Does ground coffee go bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Does ground coffee go bad?” We will also discuss the different ways to tell whether the ground coffee has gone bad and how we can store ground coffee.

Does ground coffee go bad?

Yes, ground coffee goes bad. Wavy product has an expiry date and ground coffee is no different. Since ground coffee usually looks the same even after they go stale, some people might be wondering if the coffee is good or bad. Ground coffee that has gone bad usually loses its flavor and aroma so the smell of coffee is barely there.

Aside from that, you don’t have to worry about getting molds on ground coffee since all the potential contaminants are eliminated during the roasting process. With the moisture level of coffee incredibly low, the risks of formation of molds or bacteria on your coffee grounds also becomes extremely low or nonexistent, unless there is overexposure to moisture.

As the coffee ages, the compounds that provide the flavor and aroma to the coffee also disappear over time. If your coffee has gone bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be used anymore. You can still safely drink it, but its flavors and aroma won’t be as strong anymore. 

Ground coffee has a shelf life of three to five months at room temperature, regardless of whether or not it has been exposed to oxygen. Unopened coffee may be kept in the freezer for a long time and has a shelf life of up to two years. Even in the freezer, the shelf life is reduced to five months once the packaging is opened.

How can we tell if your coffee has gone bad?

Here are some of the signs that you can observe to tell whether your coffee has gone bad or not:


Firstly, thoroughly inspect the coffee box or packaging as well as the coffee for mold. If your coffee is exposed to moisture, the mold can infiltrate your grounds. If your coffee is contaminated with mold, separate it and discard the infected coffee instantly. Although molds are not so common in ground coffee, they can still occur if it is exposed to moisture frequently.

Color change

If you store ground coffee for an extended period, the color of the ground coffee is bound to change at one point. It might fade its color from a dark black coffee to a slightly brownish shade. However, it has to be noted that the brown shade of coffee doesn’t always mean that your coffee has gone bad,  it could just be due to the color of the beans or the roasting procedure.


The appearance of the ground coffee alone will not tell you whether or not the coffee has gone bad. You should smell the coffee for any unpleasant odors. A good cup of coffee will smell herby, nutty, and smokey.

As the coffee gets old, it loses its freshness and may smell musty if exposed to humidity. Storing coffee for an extended period of time can also cause the oils present in whole beans to go rancid, giving the coffee a weird fragrance.

Taste it

Tasting the freshly brewed cup of coffee is the ultimate way of determining whether your coffee is still good or it has expired.  The aroma of freshly made coffee may offer you a hint, but if you’re still not sure, take a sip. Fresh coffee has a unique to it that you won’t be able to miss out on after tasting it.

How to store ground coffee?

You should always store your ground coffee in an airtight container, away from moisture. One of the main reasons why ground coffee goes bad is due to bad storage. Of course, every coffee has its shelf life which can’t be avoided, most of the rest of the problems come with bad storage. Here are some of the tips to store ground coffee properly:

  • Choose an airtight container and make sure there is no leakage. Go for ceramic or metal containers.
  • Store the ground coffee away from direct exposure to heat, light, and moisture.
  • Since ground coffee is porous avoid flavor transfer by storing it separately from other spices.
  • Freezing the ground coffee also helps to preserve the flavors of coffee. For more information on the freezing technique of coffee, please click the link here.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Does ground coffee go bad?” We have also discussed the different ways to tell whether the ground coffee has gone bad and how we can store ground coffee.