How Long Is Coffee Good?

By Sanuri Perera

The key to a good cup of coffee is the freshness of the coffee bean or powder. Thus, the storage and how long you keep the coffee is important. Here are some tips on how to store your coffee and to understand how long your coffee is good for.

A little bit more than just-in-time

When it comes to purchasing coffee you would want to follow the Japanese corporate technique of ‘just-in-time’. As coffee can get stale very quickly and begins to lose its freshness soon after it is roasted you should buy your coffee at the quantity you use it. Purchase the coffee fresh and store only enough for 1 – 2 weeks. This way you can preserve the freshness for longer.

Storing your coffee

Like all powdered products, coffee too must be stored away from sunlight and heat in an airtight glass or ceramic container to maintain its freshness and flavour for as long as possible. If it is stored outside there is a greater chance that your coffee will get stale and lose its taste. It is important not to refrigerate or freeze your daily supply of coffee because contact with moisture will cause it to deteriorate, though if you have purchased a large quantity of coffee that you will not use immediately, small portions, wrapped in airtight bags, can be stored for up to a month in the freezer. But once you have removed them from the freezer, do not return them; move them to an air-tight container and store in a cool, dry place.

Brewed coffee

A fresh pot of coffee generally expires in 20 minutes after the liquid has been heated. Its time can be further extended for 2 hours in a vacuum pot or thermos bottle. I generally keep it in a thermos mug as it is easily accessible and keeps it warm. Re-heating the coffee is not recommended as it further changes the flavour of the product.

Shelf life

Coffee, depending on its make, can be stored for as long as 3 – 6 months. However, apart from the expiry date on the product watch out for its storage. If the shop owner does not store the coffee properly it will lose its freshness and taste.

How to tell if coffee is bad, rotten or spoiled?

As per practice, one of the first indicators of bad or spoiled coffee is the fragrance. Coffee usually is filled with a fresh, heavily pleasing aroma. If the product is expired it will have almost no smell and the coffee will taste flat. Another indicator is the colour of the coffee; what is generally dark would be light. Coffee beans too begin to slowly lose their flavour soon after grinding as the oils begin to evaporate.

What to do with extra coffee?

Prepared too much coffee this morning? No worries. Add some condensed milk or a dollop of vanilla ice-cream and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and you can make yourself a nice cup of ice-coffee for later on in the day or a milkshake to shake the heat. OR use prepared coffee in place of water in your cake recipe to give it a mocha flavour. Extra ground coffee can be used as a face scrub too!

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