For a coffee connoisseur, there is nothing that sets your morning off quite like a cup of coffee that’s missing the flavor and aroma to turn on your brain. For that not to happen to you - I have put this article together – explaining how long coffee beans can last, symptoms to look out for to know when they have gone bad, and simple measures take to maximize the richness of a coffee’s life. Let’s dive right in!
Do coffee beans really expire?
Technically, no! Large coffee manufactures make full use of the fact that coffee beans don’t really go bad and so avoid putting any expiration date on the package. Coffee beans are some of the most shelf-stable dry goods you can find in a supermarket. It may take a few years before officially certifying a coffee bag to be stale.
That being said, if you care about how your coffee taste and the subtler aspects of the bean it is really best to have it in about seven to ten days after the bean is roasted. If this is not possible you can aim to use it before it spends longer than a month in the pantry. Or, you could consider freezing the beans (discussed more below). Anything after, the coffee tends to lose its freshness.
This is because of the ‘degassing’, where they release carbon dioxide, that to coffee goes through during the roasting process. It is for this reason that you may find these one-way valve holes in coffee bags – to allow carbon dioxide to escape and block oxygen or moisture from entering in.
Making Coffee last longer
Buying the right beans
Buying fresh whole beans will make your coffee last longer. Although there is no expiration date, be sure to check for the ‘roasted on’ date to gauge the freshness of the coffee bean. Ideally you would want to buy a bag that’s roasted within the week, when possible.
Invest into an airtight container that can hold the entire bean content when the coffee bag is opened. You want it sealed and left in a dark, cool compartment as exposure to light and heat can cause the coffee to lose its freshness. You can avoid storing any coffee in grinder.
Quality Coffee grinder
Purchase a high-quality grinder that can allow you to grind coffee beans at home. You can avoid the pre-grinded store-bought packages, and can make fresh coffee grinding only as needed per use.
As soon as you open a coffee packet, it’s a ticking time bomb moving toward staleness. You can look to see how to complete the open pack as early as possible, and not leave them sitting around for too long. You can opt for the same coffee brand as others living with you.
Can you freeze the bean?
A common option seems to be going around is to freeze the coffee bean in sealable bags. This is usually not recommended as it can cause some changes to the beans flavor, removing the freshness.
As mentioned, coffee beans generally don’t go stale for quite a long time. Freezing it and extending its already prolonged shelf life seems pointless. But if you have scored a special coffee batch and want to save if for future cups – freezing it might be your best option.
Just remember to only remove small number of beans every few days, and keep the rest tightly packed in a sealed bag in the freezer to avoid any moisture from forming on them.
How to tell when the coffee has gone stale?
When purchasing coffee from a store, ensure that their bags have the necessary air valves for gas releases. If the bags don’t have any holes, you can safely conclude that the coffee has already gone stale.
There are few other simple things to to keep an eye out for stale coffee -
- Serious lack of flavor
- Intense bitterness
- Leaving a bad aftertaste
- Look dry up
- Have a dull and matte texture
- No glossiness that usually comes from the oils
- Lack of smell from the bean directly
- Especially lacking when being brewed
Conduct this simple residue test: Take a handful of coffee bean, gently squeeze them and let them down. Look for the amount of residue that is left on your hands. The more the residue, the more oils flavor are left intact.
Making the coffee last long is really a decision you have to take. You can either get rid of the coffee or stick with them to brew a subpar coffee. It really comes down you how sensitive you are your coffees taste. If you don’t notice any difference with old coffee beans, then keep using them.
Hope this article has helped you take care of your coffee health habit. Please feel free to share your comments below!