Ask Gail: How Long Do Coffee Beans Last
When you purchase fresh coffee beans, youll probably notice a roast date labeled on the bag and you might wonder: How long do coffee beans last? Do coffee beans expire? At Seattle Coffee Gear, we receive these questions a lot and it’s a tough one to answer. We adhere to roaster guidelines for freshness and that right there is the keyword: freshness. Not expiration in the way most people understand it like a sour glass of milk. We could quickly agree that those foul smelling notes mean the milk has expired, but open coffee roasted six months ago and there probably wont be that telltale reek. However, your nose may detect something is different. Coffee is volatile and the coffee industry only agrees on one fact: coffee changes.
To answer the question, How long do coffee beans last? Lets be frank: Until it stops tasting good. Lets break down what good coffee is.
How To Tell If Coffee Is Bad
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
Planetary Design Airscape Coffee Storage Canister
Planetary Design Airscape Coffee Storage Canister too follows a simple and elegant look. The brushed steel exterior is complemented by a choice of colors to pick from. The airtight canister locks out air to keep the coffee beans fresh.
A valve ensures any carbon dioxide collected inside the canister can be released without allowing air to enter. Planetary Design Airscape Coffee Storage Canister is available in two sizes, medium and small. The medium size canister holds one pound of beans, while the small-size holds a half-pound.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh For
When deciding whether to buy instant coffee or raw coffee beans, many people choose instant varieties. This is because they have a longer shelf life, and won’t go out of date as quickly as roasted coffee. If you use coffee beans, you will have to keep them in a cool and dry storage area, to ensure they stay fresh.
On average, coffee beans will keep fresh for around a week or two, if not placed in an airtight container which conserves their freshness and flavor. This is why it’s a good idea to buy coffee beans that have a recent roast date, from a week or two ago. Remember to put your beans in a seal proof bag immediately after buying them. Without this, over time they will become stale.
When kept in a closed container, your coffee beans will stay fresh for a couple of months. It’s important to check the expiration date and any storage guidelines on your coffee beans’ packaging since this might give you more of an idea of the length of time they’ll last for.
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Storing Beans In A Freezer
Many people swear by this method for long-term storage. Im not a fan of this method for regular storage, but if youre in a tight spot, this might help. It might even be an excellent storage option. It is claimed that keeping coffee beans in a freezer will keep their flavor intact for 3-6 months.
When placing beans in a freezer, make sure that they are in an airtight container. They should also be protected against moisture because frosted coffee beans arent much good.
When you want coffee, get the beans out of the freezer and put them to use. Let the coffee beans reach room temperature before you grind them. Ill recommend against putting beans back into the freezer. Use the freezer only for long-term storage, not as daily-use storage for beans.
Every time you open the container, moisture is added to the box. Soon enough, youll find beans that have lines of frost on them. As this melts, the beans will become wet and soggy. You could try and remove moisture every time, but it isnt worth the effort.
The Point Of Best Before And Use By Dates
In most jurisdictions, edible items are required to have an expiry date, even if they dont actually expire. This is a way to protect consumers, though it may not always be an exact science. For example, products like honey carry such usage dates, even though technically honey doesnt go bad. Or, in the case of the image here, 250 million year old salt with an expiry date.
There are factors at play that may affect the exact dates. These may include processing, usage, storage, presence of impurities, or dishonest businesses lying about the dates. Point is, these dates are important and should be considered. However, for some products, the dates can be treated more like suggestions.
Remember, these dates are for the consumers protection. Unless you know exactly what youre doing, its better to stick to the dates printed on a package.
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Dont Store It In Glass Jars
While it may look pretty in mason jars or glass canisters, you should never store coffee in jars that let in light. That is unless you like stale coffee.
Know what you should do with those glass jars though? Make some coffee extract! Learn how in this article: How to Make Coffee Extract for Flavoring.
How To Tell If Coffee Beans Went Bad
The truth is, unground coffee beans dont go bad in the way that, say, fresh fruit goes bad. Coffee beans wont get moldy, taste sour, or generally spoil.
However, beans do change as they age -they taste the best right after roasting.
After beans go through the roasting process, they get exposed to oxygen, light, and moisture, and the taste of their brew starts to change.
The best way to test if your beans are aging is to simply brew a cup.
The older the coffee bean gets, the less rounded the flavor. If your cup of brewed coffee tastes a little flat, bitter, or generally not as good as it did when you first opened them, the beans are probably old.
Thats not to say, however, that the coffee is bad to drink, just that it might taste a little less glorious.
Eventually, like most things in your kitchen, coffee beans will go moldy. That usually only happens after a year or often longer.
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Does Roast Date Matter
Most coffee bags at the store or from a local cafe or roaster will have the roast date on them. The roast date is usually stamped or printed on the front or back of the bag. These dates are important because if you buy coffee that was roasted the day before, chances are its not ready to drink yet. This is because coffee beans need 3 days to a week to release carbon dioxide after roasting.
However, if you buy coffee beans that were roasted 2 weeks ago, chances are they wont stay fresh for long. The best coffee beans to get will be roasted 3 to 7 days ago its okay to buy super freshly roasted beans, just make sure to let them degas before brewing.
How Long Will Whole Coffee Beans Last In The Freezer
I was gifted several bags of great coffee beans, which I won’t be able to use all at once. If I store them in the freezer, how long will they last without losing flavor?
I know some have noted that they can last months in the freezer, but I seem to notice a difference in taste after just a few weeks.
- MandoMandoAug 20, 2013 at 15:47
- Related: As an additional comment this question has been proposed here: Area 51 Coffee Proposal. You may find some other interesting questions there.
They will technically last a long time in the freezer – up to many months – but this is not the best way to store them as they lose flavor quickly . Even though the beans will last, storing them in the freezer is not ideal. It affects flavor for a number of reasons.
If you haven’t opened the bag, store the bag in the cupboard, away from sunlight, heat, and excess humidity.
The best way to store coffee beans after being opened is in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature . After being opened, the beans are considered fresh for 2-3 weeks, although if you are strict about the storage you may be able to get up to 5 out of them.
Why the freezer is bad:
Freezing beans severely lowers the humidity in the bag or container. This causes the beans to become stale very quickly. In effect, you are slowly freeze drying them. Also using cold beans in a grinder can mess with grind due to the oil on the beans being in a more solid state, which in turn affects the brewing.
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How To Store Coffee Beans And Keep Them Fresh For Longer
Imagine youve bought quality coffee beans and left them out on the counter, only to find that after 2 weeks theyve gone stale. To avoid wasting both beans and money, youll want to make sure you store your coffee properly.
Weve answered the most important questions when it comes to storing coffee: like how long your coffee beans will keep, whether you should consider freezing them, and what you should do with them once they go stale.
How To Store Coffee And Make It Last Longer
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Brewed Hot Coffee And Espresso
Many people believe that brewed coffee is freshest for about 2030 minutes in an open cup or an hour in a sealed container.
However, you can still drink coffee a few hours after its brewed. Brewed coffee that doesnt have milk or creamer added to it, such as a pot of black coffee sitting on a burner, is likely OK to drink for up to 4 hours. Coffee with milk should be consumed within a couple of hours.
There is little research on the shelf life of brewed coffee. Most recommendations for discarding brewed coffee come from testimonials or personal experience.
If you keep brewed coffee in a sealed container in the fridge, it may last longer. Its likely safe to consume for up to 34 days when stored this way. However, it probably wont taste that good.
If you add milk or creamer to your brewed coffee, drink it within 2 hours if left at room temperature. You can keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for a day or two. But be sure to smell it and check for any signs of spoiling before consuming, since milk can go bad.
Brewed espresso, like brewed coffee, should also be consumed shortly after brewing for the best taste. It can also be kept at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge in a sealed container for a few days, but the taste will decline.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Are Those Old Beans Still Good
Those of us who buy whole coffee beans have to deal with the question of how long to coffee beans last? The entire point of getting coffee beans is to enjoy the taste benefits that come from fresh ground coffee. Beans are edible products and instinctively, we believe there is a date when roasted coffee beans go bad.
As is the case with many things, that belief is only partially true. That doesnt mean we have to essentially discard the best before or use by dates on coffee. It means there are nuances to consider.
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Roasted Whole Coffee Beans In A Bag
When you buy coffee beans, they tend to come in a bag. Theres a few types of coffee bags that youll find out in the wild depending on where you buy your coffee from.
Small, artisanal coffee roasters sometimes use bags that are sealed with a twist clip or hot iron on the premises. These provide a little bit of protection from the elements as any sealed container would, but arent the best.
Theyre designed for drinkers who are going to take the beans home and get grinding right away, and likely then store them in some other appropriate vessel.
Coffee beans packaged like this will last between two to three weeks at most, and youll see some noticeable degradation of flavor and quality in the latter half of that time period.
Some big suppliers vacuum seal their bags to keep their coffee fresh. You can tell when a bag has been vacuum sealed because you can see and feel the beans under your fingers when you pick it up.
Vacuum sealing coffee bags makes the beans last for three to five months when unopened.
The other type of coffee bag you will encounter most often is likely to come from a bigger roastery. These bags are sealed and flushed with nitrogen, which prevents oxidation from occurring.
Theyre the ones youll find that are plump to the touch when you pick them up. Coffee beans stored in a nitrogen-flushed bag can last for up to 12 months if unopened.
How To Keep Ground Coffee Fresh
If you are concerned that it will go off, and you want to learn how to make coffee last longer, then luckily, you can do a few things.
The first thing to understand is that whole coffee beans last longer than ground coffee. If you do everything yourself, you should only grind enough coffee for a week at a time, rather than doing everything you have at once. You should avoid grinding the whole bean as much as possible . This way the product will last longer and retain more flavor.
Store it Properly
Ground coffee tastes fresher out of a new packet, so you should only open it when you are ready for your first drink. Rather than leaving a half empty packet on the shelf, the more of an airtight seal you are able to achieve every time you store it away, the fresher it will taste when you use it again.
To do this you can pour it into an airtight container, or a sealed bag. Exposure to air, sunlight, and water causes coffee to deteriorate, so the more you protect it from these, the longer it will last and fresher it will taste.
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Has Your Coffee Expired
Coffee is a food product. And just because it typically has a long shelf life, doesnt mean it will keep forever.
Over time, the beans will become exposed to their surroundings. Oxidation and moisture in the air can break down the chemical compounds in your coffee. This can result in your coffee turning rancid and quite difficult to drink.
But there are two ways for you to tell that your coffee has expired, without having to put it in your mouth.
One sign that your coffee has expired is when it is no longer fragrant. When your coffees aroma is barely noticeable, its a sign that you wont be getting much out of your beans anymore.
Another thing you might notice with expired beans is the presence of mildew or mold. If you see anything that resembles these on your coffee beans, that means theyve already lived out their useful life.
But even before any of these signs occur, you might be noticing that your coffee hasnt been hitting the spot like it used to. And no matter what you adjust in your brew, it just wont give you a decent cup anymore. This could also be a sign that your beans wont last long anymore, and you should consider just doing away with them.
How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Coffee Last
Whole bean roasted coffee that has been vacuum sealed can last for about 6 months.
Unlike roasted coffee, which starts to lose its taste after only a few weeks after the roasting process, green unroasted coffee beans that have been vacuum sealed last a lot longer.
If you store green and unroasted vacuum sealed coffee in a cool and dry place, it can last for years.
Dont be surprised if your vacuum sealed bag of roasted beans has air in it within a day.
The CO2 created in the roasting process is responsible for this.
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Green Coffee Beans Shelf Life & Storage
Properly stored, unroasted green coffee beans will generally stay at best quality for about 2 to 3 years at normal room temperature.
To maximize the shelf life of unroasted green coffee beans, keep the beans in a dark, cool and dry area such as a pantry or cabinet.
Once opened, consume within 1 month for best quality. Store roasted green coffee beans in an airtight container at room temperature.