How long are coffee beans good for?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long are coffee beans good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of coffee beans. Moreover, we are going to discuss the storage techniques for coffee beans and indications of bad coffee beans.

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

How long are coffee beans good for?

Coffee beans are shelf-stable and they are good for about 2-6 months when properly stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry in an air-tight container or plastic freezer bag.

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.

Unroasted coffee beans have a longer shelf life as compared to roasted ones. No doubt that it is roasting that brings out the deliciousness and flavor of the coffee beans but that also makes them more vulnerable to losing their flavor over time. 

Unroasted beans (green coffee) can last for about 2 years while roasted coffee beans last for about 2-6 months in proper storage conditions.

Moreover, you should always remember that the older your coffee beans are, the more are they subjected to oxidation and the less is their shelf life. 

One thing you should always remember is that there are many delicate oils in the coffee bean which are responsible for the classic coffee flavor and aroma. When the coffee beans are roasted these oils, aroma, and flavors start getting released. Once these roasted coffee beans are crushed, their surface area increases which means that the rate at which these oils and aroma are releasing from the coffee will also increase. 

Moreover, the oxidation process is also quick in ground coffee as compared to the coffee beans owing to the larger surface area. Hence ground coffee can go stale more quickly as compared to whole coffee beans.

Opened Ground coffee lasts for about a month when stored in an air-tight container or jar in a cool, fry, and dark corner of the pantry but it begins to lose its peak freshness and flavor after 2 weeks. While the unopened sealed ground coffee can last for about 3-5 months in your pantry.

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

You must have noticed a “best by” or “best before” date written on the package of your roasted coffee beans or ground coffee. 

The “best by” or “best before” date 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. It is just the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of coffee beans or ground coffee but you can still use coffee beans that are past this date as long as they were stored properly.

Can I store coffee beans in the fridge?

We do not encourage you to store your coffee beans in the fridge as the moisture content of the fridge is quite high and if the humidity finds its way to your coffee beans it can make the coffee beans lose their flavor and aroma. Moreover, it can also decrease the shelf life of coffee beans.

Can I store coffee beans in the freezer?

As a matter of fact, you can store your vacuum-sealed coffee beans in the freezer and they last for about 6 months or even more. But we do not recommend you freeze your coffee beans in the freezer as there are chances that they can lose their aroma and flavor if the moisture from the freezer finds its way to your coffee beans. 

How to store coffee beans properly?

The best way to store your coffee beans is to put them in an air-tight container or jar and keep it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated spot inside your pantry. You should also remember to keep the coffee beans away from direct sunlight to save their delicate oils and flavors.

How to tell if your coffee beans have gone bad?

Appearance, smell, and taste play an important role as indicators to tell whether or not your coffee beans have gone bad.

Appearance

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.

Smell

The coffee beans that have gone bad will lack the characteristic aroma of the coffee.

Taste

A lack of flavor or too much bitter flavor points out that your coffee beans have gone bad.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long are coffee beans good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of coffee beans. Moreover, we discussed the storage techniques for coffee beans and indications of bad coffee beans.

Citations

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

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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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