How Long Does Coffee Last? A guide to Coffee Freshness
A great cup of coffee is one of our favorite parts of the morning. The aroma, the crisp taste, and the boost of energy are some of the things we love most.
Enjoying a cup of coffee comes with more benefits than just a great taste. Apart from the most well-known benefit that coffee can help you stay alert and focused throughout the day, coffee contains antioxidants beneficial for your health.
To enjoy all of these benefits and the taste you love, you want to enjoy coffee that is fresh and stored appropriately. Whether you enjoy whole bean coffee, pre-ground coffee, or cold brew, we have different recommendations on the best way to keep your coffee fresh for you to enjoy as long as possible. We hope this guide will help answer your question, “how long does coffee last?”
How to Store Coffee Beans to Keep Them Fresh
Whole coffee beans that have been roasted should be used within 3-4 weeks for ultimate freshness. After this window, the beans will begin to lose some of the fresh taste that you love as part of that daily cup of Nobletree Coffee. But rest assured, it’s usually still okay to use them as long as they’ve been kept away from moisture and in a cool, dry container. Coffee is shelf-stable and often won’t sour or mold unless moisture is invited in. In any case, if your coffee beans are past their best by date, it’s best to replace them with more recently roasted beans.
One of the ways that Nobletree works to preserve freshness is that we roast our coffee daily in small batches, manually controlling all steps in the process. Many of our varieties of coffee also include a degassing valve in the bag when packaged. A degassing valve is a small vent that allows roasted coffee beans to release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is released from the beans after roasting and can lead to the beans going stale more quickly unless they are released.
Making Ground Coffee Last
As long as it is unopened, a bag of ground coffee will last until at least its best by date. After a bag of ground coffee has been opened, we recommend that you store it in a cool, airtight container away from light and moisture. Typically, ground coffee stored this way will be at its freshest for 1-2 weeks. Usually, ground coffee will still be good to enjoy up to its best by date. After the best by date, we recommend replacing your ground coffee with a new bag.
A great option for periodic coffee drinkers that enjoy a more refined taste than instant coffee is to try the Nobletree Steeped coffee bags. Steeped coffee bags are individually wrapped in sustainable packaging that helps retain freshness. They are great if you want to enjoy a fresh-tasting Nobletree cup of specialty coffee if you’re on the go or if you just want that exquisite Nobletree taste without opening an entire bag of ground coffee or whole beans.
Brewed Hot Coffee Freshness
After your coffee has been brewed, it will be at its freshest for about 30 minutes. This is because the coffee will continue to oxidize even after the coffee beans have been ground and brewed. After 30 minutes, the fresh coffee flavors may begin to wane and the coffee to turn stale, but your carafe of black coffee should be fine to drink for 4 hours. After 4 hours, the flavors may begin to turn sour or exceptionally bitter. If you’ve poured a cup of coffee and added milk or cream, you should be sure to enjoy this cup within 2 hours because these perishable additions will begin to spoil at room temperature.
If you happened to brew too much coffee and you know you won’t be able to finish it all but don’t want to pour it out, you can refrigerate the leftovers for a day or two as long as you didn’t add any cream or milk. You will want to make sure the brewed coffee is in a sealed, airtight container to prevent the oxidation process and help prevent the coffee from picking up flavors of other food you may have in your fridge. Even though coffee in the fridge will still be safe to drink for a day or two, you should expect that the flavors will be more muted, and the coffee won’t taste as good as a freshly brewed cup.
Freezing Coffee Beans and Coffee Grounds
Another way that you can extend the life of your coffee beans or coffee grounds is to store them in the freezer. Freezer storage is an acceptable option for long-term coffee preservation. Freezer store is not recommended for short-term storage or for coffee you plan to brew over the next few weeks. If you need to store your beans or grounds in the freezer, be sure to repackage them into a freezer-safe container that is airtight to help prevent freezer burn. When you are ready to use your frozen coffee, remove the bag from the freezer and let it thaw fully. Once thawed, transfer the beans to an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark place.
When to Consider Freezing Coffee
There are a few excellent reasons to consider freezing coffee beans or coffee grounds for longer-term storage.
Buying a Rare or Limited Release Roast: Freezing coffee can be a good option if you buy a bag of rare or limited release beans, such as the award-winning Santa Izabel Reserve. These types of specialty coffees are an amazing treat when you’re able to get your hands on them and when you do, many people don’t want to drink them all at once – they want to savor the unique creamy licorice body and flavor notes of Plum, Honey, and Red Wine.
Having more coffee than you can drink before the Best By date: If you’re like us and you took advantage of the Nobletree Buy One Get One Free deal around the holidays, you may have more coffee in your cabinet than you can drink before they start to lose their flavor. Freezing small portions of each of the different roasts is a great way to preserve the flavor while still enjoying a variety of options each morning.
Freezing fresh coffee beans can help your coffee last much longer than standard shelf storage but is only recommended when necessary for long-term storage.
What causes coffee to go stale?
Multiple factors can cause freshly roasted coffee to go stale or lose its flavor over time. Some of the most common reasons for coffee to go bad are:
- Light: Coffee goes stale more quickly when exposed to direct light. While they may look nice in a large glass jar on your counter – they will last longer in an opaque container stored in a cabinet.
- Heat: Coffee will lose its flavor if it’s exposed to heat before being brewed. We recommend storing your coffee in a cabinet away from the stove and other direct heat sources.
- Oxygen: Exposure to air speeds up the degradation of coffee beans and coffee grounds through oxidation. Oxidation is where the solubles that give coffee its unique taste begin to break down. Ensure to store your coffee beans or ground coffee in an airtight container after the bag has been opened.
- Moisture: Moisture is one of the worst things that can happen to fresh coffee. Moisture can cause coffee to mold and spoil. Keep your fresh coffee away from water and moisture until brewing.
Enjoy a Fresh Bag of Nobletree Coffee today!
A cup of fresh coffee is a fantastic way to start the day or finish a nice meal. Store your coffee appropriately and drink it before the best by date for the highest quality. When you’re ready to restock, check out our selection of specialty coffees that will leave you anxious for the next cup.