How To Tell If Your Coffee Has Gone Bad

by Rebecca Deczynski

If there's anything to learn from the poetry of Robert Frost, it's that nothing gold can stay. So, once you apply that sentiment to your life you have to start asking some serious questions: wait, can coffee go bad?

It's safe to say that coffee has a very important job of holding society together as it provides much-needed caffeine in offices, homes, and more, so it makes a lot of sense that people would stock up on plenty of coffee beans since there always seems to be the terrifying risk of a global coffee shortage at hand. What can you possible do without your morning cup of joe? Not only does it keep you energized, but coffee has health benefits that make it a pantry staple, as well.

Figuring out if coffee has gone bad can be tricky because it doesn't tend to smell bad after it's expired, nor does it get discolored. But a not-so-great cup of coffee in the morning sets you up for a not-so-great day — so it's best to learn just when you need to toss the grinds, beans, or that cup of coffee that's been sitting out for way too long. Here's what you need to do for the perfect cup of coffee.

Consume Coffee Beans In Under A Month

While coffee beans don't technically go bad (unless they get wet), they do decrease in quality the longer you have them. According to Coffee Brew Guides, beans start decaying between two weeks and a month after they've been opened. They don't go bad, per se, but quality decreases after that window has passed.

Store Coffee Beans Correctly

Coffee beans and humidity are not a happy match. To make sure your beans always stay fresh, you should keep them in an air-tight container. According to The Roasterie, coffee should be kept away from sunlight, heat, moisture, and oxygen as much as possible. A cool cabinet will do just fine.

Buy Beans Whole

When beans are pre-ground, that means that they have more contact with oxygen, so they can get stale faster. The Kitchn recommends buying beans whole and grinding them before you use them — that way, less of the bean had been in contact with the air for a prolonged period of time. You'll be treated to a fresher cup of coffee every time.

Be Wary Of Moisture

It's not likely that coffee beans will get moldy should you store them correctly, but in the case that the beans get wet or come in contact with some sort of moisture, they will get moldy after a few days, according to In that case, throw them out.

Don't Let Brewed Coffee Sit Out

Although Buzzfeed reports that a cup of black coffee that has sat out for a while won't make you sick, it probably won't taste all that great. If it's been sitting there for several hours, toss it and start brewing a new pot.

Images: Giphy (5)