Can coffee go bad?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can coffee go bad?”  and other queries related to this topic.

Can coffee go bad? 

Yes, coffee goes bad with time. However, the coffee takes a long time and several months to deteriorate and lose its taste and smell. Hence, when the coffee is brewed it can preserve its taste for around thirty minutes or until it is cold but it will be safe to drink.

Moreover, when you add milk to your coffee it is best to drink it as soon as possible because milk can go bad when left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours, so you might get sick if you drank a coffee in the afternoon that has been made in the morning.

Generally, coffee does not go bad like regular food which means coffee is less likely to develop mold and yeast because it is dry. Also, a best-before date is usually stamped on the coffee packaging but it will be safe if the coffee is used even after its best-by date so you will not get sick. 

With time the oils in the coffee will get rancid and this is the major cause of coffee taste alteration. Additionally, the exposure of coffee beans or grounded coffee to the air and the oxygen accelerate the rancidity process and thus the quality deterioration.

Furthermore, the volatile compounds present in the coffee will start to evaporate along the conservation process.

How long does coffee last in all its forms?

Each type of coffee has a specific shelf life. First, coffee beans have the longest shelf life. Generally, coffee beans can last between six to nine months in your pantry if well stored. Their shelf life will be longer if stored in the freezer, however, this method is not very advised.

Once the coffee beans have been grinded, the shelf life of the coffee will be reduced. So, the homemade grounded coffee beans should be consumed within three to four weeks. Hence store-bought grounded coffee should be used within two weeks of package opening.

Another type of coffee is instant coffee. This type should be consumed within two weeks of jar or bag opening. Hence, all types of coffee, instant, grinded, or beans can last for a long time unopened as long as they are well stored in your kitchen cabinet or pantry.

When you prepare your brewed coffee, consider consuming it within twelve hours if kept at room temperature. However, to increase the storage duration of the brewed coffee, put it in the refrigerator where it can last for three to four days. 

How to store coffee?

The storage conditions of instant, grounded and coffee beans are the same. All types of coffee should be stored in a cool and dry place away from any source of humidity or heat. So, the best place for coffee storage is in your pantry in your kitchen.

However, make sure to put your coffee in an air-tight container, and close the lid thoroughly after usage. Some types of coffee come in a resealable bag. So storing coffee in these bags is convenient and there is no risk of losing the product’s quality.

Therefore, when buying coffee try to not purchase large quantities because they are cheap, since their quality, taste, flavor, and aroma will deteriorate throughout the storage period. Additionally, you can freeze your coffee beans and grinded coffee.

However, due to the low temperature and the humidity in the freezer the coffee will lose its flavor and characteristics, as well as capture odors from other products already stored in the freezer. So freezing is very recommended to preserve your coffee for a longer time.

What factors degrade the quality of coffee beans?

Several environmental factors affect the quality of your coffee beans, as well as your grounded or instant coffee. The main reason is the exposure of your coffee to air. Air will make the coffee more humid and moist. However, coffee is usually dehydrated.

So, moisture will lead to bacteria development. Moreover, the oxygen in the air leads to product oxidation which will cause an alteration in the food flavor and smell. Also, storing the coffee in a transparent jar will expose them to light. 

Light, generally, will accelerate chemical reactions that might occur within the coffee leading to its deterioration. Additionally, heat, temperature fluctuations, and high-temperature degrees will make the coffee tasteless. 

The one last cause of coffee deterioration is using dirty and unclean spoons to scoop from the coffee jar. Dirty utensils will facilitate bacterial penetration into the jar. Moreover, moist spoons will make the coffee beans clumpy.

How does coffee go bad?

Several signs indicate the bad quality of your coffee. The first sign is the smell of the coffee. Once you open the coffee jar you might notice a bad odor. Additionally, the texture of the coffee will be altered due to moisture exposure. So, if the coffee is clumpy, throw it away.

Moreover, if you notice any foreign body like mold, bugs, or insects within your coffee jar consider throwing your coffee away. Finally, if the product has passed its expiry date and you are not sure about its quality you can throw it away.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “can coffee go bad?” and other queries related to this topic.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.