Since the development of modern methods of brewing coffee, the taste and freshness of coffee have become paramount to establishing the quality of coffee-making skills. While coffee was always about the aroma and flavor, the mass availability and variety of coffee-making techniques have affected these skills. One of the main questions that come to mind when purchasing and making coffee is how long does coffee last?
It is easy to understand why one would want to preserve the coffee up to the maximum limit without losing the flavor and the aroma. A well-preserved coffee will allow you to enjoy the original flavor without going back and forth to buy fresh coffee.
Since there are different types of coffee, it is only logical they have different periods of freshness before they go stale, so before we delve into how long does coffee last, we should explore what types of coffee exist.
Types Of Coffee
Depending on the type of coffee, the original flavor of the coffee can last only a few hours or as much as four weeks. Using well-defined storage methods, you can also ensure that the flavor and aroma of the coffee remain intact for longer periods.
Here is a more comprehensive look into the different types of coffee and the time before the coffee starts to lose its taste.
We can generally classify coffee into three distinct categories. These are:
- Whole Beans
- Ground Coffee
- Instant Coffee
Whole Beans is the purest form of coffee. These are beans extracted from the coffee tree. Before marketing them to consumers, the whole beans are roasted. If you have dreamed of the overpowering light caramelized and almost nutty smell, whole beans are for you
Ground Coffee is ground-up coffee beans that are not brewed. This is probably the most common form of coffee found in stores around the world. Packed in all sorts of bottles and packets, the ground coffee is grounded to a specific size. The size can range from chunks of coffee to almost a powder-like shape. It may not offer the original flavor but you can certainly make an excellent cup of coffee.
Instant Coffee is the most basic form, which is derived from ground coffee that is already brewed. The process involves spraying the brewed coffee inside a large container. The warm air inside the container dries the coffee particle and extracts the flavor. Instant coffee is the least preferred form. It is devoid of original flavor and taste; however, if you don’t have time, this is the best alternative.
Now that we have scratched the surface on which types of coffee we’re going to talk about, let’s see their individual characteristics when it comes to the period before they go stale.
How Long Does Whole Beans Coffee Last?
If you prefer the original flavor and aroma, look for whole beans. While it will take some effort to ground them, whole beans can last up to a month. Dark whole beans may not last more than three weeks but light beans will continue to offer the taste until six weeks.
It is important to note that coffee beans start losing their flavor as soon as they’re roasted. As a rule of thumb, the freshest coffee beans are beans that are just roasted.
After roasting, the beans will start to oxidize quickly, which will affect the taste and smell. Oxidation is a process where molecules of oxygen come in contact with the compounds in coffee. When it happens, coffee beans start losing their original flavor.
Slowing down the oxidation process can improve the shelf life. You can do it by preserving whole beans in air-tight containers and keeping them at a favorable temperature. Keeping the coffee beans in an airtight container with a one-way valve will preserve the taste and aroma for twice as long as the expiration date. For instance, dark coffee beans will retain their characteristics for up to 6 weeks instead of 3 weeks. Similarly, light coffee beans can last up to 3 months.
You can also use a sealed vacuum bag to extend the life of freshly roasted coffee beans. These bags are easily available at most grocery stores. In fact, whole beans can stay fresh for an entire year if they’re kept inside a nitrogen-flushed bag. Certain freezing methods can also help retain the flavor for up to 3 years.
Despite these innovative methods, try to use fresh whole beans that have just been roasted. Buy fresh beans in small quantities so you can enjoy your favorite aroma irrespective of the brewing method.
As you can see, the question ‘’how long does coffee last’’ is tricky and complex. But, let’s move on and discover how long ground coffee, probably the most popular type of coffee lasts.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?
When coffee beans are grounded into smaller particles, they transform into ground coffee. You can use coffee grinders or blenders to make ground coffee or you can buy ground coffee from a nearby store. Most stores carry all sorts of ground coffee in packages and containers.
Unlike whole coffee beans, ground coffee only remains fresh for up to two weeks unless special storage techniques are used. Ground coffee will lose its taste and aroma faster because it oxidizes fairly quickly. In the powdered form, the surface area of the coffee increases, which means that its compounds will react with oxygen particles at a faster rate than whole beans.
You should consume ground coffee within two weeks of unpacking it. The time is short because ground coffee loses a notable portion of its flavor within fifteen minutes after exposure to oxygen. If you want to get the best taste, don’t look at the expiration date on the package. The expiration date is just to give you an idea of coffee shelf life.
For best results, it is a good idea to brew ground coffee as soon as it comes out of the bag. After using it, put it in a sealed container where it can last up to three to five months if left unopened.
When buying ground coffee, keep in mind that the size of the coffee particles will also play a role in how long ground coffee lasts. Medium or ground coffee will usually last seven to ten days before you feel a notable difference in flavor. In contrast, finely ground coffee may only remain fresh for a few hours.
Having in mind that finely ground coffee has a shorter freshness period, let’s see how instant coffee ‘’behaves’’ and what the best time to consume it is.
How Long Does Instant Coffee Last?
Instant coffee is ground coffee, which is brewed into a drinkable format. The coffee shelf life is about 20 years inside an airtight container. After opening, you may consume instant coffee for up to 12 months without losing the flavor.
If stored properly, you can keep drinking the coffee even after the expiration date. The easiest way to tell if you’re drinking stale coffee is to feel the odor, appearance, and flavor. Anything that is a bit off-balance is a sign of deteriorating quality. Buy an airtight container to store your coffee as it will ensure that you continue to enjoy the best taste.
While instant coffee doesn’t take any effort to prepare, it is least preferred by coffee lovers. To put it bluntly, it is often tasteless and contains a higher level of caffeine compared to other types.
Despite the lack of taste, instant coffee has become a part of our lives because manufacturers love it. It has an extremely long shelf life and it doesn’t cost manufacturers a lot to prepare. Prepared from cheap Robusta coffee beans, coffee producers can easily dish out thousands of tons of coffee every year. Therefore, the trend of consuming instant coffee is here to stay.
Since you have to deal with the bitterness, try to balance the flavor with sugar, powdered milk, and vanilla. Adding too much water will also spoil the taste; therefore, add less water than the stated quantity on the package. Despite the bad publicity, these little things will help you refine the taste.
Now that we have covered different types of coffee and periods within which they should be consumed, you might be wondering how to keep your coffee fresh, so let’s start from the root problem – what causes the coffee to go stale.
What Causes the Coffee to Go Stale?
Brewing fresh coffee is not difficult to master if you know what causes the coffee to go stale and how to preserve the taste. Here are a few important tips that will help every coffee lover:
Oxygen, light, moisture, and heat will dictate how long coffee lasts. When exposed to air, coffee beans start losing their freshness within fifteen minutes of exposure. The finer the particles of ground coffee, the quicker the oxidation. Roasted coffee beans also lose their taste when exposed to light. To preserve the flavor, it is better to store coffee beans in opaque containers or dark areas.
Similarly, moisture will destroy the chemical composition of coffee beans and coffee powder. Never place coffee in a wet place. Heat is another factor that destroys the flavor. Unless you’re brewing fresh coffee, never expose the content to heat.
So, no heat, no wetness near your ground coffee, but what else should you know when storing coffee?
How to Store Coffee Beans?
For best results, store coffee beans in an air-tight container. Use opaque containers instead of transparent jars. If needed, you can also wrap the paper around the transparent jar to prevent light. Store the container in a dry and dark place. Cabinets are a good place to store coffee.
If you don’t want to drink stale coffee, buy coffee in small quantities that should last only a couple of weeks. After brewing coffee, consume it within 2 hours. The brewed coffee will likely retain its flavor up to a maximum of 12 hours.
If you have just bought a bag of whole bean coffee, you will want to grind it right before you brew. We recommend three to 10 days from roast date for filter-brewing and French press and more like five to 12 days for brewing espresso.
If you bought coffee in a Paper craft bag with thin lining you may be able to enjoy it within a week, but after that, it’ll taste stale.
So use sealed, one-way valve foil bags with pinholes—to let gas out but no air in—so you can enjoy the beans for one to two weeks before the coffee loses its freshness and begins to taste stale.
However, If your coffee came in a paper bag, you can consider transferring it to an airtight plastic container, but make sure to store it in your cupboard, away from light, and at room temperature.
Last, but not least – the quality or the brand of coffee you purchase will significantly affect the period of freshness of your favorite morning drink, so let’s see where you can get the best coffee.
Where To Buy Coffee That Lasts The Longest?
If you are wondering where to buy the best fresh roasted coffee beans that will stay fresh for the longest periods of time, here is the answer: 205 degrees is an expert when it comes to excellent, organic micro-roasted, fresh coffee. Whole bean coffee proved to be the best type when it comes to freshness and flavor. We offer micro-roasted premium organic beans that are roasted fresh and shipped out fast, so you can brew a perfect batch of micro-roasted coffee in the comfort of your home and enjoy its full taste, while keeping the liveliness and full, fresh flavour for months.
Good coffee is all about premium quality beans, and although sometimes they may be challenging to find and you may face a lack of freshly roasted coffee for home brewing, don’t worry! We roast and ship to your door, so you don’t have to spend time searching for freshly roasted coffee, which is so difficult to find nowadays.
Our organic gourmet coffee is micro-roasted in small batches to bring out the rich flavor unmatched by roasting in large quantities. When you order a bag of 205 coffee, we can assure you that we bag our beans within a couple of hours after we roasted the beans in most cases. What’s more, you don’t have to pay high fresh roasted coffee prices at cafes because our coffee is entirely affordable and pays off significantly in the long run.
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