How long before coffee goes bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long before coffee goes bad” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of coffee in different mediums. Moreover, we are going to discuss the implications of reheating coffee and the effect of the oxidation reactions taking place in coffee.

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

How long before coffee goes bad?

The shelf life of coffee depends upon several factors like whether you added creamer or sweeteners in the brewed coffee or not and the storage conditions in which it is kept.

Brewed coffee

If the coffee does not have any additional milk or cream topping then it can last approximately one week in your fridge in an air-tight container without going bad but for optimum flavor we recommend you devour it within 3 days as with time the flavor and aroma of the coffee begin to fade.

As brewed coffee only has coffee and water in it, therefore, it has a long shelf life. Water in the coffee will not spoil for weeks when it is placed in the refrigerator. An important thing to consider is to always use an airtight container or bottle to store the coffee so that it will not pick up the smell of other foods placed in your fridge as no one will ever want to consume melon scented brewed coffee, right?

On the other hand, once you add milk or creamer to the coffee the clock starts ticking and there is a small time in which you can enjoy the best quality of coffee. The coffee that has milk in it has about the same shelf life as that of the milk. Therefore a coffee with milk will last for about 3 days.

Ground coffee

Open Ground coffee lasts for about a month when stored appropriately in 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.

Coffee beans

Coffee beans can last for up to 6 months if they are properly stored. This time can vary depending upon the roasting technique, processing, and storage conditions of the coffee beans.  

The chemistry of coffee oxidation

When the coffee beans come in contact with the air they are oxidized and the same is the case for the cold brew coffee that is left in the open for some time. This oxidation reaction significantly affects the aroma and the flavor of the coffee with no significant change in the color of the coffee. 

Brewing coffee itself is the oxidation reaction. At the point when the coffee beans come into contact with water, they will start delivering their aromatics, oils, and acids into the water giving you an enriched and flavourful coffee but if the process of oxidation continues even after that it will result in a sharp and bitter flavor and that is not something we want.

Other FAQs about Coffee which you may be interested in.

Can you make coffee with milk

Can you make coffee without a filter?

Why does coffee turn bitter?

At the point when you leave your cold brew coffee to sit for a long time, the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen will raise its pH level, making it taste bitter or stale. therefore you should never let your cold brew sit for too long in the open.

Tips to properly store coffee

You can keep your coffee fresh in the fridge by considering the following quick tips

  1. You should not add anything to the coffee if you want to save it for some time in the fridge. The addition of milk or creamers significantly lessens the life of coffee. Therefore you should add them after reheating the coffee.
  1. Coffee loses its characteristic taste and aroma when it comes in contact with the air owing to the oxidation reaction. Therefore to seal the freshness of coffee for quite a long I recommend you to store it in air-tight containers.
  1. If you want to make your coffee last longer in the fridge then it is advised to store it in the fridge as soon as you brew it to preserve its flavor and aroma.

Ways to spot old coffee

Different indicators point out old coffee. Appearance, smell, and taste play an important role as indicators to tell whether or not your coffee has gone bad.


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


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


In the case of brewed coffee, a lack of flavor or too much bitter flavor points out that your coffee has gone bad.

You can read the health benefits of coffee here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long before coffee goes bad” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of coffee in different mediums. Moreover, we discussed the implications of reheating coffee and the effect of the oxidation reactions taking place in coffee.


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.