Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?

Do coffee beans go bad or not? How long do coffee beans last and is there a difference between raw and roasted coffee beans? Here's the answer.

While some of us may enjoy drinking coffee no matter how it’s made, others take their coffee a bit more seriously. Some people are happy with pre-packaged, pre-ground coffee beans; and, others are happy with instant coffee or grabbing a cup from a local coffee shop.

Others prefer to grind their coffee beans themselves when they brew their coffee. It is no doubt that the aroma of grinding fresh coffee adds to the brewing experience. If you are one of those people who likes chocolate covered coffee beans, you have a good idea of what that means.

Perhaps you have decided to jump on the bandwagon, become a coffee connoisseur, and buy your bags of coffee beans. With several bags laying around, you’re probably asking, “do coffee beans go bad?”

Well, continue reading, and we will discuss how long coffee beans typically last when stored properly and how to know if your coffee beans have gone bad.

Related:Does Ground Coffee Go Bad?Does Coffee Creamer Go Bad?Does Sugar Go Bad?

How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

cup of coffee and coffee beans

There are two ways you can buy coffee beans:

  • Raw – the beans are in their natural green color for you to roast yourself
  • Roasted – the beans are dark brown or almost black

Whichever one you choose is up to you, but to save time, roasted coffee beans are the best ones to buy. If you choose to roast them yourself, do so soon — preferably when you get home.

Coffee beans are best kept in a kitchen cabinet, where they are safe from direct sunlight. Don’t keep the coffee beans in a clear plastic container, as that will allow light to get in, causing oxidation. Any airtight container will do as long as it’s not clear.

If you live in a humid climate, you know where the driest place to keep things in the kitchen is, and that’s where you should store your coffee beans.

These are all recommendation for coffee bean storage by the National Coffee Association.

Should You Freeze Coffee Beans?

coffee beans and cup of coffee

If you find that you have more coffee beans than you intend to use, then freezing them is a great choice. If you haven’t opened them yet, you can freeze them as is. If you have opened them, just put them in an airtight container or freezer bag.

There is a risk involved when you freeze coffee beans. Freezing them does not necessarily mean that you will retain the same flavor and aroma after they are thawed.

The chances are much better with coffee bean bags that you haven’t opened yet. To be safe, you can always freeze a smaller amount of them to see how they turn out.

Thawing coffee beans is a simple process. Just take them out of the freezer, and let them sit out at room temperature to naturally thaw. There is no need to do anything else.

Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?

grades of roasted coffee

As we mentioned before, coffee beans store well just because of their dryness when roasted. However, some problems can arise when moisture is accidentally introduced to them.

You will be able to notice right away if some moisture snuck into your coffee beans. You would see signs of mold in the container, and you would also notice a strange odor. If you notice any of the two, get rid of them.

Over time, coffee may lose its distinct flavor and smell. Once it is brewed you may notice that it tastes funny or doesn’t taste like anything at all. While this doesn’t hurt your health, it doesn’t make sense to keep making coffee that doesn’t satisfy your taste buds. Just throw the beans away and buy some more.

As you can see, if you store everything properly and use your coffee beans within a short period of time, you will enjoy that wonderfully aromatic, flavorful cup of coffee you’ve been craving.

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Michelle Olsen
Michelle Olsen

Michelle loves writing about food and helping others make better food. She cooks and prepares food daily for her little girl and spends some of her free time researching the best food storage practices.