Can you drink out of date coffee?

Coffee that's past its expiration date is safe to drink if it’s been stored properly. The brew won’t taste as fresh or flavourful as it once would, but should not cause health issues. As a rule of thumb, always try to consume your coffee within two weeks of the roasting date.

Coffee can still go bad. Throw away instantly if you spot any of these signs:

What does the expiration date on coffee mean?

The expiration date on coffee is the date by which the coffee is at its peak flavour and quality. It is not a safety date, but rather an indication of when the coffee will start to lose its flavour and aroma. 

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The date is usually printed on the packaging and is often represented by a "best by" or "use by" date. It is important to note that the expiration date on coffee refers to the whole beans. Once you grind the beans the clock starts ticking for the coffee to start losing its flavour.

Factors that affect the shelf life of coffee include the type of coffee, the roast, and how it is stored. 

For example, whole bean coffee lasts longer than pre-ground coffee because it has less surface area exposed to air. Similarly, dark roast coffee lasts longer than light roast coffee because the roasting process removes more moisture from the beans.

If you’re unsure, always consume within two weeks of being roasted to ensure maximum flavour. If you can't finish a bag of coffee within that time, consider freezing the beans or grounds in an airtight container to preserve the freshness.

The impact of expiration on taste and quality

Whilst the coffee is safe, the taste and aroma may not be as fresh as it once was. It’ll taste flat and stale, whilst the aroma can be weak or non-existed. You’ll read the exciting flavour notes on the package and think you’ve been scammed. 

But this is normal. The longer coffee sits on the shelf, the more it loses its flavour and aroma. Always be prepared for a mediocre brew when testing out of date coffee.

Note: Coffee beans, grounds, or brewed coffee can absorb odours and flavours from other food or drink items in the cupboard, if they are not stored properly. If you fancy an experiment, try different food combos in your cupboard to create new flavours! Have you ever tried a coffee that tastes like pasta?! 

If you do want to extend the shelf and flavour life of your coffee, I recommend a container like this:

Key takeaways

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