While we tend to be painfully optimistic about everything, all good things must, at some point, come to an end. This unfortunately does include your favorite bag of coffee.
The truth is, coffee doesn’t necessarily “go bad” and in the majority of cases, won’t be harmful to consume. For most of us, the idea of allowing a bag of coffee to expire is preposterous due to the volume in which we consume it. But for those rare instances when that bag you somehow forgot about magically appears behind the half-eaten jar of peanut butter and immediately transports you to morning bliss and tears at your heart and soul to immediately brew a pot – we’ve got a quick guide for you.
Open Vs. Closed
With said bag in hand, the first fresh test will be attempting to recall the very moment it was ordered and arrived at your home. If you happened to buy it at the grocery store, best of luck.
Coffee is composed of a number of degradable compounds such as lipids, carbs and amino acids. Over time, those compounds inevitably break down.
What speeds up that process is highly regulated by whether or not that package is sealed or not. Depending on how it was packaged, if the seal is still good, the odds are still (but not forever) in your favor.
If the seal is broken or the bag was previously enjoyed, it’s definitely not going to be as fresh. After being exposed to oxygen and moisture from the outside world, the risk of a flat-tasting cup is extremely high.
Bean Vs. Grounds
This is a big one. So much is riding on whether your coffee is still in whole bean form or has been previously ground. A sealed bag of whole beans can last upwards of 9 months (or more, depending on how truly desperate you are), while an opened bag would likely last 5 or 6 months.
Grounds, on the other hand, simply don’t have the stamina that beans do. As they are physically broken down, they instantly become more vulnerable to the outside elements and will spoil faster.
Let’s preface this by saying, we are all for preservation of beautiful things. Great music, art, the oceans and grandad’s accent are all things that should be preserved for generations to come.
Coffee is meant to be enjoyed. Every. Day.
But, in the event that coffee is not a daily driver for you, let’s get on with some key methods of preservation and which ones we’d recommend.
My grandmother kept her batteries in the freezer. The jury is still out on how effective they were in her tv remotes, but many folks still subscribe to the notion that sticking anything in the freezer is good for the long haul.
Yes, it will preserve coffee ever so slightly. But be weary of the amount of moisture that will inevitably seep into your coffee that is kept on ice. Ninety percent of the time it produces a flavorless cup of coffee every time.
Ol’ reliable is still, well…reliable. If the bag of coffee in your pantry is opened, do your best to keep the seal. Our bags come with tin ties to help keep the freshness in, but if by some sick stretch of our imagination, you are enjoying another tin tie-less-brand, roll that bag up as best as you can.
Doing this and enjoying it inside of 3-6 months will guarantee a consistently good cup of coffee.
In short, if you are unsure of when your coffee was purchased or delivered, there is no real harm in brewing a pot or a cup. If it happens to taste off, use the quick jolt to get your butt online and re-order a fresh bag.