Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 13:59
How long do coffee beans last is a question that flashes across the mind of many coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts.
The life of coffee beans is much longer than what is listed on their packaging but going beyond the stated shelf life does lead to a loss in quality and flavor. Thankfully there is a lot that you can do to optimize and prolong the shelf life and help to maintain their flavor.
Keep reading to find out how long coffee beans last and get some great tips for extending their shelf life.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last After Expiration Date?
Table Of Content
- 1 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last After Expiration Date?
- 2 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Unopened?
- 3 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In Grinder?
- 4 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Fridge?
- 5 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Freezer?
- 6 How To Keep Coffee Beans Fresh For Months
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Do Coffee Beans Last
- 8 Final Thoughts – How Long Do Coffee Beans Last
This is a two part question as there are roasted coffee beans and unroasted coffee beans.
Let’s start with roasted coffee beans and how long they can last beyond their expiration date. Roasted coffee beans, of any roast level and assuming they are stored in ideal conditions away from strong lights, air, moisture and heat, can stay fresh for 6-9 months beyond the expiration or best before date printed on their label.
If they are opened, they will be good to brew with for up to 6 months. If they are unopened they are good for 9 months beyond the expiry date.
There are some techniques to boost your coffee bean longevity, which I’ll get into greater detail about later. One such easy technique is the use of an airtight container.
about those unroasted raw coffee beans!
Raw, unroasted coffee beans, also known as green coffee beans, which have not gone through the roasting process are still good for 18 months to 2 years beyond their expiry date. That is to say, they are still good for roasting up to a year and a half to two years after their expiry date and then a further 3-5 months once roasted (if ground) or 6 to 9 months if whole beans.
What is more incredible is if you store your unroasted raw coffee beans perfectly there is no limit to their expiry date!
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last Unopened?
As stated above, coffee beans can last unopened for 6-9 months beyond the stated expiration date on the packaging.
- Unopened coffee beans: 6 to 9 months after their use by date.
- Ground coffee beans (pre-ground coffee): 3 to 5 months beyond their use by date.
- Unroasted coffee beans: 18 months to 24 months beyond the use by date.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In Grinder?
This is a pet hate of mine! Leaving coffee grounds in the hopper for long periods of time. They are simply just there in imperfect conditions exposed to heat, light and air – all of which are the enemy of fresh coffee.
By the very logic there is a lot more that can be done for the hopper, the storage area of coffee grinder to improve the storage quality of the coffee beans there.
Coffee beans can last up to 3 to 5 days while stored in a coffee grinder.
With the technology that we have today, I see no reason why a hopper has the functionality of an airtight opaque coffee canister with a one way valve and an opening at the bottom that opens when the grinder is in use and thus storing the beans in optimal conditions.
I am a bit of a perfectionist.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Fridge?
Before I get into the subject of how long your coffee beans last in your fridge, understand that the original packaging is not ideal or designed for storage in your fridge.
You need an airtight container as coffee is incredibly good at absorbing strong scents and odors. They will absorb the odors and flavors of foods that are near them.
Whole roasted coffee beans can stay fresh in your fridge for 7 to 10 days beyond their peak flavor window, which is 3 days after roasting and for 7 days thereafter. This is something to keep in mind if you love premium grade coffee.
Even though your roasted coffee beans are still good for months beyond their expiration date, I am referring here to how well a fridge will help to maintain the peak flavor and peak freshness.
Let’s now talk about the use of your freezer and how long your coffee beans can last while stored under colder conditions.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Freezer?
Under no conditions or circumstances should you store your roasted coffee beans or coffee grounds in their original packaging in your freezer as it will not protect from moisture or freezer burn.
While stored under perfect conditions and using a professional coffee canister you will be able to preserve the quality of flavor and taste for 2 to 3 months beyond the peak flavor window and extend the period of time in which your coffee beans are good for beyond the expiry date from 6-9 months to 8-11 months.
Unroasted coffee beans, now that is a completely different story! These green coffee beans when stored in a professional coffee canister that is opaque, airtight and has a one way valve will stay fresh for an unlimited period of time when stored in your freezer!
How To Keep Coffee Beans Fresh For Months
It is not difficult at all to keep your coffee beans fresh for months. You simply need to store them well and in perfect conditions.
Keep your roasted coffee beans away from:
- Strong scents and odors.
These are all the enemies of extending the shelf life of your coffee. It doesn’t matter what the original packaging is, be it airtight packaging, vacuum packed coffee beans or nitrogen infused to remove all oxygen. One thing that is clear, the coffee package that they come in is not ideal for long term storage.
An opaque container meets the goal of keeping out harsh light. An airtight container achieves the objective of keeping air out and reducing the exposure to oxygen and slowing the reaction with oxygen that deteriorates the quality of your beans. It also keeps out strong scents and odors as well as moisture.
I hope you are seeing the value of using an opaque coffee canister that is purposely designed for storing coffee beans. One simple device archives almost all the goals that you have of reducing or eliminating the impact of the elements that negatively affect the shelf life of coffee.
The one thing that they don’t do is reduce the effect of heat. What you can do is store your coffee beans in the canister and store your canister in your freezer.
I have two canisters, one I store about 2 weeks worth of coffee in and store this one in the fridge. The other I keep in my freezer where most of my beans are kept. By doing this I ensure the maximum long term freshness due to not opening and closing the canister that I keep in my freezer which reintroduced oxygen each time.
Look for a coffee canister that has a one-way valve which allows your beans to degas and release carbon dioxide and allows it to escape while preventing oxygen from entering.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Do Coffee Beans Last
Do Coffee Beans Actually Expire?
Yes, coffee beans and coffee grounds when left long enough will eventually expire even though they are perfectly fine to brew a cup of coffee with long after their expiry date on the pack.
An unopened pack of whole beans are good for 6-9 months after the expiry date on their packaging. Ground coffee will last 3-5 months after the expiry date on the packaging.
Unroasted coffee beans can last 18 months to 2 years.
How Do You Know When Coffee Beans Go Bad?
You will know if your coffee beans are bad when you examine them visually for mold and with your nose for mold and any rotten scents. If your coffee beans pass both of those tests and are of a dark roast, pinch and rub.
Pinch some beans or coffee grounds and check for oil by rubbing your fingers. If you have some oil, this is a good sign. If they are dry and there is no sign of oil, your coffee may not be off but may have lost some of their flavors.
Then brew a cup of coffee and taste test your brew. Start by sniffing your brew and then sipping it. If it smells off, it is likely to be off. Sip test it. If your coffee tastes off, simply discard your beans.
That is how you test your coffee beans and find out if they have gone bad.
How Long Do Raw Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?
Raw coffee beans, if you are thinking of raw and unroasted coffee beans, they can stay fresh for 18 months to 2 years.
Raw coffee beans, if you mean whole roasted beans can stay fresh for 6 to 9 months after their expiry date as long as they are either unopened or stored in an airtight container with a one way valve. You can extend their freshness by a couple of months with some good practices like storing your coffee canister in your fridge or freezer.
What Is The Best Way To Store Coffee Beans?
The best way to store your beans is to use a professional coffee canister that is opaque, airtight and has a one way valve and store your coffee canister in your freezer.
Storing under these conditions eliminates bright lights and UV light, air, moisture and heat – all of which have a negative effect on the freshness of your beans.
Does Freezing Coffee Beans Keep Them Fresh?
Yes, for long term storage nothing beats storing your coffee beans in a professional coffee canister and keeping the canister in your freezer.
The original packaging that they come in is not ideal for storing in the freezer, and you risk a phenomena called freezer burn and moisture getting to your beans and having a negative effect on their flavor.
This is why you must use a professional coffee canister if you want to store your coffee beans in your freezer with the goal of extending their shelf life.
Is It Better To Store Coffee As Beans Or Ground?
It is much better to store whole beans than ground coffee. Whole beans have a reduced surface area and thus a reduced exposure to oxygen which slows down the oxidation process which is a chemical reaction that leads to coffee going off quicker.
Also, the oils go off at a reduced rate also.
Final Thoughts – How Long Do Coffee Beans Last
Now that you know how long do coffee beans last, and what you can do to help to keep your coffee beans fresh and last for much longer and effectively extend the life of coffee beans and help you to prolong the peak freshness window.
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