We get asked frequently if coffee goes bad and how long it takes for that to happen.
Before we dive into how long coffee stays fresh, let's explore how coffee can be too fresh.
RESTING THE BEANS
Unlike eating a freshly baked croissant, you do not want to make coffee roasted the same day. For drip coffee, you want to wait - "rest" the beans - at least 1-2 days from roast date before brewing.
For espresso, you want to wait at least 5 days and ideally 7+ days from roast date.
Resting allows gasses, especially CO2 to escape prior to brewing. Too much CO2 causes uneven extraction, so espresso made a few days out from roast can taste grassy.
While it's important for gasses to escape, there's a point of diminishing return... which then leads to coffee losing its flavors and getting stale.
No worries, though. The degradation starts early, but is nearly undetectable at first.
HOW LONG COFFEE STAYS FRESH
If the bag is unopened (ours are heat sealed with a 1-way valve), the average coffee drinker won't detect flavor changes for well over 4 weeks. Which means for many people, an unopened bag will still taste good for a few months.
However, once the bag is opened and the beans are exposed to light and oxygen, degradation of flavor starts after a week.
Using an Airscape storage container helps extend the shelf life.
Here's how you can visually tell when coffee isn't as fresh:
- Brewed coffee: when making a pour over, you see very little if any bubbling during the bloom stage at the beginning of your pour
- Espresso: there's very little crema and shots pull very fast