Coffee 101: Shelf Life, Proper Storage, and Expired Coffee

Coffee has become a staple in households all over the world. In fact, having a cup of coffee in the morning is often part of the morning routine of most. Many people keep different types of coffees in their pantry to satisfy whatever mood they have. 

Some people make coffee using ground beans. Others have a grinder for their whole beans, while there are those who use coffee pods. No matter what type of coffee you use, it's always good to check if they're still safe to drink.

The great thing about coffee is they don't expire. Even if it goes past its "best before" date, coffee is still safe to consume. However, a stale cup has already lost its flavor and magic. Many factors can affect the longevity of your coffee. Here's a list of what you need to know about coffee's shelf-life to preserve its freshness.

Your coffee's packaging and how you store it matters

Like anything you need to consume, the product's packaging, and how it is stored affect its overall quality. When you package and store your coffee correctly, you keep it from going stale. Ideally, you want to consume your coffee 1-3 weeks from purchase. This is when your coffee is at its best and its highest quality. 

An airtight container will keep your coffee fresh and away from other elements such as moisture and foreign matter. Another thing you should remember is to keep your coffee away from heat and sunlight. These affect the quality of your coffee and can make your coffee go stale fast. 

Your coffee's enemies are light, heat, moisture, and air

You need to keep your coffee in airtight containers and stored in a cabinet because you want to keep them away from their four enemies: light, heat, moisture, and air. These three factors significantly affect your coffee's shelf life and overall quality.

Light and heat increase your coffee's oxidation process, quickly make your coffee lose its key characteristics, and increase its oils. Meanwhile, moisture can put your coffee at risk of getting mold, while air will alter your coffee's flavors and aromas. 

By using airtight and dark containers like amber bottles, you will decrease its chances of absorbing light and heat. Placing them in your cabinet away from strong odors or water systems will help reduce the chances of lowering your coffee's quality.

You have stale coffee, what should you do with it?

Ideally, if you want to drink the best coffee, you'll need to empty your coffee bag three weeks after purchase. If you have coffee beans sitting in your pantry for about a month, you can make cold brew with this batch. But what if you find coffee that’s past its best-before date?

Drinking coffee or beans that are a little over its best-before date is generally acceptable. You'll need to check if this batch of coffees is exposed to the four enemies mentioned previously.

If you found stale coffee that isn't in an airtight container, chances are, these aren't safe for consumption. However, if you find a bag of coffee packaged and stored correctly, it will be safer to drink. You'll have to keep in mind that these coffees have lost their quality over time and you won't be experiencing the best cup of joe. 


Having a great coffee experience is vital to having a good day. Be mindful of how you store your coffees to ensure the best coffee experience every time. Although drinking coffee past its best-before date is usually okay, it is always a good idea to consume your coffee while still at its best quality. Storing your coffee properly will ensure great cups of joe every single time. 

Cafe Joe is an online coffee company in the US that offers different coffee products such as pods, rubs, and snacks. We are a team of coffee lovers who want to give you the best coffee experience at home. Check out our coffee products and start making better coffee at home!

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