Do coffee grounds go bad? (+5 ways to reuse)

In this article, we will answer the question “Do coffee grounds go bad?”, and how to safely store ground coffee?

Do coffee grounds go bad?

Yes, coffee grounds go bad. Like any other food, the carbs and lipids in coffee grounds or beans will go stale and become rancid, respectively. The flavorful volatile compounds of the coffee evaporate over time leaving the coffee tasting very bland. 

Exposure to oxygen and moisture speeds up the process. Coffee enthusiasts can immediately tell the difference between a coffee made from fresh grounds and one made from stale coffee grounds. Read on if you want to know how to extend the shelf-life of the coffee beans and grounds.

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 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 long does ground coffee last?

The shelf-life of the ground coffee depends on a number of factors.

  1. The quality of the beans
  2. The storage method
  3. The best-by date when the coffee was bought

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

In the pantryIn the freezer
Ground coffee(vacuum sealed)3-6 months past the best-by date
Ground coffee(opened)2 weeks1 month

Brewed coffee should be consumed within 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the exposure of the brew to oxygen will hasten its degradation process. The resultant brew will taste acidic and stale. 

It is recommended to not consume a brew if it has been sitting for 24 hours due to safety reasons. Instant coffee lasts the longest. It comes in small aluminum-lined packets. Due to the metal lining, instant coffee is protected against moisture and oxidation. Instant coffee will stay fresh for 12-18 months.

How to tell if the ground coffee is bad?

If there is an obvious sign of bold growth on the coffee surface, immediately throw it in the bin. This usually happens if the coffee grounds have been in contact with water.

If the coffee has been stored for way too long, you want to pitch it due to quality reasons. Stale coffee will have a  pale brown color instead of a deep brown color. Old coffee will not give off the pleasant coffee aroma. If you are still unsure, brew yourself a cup of coffee. Take a sip and if it doesn’t suit your taste, dump it.

Other FAQs about Coffee which you may be interested in.

How many Coffee Beans are in a cup of Coffee?

Can you reuse coffee grounds?

Use them as a fertilizer

Add the used coffee grounds to the soil. Coffee grounds impart essential minerals to the soil including nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium.

You can use coffee grounds to feed the worms you have kept in the soil for vermicomposting.

Turn them into compost

If you do not need the fertilizer yet, you can turn the coffee grounds into compost. You can compost food scraps and other kitchen waste along with coffee grounds. 

Use them as an insect and pest repellent

Compounds like Caffeine and Diterpenes, present in coffee, repel insects and pests. Used grounds can be used to scare off insects like mosquitos, fruit flies, and beetles. 

Get rid of pet fleas

You can use coffee grounds to get rid of fleas from your pet. Scrub your pet with coffee grounds after shampooing and rinse off. This also adds smoothness and shine to the pet’s coat. If the flea problem is persistent and severe, contact a vet for proper treatment.

Get rid of unpleasant odors

Due to the presence of nitrogen, coffee grounds act as an excellent deodorizer. Keep bowls filled with used coffee grounds anywhere you have a door issue like shoes, socks, gym bag, pantyhose, bedroom drawers, fridge or under your car seat, etc. 


In this article, we will answer the question “Do coffee grounds go bad?”, and how to safely store ground coffee?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.