HomeCoffee InfoCan You Drink Expired Coffee? (Essential Things To Know)

Can You Drink Expired Coffee? (Essential Things To Know)

It was 12:38 AM in the morning and suddenly my palates needed a cup of joe. I ran towards the refrigerator, took out milk boiled some water and when I checked the jar containing coffee grounds, the sight was saddening.

It had been more than 6 months since the coffee in the jar had expired. I was confused, a part of me wanted to go for it regardless, but as someone who has had a history of food poisoning, I wanted to find out, can you drink expired coffee? So here goes.

The quickest answer would be, yes. You can drink expired coffee, but you should not. Apart from rancid taste and flavoring issues, expired coffee is not the way to go for a coffee aficionado as they would never compromise on how their coffee tastes. It’s always better to buy a new jar of your favorite coffee rather than having the old one from your kitchen cabinet. You might as well say goodbye to it for good.

However, if you are someone like me who would prefer to compromise on the quality of coffee just to satisfy that immediate urge, you can drink expired coffee for sure.

In this post, we’ll discuss whether it’s safe to have a cup of java made from expired coffee or not.

Can You Drink Expired Coffee

Why do Most People worry About Drinking Expired Coffee?

People worry about consuming expired coffee because of several issues it might cause them. They also don’t want to befriend the toilet seat, hence the worry. Let’s take a look at the possible reasons why people worry about drinking expired coffee.

Potential Consequences

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’d be wary of consuming products after the expiry date. The ‘best by’ date on the coffee means your coffee would taste the best before that date. However, the good news is, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it afterward.

Some people worry about an empty stomach, ‘expired’ coffee would only taste bad. So if you are not too concerned about how your coffee tastes, you are good to brew that ‘expired’ coffee cup.

It’s Going To Taste Like ‘Feet’

If you are a fan of the famous TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S, you’d understand the reference. The point is, coffee connoisseurs never compromise on what their coffee tastes like. If the coffee you are using is quite old (more than a year after its best by date), its taste would be the worse.

You can expect a rancid taste, and your taste buds will never forgive you for what you are doing to them. So I wouldn’t promise about how it’ll taste.

People Don’t Feel OK About It

Some people inherently despise anything that is expired. Their brains are wired that way and they can’t help it. The fact is, they can even have that coffee unknowingly, but if you tell them just after they finished it, they’d throw up or at least be nauseated.

This is natural and they value the freshness of the product more than anything else. They just don’t feel OK about it. If you are one of those people, I would highly recommend buying fresh coffee from your nearest store rather than consuming that old coffee in your kitchen cabinet.

What Can Possibly Happen To An Expired Coffee?

If you’ve already opened your jar or packet, chances are that the air in the atmosphere must have reacted with your coffee. This starts a process of oxidation of coffee that can turn it stale. For coffee snobs, this is a big no-no.

Stale coffee is as good as dead for some coffee lovers. Now coffee doesn’t expire like products such as bread or bananas, it does lose its quality of taste as time passes. It would only increase as time passes, so if you are extremely particular about your coffee, you should never compromise on the ‘best by’ date.

When Can You Consider A Coffee ‘Expired’?

There are two major types of coffee that you consume. One is ready-made that you buy in a jar or a packet. The other is coffee beans (either roasted or raw). Each expires in a different way. Let’s take a deeper look:

Date On The Jar

If you haven’t opened your coffee yet and it’s still sealed, you can consume it after approximately 10 months even if it has expired. It should not cause any issues, but I’m not too sure about its taste. If you’ve ever tried it, do let me know in the comments below.

If you have opened your coffee jar or packet, you should consume it within 4 months after it has passed its ‘best by’ date. Again, the taste could be an issue with such a coffee.

Also Read: Can You Burn Coffee? An Insight into the Process of Burning

Date Of Roasted Beans

Expiry works differently for roasted coffee beans. Believe it or not, roasted beans expire after 5-7 days. If you’re a coffee snob, you’d know what I’m talking about. This is because roasted beans are then grounded to for espresso.

When it comes to espresso, each step matters especially the quality of your roasted beans.

Caveat About Mold, Milk, & Wet Beans

If you see your coffee has developed mold on it, this could cause problems. So, when I talk about expired coffee in this blog, it’s about the coffee that does not have mold on it.

Also Read: Evaporated Milk in Coffee? Things You Must Know

Another thing you should be careful about is the ready-made drinks that you buy from your nearest coffee shop or supermarket. These are pre-brewed and contain milk as one of the ingredients. If this beverage has passed its ‘best before’ date, you should not try it as it can cause issues (especially to those who are prone to an upset stomach).

If your coffee beans get wet, you wouldn’t be able to use them at a later date. Even though you can’t figure out the exact expire of such beans, you should try to avoid them as much as possible. I’m not sure whether it can cause any major issues, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?

How To Preserve Coffee For A Long Time?

Just like aging, you can’t really stop your coffee from expiring. The good news is, you can slow down the process so it can last for longer than it otherwise would. You can try doing the following:

Make It Airtight

As explained above, your coffee reacts with air and starts losing its quality. Once you open the jar, the process is almost irreversible. However, making your container airtight can slow down the process.

The longer you keep your jar open, the quicker it would lose its quality. Whenever you brew a cup of coffee, make sure you close the jar tight and don’t expose it to air for long.

Maintaining The Right Temperature

Never expose your coffee jar to too much heat. It’s important that your coffee gets a cool temperature. If you store your coffee in the kitchen, make sure it’s away from the stove or burner. A good place for it would be the cabinet.

Freezing Your Coffee

Another way to preserve your coffee and slow down the process of expiring would be to freeze it. However, make sure the container does not have any air inside of it, otherwise, it won’t preserve the beans well.

I’ll cover the topic of freezing and storing your coffee beans in a separate post.

Must Read: Is French Vanilla Coffee? Categorizing The Drink

Extra Tip To Save Your Coffee From Expiring

Another important tip to follow is to buy your coffee in small batches rather than bulk buying. Often it happens that for the love of coffee, we tend to buy it in bulk. Also, whenever we see it on a sale, we think it’s the perfect opportunity.

However, you should know that there is no free lunch in this world. Always check the ‘best by’ on the jars of coffee you see on sale. Grocery stores have to replenish fresh items on their shelves so they want to get rid of the batch that is about to expire, hence the sale.

If you buy your coffee in bulk, there’s a chance you might not use it all in the near future. If it remains in your cabinets for years, it’s bound to expire and would not be suitable for consumption. So, my recommendation would be to always buy your coffee in small batches to avoid this scenario.

What If My Brewed Coffee Is Expired?

You just brewed a cup of joe but can’t have it for one reason or the other then there are a few scenarios to consider:

  • Brewing an espresso? I would highly recommend you don’t delay having it or brew a fresh cup discarding this one.
  • If it’s a milk-based coffee, you can delay having it a few hours. You can even put it in the refrigerator for a few hours and reheat it. I can’t vouch for the taste, but you can have that ‘expired’ coffee without worrying about any issues.


Well, that’s all about can you drink expired coffee. I know you must have known most of the things in the article already, but I’m also sure that you must’ve learned something new as well.

Was this post helpful to you? Do let me know in the comments below and share your thoughts about this topic with others in the “coffee community”. I’ll keep posting new content about coffee so do visit the website from time to time for more up-to-date info about coffee.

Have a ‘fresh’ coffee day!

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