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How Long Does Coffee Last Before It Goes Bad?

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Coffee Freshness and Expiration

When it comes to your morning coffee you want to make sure that it’s always going to taste excellent. That means making sure that your coffee doesn’t go bad before you get the chance to drink it. But how long does that give you to enjoy that cup of coffee?

How Long Does Coffee Last?

The length of time your coffee lasts is going to depend on exactly what type of coffee you have, how you store it, and whether it’s open or not. So, let’s take a look at the most popular methods.

Ground coffee that is not opened can be left in the pantry for about 3 to 5 months past the printed date or in the freezer for up to 2 years past the printed date. Once it’s opened it should be used within 3 to 5 months whether stored in the pantry or the freezer.

Whole coffee beans that are not opened can be stored in the pantry for about 6 to 9 months past the printed date or in the freezer for up to 3 years past the printed date. Once they are opened they should be used within 6 months when stored in the pantry or 2 years when stored in the freezer.

Instant coffee that is not opened or even containers that have been opened can be left in the pantry for anywhere from 2 to 20 years or in the freezer indefinitely.2

Why Does Coffee Go Bad?

Coffee goes bad because it is exposed to one of four things (or any combination of them): light, heat, moisture or oxygen. When it’s exposed to these things it starts to go stale because it begins to oxidize and degrade. Once that happens the coffee turns stale.

Moisture is actually a problem because it can cause the coffee to start molding. Where it won’t generally develop moisture on its own, being in the wrong environment can cause moisture to start to gather. This results in mold and harmful bacteria in your coffee.

How to Tell if Coffee is Bad, Rotten, or Spoiled

Besides looking at the expiration date, there are plenty of ways to know if there is something wrong with your coffee. If you smell the coffee you’ll notice that it doesn’t smell the way it normally does. It means the flavor is gone and the coffee won’t taste the same.

The color of the coffee will start to fade as well, telling you that much of the flavor is fading out. You’ll also want to look at the way the coffee looks. If it doesn’t look like it normally would chances are it’s not going to taste good.

How to Use Extra Before Your Coffee Goes Bad

If you want to use up the coffee before it goes bad you can put it into a blender with milk, ice cream, ice, and vanilla to make a shake. You can also tur nit into ice cubes for iced coffee or use it in a cake recipe in place of water.


There are a number of different ways you can use up coffee if you need to, to make sure that you’re not wasting it before it goes bad. Just make sure you’re paying attention to how long you actually have before that’s going to happen.

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