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How long does coffee last? How to store coffee to preserve freshness?

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The shelf life of coffee

Before we get into how to store coffee, you must be well aware of the shelf life of each type of coffee. How long does coffee stay good? Can coffee go bad? Are the lives of different types of coffee also different? Ground coffee or whole beans last long? How long is brewed coffee good for?  And most importantly which factors deteriorate the coffee.

Types of coffee vary in their storage life. It depends on how they are grown, by what means they were harvested, and how they are refined. Let’s discuss how long coffee lasts before it actually expires.

The shelf life of whole coffee beans

Does coffee beans go bad? No, they never go bad. That is why they do not have an expiration date. Of all the coffee types, coffee beans last longer.

Coffee beans last for six to nine months if they are stored in a pantry. And their shelf life increases to two to three years when you store them in a freezer.

However, when you roast the coffee beans, they remain fresh for about seven to ten days. Do you want to know why they lose their freshness? It is because of the natural degassing process that occurs during roasting. Degassing allows beans to release unwanted carbon dioxide.

Now you understand why coffee bags have a hole. This hole allows carbon dioxide to escape but prevents oxygen and moisture from entering. But, a time comes, when all of the carbon dioxides is released and starts to absorb oxygen which leads to their oxidation, and what happens? They start to deteriorate. So, they do not remain fresh for so long. The hole is just a temporary arrangement.

The shelf life of ground coffee

The shelf life of ground coffee is very less as compared to beans and other types. But how long will ground coffee stay fresh? It lasts for about a week to a few months. After opening ground coffee, it is better to use it within two weeks because it loses its freshness quickly.

But why is this short-lived? The characteristic aroma, flavor, and delicate oils of coffee are stored well inside coffee beans. When they are roasted, these oils come to the surface and are released. And as you know grinding increases the surface area, so more oil tends to release and as a result, it does not remain fresh anymore.

Therefore, roasted coffee beans have less shelf life than non-roasted ones and ground coffee has even less than that.

The shelf life of brewed coffee

How long brewed coffee lasts? Brewed coffee does not last long. Brewed coffee must be consumed the same day because its taste starts to alter just after thirty minutes or when it starts to cool. However, you can store it for three to four days in the fridge.

The shelf life of instant coffee

Instant coffee can last for about two to twenty years. Yes, it does. But once opened, it is better to use it within twelve to eighteen months.

Besides all these, personal storage methods greatly affect whether coffee has gone good or bad. We will also discuss them in this article.

Which factors affect the quality of the coffee?

Now we should talk about the methods of storage of coffee. But before you learn how to store coffee, you must be aware of the factors that degrade the coffee. It is just like that first you sort out the reason for the problem before you find out the solution. So, it is necessary to discuss these factors.

Following are the factors that greatly affect the quality of coffee beans.

Factors which affect coffee

1. Humidity

If coffee beans are left uncovered and they get exposed to moisture in the environment, coffee will go bad. So, always store coffee in a dry and cool place, particularly roasted coffee beans.

2. Light

Light can deteriorate the coffee beans. Even if you have stored it in glass jars, light can enter into it. Hence, keep the jar in a dark place and protect it from direct light.

3. Heat

Exposure of coffee beans to heat will alter the taste of coffee and it will go bad. However, roasted coffee beans can resist heat.

4. Oxygen

Once the coffee is revealed to oxygen in the environment, it starts to oxidize. Due to oxidation, the characteristic aroma and taste of coffee go bad. The coffee stale within a few days. Coffee and oxygen cannot be mixed.

So, the above-mentioned factors are the worst enemies of your coffee.

How to store coffee to preserve freshness?

How do you store coffee long term? What can we do to keep it fresh? A slight mistake in the storage methods of coffee can lead to its wastage. So, to keep it fresh for the maximum time, you should know the right way to store coffee properly.

But you do not need to worry. You are in the right place. Just go ahead. Let’s discuss all the methods one by one.

1. Always buy a sufficient amount of coffee

This is very important if you always want to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. Always purchase the right amount of coffee. What is the right amount? You can buy coffee that you can consume within one to two weeks. Because it does not remain fresh for a long time. Then why buy a lot of coffee and then waste it. It is better to buy it every two weeks.

If you are going to buy whole bean coffee, then buy the amount enough for a month. Do not buy too much of them because they won’t stay fresh. You might be grinding all the beans altogether and then store them in a jar so that you do not need to struggle again and again. But this is the worst mistake you could have ever made. Make sure that you only grind beans needed at the moment before you brew your coffee.

If grinding coffee beans time after time sucks you, you can also go for the ground coffee available in the market but do not buy for more than two weeks. One more tip is that always buy coffee beans that are freshly roasted because roasted coffee immediately loses its freshness after some time. Therefore, they are stored in valve-sealed bags to preserve their freshness. This is the best type of packaging.

Cutting short, try to buy coffee in small batches because the fresher the coffee is, the better it tastes.  

2. Store the coffee in containers

You are well aware that coffee starts to lose its freshness as soon as it is opened. So, storing the coffee in containers can help you in this regard. What kind of containers can you use for this purpose? Well, to prevent the coffee from going bad, store it in airtight containers.

Invest in good quality airtight jars and transfer the coffee soon after opening.

And for additional benefits, use opaque glass, ceramic, or non-reactive metal jars for storage. The opaque container does not allow the light to enter.

One most frequently asked question is that can coffee be stored in plastic containers? 

Store coffee in containers

Yes, you can store it in plastic containers but then store them in a dark place. However, glass containers are preferable over plastic jars.

So, what is the best container to store coffee in? It should have all the qualities mentioned above. But we have some names for you. Planetary Design Airscape, Tightvac Coffeevac, and BeanSafe: The Coffee Storage Solution is among the top containers for storing coffee.

3. Protect coffee from moisture

Moisture can deteriorate the coffee badly and an excess of moisture may lead the coffee to develop a sour taste and bad smell. It is of no use. So, try to protect it from the moisture. Always store the coffee in a dry place that is miles away from moisture and save it from a humid environment.

Here is a point to ponder. We sometimes store coffee in the fridge or freezer. We open and close the door again and again and what happens? Condensation takes place. This freeze and thaw cycle can introduce moisture into the coffee and it degrades.

Still, if you are storing coffee in the fridge or freezer, then store it in a small amount and in airtight containers to provide maximum protection.

4. Protect coffee from light

We have already discussed above that light can affect the quality of the coffee. Glass containers or jars appear appealing and become more attractive when filled with coffee. But they also allow the light to enter.

Then what we should do now. You can go for opaque containers. They keep the light away. Always put the container in a cabinet or any other dark place where the light does not have direct access.

This is how you can protect your coffee from direct light.

5. Protect coffee from the heat

Store the coffee at the right temperature. Do not put it in the fridge or freezer but also do not keep it in a hot place. Because heat alters the actual taste of the coffee. Store the coffee away from the oven, stove, and other hot appliances. Also if you are keeping it on the shelf, it should be away from the sunlight. It would be great if you store it in a cabinet.

Protect coffee from heat

6. Protect coffee from air

If you want to keep your coffee fresh, avoid its exposure to air. When you open the coffee, do not leave it as it is. Immediately, transfer it to airtight containers. It is better to use small jars as they have less space to accommodate air so coffee will not be exposed to oxygen. Use especially designed airtight containers for this purpose.

Specially designed coffee canisters or coffee vaults can solve all your problems of moisture, heat, light, and air. Give them a try.

Can we store coffee in the refrigerator or freezer?

Many people believe that freezing prolongs the life of food. This is true for some but this tip does not apply to all. Coffee falls in the second category.

Actually, coffee has pores and it is permeable. It is soft and absorbs odors easily. So, if your freezer is loaded with foodstuff, its odor will penetrate in coffee and it will lose its own characteristic aroma and taste. Ugh, then how can it stay fresh. It will last and probably longer. You can still use it. But it will have the same aroma and taste.

Hence, it is never recommended to store coffee in the fridge or freezer.

You can check out some Popular Types of Coffee Beans in the World.

Final words

How long does coffee last? How do you store coffee long term? Does storing coffee in the fridge keep it fresh or not? We have discussed all of these in detail in this article. We hope storing coffee is not a big deal for you now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does coffee last in the fridge?

A: After brewing the coffee, it can last for three to four days. But it is better to consume it within twelve hours rather than storing it in the freezer. We have already discussed the reasons for it in this article.

Q: How long does instant coffee last?

A: Instant coffee can last for two to twenty years in the pantry and even more in the freezer.

Q: How to store ground coffee long term?

A: If you want to store ground coffee long term, keep it away from moisture and light. Store it in a cool and dry place. It is better to not store it in the refrigerator.

Q: How long will ground coffee stay fresh?

A: If you have properly stored ground coffee and followed all the instructions mentioned above, it can stay fresh for about one to two weeks.

Q: Can you store ground coffee in a mason jar?

A: Yes, you can store ground coffee in a mason jar. It is an airtight container and works great for this purpose.

Q: Should you keep ground coffee in the fridge?

A: No, it is not recommended to keep ground coffee in the fridge. Although a cool place is required for its storage, keeping the coffee in the fridge will allow the mixture to penetrate and it will be degraded.

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