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Apr 7, 2008 03:00 PM

How long do coffee beans last?

By my mistake I ordereed three bags of Lavazza coffee beans instead of the three bags I wanted. The store I ordered from says coffee beans will last a year in storage. I am sceptical. Should I send some back?

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  1. Coffee beans that are vacuum sealed should/can last up to about 6+months. In theory, they can last longer than that, but I've found they go bad faster once opened if they've been sitting around a while. If the bag is just sealed with glue or not at all, I'd try to use them up within 2-4 weeks if you keep them in the cupboard. Keeping in the freezer will extend that by a month or so, but it does weaken the flavor over time.

    1. I mean I ordered 6 bags instead of 3. This is several months worth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lattelover

        Well, if it's sealed up for shipping, it should be fine for at least 6 months.

        1. re: thursday

          Thanks, Thursday. Looks like I will have to store them since they refused to take them back. I will try to keep them cool dry and dark and hope for the best.

      2. Roasted beans are really best within the first couple of weeks. Not sure how quick they get them out to you to begin with. High end grocery store coffee is many months old. If you are making espresso with emphasis on the espresso then you really don't want 6 month old beans. Milk will cover a lot of sins. You may not pull the best shots with a good head of crema but if you are adding a lot of steamed milk then the difference will not be that noticeable.

        1. how do you make your coffee? some techniques are more forgiving of old beans than others

          3 Replies
          1. re: chuckl

            You are my kind of people! I make coffee in an Italian expresso machine (Roncillion Silvia). I usually order three bags of beans at a time from wholelatte love, which I believe sends pretty fresh beans and then keep everything in vacuum containers, but I don't have enough vacuum containers for 6 bags. I'm somewhat irritated they won't take any back, but I guess I have to do the best I can. This coffee is not cheap, so I want to preserve it as well as I can. BTW, I drink a restretto, black with a little sugar, so adding milk is a good idea, just not for me. Thanks.

            1. re: lattelover

              Your chowhound name is misleading. For sure thought you were a latte lover ;)
              If you are pulling restrettos then you need to drink more! Fast!

              1. re: scubadoo97

                LOL. I do love lattes but they don't love me and milk substitutes (soy, rice) are not my cup of tea.

          2. If the bags are vacuum-packed, the beans are going to be okay for a few months, although I wouldn't personally want to drink coffee that long after it's been roasted, and would give the extra to friends.

            Do not freeze.

            If it's not vacuum-packed, it's no good to me after a few weeks, at the outside. But I used to be a coffee professional. ; )

            6 Replies
            1. re: uptown jimmy

              I'm drinking as fast as I can! Also am exploring espresso-based recipes. Any ideas? Nobody else I know uses beans or appreciates Lavazza. I have put as much as I can in vacuum containers in a cool dark spot so will hope for the best. Thanks for your input.

              1. re: uptown jimmy

                The geeks at Home Barista recently conducted a fairly rigorous blind test of espresso made from frozen and fresh beans and concluded that freezing had a virtually imperceptible effect on quality. See for the gory deets. In lattelover's shoes, I think I'd risk the freezer.

                1. re: carswell

                  Thank you so much, carswell. I really enjoyed the article and I agree that freezing is probably my best option.

                  1. re: carswell

                    Wow - what an article... I just skimmed over it and couldn't determine how much focus was spent on analysis of repeated freezing/defrosting of the beans - much like that of a real-life scenario where one will pull it out of the freezer, pour off and measure beans for use, then refreeze the beans. In my eyes, this constant variation in temperature would create repeated cycles of condensation and frost, thereby degrading those delicate roasted coffee beans - that would be my only caviat...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      The way I would do it is freeze beans in very small quantities and use defrosted beans within a day or two.

                      1. re: lattelover

                        If you could vacuum seal like with one of those Reynolds Vac bags or Food Saver and freeze that would be great. The biggest problem with freezing is the in and out that most people do when they freeze their coffee. Worse with preground.