Do coffee beans go bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “do coffee beans go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not coffee beans go bad. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of roasted and unroasted coffee beans and the proper way to store coffee beans.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Do coffee beans go bad?

So when it comes to coffee beans they do not go bad in a conventional way but what happens is that they start to lose their potency over time, which means that their flavor and aroma will weaken. 

Coffee beans contain various degradable compounds and volatile compounds that are responsible for the characteristic aroma and flavor of the coffee. These delicate compounds can degrade over time therefore no doubt that properly stored coffee beans last for a long time, but their flavor and aroma start to fade with time.

Therefore the consumption of a coffee made from old coffee beans won’t harm you and won’t make you sick but at the same time, you won’t be able to get that surge of power and that flavor that you otherwise get from the coffee brewed from fresh coffee beans. 

So as long as you are okay with drinking a cup of coffee that has lost its characteristic aroma and flavor, you can go ahead but truly speaking who wants that, no one, right?

So there are a couple of indicators that distinguish the fresh coffee beans from the old coffee beans and you can go ahead with considering the appearance, aroma, and flavor of the coffee beans to reach the final verdict of whether or not you are going to use them.

The freshly roasted coffee beans have a shiny and glossy appearance, so if the coffee beans you have are dull and matte then it is an indication that they are old and are past their prime age.

The old coffee beans will lack the characteristic aroma associated with the coffee. Thus even if you brew such coffee beans the brewed coffee that you will get would lack the soothing aroma.

To check the flavor profile of the coffee beans you can go ahead with brewing a cup or half of coffee using your coffee beans. So if your brewed coffee lacks flavor or is too much bitter then it is certain that your coffee beans have lost their touch and have lost their potency.

Moreover, you should always remember that the “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the pack of coffee beans refers to the quality rather than safety so coffee beans don’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

The date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of coffee beans but you can still use coffee beans that are past this date as long as they were stored properly.

What is the shelf life of coffee beans? 

When it comes to the shelf life of coffee beans then it depends on several factors like whether or not your coffee beans were roasted, to which extent they were roasted (light roast or dark roast), and the storage conditions in which they are kept into.

Roasted coffee beans

Roasted coffee beans last for about 2-6 months when they are stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. It is worth mentioning that you should never store your coffee beans in a humid environment because if the moisture from the environment somehow finds its way to your coffee beans then it can mess up their quality. 

Moreover, you should store your coffee beans away from the sources of heat and you should also store your coffee beans away from direct sunlight.

Unroasted coffee beans

Unroasted or green coffee beans have a comparatively longer shelf life as compared to the roasted beans and they last for about 2 years when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of coffee beans and coffee beans can even last longer than this, provided that they are stored properly.

You can read more about green coffee beans, their benefits, and their uses here.

How to properly store coffee beans?

  1. You should store your coffee beans in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. Thus, you can easily store your coffee beans in your pantry and they can stay there for quite a long time.
  2. Moreover, you should never store the coffee beans in a humid environment as the high moisture content of the environment can mess up the texture and quality of the coffee beans.
  3. Once you have opened the package in which coffee beans came, you should transfer the rest of the coffee beans in an air-tight container or a plastic zipper bag to minimize their air and moisture exposure.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “do coffee beans go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not coffee beans go bad. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of roasted and unroasted coffee beans and the proper way to store coffee beans.

Citations

https://www.adamsandrussell.co.uk/journal/how-long-does-coffee-last-storage-tips

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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