One of the many questions going through your mind when buying coffee is how long do coffee beans last sealed?
In this article I detail this topic and talk about the shelf life of prepackaged coffee beans, their storage and unroasted green coffee beans and how to prolong their shelf life.
Keep reading to find out how long seal coffee beans last.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Sealed?
Your bag of unopened whole unground coffee beans will last for twelve months to two years when you store them in optimal conditions.
This will sound counter-productive, but you will need to open your pack of coffee grounds, even if they are vacuum sealed you will be losing the benefit of the vacuum seal and gaining much more in terms of protection from freezer burn.
Unfortunately the thin foil packaging provides no protection against the degradation caused by freezer burn.
Storing you coffee beans and coffee grounds in an opaque coffee canister will help to protect against UV light and direct sunlight which can and will degrade your coffee. A coffee canister with an airtight lid will protect your coffee from moisture and the air eliminate the possibility of mold growth.
Storing your coffee canister in the freezer will protect your coffee from heat and will slow down the oxidation process, almost to a complete halt.
Under these conditions your coffee beans will be able to stay fresh will literally no difference in flavor for up to 2 years.
Read: How long does vacuum packed coffee last?
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Without Losing Flavor?
As long as your coffee beans or coffee grounds were not exposed to high temperature, direct sunlight or excessive humidity it should be safe to brew your coffee long after the sell-by date or expiration date printed on the package.
No matter what, your coffee beans and coffee grounds will still contain caffeine, if its a caffeine kick that you are seeking.
The aroma and flavors will significantly degrade over a period of time due to the reaction with oxygen, known as oxidation.
It is the oxidation process that makes your coffee go stale and lose its flavor and eventually become unpleasant, losing their freshness.
How long will coffee last without losing their flavor?
Generally speaking the ball park figure for freshly roasted coffee beans is between 2 and 3 weeks after the roasting process. This is a “ball park figure” as it depends on a number of variables including the type of beans, the storage conditions and the environment in which they are stored.
You can extend the shelf life of your roasted coffee beans to a month when you store them in an opaque container that is airtight and has a one-way valve.
Dark roasted coffee beans will go stale faster due to being more porous and allowing more oxygen inside them. Light roasted specialty coffee beans due to being less porous and allowing less oxygen inside them helps to slow the degradation will still brew good-tasting coffee for 5 or 6 weeks after the roasted on date.
Just be diligent and store your beans properly and in optimal conditions.
Storing Your Coffee Beans To Extend Their Shelf Life
If they are kept in a sealed vacuum packed bag their shelf life can extend to 3-5 months. If your beans are kept in an unopened nitrogen flushed bag with a one-way valve your whole coffee beans will stay fresh for up to 12 months after the roasted on date.
If you freeze your freshly roasted coffee beans you can extend their shelf life to up to 2 years.
If your coffee beans get exposed to oxygen it will take only as little as 15 minutes for your coffee to lose a good degree of its flavor.
After opening your bag of coffee, and if storing them in their original packaging, it is best for you to consume and use your coffee within a week or two. After this initial period your beans will start to go stale and rancid flavors may start to make their way into your cup of coffee.
You can help to preserve and maintain the freshness of ground coffee or whole coffee beans by storing them in an airtight container, or better still a well designed high quality coffee canister.
Other ways of storing your freshly roasted coffee beans coffee beans and coffee grounds to help extend their shelf life is to use a zipper pouch that has a one way valve. Many coffee fans and enthusiasts use these, but in my opinion these are not ideal.
Without being a coffee snob, zipper pouches are not strong enough to protect against freezer burn, unless you find some strong heavy duty ones. They will help to protect the aromatic compounds, coffee oils, flavor component from the oxidation which will cause flavor deterioration but they simply will not do the task at hand as good as a coffee canister.
Read: Shelf life of coffee beans
How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Last?
If you have joined the home roasting revolution, like many serious coffee lovers have, you will be one of the many coffee fans that buy green coffee beans and keen to know how long they last and how to store them to maintain them in peak conditions as green coffee beans are often best bought in bulk.
Let’s get down to giving a proper answer to that question. How long do green coffee beans last?
If your green unroasted coffee beans are vacuum packed they can last for many years, even when you store them in your pantry at room temperature. Vacuum sealed and then stored in your freezer the shelf life of green coffee beans can be extended to infinity, virtually!
When your green coffee beans have been opened they can stay fresh for up to 2 years in a cotton bag as long as you keep the bag and the beans out of direct sunlight.
Of course it is a good idea and good practice for you to pay attention to humidity and temperature variations that cause mold growth and this spoiling your unroasted beans.
Even with the minimal care and attention you can keep your green coffee beans for up to two years without any loss of flavor. I’ve seen some home roasters keeping their green coffee beans in a large plastic bins to protect from moisture.
Most serious coffee enthusiasts that took the step to join the home roasting revolution invested in a small second hand freezer and use the larger coffee canister and store their unroasted beans in them.
There are no hard and fast rules in regards to the storage of green coffee beans as they maintain flavor incredibly well.
Freezing Green Coffee Beans
A great way of extending the shelf of your unroasted green coffee beans is what I touched base on earlier, keeping them in your freezer. It’s not something that you will see often in a freezer, and requires a lot of space, especially when you are bulk buying 60kg (132 pounds) at a time!
Since a lot of freezer space is required, a second freezer is best. It doesn’t have to be a fancy new one – just one that works and is clean.
While freezer burn is not so much an issue and you can break your beans into weekly or bi-weekly portions using ziplock freezer bags. It is still well worth the investment in a series of coffee canisters and taking advantage of the quality and protection from mold, freezer burn, air, moisture and the convenience that they provide.
What every method you use, remove the coffee that you are planning on roasting at least 24 hours before hand to all the green coffee beans to come to room temperature naturally. The results are much better than “shock” roasting frozen green beans.
Even though it is only the most passionate of coffee lovers that freeze their green beans there is no better way of preserving the beans intrinsic flavors of origin.
And they do produce a high quality cup of coffee that is as fresh as the day they picked and processed.
Do Coffee Beans Last Longer Than Ground Coffee?
Yes, whole coffee beans last longer than ground coffee coffee. This reason behind this is the reduced surface area which means there is a reduced amount of oxygen that is in contact with the coffee.
Grinding your coffee or buying preground coffee increases the surface area and thus accelerate the degradation due to the increased exposure to oxygen. Preground coffee may be convenient but they reduce the shelf life of your coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Sealed
Can Coffee Beans Be Stored Long Term?
Yes, as long as you have the right gear and method you can store your coffee for a year or two without loosing freshness as long as you keep them stored in perfect conditions. Use a coffee canister that is opaque, airtight and has a one way valve. Then use that coffee canister and store your coffee bean in your freezer.
You must remove your beans from the packaging as it is too thin and flimsy to protect against freezer burn.
What Will Happen If You Drink Expired Coffee?
It is reasonably safe for you to drink expired coffee and as long as there is no mold you won’t get too sick. An upset stomach and an evening on the toilet with a squeaky bum is about the worse that will happen.
If you have consumed expired coffee that has mold, seek immediate medical attention as there are some dangerous toxins in coffee mold.
The coffee that you make with expired coffee will have lost the flavors or aromas.
How Long Is Sealed Coffee Good For After Expiration Date?
A sealed and unopened package of whole bean coffee while stored in your pantry can stay in reasonably good condition for 6-9 month while the same package of ground coffee can stay good for is 3-5 months beyond the expiry date.
The reason for the reduced amount of time that ground coffee is able to stay fresh for is due to the increased surface area and the increased exposure to the small amount of oxygen in the package and the accelerated oxidation process. Stored well and in your freezer your coffee, be it ground coffee or whole beans can stay fresh for a year or two.
Read: Do coffee grounds go bad?
What Container Keeps Coffee Beans Fresh?
A professional coffee canister that is opaque to block out light and an airtight lid to prevent air and moisture from getting to your coffee beans. A one way valve is needed to let your coffee to de gas as they release carbon dioxide.
This kind of container will keep your ground coffee and your coffee beans fresh and extend their shelf life as it protect against all the main elements that damage and degrade your beans, mainly oxygen, moisture, heat, light and strong scents from other nearby food items.
Should Coffee Beans Be Refrigerated?
Yes, it is good to keep your coffee beans refrigerated. Coffee is a food item and keeping them cool helps to maintain freshness.
If you want to keep your coffee in your fridge to help extend the life of coffee beans don’t forget to use an opaque airtight container to eliminate the exposure to oxygen, air and the scents of the food that is in your fridge. Coffee is great at absorbing odors, and will start to take the scents of the foods that are in your fridge.
Does Freezing Coffee Beans Keep Them Fresh?
Keeping your coffee beans in your freezer helps to keep your coffee fresh for long periods of time. The effect that freezing temperatures have is they work to slow down the oxidation process to a dead stop!
You absolutely must use a coffee canister, even for unopened coffee as the packaging is weak, flimsy and will not protect your coffee beans from degradation caused by freezer burn. I love using two coffee canisters, one that I keep all my coffee beans in, which I keep in the freezer and the other that keep only about a weeks worth of coffee beans and store this second one on the fridge.
Final Thoughts – How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Sealed?
Now you know how long do coffee beans last sealed and how to store them properly to ensure that you will maintain their peak flavor profile for as long as possible or as long as you need them to.
If you into home roasting! You can now start weighing up the pros and cons of freezing your green coffee beans to keep the fresh indefinitely.
Join our fun, active and informative coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your amazing and tasty coffee creations and recipes.