Can Coffee Beans Lose Their Flavor? Avoid These Mistakes

Can coffee beans lose flavor

Ask any coffee enthusiast and they’ll tell you the best coffee is always made from fresh coffee beans. Have you ever thought about what makes coffee beans lose their flavor?

If not stored properly, light, heat, and humidity will make your coffee beans lose their flavor. Another common reason why beans can taste different is oxidation. Leaving the beans out in the open will cause them to become dull and often sour.

As you see, basically every natural thing in your kitchen can cause your favorite beans to turn to brown pebbles. No need to worry, coffee lovers weren’t going to let their favorite java spoil. We’ve come up with a few ways to keep the beans fresh for longer periods of time.

Light, Heat, and Humidity

Light and Heat

You must have noticed that coffee beans are never presented in clear bags or containers. That’s because exposure to sunlight ruins the java.

It’s a common practice to avoid storing coffee beans in glass containers. Leaving them out of sight is also a good idea. I always use an opaque canister I got from Amazon, and it works perfectly.

Light and heat will accelerate the oxidation of your beans. However, as bad as heat and light are for a good-tasting cup of joe, humidity may be worse.


Any type of moisture on beans or grounds will spoil them. Storing your coffee in a humid environment gives mold a chance to set in and ruin your java.

If you store your coffee beans in a fridge you are giving humidity a chance to set in, especially if you take the beans out of the fridge and then put them back in.

We suggest giving the beans or grounds a good sniff before grinding or brewing. Trust your sense of smell. If you get a hint of mold or humidity, it’s a good idea to get rid of your batch and reach for a fresh pack.

 Oxidation Makes Coffee Lose Its Flavor

 coffee, beans, coffee beans

Examples of oxidation are all around us. Imagine fresh produce such as bananas or apples. The skin on a banana develops brown or even black spots because of oxidation, the same way an apple slice becomes brown when left out on a plate.

The same principle applies to coffee beans.

You won’t notice the change like you do on a banana peel or a rusted car, but oxidation will transform the way your beans smell and taste. Resulting in your favorite drink becoming dull and significantly less tasty.

Daily coffee drinkers will agree that the smell of fresh grounds will have a fuller scent. Air-sealed grounds will produce a more delicious cup of joe.

All coffee lovers will agree that when beans, grounds, or brew have been left out too long the taste or smell will almost certainly be less than ideal.

How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh For?

Each pack of coffee beans will have an expiry date, this should be the first place you look. If you stored the packaging in a bright or humid place you may want to try the smell test before brewing it first.

Coffee beans are at their best for only 7 to 10 days after they’ve been roasted.

According to coffee beans lose 10% of their shelf life for every 24 hours they spend exposed to air at room temperature. That’s why it’s always better to buy coffee in small portions and always keep it in an airtight container.

Here are some of the best practices for keeping your beans or grounds fresh for longer.

How to Store Coffee?

Since good quality beans usually come in a bag you may want to find a suitable container to keep the product fresh for longer. Again, this airtight coffee canister from Amazon is perfect for keeping coffee fresh.

Spill the beans or grounds into this airtight storage container and keep your coffee good as new while delaying the process of oxidation.

If you are thinking of storing the container in the fridge, STOP. The significant change of temperature can result in humidity inside the container when taken out of the fridge which, as you now know, can adversely affect your cup of joe.

It’s a good practice to keep the container in the same place you keep your wine. In a cool dark place.

Daily Routine

For the best-tasting coffee, be sure to grind your beans just before you get to brewing.

In case you don’t already know what grind size is best for your brewing method, I’ve put together a helpful guide with pictures.

If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a coffee grinder. Or, if you are buying coffee that’s already ground remember to buy it in small quantities.

Can Instant Coffee Go Bad?

Can instant coffee expire? Yes, it does. Check the expiration date on all pre-packaged beans and grounds.

The expiration date is about one year after the beans have been roasted. As we know, many things can happen in a year to affect your precious coffee taste.

How to Treat Your Coffee?

Regular coffee drinkers will tell you the only way to have a cup is freshly brewed. Just as you should expect with all your food, if not treated correctly, your coffee beans can lose their flavor. By following these simple steps you’ll keep your beans and grounds fresh for much longer.

  • Buying enough coffee for a week, two at max ensures you always have fresh beans.
  • Try buying coffee beans instead of ground coffee as often as possible.

  • Store your java in an opaque, airtight, container at room temperature.
  • Avoid keeping your coffee in the refrigerator when you can. If you must remember once the beans come out of the fridge, don’t put them back in.
  • Always grind fresh coffee when brewing a cup.


When I think about it, everyone I know drinks coffee. Some like a cup in the morning, others have one at lunch. Maybe they enjoy the relaxing taste and an aroma or maybe a cup helps them keep focused when chasing a deadline.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed how two cups from the same batch can taste a bit different. If you drink a cup of joe on a regular basis you may have occasionally wondered about what made your coffee beans lose their flavor, and I hope this cleared things up for you.  

Related Questions

How Long Can You Keep Ground Coffee for?

If stored correctly, a package of ground coffee will hold its flavor for about 1 to 2 weeks. It’s important to follow the guides laid out above for the coffee to stay fresh.

Can You Get Sick from Drinking Old Coffee?

Like many meat and dairy products, coffee also has an expiry date. The difference is that the coffee expiry date is just a recommendation. Drinking coffee past its expiry date won’t make you sick, you’ll just taste really dull and dusty coffee.

What to Do with Expired Coffee?

There are so many uses for expired coffee beans and grounds. Some are very thoughtful and unique, and others are quite strange and bizarre. If you take the time to read this article about creative ways to use old coffee grounds, you might find yourself never throwing them out again.

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