Coffee is a staple household pantry in most homes and most people prefer buying in bulk and keeping it at home. The recommended method of storage is the freezing method where an unopened pack of coffee can be used 1-2 years after the best before date.
How long does vacuum-packed coffee last? The shelf life for coffee beans or grounded packed coffee is dependent on several factors. These variables include the best before date, the storage method of the coffee and the quality of the coffee. An unopened pack of coffee ground stored under proper conditions (pantry) can be used 3 to 4 months after the best before the date indicated on the package and the coffee beans can be used 6 to 8 months.
Keep reading find out about the best methods for storing coffee, how to tell spoilt coffee and other coffee-related issues.
Methods of Storing Coffee to expand its Life Span
Once you open the package, it is recommended you consume the coffee between the next two to three weeks. With the opened pack stored in the freezer, you can consume the coffee for up to one month. The difference between the life span for open and unopened coffee is because coffee begins to lose its quality fast after it is opened.
Grinding Coffee can sometimes be a long tiresome process, especially, if what you want is to ingest your daily dose of caffeine. As such, you may end up purchasing vacuum-packed grounded coffee. If this is the case, you need to store the vacuum-packed coffee well to make sure it retains its flavor and components for as long as possible. Below are some approved methods for storage.
Use an Airtight Container
The most recommended method of storing grounded coffee is placing it in an airtight container like this in a dry area. The fastest way to spoil your grounded coffee is by exposing it to moisture. Coffee grounds are small particles with a large surface area exposed to all sorts of elements that may accelerate the coffee to lose its taste and flavor.
Therefore, once you open your vacuum-packed coffee, you want to make sure you place it in a container with a good seal. An airtight container keeps moisture and air away. When the flow of air within the coffee grounds is reduced, the coffee retains its taste for longer.
If you have purchased a significantly large amount of coffee and you do not intend to consume it all at once, here is a tip. Divide the coffee into two. Store most of it in a large container and some coffee in a smaller container for your frequent use. This means that most of the coffee will be stored away from air, therefore, maintaining a longer life span.
The best material for the airtight container is Glass, Stainless Steel or Ceramic. The container should be placed away from light. This, therefore, means the best container to use is a ceramic container.
This method of storing coffee grounds has for the longest time, raised a debate on its viability. Some have harbored believes that freezing is the best method to maintain the freshness of your coffee while others have voiced out the negative effects of freezing coffee.
While else freezing expands the shelf life of coffee, extensive freezing eventually diminishes the flavor from your coffee. Similarly taking your coffee in and out of the freezer quickens the rate at which it loses its flavor.
However, this does not rule out freezing as a method of storing coffee. Therefore, when you want to freeze your grounds, place them in an airtight container and then put it in the freezer. Frozen coffee does not require defrosting, it should be consumed directly as it is.
Alternatively, if you are looking to store vacuum-packed coffee for a long time, it is recommended you use a food Saver Bag. So, place the coffee packages in the Food Saver bag and vacuum seal them then store it in a freezer. When sealing, leave a small opening to open and reseal.
When you need a pack from the frozen coffee, get the amount you will need and place the rest back to the freezer.
With these two methods of storing coffee, the life of your vacuumed coffee is expanded; airtight containers increase the expiry period with 2-3 weeks while freezing increases it with up to 1-2 years.
How to Spot Spoilt Coffee
Does coffee go bad? The answer is yes. Although consuming spoilt coffee hardly brings about health issues, it does go bad. It is hard to tell expired coffee especially since coffee retains its original outward appearance even after it has spoilt.
So how do you tell that your coffee is spoilt? The fastest and easiest way to tell stale coffee is by smelling it. If your coffee has lost that strong aroma, there are high chances that it has spoilt.
To be sure about the status of your favorite coffee, you can brew it. Coffee brewed from stale grounds usually has reduced flavors and a disgusting bitter taste. With those characteristics, you do not need a whistleblower to alert you that your grounds are spoilt.
The other way to identify stale coffee is if it has molds growing on it. The growth of molds on coffee is usually because the grounds have been exposed to moisture or water. For this method, once you sight molds on your coffee, get rid of it.
Note that brewing coffee with molds is one of the occasions that can lead to food poisoning. The presence of water in coffee also encourages the growth of bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
How long Does Brewed Coffee last
Have you tried to consume brewed coffee after it has been left standing for a day? How did it taste? Pathetic right? That is because of oxidation. Oxidation is the one process that we rely on to obtain all the oils, flavors, and components of coffee. It starts immediately the grounds are roasted and is accelerated when the grounds are exposed to hot water.
Oxidation is also the same process that makes brewed coffee in a mug to taste bad after it has been sitting around for a day. After 60 minutes, oxidation on the coffee grounds is usually past the pleasant stage.
The PH level of the coffee rises and the coffee gains a bitter taste. Therefore, it is recommended you drink your coffee at least 60 minutes after brewing.
However, for the best coffee experience, of all the flavor and oils of coffee, drink it within 30 minutes of brewing. If you wish to consume your brewed coffee for the whole day, you can place it in a thermos flask. It slows down the loss of flavors.
Methods of Storing Brewed Coffee
First, remove the brewed coffee away from the source of heat. Heat accelerates the rate of oxidation quickening the rate at which coffee loses its flavors. As such, coffee exposed to heat for a long time has a bitter taste.
Once the coffee is cool, you can place it in the fridge and enjoy a cold drink later. Note that coffee placed in a fridge is best consumed within a few days. This is because the heat originally exposed to the coffee, which alters the taste of the coffee.
How Long Do Coffee Bean Last
Whole coffee beans can last 6- 12 months after roasting. However, if you are intentional about experiencing the strong aroma and flavor of coffee, it is recommended that you use them 2 to 3 weeks after roasting.
The oils that carry the coffee flavor may dry out affecting the general taste of the coffee. After 1-2 weeks, you begin to notice the reduced scent of coffee. In short, the older the coffee bean the less the flavor in the brewed coffee.
It is, therefore, recommended that you buy coffee beans in small amounts. However, if you already have many coffee beans, do not worry, you can still consume them even after a year of storage.
Methods of Storing Coffee Beans
Airtight Container- storing your excess coffee beans in an airtight opaque container is the best-recommended method for storage. Ensure that you place the container in a dark place away from moisture. This method is best for increasing the lifespan of your coffee by a few weeks. For more: BEST WAY TO STORE COFFEE BEANS AT HOME
Freezing- this method keeps the bean fresh for 6-4 months. Place the coffee beans in an airtight container then place them in a freezer.
Ideally, the coffee bean should not be removed and placed back to the freezer frequently. This reduces their lifespan. Therefore, to hack this condition you can divide the coffee beans into two; the coffee to consume in a week and the rest to be stored.
Can you place coffee beans or grounds in a refrigerator?
No, placing the coffee in any form whether coffee grounds or beans into a refrigerator reduces its life span. The refrigerator has a warm temperature that is not good for storing your coffee. Therefore, if you do not have a freezer and you are living in a hot area, it is recommended you buy coffee in small quantities.
Can Expired Coffee Make You Sick?
As stated above, coffee does not necessarily expire; it becomes stale. Stale coffee has reduced flavor and almost no aroma. This results in a disgusting bitter taste.
Apart from these two effects, drinking stale coffee cannot make you sick. However, this is based on the condition that the coffee does not have molds.
What are Alternative uses for Brewed Coffee Before it Goes Bad?
Your coffee has made it into the morning, congratulations. However, you are not in the mood for caffeine and you still do not want your coffee being washed down the drain. Here are alternative uses for already brewed coffee.
To start you can place the brewed coffee in ice cubes tray and freeze them. You can later use the ice cube coffee as browning agents in a gravy.
Alternatively, you can use the brewed coffee in place of water when backing your cake to achieve that distinct mocha taste.
You can also place coffee in a blender after it has run cold. Add milk, some ice cubes, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream then start your blender. In a matter of minutes, you will be enjoying a scrumptious coffee milkshake.
Related Article: 4 WAYS TO BREW COFFEE WITHOUT A FILTER