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How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > How Long Does...  
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inopethflames
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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:29am
Subject: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

how long do whole coffee beans last if they are in their original unopened packaging?  & how long do they last if you store the beans in one of the coffee-bean sealed jars/containers?  thanks!!
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AntWilliams90
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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 1:39am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

I am assuming you mean roasted beans?

The answer will vary, but;

Bought from a local roaster/has a date of roasting on the bag? - Sealed, and stored in a cool dry environment (e.g. cupboard) they will last 15-21 days from the date of roasting
Bought from a supermarket/no date of roasting? - It's pretty impossible to tell...they're likely already past the 15-21 day stage, so best to use them ASAP

Keeping beans in a kilner jar helps, but only as much as an unopened airtight bag does...nothing magic about a glass jar with an air-tight lid! ;)

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 4:47am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

Once you cook your meat for dinner how long will it last in a refer?
The question is the same, only the subject has changed.

When you roast coffee beans, you cook them so to speak. The clock is then running and every day you delay using them once they outgass (about 3 days) they are going down hill. How long are you willing to cut up and use that roast in the fridge?  One week? Two weeks, until it turns green?

 
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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 9:28am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

As callblacksmith indicated, the bag or other storage method for coffee on a store shelf does virtually nothing to keep the coffee fresh. Nor does packing in nitrogen or vacuum. Once roasted the clock starts, and within a minute of opening the container or bag the beans are virtually as old as they would have been if left in an open, brown paper sack left in the dark. And I suppose that this points to the once true protection that the bag give is keeping the beans from light which is third on the degradation list (oxygen and heat being the first two).

Coffee staling is a chemical process which a bag does not stop.

 
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 4:57am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

For espresso you will get good results within 3 weeks in a Kraft coffee bag (no valve). After 3 weeks you notice the pale crema telling you your beans are going stale.  For drip if sealed foil bags you can get close to a month and still tastes good (not best).  I drank 1yr old + of Kona ground drip coffee.  Still tasted great. You can notice the staleness but was still a good cup.  Some age roasted coffee because they love the taste.  I heard Sumatra's are good for this.  

For long term stock I would look into buying green and roasting yourself.  Green can last up to 2 years with optimal taste.
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Jmanespresso
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 7:33am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

I disagree with 3 weeks.  Personally, and generally, I use coffee til' about day 10 out of the roaster, for espresso.  Sometimes, I can push it to day 12.  But right around that almost 2 week mark, there is a very noticeable change, where the flavors flatten and the shots become harsh and thin.

I have noticed that, if I leave coffee it its vacuum sealed one way valve bag till about day 8 or 9, then it tastes a bit fresher then if I had opened that bag on day 3 or so.  Usually only by a day or two or three, but hey, its something.  As for normal storing procedures, what I have been doing for the past year or so, is leaving the coffee in the one way valve bag for the entire time Im using it, and putting that bag, rolled up and clipped, into an "airtight" container.  I say "airtight", because Im less than pleased with these OXO push top containers Ive been using, compared to my old containers(forget the brand).  I notice the coffee staling quicker if I just dump the beans right into that container.  I have been meaning to get new containers.

Everyone has thier own tastes and standards.  For me, for espresso, most of the time, around day 10 is when Im done with using that coffee for espresso.

Im much more lax when it comes to brewed coffee, which I will stretch to 3 weeks if I need too.  I can notice the difference after a week, sure.. but the much more gentle brewing process of, well, BREWING, allows me to get a bit more time out the bean.

 
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inopethflames
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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:14am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

i got 2 products from wholelattelove because it was 50% off:

Lavazza Qualita Rossa Whole Bean Medium Roast Espresso Coffee - 2.2lb bag

Filicori Zecchini Espresso Blend - 2.2lb bag

so it sounds like from now on i wouldnt really wanna get that much beans at once because im not going to be using 4.4 lbs of coffee within 10 days or whatever.  or do packaged products like this have a longer 'shelf' life, i mainly want it for espresso but i can make regular coffee with this also.

thanks!!
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CoffeeLoversMag
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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:33am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

I only let my roasted beans last for a week, 10 days is already a stretch. The "good" taste is never the same.
I leave them in the original packaging, then into an "airtight" bag same as Jmanespresso.

 
Did you know...? Dark roast coffees actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts due to the fact that the process of roasting burns off caffeine.
www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine
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NobbyR
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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013, 3:36am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

inopethflames Said:

how long do whole coffee beans last if they are in their original unopened packaging?

Posted March 11, 2013 link

The answer largely depends on who you ask. Most people on this forum believe in Babbie's Rule of Fifteens and will advocate that roasted beans eventually will go stale after two weeks, which is why they only buy coffee that comes with a roasting date. Industrial roasters like Illy, Lavazza, or Segafredo Zanetti, for example, will tell you that stored properly inside an industrial packaging roasted beans will remain fresh up to two years.

 
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germantownrob
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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013, 7:58am
Subject: Re: How Long Does Coffee Last When Unopened?
 

NobbyR Said:

The answer largely depends on who you ask. Most people on this forum believe in Babbie's Rule of Fifteens and will advocate that roasted beans eventually will go stale after two weeks, which is why they only buy coffee that comes with a roasting date. Industrial roasters like Illy, Lavazza, or Segafredo Zanetti, for example, will tell you that stored properly inside an industrial packaging roasted beans will remain fresh up to two years.

Posted March 15, 2013 link

I am not going to argue with them either but once the can is open you have less then 24hrs before those beans are stale.

I have had Yemen beans that took 3 weeks to even become drinkable and where best at 25days old. Robusta beans IMO are undrinkable fresh, they have to be aged until stale to be usable in a blend. I could argue that some beans for espresso are only delicious on day 6,7, and 8 and are plain Jane on all other days other beans I roast change drastically from day 4 to day 15 and are delicious the entire time. So my answer is it depends.
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