Can out-of-date coffee make you sick?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can out-of-date coffee make you sick?”, and how long can coffee last in the fridge?

Can out-of-date coffee make you sick?

No, out-of-date coffee won’t make you sick. Coffee does not go bad as in developing mold unless stored incorrectly. What generally happens is that coffee loses flavor as time passes and becomes stale. 

This happens because the flavorful compounds evaporate due to oxidation when the coffee is exposed to air/oxygen. Whether it’s canned or bagged ground coffee or whole roasted beans, they will degrade quickly once past their printed date.

How long can coffee last in the fridge?

An unopened package of ground coffee will last 2-3 years in the fridge. If opened, it will last 1-2 years only. An opened or unopened package of ground coffee will stay fresh for only 5 months in the fridge If stored correctly. 

Brewed coffee can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Instant coffee, opened or unopened, will last up to 20 years past its best before the date in the fridge.

The shelf-life of coffee

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different types of coffee under different storage conditions.

(Unopened/Sealed)In the pantryIn the freezer
Past printed date Pat printed date 
Ground coffee3-5 months 1-2 years 
Whole coffee beans 6-9 months 2-3 years 
Instant coffee 2-20 years Indefinitely 
(opened)In the pantry In the freezer 
Once opened One opened 
Ground coffee3-5 months 3-5 months 
Whole coffee beans 6 months 2 years 
Instant coffee 2-20 years Indefinitely 

How to tell If the coffee has gone bad?

Like any other food product, coffee can go bad. Coffee can develop mold If It has been in contact with moisture. Similarly, It can go rancid and become contaminated by bugs and rodents. Following signs can indicate If the coffee is bad or not.

  • If the coffee develops visual signs of old growth, it should be discarded immediately.
  • If the coffee stops giving off its pleasant aroma and starts to smell rancid, it is because the oils responsible for aroma have started to degrade.
  • Coffee oxidizes and goes rancid. The toxic compounds produced during the process might make you sick

Other FAQs about Coffee which you may be interested in.

How long does the effect of coffee last?

How to store ground coffee?

Ground coffee, due to an increased surface area, is quick to spoil if not stored properly. Ground coffee should always be stored in a dark and dry place. Use an opaque air-tight container or a vacuum-sealed package to keep the air and the moisture at bay. 

Opaque containers will reflect most of the light. It is better to use coffee vaults instead of going for regular containers. If you bought the coffee in bulk, separate some of the coffee into a separate and smaller container.

Separate the amount that you know will be consumed in the next 2 weeks. By doing so, you are ensuring that the coffee in bulk is not exposed to air and other contaminants on a daily basis.

Freezing coffee will extend its shelf-life to years. But the flavor won’t be the same. The brew extracted from frozen coffee will lack interesting and complex flavors.

How much decaf coffee is too much?

To reap the benefits of decaf coffee, limit your consumption to 1-2 cups of decaf per day. Excessive use of decaf can lead to various health problems discussed in the article below.

What is decaf coffee and how is it made?

Decaf or decaffeinated coffee has 97% of its caffeine removed. This can be done by washing the coffee beans with different solvents to extract caffeine. The solvent is then discarded. The Swiss Water Process uses carbon dioxide and charcoal filters to remove caffeine. 

How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?

Approximately 0–7 mg of caffeine is present in every 6 ounces (180 mL) cup of decaf. However, this caffeine content for decaf varies with the brand and can go up to 15mg. 

Approximately  30–50 mg caffeine is present in every  8 oz cup of green or black tea. While regular coffee has 70–140 mg of caffeine, which varies with the coffee type, preparation method, and cup size.


In this article, we answered the question “Can out-of-date coffee make you sick?”, and how long can coffee last in the fridge?