Does Coffee Go Bad? Fresh Storage Guide

How long is coffee good for?

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on brewed coffee

Coffee is truly the most consumable drink in the world! We grab a hot steaming cup in the morning on the way to work and meet with friends in a coffee shop during the break. Drink it pure, with milk, cream, and syrups. We add alcohol to make it stronger.

Naturally, we’re curious: does coffee go bad? And yes, can coffee go bad at all?!

Let’s find it out.

Health Benefits Of the Natural Energy Booster

There are many arguments about coffee impact on our health. Some say that the drink is harmful when intaken regularly in large amounts (more than 2-3 cups per day), others insist on its health beneficial traits.

What is right?

Let’s see!

This drink does indeed have useful qualities.

  • Two cups of coffee are able to cut the muscle pain caused by the intensive workout
  • A dose of this drink includes useful fiber
  • It helps to protect the liver from cirrhosis
  • Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Brings down the risk of Alzheimer disease significantly
  • Surprisingly, coffee drinkers have far fewer chances to get heart problems than those who don’t welcome this drink!
  • Coffee reduces the risk or cancer
  • It is even said to make DNA stronger!

Of course, it all refers to the finest and freshly-brewed drink only since it contains most of the benefits. Coffee-containing drinks are significantly less effective.

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

How to Keep Coffee Fresh Longer? Storage Tips and Shelf Life

The worst nightmare for the true coffee fan is a packet of a spoiled product! 

Everyone probably noticed many times that when left improperly closed, a packet of coffee loses its aroma and even taste somehow after some time.

Ask Gail: How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?Ask Gail: How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

And since drinking a tasteless liquid that hardly smells like coffee is not something one would like to experience, following simple storage requirements is a must.

  • Always keep the beans and ground coffee in the airtight container to prevent the aroma from floating away
  • The tightly closed tank also prevents the content from its worse enemies that are light, air, moisture, and heat. Put the content in a mason jar and attach the lid firmly
  • Keep the packet or tank in a chilled place all the time
  • You’d better not to choose transparent tanks to prevent light from getting inside and ruining the taste of the drink
  • You’d better remove the drink from its retail packet to the proper tank since those are unsuitable for the extended storage
Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

Another question that bothers us, devoted coffee drinkers, is the lifespan of the drink.

How long is coffee good for? Well, it depends on several factors such as storage conditions, sort of the drink, whether it’s ground or not, and also, the type of container we keep it in.

For better comparison, check out the demonstrative table below. Like that, you’ll always know for sure how long the precise type of drink will remain drinkable.

Unopened Opened
Ground drink In the cupboard, coffee grounds will easily stay fresh for five months. But if you expose it to frost, be sure the drink will be ok even after two years! Once opened, the packet of recently grounded drink will keep its qualities for 3-5 months on the shelf/freezing camera.
Whole beans Pantry-stored, they will stay usable for nine months at most. Exposing them to frost will extend the lifespan to 2 years for sure. Coffee beans will remain perfectly well for half a year in a pantry and for more than a year when frozen.
Instant coffee This one is a bit tricky since instant coffee shelf life hangs upon the package. 

Some packets can stay fresh for 2 years at most whereas others will be perfect even after 10+ years of storage! 

When frozen, its lifespan may be literally indefinite.
If the packet has a zip-lock or it’s rolled-up and clipped tightly, the content may stay fresh for the same period of time as the unopened packet.

As for brewed coffee, the situation is a bit different. The fresh-made coffee must be consumed within two hours after it was prepared, otherwise, it will start losing its aroma and taste.

Does Coffee Spoil?

Naturally, this is the eternally asked question! 

Of course, if stored properly, this drink can last almost forever past its expiration date but certain factors exists that may cause it to lose the heavenly taste.


Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

Coffee expiration hangs upon the storage conditions mostly. That’s what makes this drink tasteless with time.

However, it is unlikely to get literally spoiled with mold and other visual signs of rotting.

How Do We Know If The Drink Is Bad?

Nevertheless, coffee tends to become worse after a while and to figure this out sniff the drink. If the aroma is far less intensive and the drink tastes not so rich as before, it’s probably too old by now.

Is it safe to drink “spoiled” coffee?


Since it doesn’t actually spoil, intaking slightly aged drink won’t cause any harm (except for disappointment).

How to tell if coffee is rancid?

Just smell it. If the odor is very weak and less intensive as it was before, the drink is most likely old.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Does coffee go stale?

It does with time, especially if stored improperly.

⭐ Does coffee get old?

The beans, whole or ground, will lose aroma and taste sooner or later anyway, but it doesn’t mean the drink is harmful to consume.

⭐ When does coffee go bad?

It happens when we keep it wrong. Too hot places, excess moisture, or exposure of direct light may cause the drink to go bad.

⭐ Does instant coffee go bad?

Its qualities will indeed become weaker one day but it will still be able to drink.

⭐ Can expired coffee make you sick?

No, that’s not true. Even if coffee is old, it can be safely consumed but the taste won’t satisfy you we dare say.

⭐ Does sealed coffee go bad?

Normally, when kept under proper conditions in a proper tank, it will last for a very long period of time unless we screw up and do something wrong. Then the drink may become worse.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
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