ƒIf you drink a lot of coffee you may already know the answer to this question, but for those who have coffee once in a while you may wonder if those grounds sitting in the back of your cupboard are still okay to drink or if there’s going to be some unintended side effects from you drinking that coffee. The short answer, if you’re wondering ‘does coffee go bad’ is yes. But there’s a whole lot more to it than just that and it’s actually going to depend a little bit on you.
What Your Coffee is Made Of
The truth is, there are a number of different things that make up your coffee. Sure you may grind your own beans at home or buy coffee grounds from the store but that doesn’t mean that your coffee is made of 100% pure anything. In fact, it has a number of different things in it from carbohydrates and lipids to amino acids and a whole lot more.
As those things continue to sit for extended periods of time, they undergo a chemical change that is different each time and could give you different results each time. Carbs, over time, start to go stale. Think like stale bread versus the fresh stuff you just bought from the store. Lipids start to get rancid over time.
Think like butter that sits out on your counter for too long. Some of the organic compounds will even start to evaporate or even start to change into entirely different compounds as they are exposed to things like oxygen or water. Even if you store your coffee in an airtight container, over time these things are all starting to happen.
When Does Coffee Go Bad?
Well, the answer to this question is actually a little more complicated than you might think. Mainly, it’s difficult because you have to look at each type of coffee that you have. A different brand, a different size, a different flavor, everything can have an impact on just how long you have before your coffee starts to go bad. What you should figure, however, is just how long it’s been since you opened the canister. The best thing to do is make a notation about the day you open it so you can make sure that you aren’t keeping it for too long.
Now, if you open the coffee it’s going to last a lot shorter amount of time than if you just purchase it and have it sitting, sealed, around the house. You want to make sure that you use the coffee as quickly as possible after you open it. If you don’t you’re going to start getting too much oxidation through it and a bit of humidity, all of which is going to start leaching out the flavor. If you’re wondering ‘when does coffee go bad once it’s opened,’ the answer is very quickly. So make sure you’re not waiting too long to drink it.
If you have ground coffee, like the stuff you generally find in nice coffee shops, you can usually use it for up to a couple months after you’ve opened it. This is going to be best if it’s in an airtight container because you’re going to have less oxygenation going on at the same time. On the other hand, fresh beans that are not ground can be stored for up to nine months, which definitely helps you keep it around a bit longer if you’re not the type to drink a whole lot of coffee at one time. You may want to think about that when you decide to purchase your coffee.
On the other hand, if you’re like a lot of people who don’t drink much coffee, you’re probably looking more at the instant coffee rather than anything special. What this means is you’re going to have a whole lot more time to use your coffee because this stuff has a whole lot of preservatives in it that keep it pretty much the same as the day you bought it, for up to 20 years. That’s definitely going to help you keep coffee in the house a lot longer. You won’t be asking yourself ‘does coffee go bad’ anymore.
What to Do With Your Coffee
One of the best things that you should do is try to drink your coffee as quickly as possible. This will help you get the best possible flavor out of it and it’s definitely going to make sure that you enjoy the coffee better. Remember that the expiration date is entirely different from the roasting date, usually about a year apart.
If you drink your coffee immediately after it’s roasted you’re going to get the boldest flavor. If you drink it closer to the expiration date (and especially after) you’re going to have a lot less of that boldness and you may be wondering ‘does coffee go bad? And ‘has mind gone bad?’
If your goal is just to make the coffee last as long as possible, without much concern over the flavor, freezing it is definitely the way to go. You’ll be able to get a whole lot more life, depending on the specific type of coffee but you are going to lose out on a little at the same time. Whole beans or ground coffee will last up to three years when put in the freezer and instant coffee will actually last pretty much forever, but keep in mind it’s going to lose a lot of flavors.
So ‘does coffee go bad’? Yes, it does, but you’re not likely to get sick from it unless you open up that canister and notice that there’s mold in there. The most you’re generally going to notice is that your coffee doesn’t taste very good and that it’s pretty flat. If it starts to smell more rancid or starts to look pretty bad then don’t drink it. It’s just that easy. And you’ll have no problem getting the most out of your coffee if you pay attention to your dates and drink the coffee based on those very important dates.