How Long Does Ground Coffee Last? And When Does Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

Hey coffee lovers!!

Worried about the ground beans you brought sometimes back?

Asking everywhere about does coffee expire? Or is my coffee still fresh?

Well, you have come to the right place. We are here with you with the right answer and reasons. We are going to explain to you the answer to ‘does coffee grounds go bad?‘ and if it is, what to do.

Let’s break it to you step by step.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?
Coffee Beans and Coffee Grounds

If you use coffee maker with grinder, you needn’t worry about bad grounds AT ALL. Before we jump into the question ‘How Long does Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?’, we should talk about something more important.

Usually, you can buy three types of coffee –

  • Whole bean coffee
  • Ground Coffee
  • Instant Coffee

The timeline of staying fresh of these three are different. Moreover, they depend on different parameters.  

  • Sealed or opened
  • Kept in shelf or fridge

If you store your opened ground bean pack in your pantry, your coffee stays less fresh than an opened pack in the refrigerator. Although refrigerators keep coffee grounds fresher, it’s SHOULD NOT be your top choice when you are looking for storing ground coffee for freshness. At the same time, instant coffee is famous for long-lasting. Let’s look at a timeline of beans’ freshness.

Unsealed Coffee

Coffee TypeShelf/PantryRefrigerator
Whole Bean Coffee2 Years6 Months
Ground Bean Coffee3-5 Months3-5 Months
Instant Coffee2-20 YearsUncertain

Sealed Coffee

Coffee TypeShelf/PantryRefrigerator
Whole Bean Coffee6-9 Months2-3 Years
Ground Bean Coffee3-5 Months1-2 Years
Instant Coffee2-20 YearsUncertain

This is all in general terms. Let’s be more specific.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last
How Long Does Ground Coffee Last Infographic

When Does Coffee Grounds Go Bad?

There is a huge sale on ground coffee soon. You are planning to buy some of them. Obviously, this question hit on your mind again and again.

Or, you might love to grind beans yourself with the best grinder for coffee beans. It is right for you to worry about the freshly ground coffee or newly brought pre-ground coffee’s lifetime.

Let’s talk about when do coffee grounds go bad.

Before that, we should talk about why coffee lost its touch and the ground has gone bad.

Open Air

We all love fresh air and fresh oxygen. But our friend coffee doesn’t. Exposure to oxygen reduces the quality of ground beans. You need to keep your grounds in a properly sealed jar or container.


Coffee loves darkness. It stays fresher in dark. When exposed to light, it starts losing its standard. The jar or container you are keeping your coffee grounds should be out of light.


It’s the thing you should be more careful about. Moisture will ruin your ground beans very quickly. Roasting Level may influence moisture.


Heat helps us cook. The heat helps us keep warm in cold. But heat is not good always. Coffee, tea, and many other natural ingredients lose their flavor, longevity to heat. Coffee stays fresh in cold than room temperature.

As these are the main factor to ruin your coffee, you should be very careful about them. You should learn how to store ground coffee. You should be careful about the surface area. A damp surface area will influence mold to grow.

And if you wanna preserve whole coffee beans, you need to know the best way to store whole coffee beans.

When Does Coffee Grounds Go Bad
Coffee Grounds

Your ground coffee can be in three-stage

  1. Unopened pack
  2. Opened but kept in a sealed container or glass jar
  3. Opened but in an unsealed container

Let me explain to you the differences.

You brought some ground coffee bean packs. They have the best by date or expiry date. If you store them properly, they will be fresh some more time.

Let’s assume, you have opened one of them. Used some of it and kept the rest. If you keep them in a glass jar, for example, vacuum sealed and in the refrigerator, they will stay much longer. Coffee life in the freezer is more extended than shelf life.

But if you keep them out in open air and light. They will turn bad very soon.

This goes for you fresh grounds too.

Let’s look on a specific timeline –

 Seal TypeShelf/PantryRefrigerator
UnopenedExpiration DateExpiration Date + 3-6 months
Sealed Container3-5 Months1-2 Years
Open Contained2-3 Weeks1 Month

Is My Coffee Gone Bad?

how long does coffee last
Coffee Grounds & Coffee Beans

Here is the tricky part. You know how long do coffee grounds last but it depends on various parameters. Right?

So, sometimes it is hard to tell is coffee expired or not based on the only timeline.

You may somewhat confused about how to tell if coffee is rancid. Some points can detect if the coffee has gone bad. You can observe and tell if your coffee is still fresh or not.

Smell Of Grounds

The most significant evaluator. Our nasal sense is very powerful. We can easily tell one thing rotten or not with smell even if we do not know much about it. Same for coffee grounds. You can simply smell it and your sense will tell what it is.

Developed Molds

A type of fungus. We know more or less about mold. If mold developed, it’s certainly rotten. Please avoid those grounds.

Color Of Coffee Grounds

It’s not a strong parameter comparing the previous two. But looks tell us many things. You may notice a slight change of color of expired coffee grounds. Try to do it in sunlight. It will tell you more.

Taste Of Coffee

Two things can happen.

First Sign

You have made a coffee out of the old ground. You do not know is it gone bad or not. Now the taste is not as good as you expect. Also, the that enchanting aroma of coffee that gives us out of the world feelings, is absent. Most probably, the coffee has expired.

Second Sign

You have old coffee grounds. You can’t just differentiate by smell or looks. You are confused. Don’t worry. You can do one thing. Brew coffee. Then taste it. If the satisfactory taste or delightful aroma is not there, it has gone bad. You can leave it.

Does Brewed Coffee Go Bad? 

does brewed coffee go bad
Brewed Coffee in a Cup

Your question should not end with how long is ground coffee good for or when does coffee grounds go bad?

Instead, you should add another question. ‘Does brewed coffee go bad?’

Yes. It happens.

The freshness of coffee lasts about 15 minutes to one hour depending on the environment. When freshness is gone, you can still drink the coffee but it will not give you quality taste.

If you need to preserve coffee, you can put them into a thermos. A good thermos will keep your coffee warm and in good quality for several hours.

Now, this preservation also depends on some factors.


If you keep your coffee at room temperature and out in the open air, it will degrade very early. For best keeping, use a vacuum flask coffee bottle for coffee. But, if it is cold brew, iced coffee, or similar type of coffee, keep them in a freezer. They stay good around 12-16 hours. You can preserve them much longer in the freezer, but the quality will fall.


Black coffee lasts longer than coffee with milk. Your coffee out in open or in a flask, in both cases the enduring time will become less.

If you drink coffee from thermos or heat again the taste and aroma will degrade with time.

Our suggestion: Always drink fresh coffee. Prepare as per your need.

What Happens If You Drink Expired Coffee?

A very common and frequently asked question, ‘can old coffee make you sick?’

It’s not an answer to one word. The good thing is, there is not a chance of getting sick if there is not any previous health condition exists. So, it is safe to drink for fit people.

You can drink old ground coffee; the taste and aroma will not be up to your expectation. You have to keep in mind that. Also, you may be deprived of the health benefits of coffee.

But you should avoid if the grounds already developed molds. They might give you some trouble with your health.  

What to Do with Expired Coffee Beans?

A million-dollar question. We, regular people usually try to not wasting anything. We reuse many things.

For expired coffee, there are many ways to reuse them. Let’s talk briefly about the,

Prevention is better than cure.

Instead of worrying about when does coffee grounds go bad you should learn about how to preserve ground coffee.

Coffee beans or grounds stay fresh long term if stored properly. If you only just stay a bit more careful, you will be able to have a perfect cup of coffee always.

Enjoy Your Coffee!!

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