When coffee lovers and enthusiasts buy top quality premium specialty grade coffee often the first question on their mind is how long do coffee beans stay fresh?
After all, great beans can be expensive and best for the occasional treat or weekend enjoyment after a long working week.
The follow-up question is usually related to how to best store coffee beans to prolong their freshness.
Keep reading to find out how long coffee beans stay fresh and what you can do to prolong their freshness and keep them fresh from the first to the last cup brewed.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?
How you store your coffee beans and where you store them will play a significant role in extending the shelf life of ground coffee and whole coffee beans.
By far the best way to store your fresh coffee beans or grounds is to store them in a professional coffee container that blocks all light, has a one-way valve and an airtight lid.
It is well worth investing in a professional coffee canister to help you to keep your freshly roasted coffee beans fresh for as long as possible.
Store your coffee canister in a cool dry place that is at or preferably below room temperature. I’ll talk about storing your beans in the fridge and the freezer in a moment.
When stored well, your beans can stay reasonably fresh for up to 9 months. You should expect some degradation over this period of time. Storing them well will help your beans to last for a couple of months longer.
Read: How long does ground coffee last unopened?
What Is The Best Way To Store Coffee Beans?
When you buy your roasted coffee beans, you must store them in optimal conditions to help the beans to maintain their fresh flavor and what I call the freshness factor.
Storing your coffee beans in an airtight container is an absolute must. Too much exposure over time to air, moisture and oxygen is severely detrimental to their quality. This one single act will help to prolong the shelf life of your roasted beans.
There is a lot more that you can do to increase that freshness factor. The goal is to keep your beans as fresh as possible so that your last cup of coffee brewed is every bit as fresh tasting and full flavored as your first cup of coffee.
To keep your beans fresh, the best long term option is to store your beans in an opaque container that is airtight as harsh lights can also damage and degrade the quality of your coffee beans.
Always keep your coffee beans away from bright lights, be they natural or artificial, and reduce their exposure to air will really stack the cards in your favor in your goal of keeping your coffee fresh.
to keep your coffee fresh, it must “breathe” as I like to call it. Freshly roasted coffee beans release carbon dioxide; storing your beans in an airtight container while they are still releasing the CO2 and being in long term proximity and contact with your coffee is detrimental to your goal of keeping your coffee fresh.
This is why we must use an opaque container that is airtight and has a one-way valve. A one way valve that lets out the CO2 and prevents air from getting in is something that will help your beans to maintain their freshness.
To make a quick recap, to store your freshly roasted coffee beans in optimal conditions we must store them in an opaque container that has a one-way valve and an airtight lid. This fits the description of a professional coffee canister and why they are designed with these features.
The next step is to store your coffee canister in the perfect location to ensure maximum freshness and use the perfect methods.
The two perfect places to store your coffee beans while they are in your coffee canister, which is why I own a couple of them, are your fridge and your freezer.
I store a small amount for daily use, typically only a day or two at most three days of coffee in a coffee canister that is in my fridge. The rest I keep in a coffee canister that is in my freezer.
The results speak for themselves. The very last cup of coffee that I brew is every bit as fresh as the first one, even a month or two later.
How Long Will Coffee Beans Last In Airtight Container?
If you have an opened bag of whole roasted coffee beans, store them in an airtight container or better still a properly designed coffee canister designed with the purpose of storing coffee beans or coffee grounds.
The less air that is in contact with your coffee beans, the better as this will help to delay and reduce the oxidation process and prolong the flavor and quality of the beans.
No matter how quickly you consume your coffee beans, be it a week or a month, if you reduce the contact that air has with your beans, you will help to ensure that your last cup of coffee is as good as, and as fresh as the first one.
The one way valve helps your beans to degas. Freshly roasted coffee beans will emit carbon dioxide. The one way valve will allow carbon dioxide to escape and prevent oxygen from getting in.
If you really want your roasted coffee beans to last you even longer, consider storing them in the freezer. Many coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts don’t realize that you can store your coffee beans in the freezer.
To be clear, your beans won’t actually freeze. They will be super cold, but will not be frozen. When you freeze your coffee beans, be sure to use your coffee canister and put them in your canister.
Due to the low temperature, the oxidation process is slowed to a snail’s pace! You also gain a second advantage. Due to the low temperature that your beans are at, when you grind your beans you will have less degradation through the heat caused by friction.
To aid this further, use a conical ceramic burr grinder as the conical burr gives a greater grind consistency and the material, ceramic, is highly resistant to heat.
In short, your coffee beans will last 6-9 months beyond the shelf life when stored well and even as long as a year or two when stored perfectly and in your freezer.
Read: Do coffee grounds go bad?
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Fridge?
Freshness and quality are intrinsically linked when it comes to coffee. It is undebatable, and unquestionable. Fresh coffee tastes better.
The closer you are to that peak freshness window of 3 days after roasting and for 7 days after roasting, the fresher and better your coffee will taste.
This is true no matter the type or quality of your coffee beans or their roasting level. The 3-day wait after the roasting process is to allow the beans to degas and the carbon dioxide to escape.
This is why you must always use a coffee canister with a one-way valve as fresh coffee beans will continue to give off carbon dioxide. This is also why letting your coffee bloom, regardless of the brewing technique or method being used, will help you to enjoy a fresher cup of coffee.
It is always good to understand what affects coffee freshness as this will help you get a cup of coffee at peak freshness every single time. Ultimately, the biggest factor is how you store your beans once you have opened your bag of coffee and keeping them in peak condition.
A very good rule of thumb used by coffee lovers is an opened bag of coffee is good for up to 4 weeks after roasting provided that they are stored perfectly and in a coffee canister and keeping your coffee beans in your fridge.
This is a good improvement based on storing your coffee bean at room temperature and in the bag that they came in (i.e without the use of an airtight container).
Do Coffee Beans Go Bad In The Fridge?
If you don’t store your coffee beans perfectly, they will go awful if and when you store them in your fridge or freezer.
Coffee, be they whole beans or coffee grounds, are very good at absorbing odors and will absorb the scents and taste of foods that are in your fridge or freezer.
You absolutely must store your coffee beans in an airtight container if you want to store your coffee beans in your fridge.
As long as you are using an airtight container, preferably a professional coffee canister your coffee will not go bad while stored in your fridge.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last In The Freezer?
To ensure that your coffee beans are kept fresh while in your freezer it is best that you store them in your freezer. Store them in an airtight container and within 14 days of purchasing them.
If you keep your coffee beans in your fridge, in perfect conditions, and storing them in a coffee canister then putting them in your fridge, they will stay fresh for a year or two.
For long term storage, storing your beans in your freezer is better than storing them in your fridge.
Do Coffee Beans Go Bad In The Freezer?
When you are storing your coffee beans in your freezer, you have the same problems with a fridge as you have in the freezer. Any strong scents of other foods will be absorbed by your coffee beans and absolutely must be protected from those odors.
You have the problem of freezer burn, due to this you need to remove your coffee beans from their original packaging and either store them in plastic zipper bags or better still, a professional coffee canister.
While plastic zipper bags are good, they do not permit the beans to degas as the carbon dioxide gets trapped. A professional coffee canister will still protect your beans from freezer burn and allow your freshly roasted beans to degas and emit the carbon dioxide.
Your coffee beans will only go bad while stored in your freezer if you store them poorly.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?
Do Whole Coffee Beans Stay Fresh Longer?
whole bean coffee stays fresher for longer due to a reduced surface area which reduces the contact area that oxygen can get in contact with which in turn leads to a reduced and delayed oxidization of the coffee beans when compared to ground coffee.
When you grind your coffee beans, you increase the surface area which increases the contact area which they have with oxygen and leads to an accelerated degradation and oxidization.
Buy whole bean coffee to ensure that you maximize coffee freshness factor in your brewing.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh Unopened?
Whole coffee beans can stay fresh for 6-9 months unopened or when they are stored in perfect conditions while open. I encourage you to invest in a professional coffee canister with a one-way valve and an airtight lid.
Keep your coffee beans in your professional coffee canister and store them in the freezer. Your beans won’t freeze. You can also store them in your fridge.
Your coffee beans are food; treat them as so.
Side Note: Your specialty grade coffee beans are best enjoyed within 10 days of their roasted on date. They are at their freshest for a 7-day period starting 3 days after they were roasted.
Can You Use 2-Year-Old Coffee Beans?
2-Year-Old coffee beans are safe to brew a cup of coffee with. The taste will not be anywhere as good as fresh beans and will be highly unlikely to produce a crema on top if you are making an espresso.
Old coffee beans will likely have a musty or rancid aroma but will not make you sick.
The best you can do is brew a cup of coffee and find out. If you beans do end up making a coffee that is just not tasty or off you can still make an alternative use for your coffee grounds by grinding them and using them as a body, facial or hair scrub or to revitalize your soil.
How Long Are Coffee Beans Considered Fresh?
How long freshly roasted beans are considered as fresh depends on the quality of the coffee beans. Specialty grade beans the peak freshness and flavor is a very short window, which is why they are often available in small quantities.
For specialty grade beans, this peak fresh flavor window is only for 7 days, which starts once the roasting process has been completed.
For beans of a lesser quality, the shelf life is approximately 3 months after the roasting process has been completed and will still produce a reasonable good cup of coffee.
Get into the habit of storing your coffee beans in perfect conditions to maximize their freshness.
How Do You Know If Coffee Beans Are Expired?
If you are unsure if your coffee beans are expired, have a good look at your beans. Do you see any mold or mildew?
If your beans look okay, proceed to the sniff test.
Do they smell off, rancid, moldy or just flat?
If your beans are passing the visual test and sniff test, proceed to the taste test and brew a cup of coffee as you normally would and take a sip. If it tastes off, simply discard your coffee and go out and buy fresh new coffee beans.
How Do You Know If Coffee Beans Are Stale?
To find out if your coffee beans are stale, run the tried and tested finger test.
Grind your coffee beans and rub the coffee grounds between your fingers. Stale coffee will feel dry, grainy and won’t stick together.
If you feel some moisture and oils, your beans should be fresh.
Final Thoughts – How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?
That little question how long do coffee beans stay fresh should no longer be bugging you, and you should know exactly what steps you need to do to ensure that you maintain maximum freshness for your beans and thus maximize your own enjoyment.
I mentioned it a lot through this article and do so all over this website. At Latte Love Brew, we really aim to help you as much as we can and a coffee canister or two is worth every penny that you spend on them and will pay you back in tasty fresh coffee!
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