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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?



If you’re a coffee-lover and have jars stacked with coffee grounds in your cabinet, you may have found yourself wondering, ‘how long do coffee grounds last’?

As one of the world’s most consumed beverages, coffee is present in most pantries. It’s rich in antioxidants, helps burn access fat, and gives you the boost of energy you need.

How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?

This won’t be too helpful for those who enjoy instant coffee, but if you’re looking to learn more about how to create coffee grounds from the coffee bean, this article can bring you helpful tips on what to do to store your coffee ground.

Sadly, coffee grounds have a shelf life. They may not make you sick like any other expired item, but they’ll start tasting odd after a certain amount of time.

In this article, we’ll discuss how long you can keep coffee grounds in your pantry before throwing them out. You’ll also know how you can store them properly to preserve their flavor and make your coffee last.

How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?

coffee beans, ground, and instant on a wooden surface
Coffee beans, ground, and instant on a wooden surface.

If you think coffee, whether in the form of beans or grounds, goes bad, it doesn’t. Instead, it loses its taste over time.

Unopened or sealed coffee grounds can last for 3-5 months after the best-by date mentioned on the package.

You must store the package in a dry area, away from any heat sources, to extend the shelf life. If you are thinking about storing your unopened coffee grounds later, you can put them in the freezer.

You shouldn’t worry about any mold forming with packages. As long as there’s no moisture inside the container or bag, your coffee should be good for 1-2 years beyond the best-by date.

If you’ve decided to open the coffee bag, your grounds will last 3-5 months in the pantry and the freezer. However, the taste will be at its peak for two weeks at room temperature and 1 month in the freezer.

How To Know If Your Coffee Grounds Are No Longer Consumable?

coffee beans in their ground
Close-up of coffee beans in ground beans.

Here are some ways to check whether your coffee has ‘gone bad’:

1. Look inside

mold on coffee grounds
Mold on coffee grounds.
  • If water somehow got inside, you might be able to see mold forming. In that case, it’s time to throw it away.
  • If you don’t see any mold, but the coffee grounds are wet, they are still not useable, and you should discard them.
  • If the grounds have a lighter color than before, that’s a sign that they are going stale. While they may still be consumable, they’ll probably not taste too good.
  • Your coffee is okay if it’s dry and the color seems fine.

2. Give them a sniff

used coffee grounds in ashtrays
Used coffee grounds in ashtrays.

If your coffee grounds look fine, it’s time to check the aroma

  • Bad coffee grounds will lose their scent due to the oils in the coffee oxidizing and going rancid.
  • Some people describe it as smelling like cardboard. It won’t be a strong smell, but it’ll still be unpleasant.
  • Sometimes the grounds won’t smell like anything at all.

3. Taste them

coffee grounds in hot water in a ceramic
Coffee grounds in hot water in a ceramic.

If your coffee grounds have passed the sniff test, try brewing them and giving them a taste.

  • If the coffee tastes sour, you can throw away the grounds.
  • Sometimes the coffee might not taste sour, but it won’t be as strong as before. That also means that you should discard the grounds. Don’t worry about getting sick from that coffee! Even if the coffee is expired, it won’t affect your health.

Ways Of Storing Coffee Grounds

· In the pantry

coffee grounds in a foil bag
Coffee grounds in a foil bag.

You can keep them in their packaging if you want, but it’ll be difficult for you to seal the bag properly. You need to keep out oxygen, which will be challenging unless the bag is sealable.

This is why storing your coffee grounds in an airtight container is the way to go. Make sure that your container is dry.

If your grounds get wet, they’ll get moldy, and you’ll have to throw them all away. Once you have put them in, close the container tightly to ensure no moisture goes inside.

Then you can store it in a suitable spot. Remember, any light or heat source will bring down the quality of your coffee, so place it in a dark, cool area such as a cupboard or your pantry.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that coffee is highly absorbent. It will ‘soak in’ the flavors and scents of the items surrounding it.

That’s another reason why keeping the grounds in an airtight container is essential. That’ll keep them good for 3-5 months.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can purchase storage products designed for storing coffee.

A foil barrier bag or a coffee vacuum storage container will keep moisture and light out of your ground coffee. You will still need to place it away from any heat source.

The better thing to do would be to store some grounds in a smaller container. You can use these for your first few cups of coffee without opening the larger container.

This way, you can keep it away from light and moisture for a longer time, preserving the flavor.

You can check out this video for a better understanding:

· In the freezer

ground coffee in a clear bag
Ground coffee in a clear bag.

If you want to make your ground coffee last longer, you can freeze them. Simply place your bag of coffee grounds in the freezer! This method only works if your bag is unopened.

That’ll keep them good for up to 2 years. If you’ve opened the bag, freezing them won’t make much of a difference since they’ll last 3-5 months which is the same period as their pantry shelf life.


How long can roasted coffee beans last?

Considering that you store your beans in a dry, cool area, sealed or unopened roasted coffee bean bags will last until the date mentioned on the packaging.

When you open the beans, they can stay fresh for up to 3 weeks, but in order to preserve their taste, you will have to store them in a dry container that doesn’t expose the beans to light.

How long can brewed coffee and espresso last?

It’s a common belief that brewed coffee (hot) should be consumed within 30 minutes or else it’ll go bad. However, if you drink fresh coffee or espresso without any milk or cream added, the taste will remain the same for up to 4 hours.

You can even store it in the fridge in a sealed container. It will last about 4 days, but the taste might deteriorate during that time.

If your coffee has milk, it’ll be best to consume it within 2 hours. You can put this in the refrigerator as well, but again, the taste won’t be the same.

On the other hand, cold brew will last up to a week in the fridge, but it’s best to consume it within 3 days.

What happens if you drink spoiled coffee?

Coffee doesn’t go bad, but if you leave it out for a long time, the beans can go rancid, and the taste quality will decline. Other than that, it won’t affect you much.

However, if you have brewed coffee sitting around for a long time, it will eventually get moldy. While drinking stale coffee won’t have severe side effects, you may still feel a slight stomach ache.


If you’re a regular coffee drinker, the shelf life shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s best to store your grounds properly to keep them tasting fresh for a good deal of time.

You can freeze unopened coffee grounds for 1-2 years, but they’ll only last 3-5 months in the pantry.

Remember to store them in an airtight container after opening. Be sure to place the container in a dark cupboard to keep the coffee from going bad for 3-5 months.

There are multiple ways to check if your coffee has gone bad. Good coffee grounds should be dry and have a dark color. They should have a pleasant aroma and shouldn’t taste stale.

Even if you can lock in some freshness with these tips, purchasing the right amount of coffee grounds is better in order to have some good, strong cups of coffee every day!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Adeena Tariq

Adeena is a freelance content writer and cooking enthusiast from Pakistan. She is currently a business student, and when she wants a break from her studies, writing on her favorite topics and cooking yummy dishes are her favorite things to do.

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