Who doesn’t enjoy a good cup of morning joe to kickstart the day? On these busy days, we tend to opt for vacuum-packed coffee and take a sip at home rather than waiting in line at coffee shops.
The thing is, how long does vacuum packed coffee last? Coffee expiration seems to be the first concern of at-home coffee lovers. In this article, we’re going to share the expert insight and answer other related questions in terms of this issue. Stay tuned!
How Long Does Vacuum Packed Coffee Last?
We can’t say exactly how long vacuum-packed coffee lasts because it depends on many factors, including the best before date, your storing method, and the coffee quality itself.
According to statistics, vacuum-packed coffee in any form comes into contact with not more than 17% oxygen. This fact explains why they remain fresh and aroma immaculate. Below are the amounts of times vacuum-sealed coffee at different states can last:
- Vacuum-packed green beans: remains fresh up to several years at ambient temperature.
- Vacuum-packed roasted beans: remains fresh within a year after cooling down.
- Unopened, vacuum-packed ground coffee lasts for 3-4 months at normal storage conditions while remaining fresh.
- Opened, vacuum-sealed ground coffee: starts losing freshness very fast, about 3 to 4 days. Provided that you give proper storage, it can last from 2 to 3 weeks in the freezer; however, it is recommended that you finish the pack within one week.
Why Does Coffee Have To Be Vacuum Packed?
Beans that are exposed to an amount of moisture or direct sunlight will still contain caffeine if that’s your main concern. However, the taste and smell will degrade remarkably due to a chemical reaction with oxygen.
Coffee beans go stale very quickly due to oxidation. To keep its freshness and aroma, coffee needs to be contained in a sealed, oxygen-free pack. It is the best way to store your coffee.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
Besides an effective grinder, those who grind coffee by themselves know the importance of having good coffee beans.
While whole coffee beans can last for about 6-12 months after roasting, the best time to use them would be 2-3 weeks after roasting.
Coffee beans contain oils to carry flavors, which dry out very quickly after just a few weeks. It means, the older the beans, the less scent and flavor you will get in your coffee.
But what if you already bought too much coffee and can’t consume it within the recommended time? Does expired coffee make you sick?
Expired coffee will not make you sick. It will only get significantly bitter with no flavor and reduced aroma. If you’re terribly in the mood for caffeine and have no alternatives around, then sure, brew a cup of coffee out of the stale ground.
However, it is a different story when you spot mold or mildew in your coffee. Consuming fungi-affected coffee can result in food poison, which is the last thing you’d want to happen, believe us.
How To Spot Spoilt Coffee?
Essentially, coffee can’t really go bad. While the caffeine remains its initial extent, your coffee will start losing its wonderful aroma as time goes by, which is considered spoilt or bad.
As mentioned, consuming spoilt coffee won’t cause any harm to your health, at least not anything too severe. BUT, who on earth would drink coffee without that lightly caramelized, nutty smell? So, how to spot spoilt coffee?
Since spoilt coffee remains its original appearance after going bad, it can be hard to tell the difference. The easiest way to tell if your coffee is spoilt is to smell it, as you already guessed. If the coffee emanates an off-odor or rancid aroma, it’s definitely bad. The further monitor includes:
- Lumps on top of your coffee due to the wetness and moisture exposed
- Visible growth of mold and mildew
- Reduced flavor and significantly bitter taste after brewing
It is worth mentioning that a broken seal can also result in spoilt coffee, especially if it has been sitting on the top of your shelf for quite some time now.
You can still enjoy a flavorful coffee shot with proper storing methods in the next section.
How To Properly Store Coffee?
With proper storage, you can maximize the expiry date of your coffee. Your coffee lifespan relies on either it being in an oxygen-free bag or exposed to air.
Let’s check out the distinct ways to store coffee.
Use An Airtight Container
Store your excess coffee (of any form) in an airtight and opaque container right after you’re through with it. By doing this, you’re minimizing exposure to moisture and oxygen, which are the two main reasons your coffee goes bad.
Professional roasters said that using airtight containers is the best-recommended method for coffee storage. After you have made sure there is no oxygen left in the container, place it somewhere dark and away from moisture.
If you plan on brewing coffee more than just a few times a week, you should divide the coffee into small amounts and place each in distinguished airtight containers.
Store In Freezer
Even though this storing technique is still under debate by coffeeholic and experts, freezing coffee grounds is recommended if you plan to brew it in a shorter time. However, the taste will somewhat fade out.
With this method, you won’t need to defrost the ground when using it as it doesn’t freeze; simply let it rest for 5-10 minutes after taking it out of the freezer, and you can start brewing your coffee right away.
Also, store the grounds in a sealed, airtight container to get rid of the moisture development from within the vacuum-packed bag. Like the mentioned method, divide your grounds into small batches for everyday use.
Store Brewed Coffee
Do you have the heart to pour away that unfinished cup of coffee just because you can’t drink it all at the moment? It’s always a no for coffee fans. There is a way to store brewed coffee! Simply place it in the fridge and consume it in a few days to come (within a day is the best).
If you want to make a cold brew from the brewed coffee, remove the coffee from the heat source first. Coffee will lose its flavor if exposed to a heat source for too long, resulting in a bitter aftertaste.
Once your coffee has cooled down, place it in the fridge for a few hours, and your cold brew is ready to go!
Can You Store Coffee Beans In A Fridge?
It is better not to store coffee of any form in a refrigerator. The fridge is not cold enough for the coffee to stay fresh, reducing its lifespan significantly. If you don’t have a freezer and live in a hot area, you should only buy coffee in small quantities for instant consumption.
Ways To Expand The Shelf Life Of Vacuum Sealed Coffee
Here are a few tips to increase the shelf life of your vacuum-packed coffee.
Vacuum-packing by yourself
If you are a stickler for perfection, we assume you grind coffee on your own. And if you happen to have a vacuum sealer at home, why not make storing the coffee ground easier by using this machine.
Of course, you should take the plastic waste and potential increased cost along with this method. Thus, if you’re not familiar with using a vacuum sealer, you can mess things up and not get the coffee bag airtight properly.
Buy the needed coffee amount
While the mentioned methods seem easy and doable, why not save time and space by buying just the amount you need in a few days, or maybe a week?
Check the valve stamps
Stamps on the valve indicate the freshness of your coffee. Knowing the manufacturing date helps you get an idea of how long you should store your coffee for the best quality.
Now that you know the answer to the question, how long does vacuum-packed coffee last? We assume you can enjoy a delicious shot of coffee without worrying too much about the ‘expired’ date of your coffee.
There are lots of things contributing to an astonishing coffee shot, and the bean quality is one of them. With the proper storing methods and coffee-brewing techniques, making coffee from scratch can be fun and enjoyable.
Thank you for reading!
Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).