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How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Last?

Green coffee beans have a long shelf life compared to freshly roasted coffee, but there are no hard rules for how long coffee's shelf life will last. In short, coffee beans can go bad. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when storing coffee to extend their shelf life. Before we take a deeper dive into what can cause issues, you should note that....

As with any similar food item, moisture and heat are the enemy to long-term shelf life

Moisture Levels

Coffee beans are, by nature, porous and susceptible to fluctuations in humidity, and unfortunately, have been transported in burlap bags for decades. Luckily, transportation methods have moved towards more controlled packages like GrainPro or tougher plastic bags designed to withstand rough transportation.

Some people report that freezing coffee for multi-year freshness is a good idea. However, dethawing your coffee bean will drench your beans with water, potentially making them soggy. All in all, we would recommend not freezing.

Temperature Levels

In cases where its too dry, the life of your coffee bean's aroma will be effected and will lose flavor. Conversely, if your coffee beans become wet, mold can develop making the bean unfit to be roasted.

Keeping your beans in a cool, dry place in a light proof bag in your house should be suitable. Be sure to not store your beans in direct light as that will dry them out too!

Ideally, long term storage for your green coffee beans absolutely requires you store your beans in a place that has a relatively stable, consistent room temperature. Doing so will ensure that by the roasting date, that your green beans will ensure the best possible fresh brewed coffee.

What is the Shelf Life of Roasted Coffee Beans?

Unlike green coffee beans, roasted beans “behave” radically different that their raw counterpart. Obviously, roasting coffee beans changes their color, smell, taste, and sometimes size, however, their shelf life becomes greatly diminished as a result. Therefore, it’s almost a must that you should only roast coffee beans you plan on drinking soon.

That being said, if you need to wait a few days before the roasted beans reach their full potential you can store them in a variety of ways before finely grinding and brewing them.

One method is to simply cover them in tin foil, which while is not ideal, can extend their shelf to up to 4 weeks. However, we would advise against this method as any serious coffee roaster would never do such a thing (unless you are in a pinch of course).

Another possible way to store roasted coffee beans is to store them in sealed four-layer bag (which luckily, CBC offers here). Bags like this tend to include a valve which allows the emitted carbon dioxide from the roasting process to escape so as not to over-oxidize your coffee. This de-gassing valve allows the beans to “breathe” so to speak.

Storing your beans using this can extend the shelf life of your beans for up to 6 months, which is more than enough time to brew them all before they start to go bad.

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