How Long Does Coffee Last Before it Becomes Harmful?


The good news is, coffee lasts a lot longer than you think! You probably won’t get sick from consuming that old coffee from this morning, or coffee beans that have been sitting in the cupboard a little too long. We can’t promise that they’ll taste good, though!

If you want to know when your coffee is no longer safe to consume and more importantly when it’s no longer tasty to consume, then keep reading!

How Long Does Coffee Last Before it Becomes Harmful?

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How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

An unopened bag of coffee beans lasts for just six to nine months in the cupboard, but that same bag can last for two to three years in the fridge. That just goes to show you how important it is to keep your coffee beans in a cool, dry place!

Keep in mind though, once the bag of coffee beans is opened, your beans won’t last for longer than six months in the cupboard or one to two years in the fridge.

You also need to take into account the expiration date. If the coffee beans are past their expiration date, their quality and flavor is going to be diminished, and they could be unsafe to consume. We don’t want to get sick from our beloved coffee now do we?

If you’re in a pinch, though, they may still be safe to brew and drink. Examine them for signs of mold and give them a good sniff. If they still have that delicious and deep coffee aroma, like Lavazza Coffee, the oils in the coffee probably haven’t gone bad yet, so they’re still OK to use.

But if they smell stale, look moldy, or just don’t smell as good as you remember, toss them. It’s not worth getting sick! It’s always better to be safe than sorry right?

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?

Unfortunately, ground coffee has a shorter shelf life than whole coffee beans. Ground coffee beans has a lot more surface area than whole beans, so light, heat, and oxygen can get at your coffee from a lot more directions and degrade the compounds in it faster.

In the cupboard, your ground coffee beans will last for about three months opened or unopened. In the fridge, it’ll have a longer shelf life of about five months.

If we haven’t used our opened ground coffee in about a week, we like to transfer it to the fridge. That can help extend its shelf life and keep it tasting fresher for longer.

Some people say you can store ground coffee and whole beans in the freezer to extend their shelf life even more, but we don’t really recommend it. Freezing your coffee will change its flavor, and not for the better. Freezing it will make it safe to drink for longer, but if it doesn’t taste good, you’ll probably throw it out anyway!

Instead of freezing them for a longer shelf life, use an alternative like a dedicated storage unit for your ground coffee.

How Long Does Brewed Coffee Last on the Counter?

If you drink your coffee black, a cup of joe that you left out on the counter in the morning will still be safe to drink that afternoon or evening. Any drink with milk in it, though, will spoil after about two hours unless you put it in the fridge. Milk doesn’t last very long at room temperature, but regular, black coffee won’t spoil or develop mold over the span of a few hours, so drink up!

We don’t drink coffee that’s been left out at room temperature for more than twelve hours, though. We just don’t want to risk it. You can’t always see, taste, or smell mold, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Plus, brewed coffee that’s left out for that long won’t taste very good! Coffee that’s left out for more than four hours develops a bitter taste as the oils in it start to degrade. Yuck!

Did you know that coffee starts to lose flavor just thirty minutes after it’s been brewed? As it cools, it loses flavor, so most baristas say you should drink your coffee as soon as possible if you want to experience its full flavor profile. Try not to burn your mouth though!

If you have to reheat a coffee that’s been sitting out, the heat will cause it to lose even more of those delicious aromas that make it smell and taste so good. So try not to make a habit out of waiting to drink your morning coffee, especially if you can’t down it cold! It’s like reheating left over food, the food just never tastes the same once it’s reheated the next time around.

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