What happens if you drink expired coffee?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “What happens if you drink expired coffee?”. We will also elaborate on how coffee expires and what can cause coffee to go bad. 

What happens if you drink expired coffee? 

If you drink expired coffee, you will be fine. There is no harm in drinking expired coffee. You can drink expired coffee made with old coffee beans or grounds without getting unwell. This is unless it has molds because of improper storage or bad add-ons, for example, milk. Expired coffee is unpalatable as it has lost most of its fragrance and flavors. 

On the other hand, moldy coffee can induce respiratory problems in individuals with respiratory allergies.

Likewise, expired black coffee or an espresso on its own will not cause you any harm.

Does coffee expire?

Yes, no matter if you use whole beans, grounds, or brewed coffee, it expires and spoils at some time. However, unless the expired coffee is polluted with fungi or bacteria due to improper storage, expired coffee is not likely to make you ill.

The shelf life of coffee relies on different factors that include the physical condition of the coffee beans, roasted, ground, or brewed coffee and the way you are keeping the coffee. One additional factor, particularly for brewed coffee, is if it has any additives.

Whether coffee is sealed or unsealed it can spoil someday. Every time you unseal the pot in which the coffee is being stored, some air diffuses into the pot causing it to oxidize. Typically, sealed coffee has a briefer shelf life than unsealed coffee.

How does coffee expire?

For a better understanding of how coffee expires let us take an example of roasted beans:

While coffee beans are roasted, the heat makes the beans remove moisture and causes the production of gas e.g., CO2 along with flavourful aromas and oils. The structure of the beans modifies making the beans more light in weight with larger pores. CO2 gas and volatile substances are entrapped in the beans.

Roasted beans are more unstable as compared to green beans; they have increased sensitivity towards time, light, temperature, oxygen, and moisture. The beans are permeable and tend to absorb moisture from the air. 

Roasted coffee beans are continually discharging the entrapped CO2 and volatile substances in a process called degassing.

Roasted beans start to give off gas instantly after being roasted: off-gassing heightens in the initial 24 hours of roasting with about 40 percent of the entrapped gasses being escaped. 

Instant degassing persists for almost 5-10 days of roasting after which it becomes stable and the beans are at a premium state to prepare coffee.

How long is coffee good after the expiry date?

Even if the expiry dates are noted on coffee, it does not necessarily go bad on the said date. Many times coffee will be safe even after its expiry date because of better storage conditions.

How long the coffee will remain good is determined by 3 different factors including the form of coffee, storage place, and if you have unpacked it or not.

For instance:

  • Ground coffee will last for 5 months past the expiry date.
  • Whole coffee beans will last for 6 months past the expiry date.
  • Instant coffee will last for 20 years past the expiry date.

What can cause coffee to go bad?

Coffee can spoil on exposure to light, moisture and heat. If it is kept in the open for a prolonged time, it will definitely go bad.


Coffee should be stored away from light for it to stay safe for a more prolonged period. Hence, coffee in a glass pot will be more exposed to light. Consequently, if the coffee beans or grounds are stored in a glass pot, they must be kept in a shady place in the pantry.



If the coffee comes in contact with heat before it is brewed, it can go bad. Thus, coffee should not be stored in a hot area in the kitchen or where there are direct sun rays. Too much heat causes the coffee flavor to vanish.



Oxygen and coffee can not combine together well. Coffee truly becomes tasteless when it comes in contact with oxygen. Thus, it should never be kept in the open air.



Coffee can go bad, even in moist conditions. Therefore, always work to store the coffee in a cold and dry place.

Be sure that any sort of bad insect is not present in the kitchen. Also, if you keep coffee with unclean foods, microorganisms can cause coffee to spoil.

Other FAQs about Coffee that you may be interested in.

What happens when instant coffee expires?

What has more caffeine coffee or cappuccino?

What has more caffeine, coffee or latte?



In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “What happens if you drink expired coffee?”. We have also elaborated on how coffee expires and what can cause coffee to go bad. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.