Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad? Find Out the Truth!

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Even though we do not think about it, coffee grounds have an expiry date too. So is your coffee okay to eat or have they lost their luster? In this article, we will find out the way to tell if the coffee has gone bad and all the tips to store your coffee properly. 

If you find this interesting, then keep on reading!

Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad? 

All good things eventually come to an end. Your precious coffee beans are no exception. 

If you are anything like us, chances are you have at least two extra coffee grounds containers somewhere in the pantry. But how long are they going to last? 

What if they go stale before you get a chance to enjoy them?

It turns out, even though it’s a dry ingredient, coffee grounds go bad eventually. They go bad because they give a certain shelf life. No matter how well you try to store them, they will eventually become stale. 

Of course, there are a few tricks to keep your coffee fresh for longer. If you are interested, keep on reading!

How to Store Ground Coffee

do coffee grounds go bad

If you want to store ground coffee so it does not go bad within a few months, you need to make sure of a few key things:

  • Buy coffee beans instead of coffee grounds as beans stay fresh for much longer. Grinding coffee beans is time-consuming. But every time you grind them, the smell of fresh coffee will blow you away. There is nothing quite like it. 
  • Store your coffee grounds in an airtight container, preferably a glass one. This prevents the coffee from getting exposed to oxygen thus keeps it fresh. 
  • Keep your coffee beans and grounds in a dry place. Do not store them in the fridge! You’d be surprised by how many people actually store their coffee in the refrigerator. 
  • Moisture is the biggest enemy for your coffee grounds. So try to keep your coffee moisture-free. This prevents them from going stale. 
  • If your coffee container is really big, transfer some to a smaller container and use that one every day. This way all of your coffee grounds do not get daily air exposure. This keeps the oil inside the coffee intact. 

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last 

How long your coffee ground lasts depends on how well you have stored them. If you keep your coffee in an average container, it will go stale within a week. 

If you keep your coffee grounds in a vacuum-sealed container, it can last years without any issue. Once you open the coffee jar, it needs to be consumed within a few months. Keeping the container in a cool, dry place might help to increase the time. 

That’s why we like to store our daily coffee in smaller containers. This keeps the main coffee container intact for longer. 

If you grind your own coffee at home, try to finish it within a month as the quality of the coffee is at its peak during this time. After that, the coffee stays good but the taste deteriorates. This happens because the oil inside starts to dry down. 

How to Tell if Ground Coffee is Bad

expired coffee grounds

There are a few different ways to tell if the coffee ground has gone bad or not. Let us get this out first, always close the lid properly.

We can’t tell you how many times we had to throw away coffee grounds because we forgot to properly close the lid and the coffee turned stale. It’s the worst mistake!

Now that we know what not to do, here’s how you know it’s time to toss out your favorite coffee: 

Molds:

Molds occur when moisture gets inside the coffee jar. Do you use your wet spoon to take coffee out of the container? If so, then no wonder your coffee is all moldy and spoiled. 

Moisture is basically the enemy of coffee or any other dry ingredients. So when you dip a wet spoon, small water particles stay inside and wet the whole coffee. Over time molds can develop and ruin the whole thing. 

Smell:

We all know the smell of good-quality coffee. The smell is very specific and unique.

One of the best ways to know if the coffee is bad is to give it a good sniff. If it smells mellow or dusty, the coffee has probably lost its flavor. 

Flavor:

If you can not tell yet, the best way to know if your coffee is good or not is to brew a cuppa for you. 

Brew a small cup and check if you see any shade difference. Bad coffee has a lighter brew instead of the classic deep black color. Taste the coffee to see if it’s up to your standard. Stale coffee tastes bland. So you will know instantly. 

Coffee Beans vs Coffee Grounds

Coffee Beans vs. Coffee Grounds

This is all about what is convenient to you and what you want from your coffee. If you want a quick way to get your daily coffee, coffee grounds is the way to go.

But if you are looking for a way to store a lot of coffee at home, coffee beans are the best choice. All you need is a coffee grinder and a few minutes. It’s super easy to do. 

We prefer coffee beans as it’s the only way to get fresh coffee every single day. Ground coffee lacks depth and vibrancy as it loses a lot of flavor and oil through the packaging process. 

Coffee beans can last for 1.5 years in a sealed container. 

We already know how long coffee grounds last. We think doing the extra work of grinding the coffee at home is so worth it. 

Should You Freeze Coffee?

This is actually a very debatable topic in the coffee community. Some coffee lovers swear by this method whereas others are strongly opposed to it.

Some believe freezing coffee grounds helps to retain the natural oil that prevents it from getting stale faster. We don’t freeze our coffee nor do we advise you to do so. 

Freezing can add a lot of ice particles to the coffee which can make the coffee go stale. Think about it, we just mentioned moisture is the biggest enemy for coffee grounds.

The refrigerator is all about water and ice. Why would we put out coffee in the freezer then? It does not make sense. 

Yes, keeping your coffee grounds in the freezer might help to keep it slightly fresh. But if you keep it for more than a week, it’s going to become a dull, tasteless powder. So, no, you should never freeze your coffee!

Best Containers for Coffee Grounds/Beans

You might think any airtight container is good enough to store coffee. But we would have to disagree. If you want to keep your coffee fresh for a really long time, investing in a good coffee container is worth it. 

You need something that can vacuum seal and prevent any air circulation. It should either be stainless steel or solid thick glass. 

Simpli-Magic 5 Piece Mason Jars are a great pick as it is both affordable and sturdy with vacuum-sealed technology. You can also use a vacuum sealer to keep your coffee in Ziploc bags. Nutrichef is a classic choice for that. 

Frequently Asked Questions

01. How Long are Coffee Beans Good for? 

Coffee beans can last for a few weeks after roasting. If you roast them, they can last even longer. Usually, well-roasted coffee beans can last 3-5 months in an airtight container. Storing the coffee beans properly helps to ensure quality over time.

02. Can You Drink Expired Coffee Beans? 

You can drink expired coffee beans but it won’t taste good. You are not going to be sick from it but the flavor might be off-putting. It will taste stale and rancid. Unless you are talking about brands that are 3-4 years old, then we recommend not even trying to drink it. 

03. When Does Coffee Go Bad? 

Coffee tends to deteriorate with time, especially if it’s ground coffee. Ground coffee can go stale after a few weeks of opening the container. 

Coffee beans last longer than ground coffee but you need to store it properly. Brewed coffee can go bad after 3-4 hours of making it. That’s why it’s never a good idea to batch-make the whole day’s worth of coffee at once. 

04. How Long Does Ground Coffee Last in an Airtight Container?

Ground coffee does not survive oxygen. If you don’t store it properly, it will go bad in a few weeks. To keep it fresh for longer, use an airtight container ideally made of glass. This helps to protect your coffee from going rancid. 

A well-stored container of coffee can last up to 5 months without any issues. 

05. Is It Bad to Leave Coffee Grounds Out Overnight?

Leaving your coffee grounds out overnight can cause them to go stale faster. The reaction between hydrogen and oxygen raises the pH level in your coffee. This makes your coffee taste more acidic and bitter. 

When the pH level increases, the coffee becomes stale. This is why it’s so important to store your coffee in an airtight container. 

06. Can Old Coffee Grounds Make You Sick?

An old coffee can not necessarily make you sick unless it has molds and bacteria growing inside. Old coffee is basically stale coffee or a coffee that has lost its kick. Drinking old coffee won’t make you sick but it won’t give you the energy boost you’re looking for either. 

07. Do Unopened Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

You can actually store your unopened coffee grounds for a long time. It can last 5-6 months past the expiration date. If you store the container in the freezer, it can stay good for up to 2-3 years. 

Unopened coffee beans never “go bad” as it is considered to be a shelf-stable dry food. They might lose the freshness after a few weeks but they won’t go stale for years. 

08. What Can I Do with Expired Coffee Beans? 

If you have a few containers of stale coffee beans and you don’t feel like just throwing them away, there are a few creative ways to use them. 

Firstly, you can even use coffee as a fertilizer in your garden. They are filled with nutrients that help plants grow faster. 

Coffee grounds also repel insects and pests so they will protect the plants from being affected. You can grind the coffee beans and add olive oil to make a body scrub from it. They are really good and gentle on your skin. 

Coffee beans are great at removing fleas from your pets. As it’s not a chemical, it’s safer to use. 

You can also use stale coffee beans to make chocolate-covered coffee beans. They might not taste as good as the fresh ones, but they will taste delicious nonetheless. 

In Brief

The worst thing for a coffee lover is to open a container and find stale, bland coffee grounds inside. The great news, however, is that we have mentioned all the tips and tricks to make your coffee last as long as possible. 

Was it helpful? What are your tips for the best brew? Comment down below to let us know!

Happy caffeinating!

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