Instant coffee is getting better all the time, thankfully to both the use of better beans and improved manufacturing techniques. Even Starbucks has a range of instant coffee that is pretty delicious. No matter how tasty and how delicious, instant coffee is, the question “Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?” arises.
Let’s face it, instant coffee is quick, convenient and does have an incredibly long shelf life. In many cases, you can measure the expiry date in years!
If you have an unlabelled container of instant coffee, you might just be wondering about its shelf life and if it could go bad.
For those in a rush, here is the short and quick answer.
Yes, your instant coffee can go bad. Your instant coffee can lose its fresh taste and become less flavorsome. The shelf life is considerably longer when compared to regular ground coffee, and it still can go bad and even develop mold.
Keep reading as we dig down and detail the topic of instant coffee and its shelf life.
What Is Instant Coffee?
- 1 What Is Instant Coffee?
- 2 Can Instant Coffee Go Bad?
- 3 How Long Does Instant Coffee Last After Expiration Date?
- 4 How To Store Instant Coffee for the Longest Shelf Life
- 5 Can I Drink Expired Instant Coffee?
- 6 Does Starbucks Instant Coffee Expire?
- 7 Can Instant Coffee Go Mouldy?
- 8 Pro Tip: Single Serve Sachets
- 9 Alternative Uses For Expired Instant Coffee & Used Coffee Grounds
- 10 Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?
Instant coffee is coffee granules that are 100% soluble, which makes it a very quick, easy, and effortless coffee to make.
No brewing is involved as it is as simple as adding hot water, and sugar and milk, depending on your own personal preference.Usually, only a teaspoon or two of coffee is required.
It is made from fresh coffee grounds which are brewed and then boiled down to a concentrate and then freeze dried. The resulting coffee granules then become the instant coffee that you see in stores.
They are typically much cheaper due to using less expensive robusta beans and the beans from the previous years crop that are cheaper and unsold.
To be clear, this is not always the case as there are some very good high end more expensive coffee brands that specialize in or have an additional range of instant coffee.
Can Instant Coffee Go Bad?
your jar of instant coffee can indeed go bad. Like any other food product that is instant, like instant noodles, the older it is, the less tasty and less enjoyable the flavor is. If stored in poor conditions it can even start to grow mold.
Check for mold on top and along the sides of the container and give it a good sniff to be on the safe side before you use it.
How Long Does Instant Coffee Last After Expiration Date?
There are many, literally hundreds of different brands of instant coffee, ranging from the famous and popular Nescafé to locally available brands to recognisable global brands like Kenco and even Starbucks.
Naturally, they all have slightly different manufacturing process, beans used, suppliers and coffee farms and co-operatives that they use. Thus, they have varying expiry dates which range from 6 months to around 2 years on average.
I have seen brands that have 3 year expiry dates. By all means, it has been said that instant coffee could last as long as 20 years.
How To Store Instant Coffee for the Longest Shelf Life
To get the best out of your instant coffee, follow the same set of rules for storing coffee beans. Buy an air tight coffee canister that has a one way valve.
Then fill your canister with your coffee grounds and store in your freezer. Your grounds (or beans for that matter) will not freeze.
An airtight container is essential as you do not want any air to get into your beans or instant coffee granules to oxidise them. Even though you have plenty of containers that you can use around your home, including regular plastic containers, these will not get the job done as well as a professional coffee canister as they will lack an air tight lid and one way valve.
The one way valve is more for your coffee beans than your instant coffee. It allows the carbon dioxide to escape without letting any air in.
A canister that blocks sunlight and, preferably all light, is better as light can and will damage your coffee.
Check regularly for signs of mold growth and mold spores. Obviously you don’t want any mold to be in your coffee.
Can I Drink Expired Instant Coffee?
Obviously, drinking expired coffee is not advised, not only because of the unpleasant taste but the possible adverse health effects.
It is usually safe to drink instant coffee beyond the expiry date – I have done so many times myself. Ensure you store them well and not in any contact with moisture or has any white fluffy mold growing on them or near them.
If you are an occasional instant coffee drinker there is an obvious solution – see the pro tip below.
Does Starbucks Instant Coffee Expire?
all food items will eventually expire. Even though there is no moisture content and technically can last as long as 20 years, the coffee taste will start to deteriorate. Store your Starbucks instant coffee in the manner we have indicated in this article and use a coffee canister immediately after you break the seal.
Can Instant Coffee Go Mouldy?
Yes, instant coffee can grow mold. You will notice a white fluffy cotton like substance on the top of your instant coffee grounds, powder or granules. This is caused by the moisture content in your storage container – which is why, at Latte Love Brew, we insist on the use of a professional coffee canister.
Pro Tip: Single Serve Sachets
The elusive obvious for casual instant coffee drinker is to buy sachets of instant coffee. They are sealed, and this moisture is unlikely to get in. Single serve coffee packets are also airtight and are perfect for storing long term in your pantry with no loss of quality.
You can find all kinds of variations, from 3 in 1 with milk, sugar also in the sachet.
They are also very convenient for travelling. Just stick them in your bag or suitcase and you are good to go.
Alternative Uses For Expired Instant Coffee & Used Coffee Grounds
The obvious plus point for instant coffee is they are long lasting and very easy to whip up a very quick cup of coffee.
If you do have expired instant coffee there is no need to waste it and throw it out. You have many alternate uses. You can brew some coffee with your expired instant coffee using regular tap water and use it to water your house plants. The mineral content will aid both your plant and the soil quality.
You can also mix them in and add them to the soil so that when you water your plants they are getting a steady flow of nutrients.
And an unintended benefit is the insect repellant effect. You can also add it to your compost pile.
Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?
If you are wondering if instant coffee goes bad then the correct answer is yes, it does but only of you are storing it poorly. You can use your instant coffee beyond the expiry date but do sniff test it first and then take a sip. If it fails either test do not drink.
…And do not throw out your old coffee grounds as you can use them to revitilize your soil.