I love coffee, in many of its forms, and have recently started playing around with grinding my own, brewing it and so on. When I grind beans, I usually use a specific amount by weight, and go from there.

The beans that are not ground are kept in the bag in which they came, which is kept sealed, with as much air squeezed out as possible. How long should the beans last?

2 Answers 2


Coffee beans will retain their essential oils and flavor compounds longest if stored in a dry, dark, airtight container. Refrigeration and freezing are therefore not desirable options since they will almost always cause moisture to form on the surface of the beans.

Note that for the first couple weeks after the coffee has been roasted it will naturally release a lot of carbon dioxide, so the airtight container must have some sort of one-way vent valve to let the gas out. Therefore, the pre-sealed coffee bags that are now ubiquitous in stores are ideal since they have a built-in one-way valve. There are also some vacuum container devices specifically designed for storing coffee beans that have a small pump to pump out the air once or twice a day.

Once the beans are roasted, their essential flavor compounds immediately start to degrade. Therefore, do not buy beans unless you know their roasting date. If stored in ideal conditions, the beans should remain in peak condition for at most one month.

  • 5
    ...in other words, I'd use them far quicker than they would take to spoil.
    – razumny
    Sep 16, 2013 at 17:32
  • If stored in ideal conditions, the beans should remain in peak condition for two or three WEEKS. coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/questions/543604
    – Rick G
    Sep 23, 2013 at 13:54
  • 1
    @RickG I got the two to three months number from Alton Brown, whom I consider to be a source at least as reliable as forum posts on Coffee Geek. (To be clear, I do also enjoy Coffee Geek as a resource.) Personally, I find it hard to imagine how a pound of beans could last longer than three weeks before being consumed ;-)
    – ESultanik
    Sep 26, 2013 at 1:12
  • I think they release CO2 for a couple of days after roasting, not a couple of weeks. The flavor drops off significantly after a couple of weeks vs fresh roasted, not months. But, that's a matter of degree. You can make perfectly tasty coffee with beans a month old, but it really doesn't compare to something that was roasted just a couple days before. Alton Brown is off on this one. Kenneth David, the author of some of the most authoritative books on coffee notes the difference after just a week. Feb 2, 2017 at 21:44
  • @PoloHoleSet You're right. After further research, I've edited my answer.
    – ESultanik
    Feb 3, 2017 at 14:02

My sense is that if kept in optimal conditions it can be indefinite(not eternal). Optimal would be cool dry and well sealed.

Here are some guidelines, however I am not sure what they are basing this on: http://www.eatbydate.com/drinks/coffee-tea-shelf-life/coffee-shelf-life-expiration-date/

another interesting resource for any information on coffee: http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.