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If coffee is the drink that fuels your day, it’s possible you may have stocked up or even over-stocked up.  Maybe you’ve looked in your pantry and realized that your stash of coffee is getting a bit out of control. Or you just found an old package that you’d forgotten about. So you may be wondering “how long does coffee last,” or “is drinking expired coffee safe?”

If these concerns are on your mind right now, don’t fret.  We’ve put together this article to help you understand if expired coffee is fine to drink, what happens if you drink expired coffee, and how long different types of coffee, such as coffee beans or coffee grounds, are good for.

How long does coffee last?

When kept dried and stored correctly coffee doesn’t go back, unlike many other food or beverage items in your pantry or refrigerator.  However, the way coffee tastes may not be as fresh if the beans or grounds are stored for a longer period and time and not promptly brewed.  If you’re looking for the freshest-tasting cup of coffee, it is best to brew the beans or grounds within two weeks of purchasing.  Beyond that date, the coffee should still be fine, it just may not meet your standards for an amazing cup of joe.

If you purchase more coffee than you’ll be able to consume in a short period of time, store it correctly to extend its lifespan and keep it tasting fresher longer.  It should be stored in an airtight container or sealed bag, in a dry environment, and away from heat or light.  Rather than leaving unused coffee beans or grounds on a countertop, place them in a cabinet or pantry where the temperature will be cooler and the coffee will be away from the light.

How long do coffee beans last?

Whole coffee beans will last longer and maintain freshness longer than other types of coffee.  If you purchase coffee beans, don’t grind them until you plan to use this as this will maintain their flavor.

How long does ground coffee last unopened?

Ideally, ground coffee beans should be used within two weeks of being opened.  If you haven’t opened your canister or bag of ground coffee it will last longer than this, but the freshness will start to degrade after some time.  Using older ground coffee, as long as it is still dry before brewing, won’t hurt you, but you might not enjoy the taste as much.

How long does vacuum packed coffee last?

Vacuum packed coffee features an air-tight seal to preserve the freshness of the coffee.  It should last between three and six months.  After this time it will still be safe to drink, but the flavor may not be as strong or fresh as it would have been if it was brewed when it was newer.

How long does coffee last after expiration date?

Coffee can potentially last for years after expiring.  This, of course, is dependent on how the coffee is stored.

If it is stored in a cool and dry place away from moisture and light, the coffee’s lifespan will be increased.

If you’re wondering whether expired coffee is still good, inspect the beans or grounds as well as the way they were stored.  Start by smelling them.  If you notice a mildew smell, discard the coffee.  You also should not use coffee beans or grounds that have gotten wet or that show any visible mold.  Finally, if the coffee was not in a sealed bag or container when it was stored, you won’t want to use it either.

Starbucks Flavored Ground Coffee — Variety Pack — No Artificial Flavors — 3 bags (11 oz. each)

Expired Coffee

Wondering what happens when coffee expires? The following sections will help you learn more about what occurs when different types of coffee expire.

What happens when coffee expires?

The expiration date on most bags of coffee is typically about one year after the date when the beans were roasted.  When a manufacturer’s expiration date passes, it likely means that the coffee won’t taste as fresh and may have more of a stale taste to it.  However, in most cases, coffee that is simply a little past its expiration date will still be good.

Over time, however, coffee will begin to break down.  A mix of carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids make up coffee, and as they break down, it can affect both the flavor and quality of the coffee.

If coffee gets wet, however, it is not safe to use.  Wet coffee grounds can grow mold or mildew, which can make individuals sick.  You should never reuse wet coffee grounds, expired or not, if you want to stay healthy.

Expired Coffee Grounds

Do coffee grounds go bad?  Most coffee grounds should last between three and five months past their expiration date.  Beyond this date, as we shared above, you’ll likely begin to notice a change in the taste of the coffee, which you may not enjoy.

Sealed Coffee

Does sealed coffee go bad?  Sealed coffee may last longer past the manufacturer’s stated expiration date.  If the bag or package remains tightly sealed, air, light, and humidity won’t be able to affect the coffee as much and more of the flavor is likely to be preserved.

Expired Instant Coffee

Does instant coffee go bad?  Believe or not, some individuals think that expired instant coffee could cause death.  Don’t worry, though, this isn’t the case.

Instant coffee can last for a long time past its expiration date, and users may not even notice much of a difference in the flavor.  Even when fresh, instant coffee doesn’t have the same strong flavors and caffeine levels found in other types of coffee, so the change in flavor won’t be as noticeable.  Consider storing instant coffee in your freezer to maintain its taste and extend its lifespan.

Expired Coffee Pods

Since coffee pods remain tightly sealed until they are brewed, many may retain their flavor past the expiration date.  For the best flavor, try to use your pods shortly after purchasing them, but if you end up having some left after the expiration date on the box, they should be safe to drink.  You may notice a decrease in the flavor if the grounds have had a chance to begin breaking down, though.

Expired Cold Brew Coffee

Once you’ve brewed a pitcher of cold brew coffee, it should be consumed within 10 days, at the most.  Drinking it quicker than this will likely deliver a more consistent and enjoyable flavor.  Since cold brew coffee is already brewed, it can spoil, unlike dry coffee beans.

Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Melozio, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8oz

Drinking Expired Coffee

Sometimes you find yourself in a pinch on a particularly busy workday. Or you have no time to go out and get fresh coffee and you’re in desperate need of a cup. So you might be wondering, is it safe to consume expired coffee?

Can you drink expired coffee?

Yes, as we shared above, you can drink expired coffee as long as it was stored properly.  Always check to make sure the package was sealed and that the beans or grounds remained dry and do not show any signs of mold or mildew.

What happens if you drink expired coffee?

As long as the beans are dry and haven’t gotten wet or moldy, there shouldn’t be any negative side effects to drinking expired coffee.  You may notice that the taste is off or that the coffee doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as it normally does, but that is about all you need to worry about.

Is it bad to drink expired coffee?

Drinking expired coffee isn’t bad.  However, many people, especially coffee connoisseurs, don’t find it enjoyable.  When expired, coffee beans or coffee grounds break down, which can have a negative impact on the flavor.  So, if you love the strong flavor of a cup of coffee, you may want to avoid drinking expired coffee when possible.

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 Oz Glass Carafe, Black and Stainless Steel Finish

Health Concerns About Expired Coffee Consumption

Can old coffee make you sick?

Coffee has many health benefits, but can expired coffee make you sick or can old coffee beans make you sick?  The answer depends on the condition of the beans or grounds and how they were stored.  As long as the beans or grounds were stored in a sealed container and kept dry, they shouldn’t make you sick or affect your health.

However, if the coffee has become rancid or gotten wet, then yes, it could make you sick.  If you find an old bag or canister of coffee, inspect it before brewing it.  If it is wet or you smell mildew or see mold, you should dispose of the grounds.  Never use coffee that has gotten wet, and you should be fine.

What to do With Expired Coffee Beans?

Wondering what can be done with expired coffee?  If you have expired coffee beans, and you don’t want to brew them to drink, there are other ways you can use them without simply throwing them away.  Just as there are ways to reuse coffee grounds, you’ll find a variety of uses for expired coffee beans.  Some ideas include:

  • Making chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • Fertilizing a garden
  • Absorbing odors
  • Make a coffee soap
  • Make an exfoliating scrub by adding the coffee beans to coconut oil and warm water
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 Oz Glass Carafe, Black and Stainless Steel Finish

Expired Coffee: Dos and Don’ts

Coffee is a popular drink.  When you think about it, it really isn’t surprising:  coffee offers caffeine to help people make it through their days. It also offers health benefits such as decreasing cholesterol levels of lowering the risks of developing type 2 diabetes.

If you’re a coffee lover, you may not want to waste expired coffee.  Hopefully this article has helped you learn when you can drink that coffee or whether you should find an alternate use for the beans or grounds.

If you’re looking for a new, healthy drink to sub in for coffee every once in a while, consider brown rice green tea and all the health benefits it delivers.