Does Coffee Go Bad?

Many people will like to know how long the food they just bought is going to last, if you’re a coffee lover, when your coffee will go bad is one question you’ll like answered.

The shelf life of your coffee will depend on so many factors, when they were bought, the expiry date on the pack and how they’re stored are just some of them. 

How To Store Coffee

Coffee can be stored in different states, coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee. Each of them has their methods of storage so you have to look at that when making a decision on how to store.

The coffee brewing process occurs by oxidation, so the coffee releases its aroma and flavor into the water which you drink. 

If this process occurs outside brewing, you’ll contaminate your coffee and reduce its shelf life, that’s why knowledge of storage is important.

The stale smell and taste you get in bad coffee are caused by the reduction in acidity caused by the reaction. Most coffee beans and grounds are between slightly and greatly acidic.

How To Store Coffee Beans

How long do coffee beans stay fresh? Coffee beans when kept in an airtight bag will last for years, it won’t be strange to get a delicious coffee stored in the right conditions even after five years.

Roasted coffee however, should be used by the third week after roasting as it will generally lose its freshness after that so use this as a guide if you need to know how long do roasted coffee beans last. 

Coffee beans can get exposed to air, moisture, heat, and light so proper storage devices will protect your beans from these.

When you buy freshly roasted beans, its flavor is still quite strong at that point and you should store them at room temperature in airtight containers.

Keep the container away from sunlight or other sources of light so you should use an opaque container. 

Your cupboard shouldn’t be close to the area where you cook or do anything that generates heat so you don’t transmit heat to the coffee beans. 

If you care about preserving the flavor of your coffee beans, then buy in batches and not in bulk. You don’t need to buy coffee beans for the whole year in one day. 

You can also freeze your beans but you need to do this with great care. Coffee beans are hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air when exposed to it. 

The moisture, when absorbed, can alter the coffee’s flavor and aroma. If you’re going to be freezing your coffee, use an airtight container that makes it easy for you to get your coffee beans out. 

Try to remove as much as you need for a week and store in a separate container so vapor from the freezer doesn’t condense on the beans each time you take it out.

How To Store Coffee Grounds

Storage of coffee grounds is a bit similar to the storage of coffee beans. You don’t want it to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and you will also prevent it from losing moisture as that will expel the flavor. 

Freezing ground coffee doesn’t cut it anymore so you should vacuum-seal and freeze it. It’s best to do this with your ground coffee in a foodsaver bag. 

If you don’t need to store the grounds for a long time (anything above two weeks) then there’s no need to freeze, just turn the grounds from its original pack into a foodsaver bag, vacuum-seal it and store at a low temperature.

Use an airtight container, preferably made of glass or ceramic (so it doesn’t alter your flavor) for such short-storage coffee grounds. 

The importance of vacuum-sealing is that it prevents moisture from seeping into your grounds from the freezer. 

Defrost the grounds properly by allowing to return to room temperature whenever you’re ready to brew. 

How To Store Brewed Coffee

Storing brewed coffee is a different thing entirely and it all starts on the burner or whatever coffee maker you’re using. 

Don’t leave your coffee heating even after brewing is complete, it makes it get sour faster. Transfer it immediately to an insulated flask, any basic thermos flask should do.

This is better than leaving it to cool and reheating again, it makes it lose its flavor faster. 

You can also empty the coffee into a glass container and store in the fridge.

Use different glasses spanning a week for this so you can transfer the glass you’ll be drinking in the morning into the refrigerator the night before. 

Don’t brew your coffee and store with milk embedded in it, milk is usually the first ingredient to expire and this will spoil the entire drink.

Brew the coffee and add milk and other toppings separately each time you want to drink. 

How To Tell If Coffee Is Bad?

Safe ways of detecting bad coffee are by looking at and smelling the coffee. You shouldn’t taste to confirm because of the risk of food poisoning. 

Good coffee will look the same whether it’s a day old or a year old but there’ll be a marked difference in the aroma as the older coffee will lose some of its flavors over time.

If there are any signs of a mold developing, throw it away. Once the coffee starts giving off a stale smell, that’s another sign. 

When drinking coffee that’s spoiled, you may get an unusual sharp sensation at the sides of your tongue. That doesn’t mean you’ll get sick from that drink but it’s a pointer that toxic substances are being released. 

Most coffee beans or grounds that you get from a store will come with an expiry date but proper storage should extend this date by three to six months. 

How To Use Extra Before And When Your Coffee Is Getting Bad

No, your coffee won’t last forever, use all the sophisticated storage techniques available, it’s still going to get bad someday. 

If you still have a lot in store left when or just before it goes bad, there are other things you can do with your coffee apart from drinking it. 

Do you see molds on your grounds? Then they’re perfect for compost in the soil as they’ll attract important bacteria. You can also use grounds in coating stained wood. 

Get a tray and make coffee ice cubes. If you’re a fan of iced cocktails, you’ll be needing a lot of coffee cubes.  You can also use them in cake, and there are lots of recipes for you to try.

While coffee can go bad, nobody likes to drink stale coffee, use the tips in this post to keep your coffee fresh and even use extra when there’s nothing you can do to keep it from going bad. 

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