How many times have you prepared an extra cup of coffee for yourself, only to find that it has lost its flavor and aroma? While there’s nothing wrong with it, you have probably guessed that it means that your coffee has gone bad.
There are several ways to tell if your coffee has lost its freshness. Lack of taste and smell is the number one indicator of stale coffee. Whether you brew your coffee with coffee grounds or coffee beans, it starts to lose its flavor after an hour or so.
You might be wondering how to keep your coffee fresh for a long time. Well, read on because this post will cover how long coffee generally lasts and how to preserve it for longer.
How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh?
Coffee beans, coffee grounds, brewed coffee, and instant coffee all differ in how long they usually last. Let’s take a look at each to find out!
Brewed coffee lasts for about an hour or so. You can increase its shelf life by a few hours by storing it in a thermos for later use. But even then, you should drink your brewed coffee on the same day to save it from going rancid.
On the other hand, cold-brewed coffee generally lasts for a longer time than hot-brewed. You can store your hot coffee in the fridge in an airtight carafe for many weeks. However, most coffee drinkers want to get the most taste and freshness out of their coffee. Therefore, it is best to consume your leftover coffee within the first few days of brewing.
Whole Coffee Beans
Coffee beans last the longest out of all other forms. They can stay fresh for up to three months (sometimes more). The shelf life of roasted beans depends on how freshly roasted they are. I recommend that you only grind as much as you need at a given time. That way, you can store your beans for longer.
Ground coffee goes rancid much faster than coffee beans. When you roast coffee beans, their oils and aroma escape onto the surface. This way, they contact the moisture in the air, making them go rancid. So, it’s best only to grind as much as you need!
Pre-ground coffee can last from a week to a month before the packet starts losing its flavor and freshness.
Can You Freeze Coffee or Coffee Beans to Make Them Last Longer?
Whether it’s coffee or coffee beans, the four primary elements that cause it to lose its freshness are air, moisture, light, and heat. So freezing them seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? Well, here is why it is not.
Since coffee beans are porous, they’re bound to absorb smells quite quickly. If you store them in your freezer, where you may be freezing fish, meat, and canned food, they might absorb those odors. Your refrigerator’s damp environment might even cause your coffee beans to mature quicker than they would in a dry cupboard.
Freezing your coffee can also reduce its oil, taste, and odor, making it go rancid.
How Do You Store Coffee for Later Use?
If you’ve got an ample amount of coffee beans, I suggest you invite over some friends for brunch. That way, everyone can enjoy a flavorful cup of coffee. But if that is not an option for you, check out some of our storing methods.
Your coffee beans should be away from light, oxygen, moisture, and heat. One way to save them is to keep them in the sealed opaque bag they came in. If your bag is of low quality or doesn’t have a proper seal, transfer the coffee into an opaque, airtight container instead.
In addition, instead of leaving the container on the tabletop, store it in a dark, cold area to prevent any light and heat from getting in. This will keep your coffee beans fresh for longer.
Tips to Keep Coffee Fresh for Long
Now that you know how to store your coffee, I’m going to go a step further and give you some suggestions to keep your coffee fresh for a long time.
- Only buy the required amount: You want to buy as much coffee as you can consume within a week or two. If you purchase in excess, it will lose its aroma and flavor over time.
- Seal the container tightly: After you’ve taken out the right amount, make sure to seal the container properly. Oxygen can cause your coffee to degrade within a few days. So, keep your coffee in an airtight container.
- Store in a dark, dry place: Although placing your coffee container on your countertop sounds like a great idea, it is not. Light can ruin the coffee beans and decrease their shelf life. That is also why you shouldn’t keep your container near the windows.
- Only grind as much as you need: Since coffee grounds can’t be stored for as long as coffee beans, only grind as much as you plan to consume. It may be more time-consuming, but grinding more and using it later will cause your coffee to lose its freshness.
Coffee doesn’t necessarily go bad, but it does lose its aroma and flavor, making it more unpleasant to drink. Most coffee lovers will agree that there is nothing like a cup of fresh coffee.
While coffee doesn’t have an expiration date, and drinking stale coffee won’t make you sick, it’s best to get fresh and flavorful coffee every time for the ultimate experience. But if you have no choice but to store it, place it in an airtight container away from sunlight!