How to store coffee beans long-term

How to Store Coffee Beans Long-Term

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

If you’re reading this, you probably already know the importance of coffee. Sure it provides you with energy, but it helps you become more productive and simply makes life more enjoyable. So to ensure you can continue to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, regardless of circumstances occurring outside, it’s important to learn how to store coffee beans long-term in your emergency food storage location.

When stored properly, unroasted coffee beans and instant coffee have a shelf life of over 20 years. Once roasted and grinded, coffee still has a long shelf life, but the shelf life is significantly shorter.

Air, moisture, light, heat – all these can cause your coffee beans to spoil; thus, you’ll want to preserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor by keeping your beans in cool and dark places. 

The retail packaging of coffee beans is not ideal for long-term storage. So, we’re going to guide you today on how best to store your coffee beans for the long term. Read on below to learn more.

how to store green coffee beans

How to Store Coffee Beans for Long-Term Storage?

Once you’ve opened your bag of coffee beans, you’re going to want to transfer them into better storage containers as soon as possible. Remember, coffee beans begin to lose their freshness as soon as you open their packaging.

There are three main coffee types available for storage. Similar to most other types of foods, the enemies of coffee are air, moisture, heat, air pressure, and temperature. Coffee loses its fresh flavor and becomes bad after being exposed to environmental aggressors. This can be dealt with by following the proper methods to store coffee long-term.

grinded coffee and beans

3 Storage Options for Long-Term Storage

There are three storage options that work well for storing coffee beans long-term. Pre-ground coffee should be kept in the freezer or in an airtight container, which can help it achieve a shelf life of 20 years. We discuss each method in detail below.

coffee in mylar bag

Store Green coffee Beans in Mylar Bags

Unroasted, or green, coffee beans can be stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for up to 20 years. Mylar bags are metallic sheets covered by polyester and aluminum that prevent oxygen, light, and moisture from entering the bag. They are effective for long-term storage but cannot protect against rodents. So, when using mylar bags, it is important to store the bag in a dark, cool place that is out of reach from pests.

To store green coffee beans in a mylar bag, simply pour the coffee beans into the mylar bag, then add the oxygen absorbers. Once you push out most of the air, you can seal the mylar bag of coffee with an iron or hair straightener.

For an extra layer of protection, consider placing the mylar bags in a food-grade 5-gallon bucket. Food buckets are a popular way of protecting food as it keeps out environmental aggressors but also make it extremely difficult for rodents to penetrate.

Note: Unroasted coffee beans are the only types of coffee that can be stored away in a mylar bag. Once roasted, coffee beans have a significantly shorter shelf life.

Related Article: How to Store Food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners

Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets

Related Article: How to Store Food in 5 Gallon Buckets

Store Coffee Beans in a Freezer

Coffee has barely any moisture in it. So, you won’t have to worry about your coffee beans getting freezer burned. These beans have the ability to stay fresh in the freezer for extended periods.

Before deciding to store your coffee beans in the freezer, however, it’s important to note that your beans may absorb smells from other items in your freezer. So, you’re going to want to keep your coffee beans away from frozen steak in order to avoid funky smells and scents in your coffee.

If you have no choice and absolutely need to keep your coffee beans in the freezer along with other food, you’ll want to keep your coffee beans sealed in non-permeable bags or airtight containers. These types of sealed bags and containers prevent gasses from entering and sticking to your beans.

When it’s time to remove the coffee beans from the freezer, you’ll need to let them get to room temperature before you open the packaging; otherwise, your beans will absorb the humidity and will start to go spoil.

beans and grounded coffee

Store Coffee Beans in Airtight Containers

As noted above, coffee oxidizes when pressed into the air. You will want to store your dried coffee beans as soon as possible to preserve freshness by reducing exposure to air. There are numerous options for storing coffee in containers. The best type of storage container is an airtight container as they prevent oxidation of whole coffee beans. Typically, the best coffee containers such as this are airtight containers made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel, as well as contain specialized valves that vent out carbon dioxide. Coffee beans have an incredibly low moisture content meaning that sunlight does not damage your coffee beans.

After opening the seal of your coffee bean’s original packaging, you should consider transferring the beans to an airtight container. This ensures that oxidation and gassing-off don’t occur.

When looking for an airtight container for your coffee beans, there are several factors you should consider. These include:

  • Ability to Keep Beans Fresh: First and foremost, you’ll want an airtight container that can keep your coffee beans fresh. This means you’ll need a container that seals tightly and doesn’t let any air escape.
  • Size: In most cases, the bigger your airtight container, the better. This is because it may be inconvenient to have to properly fill, seal, and store many airtight containers. It may be more convenient and simple for you to fill up a bigger airtight container for your beans.
  • Ease of Cleaning: A good airtight container for your coffee beans is easy to clean. You’ll want to buy an airtight container that’s made of high-quality materials and that you can wash easily with soap and water. If you run into any trouble cleaning a container, you may wish to use a mild detergent.

Related Article: Long-Term Food Storage in Mason Jars

coffee grounded

Shelf Life of Coffee

The shelf life of coffee depends on several influences, including if it has been grounded and roasted as well as the container and exposure to environmental aggressors. Coffee generally has a long shelf life and can last long before showing any signs of being unsafe to consume.

Similar to old and expired tea bags, coffee beans and ground coffee is safe for consumption after their expiry date. If made after its expiration date, your cup of joe won’t taste as good and maybe stale, but there typically won’t be any adverse effects of consuming your coffee after its expiration date – especially if you’ve stored it properly.

Type of CoffeePantryFreezerMylar Bag
Instant Coffee20+ Years20+ Years20+ Years
Unroasted (Green) Coffee1-2 Years5 Years20+ Years
Roasted Coffee6-9 Months2-3 YearsNot Recommended
Ground Coffee3-6 Months6 MonthsNot Recommended

Shelf life varies depending on what kind of coffee you’re storing. Let’s dive deeper into the details below.

Before going into storage conditions, there must be an understanding that some coffees will generally last longer compared to others.

coffee beans and grounded

Shelf Life of Unroasted Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans, also known as unroasted coffee beans, have a shelf life of up to 5 years when unopened in their original packaging. Once opened, it has a maximum shelf life of 12 months. However, if unroasted coffee beans are kept in a mylar bag, they can last over 20 years. Once it is exposed to environmental aggressors, unroasted beans will begin to lose their taste, flavor, and aroma.

Once you grind the unroasted coffee beans, the ground coffee should be consumed within a month while it’s still fresh. Afterward, it is still consumable but will not be as fresh. In the ideal world, you should be able to ground your coffee beans daily for the best coffee possible.

roasted coffee beans

Shelf life of Roasted Coffee Beans

Roasted coffee beans have a shelf life of 6-9 months when sealed in a container and can last up to 2-3 years when stored in the freezer. Similar to unroasted beans, roasted coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container in order to protect them from environmental aggressors.

Roasted coffee beans kept in their original packaging without any special storage techniques should stay fresh until their expiry date if kept away from oxygen, moisture, heat, and light. Depending on the packaging, manufacturer, and when you bought the coffee, the length it stays fresh could range from a few weeks to months or longer. So, make sure to properly store coffee beans; otherwise, you will have an unpleasant experience tasting coffee.

Once you’ve opened a pack of roasted coffee beans, these beans will typically stay fresh for 6 months if left in their retail packaging. In the freezer, an open package of coffee will last 2 years.

To further extend the shelf life of your beans, when you’re out to buy coffee beans, look for sealed containers with a degassing valve or a recent “roasted on” date printed on the package.

shelf life of unroasted coffee beans

Shelf Life of Ground Coffee

As with whole roasted coffee beans, an unopened pack of ground coffee will stay fresh until its expiry date, as specified by the manufacturer. Typically, the shelf life of ground coffee is 6 months when kept in a sealed container and up to 2 years when kept frozen in the freezer.

Once you open a pack of freshly ground coffee, the pack will stay fresh for 3-6 months, as long as you keep the ground coffee away from heat, light, and moisture.

We suggest keeping your pre-ground coffee beans in storage and grinding the beans as you need them. This way, the coffee will be fresh and richer in flavor.

different types of coffee

Shelf Life of Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is one type of ground coffee that has an exceptionally long shelf life. Although most instant coffee has an expiration label of 1-2 years, instant coffee is known to last up to 20 years without going bad. If you have instant coffee and choose to store it away in an airtight container, it may be safe for consumption for two to twenty years. This, however, is largely dependent on your instant coffee brand and how well you store it.

coffee beans and coffee grounded

People Also Ask

Some frequently asked questions related to coffee storage include:

As much as possible, you’re going to want to consume any kind of coffee before its expiry date. If this isn’t an option, you’re going to want to store your coffee properly by keeping it in an airtight container, storing it in the freezer, or both; however, a coffee past its expiry date is rarely a cause for concern – from a health perspective. Coffee from old grounds or beans may not be as tasty as fresh coffee, but it generally stays safe for consumption.

People commonly believe that brewed coffee is at its freshest 20 to 30 minutes after pouring into a mug. In reality, brewed coffee is still perfectly fine for drinking a few hours after you’ve brewed it. Brewed coffee without milk or creamer can last up to four hours after brewing. If you’ve added milk, however, it’s best to consume the coffee within a couple of hours.

After roasting coffee beans, the color of coffee goes from green and ranges from light to dark brown. The extent to which it is roasted has a significant influence on the flavor once you brew the coffee.

Unroasted beans are green in color. For this reason, they are often referred to as green coffee beans. Unroasted, coffee beans have a long shelf life and are a good choice for long-term storage.

coffee plant

Final Thoughts

To recap, we’ve discussed how you should properly store your coffee beans in the long term. As you may have seen, there is no one-size-fits-all shelf life for coffee, as this highly depends on what kind of coffee you have and how you store it.

In general, however, you should keep dry coffee beans and ground coffee away from heat, light, moisture, and air by storing them in airtight packages or in the freezer. By storing your dry coffee properly, your coffee can last for extended periods.

Again, there’s generally no health risk to drinking old coffee as long as you’ve stored it properly, but it won’t taste as good as fresh coffee. It’s still a good idea to check for signs of spoiling before consuming any coffee beverage.

For more info on what food items are best for preppers and how best to store these food items for the long term, check out the other blog posts on our website today.

Related Article: 11 Supplies You Need for DIY Long-Term Food Storage

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