Reader’s Questions: How long can I store coffee beans?

By | September 21, 2015

At PurelyCoffeeBeans, I’ve answered lots of questions over the years. You’ll find the questions and their answers scattered throughout the site!

I’m always open to more questions, if you’re frustrated or curious, why don’t you drop me a line! This week we welcome …

How long can I store coffee beans?

by Anon. from US


If stored in an airtight container, how long will unground beans last before going stale? I know that some beans tend to stale more quickly, like JBM, but I mean just your typical espresso roasted fare.

Thank you

That’s a great question. In general, the sooner beans of any kind are used the better. Why? Because air, heat, moisture and time are the enemies of ALL coffee. Saying that, I do know that unground beans will keep much longer than ground coffee or even roasted coffee beans.

One website I read suggested from 2 ~10 years but that it would depend on what kind of bean and HOW carefully they were stored. If the container is airtight, store them away from the sun for sure. Green beans typically have a moisture content of 10-15%, so I would be careful about not storing them in plastic bags, since this may incubate undesirables in your beans.

I wouldn’t personally aim to keep green beans longer than 12 months in a hot or humid climate, simply because ambient humidity is much higher. Roasted Coffee Beans wouldn’t really be so good after even just a month or so, once opened.

I also debate with myself the advantages of storing beans in the fridge, because of the danger of causing mold growth from warm temperatures and increased humidity from sweating’ of roasted beans. If you have a large bag of green beans, do your friends a favor and give them away: well before the 2 years are up!

There are some practical solutions to storing coffee beans well, you can also check them out some appropriate products on Amazon.