Long Term Coffee Storage: How to Keep It Fresh for Years

Coffee isn’t a dietary necessity, but if a large-scale disaster were to strike, I wouldn’t want to go without it (and my family certainly wouldn’t want to deal with me going through coffee withdrawal!).

So, I made sure I had a large supply of coffee on hand. Luckily, long-term coffee storage is pretty easy.

Reading: Best way to store coffee long term

This is what you need to know to store coffee for more than 25 years.

does the coffee spoil?

Contrary to common belief, coffee can go bad. Like other beans, coffee contains natural oils. when these are exposed to air, the oils begin to oxidize and eventually turn rancid. Even when coffee is stored away from oxygen, the coffee beans can go rancid due to compounds produced in the roasting process.

Fortunately, coffee beans usually take a long time to go rancid. this is why many people and even coffee makers say that it is safe to use expired coffee. however, long before the coffee becomes stale, it will lose its flavor and aroma due to “degassing.” this stale coffee is still safe to consume, but not as pleasant to drink.

coffee shelf life

Before we get into storage conditions, it’s important to note that certain types of coffee will naturally last longer than others.

ground coffee beans

Ground coffee beans

  • unopened, in the pantry: 5 months after the expiration date
  • opened, in the pantry: 3-5 months after the expiration date
  • grinding breaks down the coffee beans so they have more surface area. this means that more of the coffee will be exposed to the air, causing it to gas and oxidize faster. the coffee should still be safe to consume for several years after its expiration date, but it may already have lost much of its flavor.

    whole roasted coffee beans

    Coffee beans

    • unopened, in the pantry: 12-24 months after the expiration date
    • opened, in the pantry: 6-12 months after the expiration date
    • Whole coffee beans will last much longer than ground coffee. however, because the roasting process uses heat, it triggers a chemical reaction that causes the natural oils to begin breaking down. Just like with ground coffee, whole roast beans will eventually go bad.

      instant coffee

      See also: 12 Best Coffee Shops in Grand Rapids, Michigan

      Instant coffee granules

      • unopened, in the pantry: more than 10 years after the expiration date
      • opened, in the pantry: 1-10+ years after the expiration date
      • Instant coffee is made by freeze-drying or spray-drying. the process removes all moisture from the coffee and creates a very stable product. unopened instant coffee can last for years or decades without any special storage. once you open instant coffee, it can still last for years, but there is a big potential problem.

        was opened, the instant coffee will begin to absorb moisture from the air. In humid areas (such as Florida), coffee can get very wet and begin to spoil quickly. If you want to store instant coffee long-term, keep it in its original packaging or repackage it in an airtight container. Ideally, pack it on a day with low humidity.

        green coffee beans

        green coffee beans

        • unopened, in the pantry: more than 5 years after the expiration date
        • opened, in the pantry: more than 12 months after the expiration date
        • Green coffee beans have not been roasted, so their natural oils are more stable. Because of this, green coffee beans can last a long time and are best for long-term storage.

          You’ll want to store them like other dry beans: in a food storage container, preferably without oxygen, and away from heat and light.

          how to store coffee long term

          If you want to store coffee long term, you will need to protect it from oxygen, light, moisture and heat. Here are some of the best ways to store coffee to last for years or even decades.

          option 1: freezer

          coffee has very little moisture. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about freezer burn. will stay fresh for years in the freezer.

          However, there is a potential problem with storing coffee in the freezer: it can absorb odors from other items. if you keep your coffee next to leftover steaks, for example, the coffee can have a funky aroma.

          To avoid this, be sure to store your coffee in airtight, non-permeable bags. some coffee already comes in these bags (the bags that look like metal) and can go straight into the freezer. once you take the coffee beans out of the freezer, be sure to let them come to room temperature before opening them. otherwise, they will absorb moisture and start to go bad.

          option 2: airtight containers

          See also: 2 loại tắm trắng thảo dược cafe đang được các eva yêu thích nhất

          Once you’ve opened a bag of coffee, place it in airtight containers. this is not the ideal solution for coffee because there will still be oxygen in the container. however, it will help slow down the oxidation and gasification process. if you have a large quantity of coffee beans, you can even store them in buckets with gamma lids.

          option 3: vacuum sealing

          Good quality coffee comes in vacuum-sealed packages. This gasket helps protect against rust. You can also vacuum seal bulk coffee beans or open packets of coffee to keep it fresh longer.

          keep in mind that coffee beans and grounds have air inside them. vacuum sealing will only remove the air around the coffee. home vacuum seal bags are also semi-porous and will eventually allow coffee aromas to escape. so while this is a better method than storing coffee in open packages, the coffee will still go rancid after a couple of years.

          option 4: nitrogen rinsed coffee

          nitrogen flushing is a method of removing oxygen from coffee packaging. very good quality coffee brands use this method. It is done immediately after roasting the coffee, so the coffee is preserved at its maximum freshness.

          Because coffee beans lose gas after roasting (the air inside the beans moves out), nitrogen-rinsed bags will explode if left to sit long enough. To prevent this, manufacturers will put a one-way valve on the bags to let the gases escape. By comparison, vacuum-sealed coffee is usually packaged after the beans have had a chance to degas; no valve required, but beans are not as fresh when canned.

          By simply choosing nitrogen-rinsed coffee (look for the one-way valve on the bag), you’ll get a fresher product that will store longer.

          option 5: oxygen absorbers

          Oxygen absorbers are small packets of iron. iron grabs oxygen molecules. If you place oxygen absorbing packets in an airtight container with coffee, the packets will remove virtually all of the oxygen and keep the coffee fresh. Learn more about oxygen absorbers for food storage here.

          option 6: mylar bags with oxygen absorbers

          The best long-term storage method for coffee is sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. mylar is a metallic-looking material that is impermeable to gases. When you put an oxygen absorber in a bag and then seal it, the coffee is protected from oxygen, moisture, and light. instant coffee can last over 25 years this way.

          However, if you want to store coffee beans in mylar, there is one important caveat: they must be unroasted green coffee beans. The reason for this is that the roasting process causes the natural oils in the coffee to begin to break down. In contrast, green coffee beans do not deteriorate and can last more than 20 years in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

          Read more about food storage in mylar bags here.

          See also: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home – The Best Cold Brew Recipe

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