Saturday, December 8, 2012

Expired coffee beans. Can I still make coffee? It depends...

So, I really wanted some coffee today and found that my only bag of whole beans had expired on November 24th of this year. Well, today is December 8th and I had no idea if the coffee would still be good to grind. I know at some point I probably did, but forgot! This will be a reminder to myself and anyone else who isn't privy to coffee expiration. (There's also a nifty list of things to use bad coffee for at the bottom of this ridiculously long, but warranted post)

From what I have gathered, there is a lot of controversy over how to store coffee. Some say coffee beans stay fresh up to 6 months after they have been harvested, but only truly fresh when vacuum sealed. It can be preserved in the freezer for up to 2 months in an air tight container, but loses a lot of it's flavor and benefits. The problem is, most even high end coffees have been sitting in the store for months at a time already, so you want to drink it up as fast as you can. Already ground coffee can last in the freezer too, but it will not be very fresh and it definitely doesn't preserve as well or as long as whole beans. Some people swear it's ok for a month, others say no more than 10 days.  Most coffee connoisseurs will never freeze their coffee and only let it sit in an airtight container, away from light, in a cool dry place, for 1-2 weeks. These people swear by this storage only, as freezing will only kill its benefits and freshness. If they have to freeze it, they only do it once and never again, because opening the freezer exposes it to different temperatures and that will effect it as well. 
So coffee is actually a complicated beverage. There have been taste tests to determine these results and the conclusion varies on the type of coffee, when it was roasted etc, but the general consensus was that 1 month in the freezer, DIRECTLY after being roasted, did not change the taste. Coffee is a highly profitable business because it's something that has to be constantly bought to ensure freshness, so we all want to preserve it for as long as possible. I'm a coffee buff, but I do not drink the stuff every day, I will probably get a few fresh cups out of it and then freeze to get less. Not ideal, but practical for my budget. You have options, but the absolute best one is to buy locally or online. Some people brew their own green coffee, using green beans and if you don't have the means, you can buy it online. Oh the internets, how I love you. I'm going to have to do that at some point to see if there's a drastic change in taste and quality.

If you're wondering where the mug came from, Dollar Tree! 
In my case, this particular bag of fair trade beans wasn't expired too long. Exactly 2 weeks to be exact, so right on the cusp of when it's supposed to be too bad to drink. I got this coffee from a fair trade perk via Klout- a social media rewards site, and I really did not want to miss out on experiencing such a unique light roast with hints of fruit. Yum! 

 I decided to brew it and I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the air tight bag. The aroma was still tempting. As for freshness, I don't think it was up to par, but for being this old, I wasn't complaining. When I had my first cup, It was flavorful and I didn't taste a sign of contamination. Being that it's so late in the game, I will most likely chuck the rest, but I was happy to get at least 2 cups out of it, before hand. Success!


The verdict. In my own educated opinion, I wouldn't freeze your coffee longer than a month after expiration, but don't expect much from it. Don't make more than you are willing to drink and never buy ground coffee unless you are going to drink it up pretty fast. Invest in a grinder, it doesn't have to be high end. Mine is great and I got it for $15. It gets the job done, and beautifully.


Too gross to drink? 

In my search, I also encountered so many creative ways to re-use coffee beans and ground coffee when it is too rancid to prepare. Take a gander at this list and see if you can't do some of them. I'll probably try a lot of these out.


  • Natural hair enhancer for Brunettes
  • Compost for gardens-once ground
  • Some say the caffeine in coffee is a good cellulite combat. I have yet to try, but here is the recipe:
1 part ground coffee beans
mixed with 2 parts brown sugar
a big dash of vanilla extract
enough oil to make a sludgy paste
Store in a pretty jar and use to exfoliate your legs. Let it soak in for an hour, then shower off. Apply more another hour for a stronger effect. 
Some use it in recipes you wouldn't think of, like barbecue sauce and confections. Experiment and see what you come up with! 
  •  Is your child in a play where he will act as an older gentlemen? Get some Vaseline and some ground coffee beans. Smear the Vaseline all over your youths chin and smush coffee beans on it. It will perfectly mimic chin stubble! This is a silly, but clever one and it's proven to work, but watch out if you are prone to clogged pores!
  • Exfoliate by grinding the beans half way and using it with your favorite facial cleanser. Some people swear by this as an exfoliant. 
  • Absorb odors. Apparently coffee is a great odor eliminator! Just put some in a jar and poke holes in the top or put it in a mesh sachet tied up. 
  • Scent replenish. One person swears that if your nostrils are overcome by different smells all at once, he sniffs a jar of coffee and the next scent he smells, is the only one. 
  • Use the beans to make crafty and yummy smelling candles. There are plenty of projects if you Google for them. Here is one: Get some cheap glass votive holders. Fill them with some beans and then place a tea light in the middle. These make beautiful center pieces for fall or anytime and give off a lovely coffee aroma.
  • You can also make a more involved project where you make an actual coffee infused candle. Here is a complete tutorial. Get acquainted with candle making as a whole, before attempting to do this! 
  • Another great project is brewing not so great tasting coffee and then using it as a dye for papers and clothing.  If you want something to look old and weathered, this would be perfect for that. 

Some awesome ideas for you there and i'm sure there are more floating around. If you have any, add them in the comments.

And now I leave you with an oldie but goody that fits the occasion: 

"Keep It Fresh!" 

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12 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I had no idea that coffee can be used to enhance hair color for Brunettes (me!) I am going to have to test that out. It's amazing how many alternative uses coffee offers.

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  2. great post and very informative. We love coffee and my husband and I never tried that brand. Never knew that we can freeze ground coffee until now. thanks for the info

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  3. Thanks for the ways to use expired coffee

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  4. I didn't know that coffee expired. I don't think we've ever had our coffee expire!

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  5. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for the tips.

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  6. Cool info! Natural enhancer for brunettes huh! WOW! I am going to try a few!

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  7. I love freezing things! Thanks for the great information.

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  8. I love using coffee for crafts as well. I have also used to dye soap :)

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  9. Grat post! I just had this problem I just bought some coffee and had to freeze it. I don't really mind the flavor but some coffee is gross after it is expired. I have used it in body scrubs it is great for cellulite but it is messy.

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  10. I love coffee but it makes me jittery lately, and I broke my coffee pot so I need a new one!! I do have an electric coffee grinder though, I got that at a thrift store for like 2 bucks, best investment ever!

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  11. Thanks for the wonderful post! I never knew there were so many other uses for coffee!

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  12. Thnx for the tips great post ♥

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