Shelf Life of
Coffee

How Long Does Coffee Last?

How Long Does Coffee Last?

Shelf Life of Coffee

How long does coffee last? Does coffee expire? The shelf life of coffee depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date, preparation method and how the coffee was stored. Because of Coffee’s addicting flavor and proven health benefits (yes, after all the bad press studies now show that a morning cup of java is actually good for your heart!) it is one of the most popular drinks in the world (just in case you missed the Starbucks on every corner!). Coffee is used in many types of dishes, including yummy baked goods.

So, how long does coffee last past the best before date? When properly stored, the shelf life of coffee past its best before date is approximately …

(Unopened/Sealed) Pantry Freezer
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Ground Coffee lasts for 3-5 Months 1-2 Years
Whole Bean Coffee lasts for 6-9 Months 2-3 Years
Instant Coffee lasts for 2-20 Years Indefinite
(Opened) Pantry Freezer
Once Opened Once Opened
Ground Coffee lasts for 3-5 Months 3-5 Months
Coffee Beans last for 6 Months 2 Years
Instant Coffee (freeze dried) lasts for 2-20 Years Indefinite





Of course, the shelf life is shorter if it is not stored properly. However, in terms of the shelf life of coffee, how long coffee lasts, and if coffee expires – it does not matter whether it has caffeine or is decaffeinated. Like a lot of other drinks, it usually has a best before date or a sell by date and not a use by date or expiration date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite meals even after the date has lapsed according to the above table if it has been stored properly.

How to tell if coffee is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety discipline will help prevent food borne illness.
Since coffee basically looks the same with age, many ask does coffee go bad? The best way to tell if it has gone bad is to use your nose. If coffee has gone bad, the pleasant aroma will be gone and with it much of the taste. Using this coffee will not harm you, but will just not have much flavor if the smell is gone. It may also lose it’s deep dark color and appear a lighter brown. Coffee beans begin to slowly lose their flavor soon after grinding as the oils begin to evaporate. How long you choose to use your coffee after the best by date really depends on how particular you are about the taste of your coffee. Some prefer not to use it and some may use it even after the eat by date (not recommended) but use an increased amount to regain the stronger coffee taste.
Always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your drinks prior to their eat by date.

How to store coffee to extend its shelf life?

Proper storage is the key to extending the expiration date.
Coffee does degrade over time and degrades faster depending on the surface area – which means that whole beans will keep longer than ground coffee, just like spices. So it is best to buy whole beans and then grind them as needed for maximum freshness. The best way to store these beans is to place them in a tightly closed container in the freezer and grind fresh only the amount you plan to use that day. Storing coffee in this way will keep out moisture and other contaminants.

The best way to store ground coffee to keep it fresh longer is by also storing it in your freezer immediately after use. Storing coffee in the freezer does not actually freeze the coffee, so it is always ready for use without any defrosting.

Instant coffee, especially freeze dried since it is so dry, can keep fresh for extended amounts of time if vacuum sealed and kept away from moisture and heat.

If prepared coffee is left out on the counter, it should be used within 4-6 hours. Re-heating is not recommended because it further breaks down the product. Try a thermos instead to keep it warm and better tasting for a few hours.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

What are some interesting Facts about coffee?

  • The only difference between decaf and regular is the amount of caffeine. Since coffee beans are naturally caffeinated, the decaf beans are put through a process to remove 97-99% of the caffeine from the beans.
  • Large amounts of caffeine can be lethal to dogs, read our post on what dogs eat to find out more.

  • What to do with extra coffee?

    If you made too much this morning and don’t want to toss it down the drain try one of these ideas.

  • Pour the cooled coffee into a blender along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, milk, a handful of ice and a teaspoon of vanilla. Whip that up for a yummy treat of coffee milkshake that will surely get you through the rest of the day!
  • Pour it into old ice cube trays (those old plastic ones that you don’t know what to do with). You can freeze them and then throw the cubes into gravy as a browning agent.
  • Use prepared coffee in place of water in your vanilla or chocolate cake recipe to give it a mocha flavor.

  • How long is coffee good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does coffee last? That depends. How long does milk last? In general, drinks lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the recipe. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

    Search the Shelf Life Guide!


    What are our shelf life resources?

    Our shelf life of coffee content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and shelf life.

    *An important note about expiration dates …

    Although the coffee shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not the replacement of your health care provider. Please drink responsibly!