewing.
Refrigerate brewed coffee to preserve freshness and flavor. If you follow these common sense guidelines, you should never have a “bad coffee” problem!