Can Coffee Go Bad? How to Keep Coffee Fresh Longer

Espresso pouring from portafilter on espresso machine into mug

So, you’ve just opened your new bag of Level Ground coffee and had your first delightful cup. You want that delicious taste to last, so how do you keep your coffee tasting its absolute best? Don’t worry — with our tips, you’ll be drinking the best coffee at home for longer.

Can Coffee Even Go Bad?

Level Ground follows the industry standard of putting a best before date of one year after roasting on our bags. However, we’ve mentioned before that you’ll get the optimal flavour from your beans within one to three months after roasting. Following these instructions is essential to brewing the best at home coffee. However, if you want your beans to stay fresh longer, knowing how to store your coffee correctly can be a game-changer.

How Does Coffee Go Bad?

Coffee in any form (beans or ground) is composed of many compounds including lipids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. Over time, these compounds can change, and that can alter both the aroma and taste of the coffee. The longer time goes by, the less flavour you’ll experience when drinking your coffee.

Test Your Coffee! 

If you’re not sure if your coffee is still good, a simple test is to smell it. If that fresh, aromatic smell it once had isn’t as strong as it was, you can guarantee the taste won’t be as fresh and bold, either. And if it smells musty or “off” in any way, it’s best to not drink it at all.

Closeup roasted coffee beans
Roasted coffee beans individually placed on white surface

What’s the Best Way to Store Coffee?

How you store your coffee is essential to maintaining freshness for as long as possible! After all, what’s the point of buying quality coffee if you’re not going to store it correctly? Improper storage can shorten the lifespan of your coffee and can make it go off faster than usual. But if you follow these tips below, your coffee could stay fresh for months.

Find an airtight container.

Get yourself an airtight container or special airtight coffee canister to store your beans in once your bag is open. Keeping it in the bag can still be a good option as long as you’re planning to go through your coffee quickly. 

Find the right spot.

No matter what container you keep it in, you should store your coffee in a cool, dry, dark place. A pantry is often your best choice, but any cupboard or drawer will work fine — as long as it’s not too close to the stove or sink where it could be exposed to steam or heat.

Don’t grind your beans until you need them.

Once beans are ground, more of the surface area is exposed, and this can expedite the oxidation process. In other words, once you grind your beans, it will immediately start to lose its flavour faster. That’s why best practice is to grind your beans only as you need them for the freshest cup possible. If grinding as you go is too time-consuming, you can do up to a week or so worth of beans and store them in a cool, dry, dark place.

Should I Freeze Coffee Beans?

Short answer: no! You probably know people who freeze their beans because they are under the impression they will stay fresh for longer, but we don’t recommend it! When you take your beans in and out of the freezer condensation builds up and the moisture harms the beans. So a cool, dry place is best.

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