Do Coffee Grounds Go Bad ?

Using coffee grounds in day-to-day life activities is a great idea. It is a very good source to exfoliate the skin and is also used in kitchen gardens and obviously as a daily dose of caffeine. I store it in a refrigerator or a vacuum seal, but sometimes its odour changes and its texture makes me wonder if it has gone bad or can coffee grounds go bad.

And on finding my answers, I understood that, sadly, it is Yes! coffee grounds go bad and their lifespan depends on various factors including the quality of coffee grounds, shelf life, and the method of storage. You need to store it carefully and if it is spoiled then it’s better to not use it.  

5 Warning Signs That Coffee Grounds Gone Bad

do coffee grounds go bad

Or even if they do, then what are the warning signs that they have gone bad? Well, these are some common warning signs that you should consider to clear your confusion. 

1. Change in aroma

It is the most obvious change that you can observe when coffee grounds have gone bad. When the coffee grounds are fresh or at least at their edible stage, it has a pleasant and refreshing caramel-like aroma while rancid coffee grounds don’t smell like anything. It is very deceptive and it doesn’t have that refreshing caffeine aroma. 

2. Change is texture

When the coffee grounds are fresh they appear shiny and gradually it decreases with time. When you find them dull, then chances are there that they have gone bad or you should use them as soon as possible as they will soon become bad.  

3. Some white or greenish appearance

If you observe a little slimy or white and greenish appearance then it is an indicator of fungi or mold. That white web-like structures are actually fungi. 

4. Change in taste

When they have become rancid, the taste will change from bitter to sour and you will also observe a foamy layer above it. 

5. Thick cream on top after brewing

Fresh coffee grounds will have thin cream on its top after brewing and if you find the thick cream then it has gone stale and not suitable for use. (reference 3) 

How To Store Coffee Grounds

do coffee grounds go bad

Storing coffee grounds properly is necessary to prevent them from spoilage and here are some common and effective ways to do so:- 

1. Prevent them from water contact 

It is very important to store coffee grounds properly to prevent them from spoiling and the most effective way is to prevent water and moisture from going inside them. If the water got inside the container then it must be having mold in it and it is advisable to throw it out immediately as it may cause food poisoning and other harmful health issues. Dried coffee beans won’t go bad but once you add water, molds take place and it spoils coffee grounds.

2. Use an airtight container or vacuum seal

Storing coffee grounds in an airtight container or vacuum seal is a good idea as it prevents its contact with the outer surrounding and oxidation will not occur soon, so the coffee grounds remain the same for a longer period. 

3. Avoid refrigerator

The refrigerator is one of the dampest places that have a lot of moisture and due to its humidity, your coffee ground moisture may evaporate and you will have stale coffee. 

4. Use them within 1 month

You should use them within 1 month to have the best experience as no matter how tight the seal is, eventually coffee grounds go bad if you don’t use them.  (reference 2) 

What Are Our Shelf Life Of Coffee Grounds

The shelf life of coffee grounds depends on several factors, usually, coffee ground are suitable for two to three weeks after their opening. After that, it starts degrading because of the contact of oxygen with the coffee ground. Oxygen causes coffee to go stale. If you store them properly then they can last up to one or two months beyond their expiration date. Remember, roasted coffee beans last longer than pre-ground coffee and they won’t go bad for years. If you buy coffee beans and then grind them yourself then it can last up to nine months and even more if you store them correctly. (reference 1)

Can Using Expired Coffee Grounds Make You sick?

do coffee grounds go bad

Expired coffee ground can make you sick when there is a presence of bacteria or fungus. If you are using coffee ground that were not sealed in an airtight jar then yes it can make you sick, sometimes it may cause dysentery that leads to water loss, and eventually, you can be hospitalized. But if you are using coffee that is out of its printed date then you need not worry about it as long as it was stored properly in dry conditions. It won’t make you sick or cause any other serious harm.


Q1. Can you drink 2-year-old coffee grounds?
Ans. Instant coffee has an expiry date of up to 20 years but coffee ground are suitable for longer periods of use. If you drink rancid and sour coffee ground then it can even cause food poisoning or dysentery. 

Q2. Is 3-year-old coffee still good?
Ans. If coffee is stored properly in an airtight jar then yes you can use 3-year-old coffee also. But if it was in contact with air, water, or moisture it can not be used as it can make you sick. So, it is advisable to use fresh coffee and consume it within its best period. 

Q3. Does coffee grounds go bad overnight?
Ans. The untouched coffee grounds don’t go bad at room temperature in 24 hours, however, there are possibilities of change in taste.


Our mission is to provide accurate and researched insights to our readers. Thus, we wish to share the references of the studies conducted on the subject matter for detailed read for our readers to refer:

  1. Research GATE:-  Shelf Life Testing of coffee and related products Uncertainties Pitfalls and perspectives
  2. Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University:The effects of storage of temperature 
  3. Food Packaging and Shelf Life research paper:- Different coffee storage methods 

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