Does Coffee Go BAD – 4 things you need to know

Unlike other perishable foods, which start to decay if not properly refrigerated, coffee doesn’t go bad with the passage of time.

Not in the sense, to be precise, that it might end up causing serious effects to your health. If properly kept and stored in a dry place, you don’t have anything to worry when consuming old coffee.


If taste is your primary concern, coffee does start to lose its flavor as well as aroma within 2 weeks of its purchase. It basically depends on a number of factors including the coffee’s packaging, the type of roast and finally, how you store this food item at home.

Hence, if you have found coffee in your cupboard which has been stored in there for quite some time, you can still consume it even long after its best before date. So while dealing with old coffee, here are a few things which one should keep in their mind.

Proper Storage

If you want your coffee to stay fresh for an extended duration, it is imperative to store it in a dry place away from air, light, heat and moisture. All these factors play a pivotal role in degrading the quality of your beverage.  In order to preserve the freshness of the coffee beans, purchase a separate air tight container. If you want comprehensive information on how to buy and store coffee properly, click here.

By storing coffee in an air tight container, you will be able to prolong its shelf life by a considerable amount of time. However, any such container won’t stop the beans from losing their freshness as they will ultimately lose all of their aroma in a matter of few months.

How long does coffee stay fresh?

According to veteran coffee enthusiasts, it is highly recommended to drink coffee within 2 weeks of purchasing it from your nearby marketplace. Even though it won’t go bad after this period, you might still have to be content with a stale cup of Java.

According to an estimate, most of the avid coffee drinkers finish 1lb of coffee within 2 weeks of receiving it. If you belong to any such category of coffee connoisseurs, you won’t have to suffer from this problem one bit. But when you’re reading this article, it means that you’re an infrequent coffee drinker.


There is a major difference between coffee going bad and coffee going stale. When the former condition makes this food item unsuitable for human use, there is no such problem with the latter.  If you just want to consume coffee for a caffeine kick, even a stale cup of coffee might serve your purpose.

Is Old Coffee Safe for Human Use

scoop of coffee

Provided you’ve stored it in a proper place, far away from heat and moisture in a separate air tight container, it is safe to use for years. In fact, if you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might have noticed several super markets keep coffee on their shelves for several months. This is due to the reason that if stored properly, coffee doesn’t go badly for up until many years.

If you’ve recently found old coffee sitting in your cupboard, do not use it if it:

  • Hasn’t been stored in an air tight container
  • Seems wet
  • Develops a foul smell or
  • Shows signs of a bacterial activity e.g. visible mold

While using old coffee, it is imperative that one should use his/or instincts to determine its quality. Just like with any other food item, inspect it carefully to determine whether it is fine to drink it.

How to Tell If Coffee has gone bad

If you’re an experienced coffee-lover, you can tell it by simply with the aroma. A coffee, which has gone bad, should give a rather sour smell. As compared to fresh coffee, it should have a distinct aroma if f you feel any such smell arises out of your purchase, it’s time to throw it out and buy a new batch of coffee.

There is this famous story that a Redditor recently stumbled across a 50 year-old unopened tin of coffee.  He brewed a fresh cup of coffee with it and even though it tasted absolutely terrible, it didn’t do any harm to his health. So if anything, it should tell you a thing or two about the longevity of this particular beverage.


For people looking for a flavorful mug of coffee, there is absolutely no substitute to freshly ground coffee. But if you cannot use it within the limited time frame, make sure to store it in a proper place. Afterward, you can even consume expired coffee and it won’t make you sick.

Want to know a bit more about your favorite drink? Check out some of the most famous books about coffee.


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