The different types of coffee
The shelf life of your coffee depends on its preparation and storage condition.
Street Smart Kitchen provides a guide on how long different types of coffee will last.
- Ground coffee lasts for 3-5 months when kept in a pantry at room temperature, but it can last 1-2 years in the freezer.
- Whole-bean coffee lasts for 6-9 months in the pantry and up to 2-3 years in the freezer.
- Instant coffee lasts for 2-20 years in the pantry, depending on the packaging. In the freezer, sealed instant coffee packets will keep indefinitely.
- Freshly ground coffee lasts 3- 5 months in the pantry or freezer.
- Fresh beans can last 6 months in the pantry and up to 2 years in the freezer.
- The shelf life of opened instant coffee in the pantry and freezer can be the same with unopened, depending on the packaging.
How to store coffee for maximum freshness
Beans: To preserve the flavour store beans in an air-tight container at room temperature. Avoid clear containers, which can allow the light to compromise the taste of your coffee and keep the beans in a dark and cool location. When freezing your beans be sure to use a good quality, air tight container, so no moisture is let in and compromises the beans with odours or tastes.
Ground coffee: Whenever possible, grind your coffee beans just before you brew it. If you need to pre-ground your coffee, it’s best to store it at room temperature in a vacuum-sealed container or bag. Ground coffee can also be kept in freezer – it doesn’t actually freeze the coffee, so it’s ready to use without any defrosting.
Instant coffee: Is best stored in an airtight opaque container in a cool, dry and dark place. It often comes in individually sealed packets, which are perfect for storage. Instant coffee is a concentrated brewed coffee that has had the moisture removed and has a long shelf, so it may not need to be put in the freezer. But if you choose to put instant coffee in the freezer use a tightly re-sealer zip lock bag, which can keep freshness intact for a long time.
Does coffee go off?
The simple answer is yes, but it might not always be easy to tell when coffee has gone off because it tends to look the same with age.
The best way to tell if beans or ground coffee has gone off is from the smell – it will lose its nice coffee aroma and won’t have much taste. It will also sometimes lighten in colour.
What typically happens to coffee as it ages is the flavour compounds disappear over time. So, while the coffee might still be safe to drink, it won’t taste very good.