Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

Last updated on March 3rd, 2024 at 11:43

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding coffee is “Do coffee grounds go bad?“.

The simple and quick answer is yes!

Both coffee grounds and whole coffee beans will eventually go bad no matter how well you store them. The real questions are how long will they stay fresh, and what can you do to maximize their freshness and help to keep the fresh for longer.

We have all that covered in this article, keep reading to find out the simple and effortless steps that you can take to make your coffee stay fresh for longer!

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad?


all consumables will eventually go bad no matter how well you store them. Even though it does seem like coffee and other dry foods will never go bad, this is simply not true. Both whole bean coffee and ground coffee will eventually go bad, even if you have stored it perfectly.

Here are the elements that cause coffee to go bad:

  • Heat.
  • UV light or other strong harsh lights.
  • Moisture.
  • Air (Oxygen).
  • Time.

You can effect all of the above, even time (to a degree) to help your coffee grounds or beans to stay fresh for longer.

Do Coffee Beans Go Bad
Do Coffee Beans And Coffee Grounds Can Go Bad

Read: How long do coffee beans stay fresh?

What You Can Do To Prolong The Life Of Your Coffee Grounds

Your coffee grounds under normal conditions when unopened will stay fresh for 3-5 months and coffee beans will stay fresh for 6-9 months.

To help extend their freshness and get you enjoying fresh coffee for longer, even if you have opened the package there are a few simple and effortless acts that you can take to overcome or reduce the effects of the elements that cause them to deteriorate.

To overcome the effects of strong harsh lights and UV lights simply keeping your coffee bag in your pantry might seem like a good idea (and it is) taking the extra step to use an opaque container that is airtight is much better.

With a dark container that blocks all light from getting in and is airtight you have achieved three key objectives at once, preventing harsh light from entering and preventing moisture and air from damaging your freshly roasted coffee beans or grounds.

I hope you are starting to see just how important and handy that simple one action is.

Freshly roasted coffee emits carbon dioxide and continues to do so a few days after they have been roasted, typically for 3 to 5 days after.

To help the carbon dioxide to be released and get out of the container that they are being stored in and to prevent air from getting a container that has a one-way valve will be advantageous.

This is exactly what makes a well-designed professional coffee canister the perfect storage device for coffee grounds or beans.

No all we need to do is deal with the heat and time, and we have the perfect storage technique.

The most obvious solution is to use your coffee canister and store it in your freezer.

Yes, just in case you are wondering, you can store your coffee in the freezer. They won’t freeze, but they will get very cold. By storing your coffee in your freezer you take care of the heat problem perfectly and have an effect on time.

The chemical reaction, oxidation, the causes all food items including coffee to go off is slowed down to a dead stop. By slowing the reaction time to a literal snail’s pace you can extend the shelf life of your coffee to a year or two.

Just don’t try to be smart or cut corners and put your vacuum sealed coffee bag in your freezer. The packaging is not ideal for storage under normal conditions and certainly is not up to scratch for storage in your freezer. They won’t prevent freezer burn which will damage your coffee

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad In Heat?


despite your coffee beans and coffee grounds being roasted and then brewed at high temperatures, heat unfortunately is one of the adversaries of fresh coffee.

Leave your coffee exposed to high temperatures, even leaving them out at room temperature during a hot summers day is enough to turn your fresh coffee beans stale coffee beans before your know it!

Storing them in a cool, dry environment is a must.

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad In Heat
Heat Is Bad For Coffee Storage

What Temperature Should Ground Coffee Be Stored At?

Storing your ground coffee at room temperature is perfectly okay and acceptable for average run-of-the-mill everyday coffee.

For your premium quality specialty grade coffee that you have spent your hard-earned money on you have no reason to store them at an ambient room temperature when you can store them in better conditions and keep them fresher for longer.

You can help to extend their freshness by storing them in your fridge or freezer and ensure that you enjoy fresh coffee from the first cup to the very last cup.

Just be sure to use a coffee canister to protect them from the strong scents of other foods. Coffee is highly absorbent and will take on the scents and flavors of other food items.

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad If Left Out?


coffee grounds and whole coffee beans will go bad if you leave them out “naked” and unprotected from the elements.

First the air will get to them and start oxidation which will lead to their deterioration and will cause them to go bad.

The moisture that is in the air will not do your coffee any good either and lead to further deterioration as will the heat, if your beans are exposed to the temperature of a hot summers day.


if your coffee is left out and exposed to any strong scents or next to herbs, spices or foods that have a strong aroma they will absorb and take them on.

This is how flavored beans are made. You simply place a food item in your coffee canister that you want to flavor your coffee bean with!

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad If Left Out
Your  Coffee Grounds Will Go Bad If Left Out

How To Tell If Coffee Grounds Are Bad

There are a few simple tests that your can run to quickly tell if your coffee grounds are bad.

If they fail any one of the following tests, do not proceed. At Latte Love Brew we take a safety first approach. 

Test 1: The Visual Check

Examine your coffee grounds thoroughly with the eye of an eagle. If there is any mold, mold spores or any sign or indication of mold you can’t use your coffee for consumption purposes. It will probably make you sick.

Test 2: The Sniff Test

Give your coffee a good sniff, not just one part of it. Test it all over, giving various sniff tests to check for rancid scents, or any indication that your coffee is off.

The test is best performed by women due to a more sensitive sense of smell. If you and man, ask your wife, girlfriend or sister or any female friend to run the test.

Test 3: The Touch Test

Take a small pinch of your coffee grounds and rub them between your fingers. If they feel gritty, like sand and stick together your coffee will probably have lost a good degree of its flavor.

What you are looking for is the presence of oil, if your grounds are oily you might just get a decent cup of coffee out of them.

Test 4: The Taste Test

Brew a cup of coffee as you normally would, using any brewing method that suits you. Assume that your coffee is fresh and perfectly okay to drink and brew a cup and run a sniff test over your freshly brewed cup of coffee.

If, at this point, your coffee smells off do not proceed to the taste test. There is no point in making yourself sick.

This series of tests is designed to prevent you from getting sick!

If your coffee smells fine proceed to the taste test by just sipping it. If it tastes fine, continue to enjoy your cup of coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions About Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

Is It Bad To Use Expired Coffee Grounds?

It all depends on the taste of the brewed coffee. If your cup of coffee tastes flat and doesn’t have the aroma to match the flavor it is not worth using since you are not getting much enjoyment from them.

Good premium quality beans that have past their peak flavor and peak freshness don’t give a coffee drinker much satisfaction, it’s a big let-down. If the coffee is ordinary everyday coffee and the lack of vibrant flavor doesn’t bother you much then you can continue to drink it.

Be sure to check your old coffee grounds for mold and mold spores visually. Run a second check by smelling your coffee grounds for moldy scents. If there are any signs, even a hint of mold, discard your coffee grounds.

How Long Can You Keep Coffee Grounds?

Unopened coffee grounds are good for around 3-5 months, unopened whole coffee beans are good for 6-9 months. Once they have been opened the oxidation process accelerates due to the exposure to oxygen, heat, light and moisture.

By using proper storage techniques you can increase the shelf life of your coffee grounds and help it stay fresh for longer.

By using an opaque and airtight container like a coffee canister you can help your ground coffee last a little longer. Keeping your airtight container in the fridge, or better still in your freezer can extend the shelf life by one to two years.

What Does Expired Coffee Grounds Taste Like?

Expired coffee grounds taste dull and a little sour.

If they have been left long enough bitter notes and more sour tastes will develop. If you catch it early all you will taste is dull and stale coffee without the rancid tastes.

Will A Mason Jar Keep Coffee Fresh?

An opaque and airtight container like a mason jar will help to store your fresh coffee, but it won’t help to keep your coffee fresh.

To help with the freshness of your coffee a mason jar is missing that key element of a one-way valve which allows the carbon dioxide given off of by fresh coffee beans to escape and at the same time prevents air from entering.

Is It Better To Keep Coffee In The Bag Or In A Jar?

According to the National Coffee Association the retail packaging that your coffee beans come in is not ideal for storing your coffee beans.

As a coffee lover I simply cannot recommend the use of the packaging, a mason jar or an ordinary airtight container.

A professional coffee canister that is opaque, airtight and has a one-way valve is the perfect storage device.

How Do You Store Opened Coffee Grounds?

The best way to store your opened coffee grounds or coffee beans is to use a professional coffee canister and store it in your freezer.

Then use a second coffee canister and store only a weeks worth of coffee grounds (or whole bean coffee) and store this one in your fridge. Refill this second can every week.

This method of coffee storage eliminates the need for you to keep opening and reclosing the coffee canister that is in your freezer and disturbing them on a daily basis and helps to keep your coffee fresh for up to 2 years.

Final Thoughts – Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

The question, do coffee grounds go bad has been answered in detail in this article as has the simple and effortless actions that you can take to help extend the period that your premium quality specialty grade coffee beans stay fresh. 

These are simple steps. Take them! 

Join our fun, active and very informative coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your awesome recipes, delightful coffee creations and those hilarious coffee memes, jokes and quotes. 

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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