I just discovered a bag with about 100g of unroasted coffee beans in my pantry. I know they are at least four years old, and maybe 10 years. They've been in room temperature, dry storage the whole time. They look like beans, no mold, no ick.

I don't drink coffee any more. I want to get rid of these beans.

Should I give them to a coffee-drinking friend to roast? Should I believe this question on whole coffee bean storage, that they are dead after a week, and throw them out? Is there another good use for coffee beans apart from making coffee?

  • 2
    I don't know about unroasted beans but coffee grounds are good for a compost pile. Jan 11, 2013 at 20:06
  • 4
    Toss 'em. They're undoubtedly stale. Unless you have a coffee drinking enemy.... Jan 11, 2013 at 20:16
  • 2
    Which kind of beans are they, any idea? Some beans, like Sumatra, can be even better with age, but I don't know if even those would be good after sitting for that length of time. It wouldn't hurt to roast up a batch and try them, would it?
    – franko
    Jan 11, 2013 at 20:40
  • @franko op says he doesn't drink coffee. So it might hurt, especially if he stopped drinking coffee due to a medical condition. Jan 11, 2013 at 20:41
  • If you folks would post answers instead of comments, I could upvote them.... Jan 11, 2013 at 20:44

6 Answers 6


After that long, the beans are almost certainly stale. While it's true that aged coffee is a thing, four to ten years is very long time to age coffee and the opinions on aged coffee seem to be mixed at best. I say toss 'em, although you could compost them or even use them for arts and crafts, I wouldn't recommend them for human consumption. It's doubtful that anyone would be harmed, seeing as caffeine is a natural pesticide and that would keep any 'ick' from developing, it probably wouldn't be a very enjoyable cup of coffee.

  • They are green though. You'll hit over 200C for several minutes during roasting and kill almost everything.
    – Megasaur
    Jan 12, 2013 at 5:51
  • @Megasaur even so, if they were moldy/icky, I wouldn't want to drink it. It might be safe, but not delicious. Jan 12, 2013 at 14:38
  • @Megasaur it's not all about killing micro-organisms. While they're alive, they can create toxic and/or bad tasting substances. So, for example, if you let a piece of meat go rotten, then cook it thoroughly, you'll kill all the bacteria, but it'll still be poisonous and taste disgusting.
    – slim
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:53
  • Sure, if they clearly look bad, the texture has gone off, they smell bad, then don't roast them. But if they still look like beans, there's no harm roasting them. And then checking the roast to see if it is still OK. The asker specifically says that they appear to be fine.
    – Megasaur
    Mar 19, 2013 at 9:05

Re-purpose them! While they might not taste great if you roast them, you can still smell them! Pour them in a little bowl and nestle a tealight candle in them. When you light it, the warmth will release the coffee aroma.


Unroasted beans will typically last for months and months. It's only when roasted that you have to use them up.

I did some googling and I could find no other uses for green coffee. However apparently green coffee extract is the latest weight loss fad.

As a home roaster myself, I would give roasting them and brewing a cup a shot. So I say give them away if you are able. Else just toss them.


Roasted grind and brew very strong...the brew when reduced makes a great medium for art in combo with ink. I have seen some very creative and original artwork done this way using varying strengths of the brew.


I have been roasting coffee for nearly 9 years. If they are kept dry (preferably also cool), they can last for many years.

I am still roasting various beans that I have bought in larger quantities 3-4 years ago. Very nice batches from Kenya, Panama and Sumatra. They've been in my nice dry basement (above grade) on shelves, with a temp of 65-72 year round. Guess what? They are still AWESOME! Massive Crema and rich complex smooth flavor profiles - without bitterness.

The 1 year thing is mostly a myth. However, you only have 100 grams - that's not much to use or give away. If you have a friend who home roasts give them away and if they look clean and smell the same, they'll probably be fine but maybe not as good as they were.


Coffee beans do not last longer than 10 days - personally, I would only use them within 5 days from opening the pack.

If you re-roast them, they will taste even more bitter than now. I would recommend avoid them for drinking or eating.

You can either grind them and use as compost or use it to create coffee scented candles (more information on eHow). Otherwise, toss them will be the best option!

Hope this helps.

  • 6
    The OP specified that these are unroasted or so-called green coffee beans.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Jan 11, 2013 at 21:44

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