How Long Do Roasted Coffee Beans Last?

In this post we will talk about the best methods of storing your coffee to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

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woman taking roasted coffee beans from roasting machine

Nothing beats a cup of coffee in the morning, particularly a fresh brew made with ground beans, but how long do roasted coffee beans last? It’s a much better way of preparing the drink in comparison to instant granules, and many people have impressive coffee machines, but if your household doesn’t drink a lot it can be a concern how long the beans can be on the shelf for.

Do Coffee Beans Go Off?

Coffee beans are just like any other fresh produce, and will go off eventually. They have a relatively long shelf life, though, so there’s no need to be changing them around as often as every week, but you should be aware of what it means when the beans go off, and how it affects the end product.

How Long Until Coffee Expires?

The shelf life of coffee will be affected by two main factors: the type of coffee, and how it is stored.

Ground Coffee

If ground coffee is in a packet that remains unopened, it will be absolutely fine to use for up to five months after its use before date if you have stored it in the pantry, or for up to two years if you store it in the freezer. If the package has been opened it will be fine for up to five months after the use by date if stored in the panty, or five months if stored in the freezer.

Whole Coffee Bean

If whole coffee beans are in packets that remain unopened, they will be good to use for up to nine months beyond the use by date if they are stored in the pantry, or three years beyond the use by date if stored in the freezer. If, on the other hand, the packet has been opened, they will be fine to use for up to six months after the printed date if stored in the pantry, and two years if kept in the freezer.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee, whether it has been opened or not, can be good to use for up to 20 years if stored in the pantry, and indefinitely if kept in the freezer.

So, if you’re wondering ‘how long do coffee beans last once opened?’, then you can see from this that the storage method and way the bean has been prepared will determine that.

How Do I Know if the Coffee Has Gone Off?

The first thing to note is that if coffee has gone off it won’t be dangerous to drink, it will simply lose most of its flavors. The taste comes from the oils the beans contain, and the oils start to evaporate as soon as they are exposed to air. This means the beans will simply not contain anywhere near as much of the nutrients that make the perfect drink.

The beans may look exactly the same, but the best way to tell if they have gone off is by smell. They will lose the rich, warm notes, and won’t smell of much at all. Sometimes that color may lose its depth and be a lighter brown.

If this has happened you can either throw them away and get some new, fresh beans, or use a larger quantity in each cup to make up for the fact the flavor won’t be as strong.

Extending the Shelf Life of Roasted Coffee Beans

If you don’t think you’ll finish your coffee before it starts to go off you can consider a number of things that will help to extend its shelf life. The reason why coffee goes off is mainly because the oils start to evaporate. As with other food stuff, this happens quicker with a larger surface area, so ground coffee will start to spoil a lot sooner than the whole bean. Because of this, it is better to only grind the beans when you want to use them, rather than doing them all at once.

The best way to extend the life of your coffee, no matter its state, is by putting it in the freezer. This won’t actually freeze it, so it will be ready to use straight away after taking out, but the colder temperatures prevent the evaporation.


Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Lots of different types are available, and for those who like the various flavors it’s important to keep it as fresh as possible to create the perfect drink. It may not always be feasible to consume all of the coffee you have within the recommended time, so if you’re wondering ‘how long do roasted coffee beans last?’, you’ll be pleased to know that it will always be safe to use, it may just lose a lot of its flavor.

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