How to Tell If Your Coffee Is Fresh

If you are a coffee lover like us, you’ve faced challenges along your caffeinated drinking journey. Burnt tongue, stains, and coffee spills are just some of the minor annoyances that we have to go through. However, one major issue, which can cause any drinker to facepalm, is a lack of freshness in their cup of coffee. 

Trying to get the best out of your coffee can be a problem, especially when using coffee beans that you’ve had for a while. The fact of the matter is that coffee beans’ quality can drastically change in months and sometimes even weeks. Why? Well, the answer can vary depending on how the coffee was prepared, packaged, or stored.

Drinkers use stale coffee beans to create their morning brew, and they don’t even know it. If your coffee has been tasting pretty lackluster lately, don’t worry because we are here for you! Great beans can be a trial to detect, so here are some tips on how to tell if your coffee is fresh.

How to tell if your coffee is fresh

Does Coffee Go Bad?

In short, yes. Coffee can deteriorate like any other food or drink. Yet, what causes coffee to degrade over time?

Coffee beans are vulnerable to many factors. As fellow coffee lovers, we hate to see well-roasted beans lose their freshness. So, let’s look at bad influences that prevent your cup of joe from being the best. 

Harmful Temperatures

Believe it or not, heat is a danger to coffee beans. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can make the beans lose their flavor. Before you ask, cold temperatures are not any better. Intense cold can kill coffee beans’ flavor and aroma, as well.

Oxygen 

It’s a shame when our favorite chemical element, which we need to survive, threatens our favorite drink. Oxygen makes coffee stale through oxidation. 

Coffee beans are full of chemical compounds, acids, and natural oils (all referred to as “solubles”). These solubles are responsible for giving coffee its flavor and aroma. Once the beans touch air, their solubles begin to oxidize, and, in turn, their flavor and aroma degrade. 

Poor Storage

Coffee beans have always had the curious ability to absorb nearby aromas. While this feature is good if you want to clear out foul odors in your room, it’s terrible if you want to use the beans to make coffee. Highly aromatic foods and ingredients, like spices, fish, and onions, can ruin the flavors and aroma of coffee beans.

For more information on the lifespan of coffee beans and brewed coffee, visit Amora’s How Long Do Coffee Beans Last? and How Long Does Brewed Coffee Last?

How To Tell If Coffee Beans Are Stale

Coffee beans can change in a matter of days, weeks, or months. Rather than using beans that you feel uncertain about, why not find out their quality for yourself? Here are some ways to see if your coffee beans are fresh or stale.

Powerful Scent

Get your nostrils ready because one way to test your beans’ freshness is by smelling them. Fresh coffee beans will give off an intense fragrance, while stale ones have little to no aroma. 

Check For Oil Residue

Remember when we said coffee beans have natural oils? Fresh beans will have a glossy appearance as their oils escape from them. To see if your beans are fresh, grab a handful of them and see if they leave oil residue on your hands. Also, look inside the coffee beans’ bag to check for any oil residue.

Valve = Freshly Roasted Beans

When coffee beans are roasted, gases are formed inside of them. After the roasting process is finished, carbon dioxide and other gases start seeping out of the fresh beans. This process is known as degassing. 


If your beans are degassing, their bag would likely have a valve. A valve allows the gases to escape from the coffee bag.

How Long Do Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?

Knowing if your coffee has gone bad is just one portion of your caffeinated drinking journey. Making sure they stay fresh is the other part. To ensure that you’ll have fresh beans for a while, try one of these methods to preserve your delicious beans!

Coffee Jar

Coffee beans tend to hate heat and light because those two factors degrade the beans faster. So, as much as we love jars with transparent glass, you have to avoid those when looking for a suitable place for your coffee beans. 

An opaque, light-proof jar would be more suitable. Not only are these types of jars aesthetically pleasing, but they make sure your coffee lasts. Instead of going on a jar hunt, Amora can help with our airtight Ceramic Canister

Vacuum Sealed Bag

If you are not convinced with the jar, vacuum-sealed bags may be what you’re looking for. Vacuum sealing ensures your coffee beans are stored properly, so no oxygen, water, and bugs come into contact with them. As a result, your beans have an extended shelf life.

Original Packaging

Coffee roasters have begun to use better bags for their beans. Yet, one thing that ties all coffee bags together is that the beans start to become stale when they're open. 

If you cannot get a coffee jar or vacuum-sealed bag, try to find a resealable coffee bag. Thankfully, Amora can help because we use foil-lined bags, which preserve our coffee beans’ flavor and aroma for as long as possible.

For a deeper dive into how to preserve your coffee, check out Amora’s The Best Way to Store Coffee.

Only Fresh Coffee With Amora!

Drinking stale coffee can be a real damper. At Amora, we believe coffee lovers deserve the best. Using our nine-step roasting process, we make sure to deliver fresh and delicious coffee to your front door –– without a middle man.

When you’re ready to start drinking fresh coffee, visit our website and consider trying our subscription service. You get quality coffee at your doorstep every month with an Amora subscription.


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