When Are Coffee Beans Too Old?

If you’re looking for a nice cup of joe but only have some questionable coffee beans, it can be tough to figure out if they are worth using. After all, you don’t want to make a fresh cup of coffee only to realize that it tastes horrible. 

So, when are coffee beans too old? Coffee beans typically stay at peak freshness for about 2-3 weeks, but if stored properly, they should be safe to consume up to 9 months after being opened. Coffee beans will usually taste pretty stale once these 9 months pass.

The rest of this article will give you all the details on how to tell if coffee beans have gone bad and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Let’s get into it!

How To Tell If Coffee Beans Have Gone Bad

Generally, you will be able to tell if your coffee beans have gone bad just by smelling them.

Coffee beans that are still good will have a fresh aroma that smells of coffee. If they’ve gone bad, the beans can smell dull, musty, or even rancid.

If you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary with smell, chances are that your coffee beans are fine to use. But if you’re still feeling skeptical, you can inspect them closer.

Though it’s very uncommon, coffee beans can grow mold if they’ve been exposed to water or moisture. If you notice any mold on your beans, you should definitely throw them out immediately.

As long as your coffee beans look and smell fine, they will be okay to consume. If they’re pretty old, then the coffee you make with them might taste a bit stale or not seem as fresh as it once was. But if you’re okay with this, there is no reason you shouldn’t be using the coffee beans.

Can You Consume Old Coffee Beans?

9 times out of 10, it’s completely safe to consume old coffee beans. While they might not taste as good, they can’t really cause any harm. 

However, if you notice any mold on the coffee beans or if they smell particularly rancid, it’s in your best interest to throw them out. Along with possible stomach upset, moldy coffee beans aren’t going to taste too good anyway.

If you have some old coffee beans and you don’t like the way they taste, you can try some other options instead of throwing them out.

Making some sort of coffee-flavored cake or ice cream can be a great way to utilize those beans, and the introduction of other flavors will mask that they aren’t super fresh.

If you’re not into baking, you could make a body scrub or use them as plant fertilizer instead!

Finding ways to use your old coffee beans is a really great way to make sure that you waste as little as possible.

How Should You Store Coffee Beans For Keeping Them Fresh?

Now that you know how to tell if coffee beans are bad, you probably also want to know how to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

Luckily, I have some good tips on how to do so.

Keeping your coffee beans in an airtight container is one of the most important things that you can do to keep them fresh. Exposing the beans to oxygen for too long will make them go stale faster, so an airtight container will be sure to slow things down a bit. 

If the bag that the beans came in doesn’t close too easily, you can always transfer them into an airtight container (such as a mason jar).

The coffee beans should also be kept somewhere that’s not too hot and away from sunlight. While it may be tempting to display those coffee beans on the kitchen counter, doing so can expose them to light and heat that will make them lose freshness quicker.

It’s best to keep the coffee beans in a dark cabinet if you want them to stay fresh.

Final Thoughts

Coffee beans can last up to 9 months without going bad, though they may taste a little stale if they are this old.

And if you aren’t interested in drinking these old coffee beans, you can always try using them in other ways!