Home » Does Coffee Really Go Bad? Signs Your Brew Has Gone Bad

Does Coffee Really Go Bad? Signs Your Brew Has Gone Bad

Should You Drink Bad Coffee?

When I come back from a long business trip or have been away from home for a long time, I am usually very tired and exhausted. Then my eyes come to the coffee pod, which is tightly closed, and I think of taking a cup of coffee. But it immediately comes to my mind, is this coffee safe to use?

I can say that the coffee drink is drinkable after several hours of preparation, but its taste will be very unacceptable. The water in the coffee drink absorbs the flavors and changes its taste. So it is best to make sure to always get fresh coffee.

If the coffee contains milk, I do not recommend drinking it at all. Because milk has a very short shelf life, it may not exceed two hours, especially if it is left in an open place. The same applies to any materials that are added to coffee, such as chocolate and cream.

The general rule here is that coffee does not spoil, but its taste becomes very bad. If the coffee is added to milk, chocolate or other substances and left in an open place for a period of time, it is better not to drink it. The reason for this is that the additives in milk and chocolate have a specific validity period, which is usually short, and therefore it is not recommended to drink them.

Is bad coffee harmful?

If the drink contains only water and coffee, you can store it and drink it for long periods. Because if the drink contains only water and coffee, the bacteria will most likely not live on this surface and therefore it is safe to drink it.

Nevertheless, I recommend heating it with the microwave before drinking it, because the microwave exposes the drink to heat from the outside to the inside, which is enough to remove or reduce bacteria, if any.

The coffee drink may become bad and be harmful, especially if some additives are added to it such as milk, chocolate and cream and stored for a period exceeding one day, for example. When drinking this cup, you may be exposed to poisoning, which will be mild, but its symptoms are not desirable.

Some of the symptoms that may occur to you are a rash, a cough, an increase in saliva, a feeling of cold, etc. If you feel these symptoms or any other similar symptoms, I advise you to go to the doctor immediately.

What happens to coffee when it goes bad?

When the coffee beans are fresh, they retain their quality for a long period of more than three months. But when roasting or grinding, the oxygen will lead to the decomposition of the coffee particles, thus losing the flavor. Therefore, be sure to store roasted or ground coffee in an airtight container. To make sure that your coffee is not exposed to oxygen, moisture and air.

Does storing coffee in the refrigerator make the coffee bad?

I do not advise you to store coffee in the refrigerator, because coffee is known to absorb odors around it, such as garlic and onions. And you certainly don’t want to.

I recommend storing coffee in the freezer only if you store it in the right way. The correct way is to put the roasted or ground coffee in a sealed, airless container or airless bag.

How do coffee beans spoil?

As we mentioned earlier, the coffee drink does not spoil, but rather becomes unpalatable. But if the coffee drink is mostly added to milk, chocolate or cream, these additions will benefit after a short time from two to four hours and cause damage to the coffee drink.

Coffee beans, whether ground or roasted, deteriorate due to exposure to moisture, air, light and heat. It may be exposed to moisture as a result of poor storage, especially in the refrigerator. It is always recommended to store coffee beans in a dry, cool and dark place.

How do I distinguish between bad coffee and good coffee?

Most food items when spoiled release an undesirable smell. Coffee is distinguished by the fact that when it spoils, it is almost odorless. It can be drunk, but it will never taste good. Coffee loses its aroma because it oxidizes very quickly, especially if it is not stored properly.

When should you get rid of bad coffee?

In the following cases, the coffee beans, whether ground or roasted, should be immediately disposed of:

  • When there is obvious mold in the coffee bag. This is rare.
  • When there are lumps of wet or damp coffee.
  • When there are bedbugs in a container or coffee bag.
  • The coffee beans give off a foul odor.

Is ground coffee without or weak odor considered bad coffee?

Of course I consider ground coffee without odor or with very weak odor is a bad coffee. Because it will never taste good. The purpose of drinking coffee in the first place is to enjoy its distinctive flavor. And when you lose this feature, it is better to get rid of it. Usually, when two weeks pass after coffee is ground or roasted, it loses a lot of its aromatic oils and flavors.

Is instant coffee bad?

Instant coffee is characterized by its long-term preservation. When opening the envelope, I prefer to treat it as I treat ground coffee, which is that it does not exceed two weeks as a maximum. Also, you should store it in a cool, dry place.

How long does it take for a coffee drink to taste bad?

As a general rule, the time period is the same as the time it takes for the coffee drink to become cold. The coffee begins to lose its flavor 30 minutes after pouring it into the cup.

As for changing its taste, it has a time window of up to four hours after the coffee is put into the cup. This time is the approximate time required for the coffee oils to degrade and decompose.

How to preserve the quality of coffee for the longest possible period:

 You can maintain the quality of coffee in several ways:

  • Be sure to roast and grind the beans directly before making the coffee drink.
  • Store ground or roasted coffee beans in a correct and proper way.
  • Buy quantities of coffee that will suffice you for one month or less.
  • When the coffee expiration date.
  • Always make sure that the coffee is in a place without moisture, heat and oxygen as much as possible.


  • Fikru Assefa

    Born in Sidamo, Ethiopia, Fikru combines a Harvard History degree with certifications in Coffee Culture. Adept in traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies and a lover of Drip Coffee, his expertise offers readers a deep dive into coffee’s rich tapestry. Join him on a caffeinated journey at Coffeescan.com.

  • Olivia Barker

    L.A.-born Senior Coffee Editor at Coffeescan.com. Stanford grad in Sustainability. Certified Coffee Taster by SCA with over 200 unique stir sticks. Awarded by the National Coffee Association. From Parisian cafés to Roman espresso bars, Olivia brings rich global insights. Cappuccino aficionado.

  • Paul Dimitrov

    From Nashville, Paul Dimitrov combines a love for music and coffee like no other. With a Cornell degree in Agricultural Science and certified by the Specialty Coffee Association, his coffee expertise is unparalleled. A global traveler, he brings tales of coffee fused with culture. His top brew pick? The Flat White. At Coffeescan.com, Dimitrov enriches with his deep coffee insights.

  • Scott Moretti

    Scott Moretti: Senior Coffee Journalist at Coffeescan.com. From Kansas City’s historic coffee hub, he’s a latte artist with a dream of recreating the Mona Lisa. A Johns Hopkins alum with expertise in nutrition and coffee health benefits. Painter of global coffee cups tales, and an unwavering lover of the Caffè Americano. His passion brews fresh perspectives at Coffeescan.