“Does coffee spoil?” “How long is coffee good for?” “What's the best way to store coffee?”
We receive a lot of questions about coffee and freshness. The answer depends on where the coffee is in the cycle of roasting, grinding and brewing.
Green coffee keeps for months, but once roasted, most whole bean coffees start to stale in about 2-3 weeks. Why? Because the roasting process releases CO2 gas from the beans. As long as the beans are releasing the gas, they stay fresh. Once the CO2 gas is gone, the beans slowly start to lose flavor and quality. Ground coffee releases the CO2 much more quickly, often in less than an hour, so ground coffee goes stale much more quickly.
After 3 months, roasted coffee goes through a second chemical change, harming the flavor even more, but it doesn't actually spoil unless the beans get wet. Brewed coffe is more delicate. Keeping brewed coffee over heat can burn it and if left out at room temperature, brewed coffee will eventually grow mold. Yuck!
Here are some quick tips for finding fresh coffee and keeping it fresh:
Since there is no legal definition for "fresh roasted," look for coffee with a “roasted on” date and only buy coffee that was roasted within the last week or two.
Choose whole bean coffee and grind it right before you brew it.
If you'll use the coffee within a month of roasting, store it at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and away from heat. If you need the coffee to last longer than a month, freeze it in its original bag. DO NOT refrigerate coffee beans. Unless the container/bag is absolutely airtight, the coffee will absorb orders and flavors from your 'fridge, resulting in a fresher smelling refrigerator and funky tasting coffee.
DO refrigerate leftover brewed coffee. It's good served over ice or reheated (very carefully!) in the microwave. It can also be frozen into cubes for a great way to ice your coffee without diluting it.
Have other questions about coffee? All you have to do is Ask the Roaster.