Do you like buying coffee grounds and roasts? Many coffee drinkers enjoy sampling coffees from various producers to find out what differentiates them in terms of flavor and aroma.
But that means we find ourselves with bags of unopened coffee grounds on our kitchen shelves. It may leave you wondering how to use them before they reach their expiry day.
You may argue that every coffee bag has an expiry date on it, but most people don’t look at that. Some even feel you can drink coffee for months after the listed expiry date. Is that right?
The only way to answer these questions is to clarify when coffee grounds expire. That will enable us to manage our coffee grounds well and avoid throwing out the fantastic coffees we buy. Let’s discuss this issue.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Stay Fresh?
The freshness of coffee grounds depends on the date they were produced and the best buy date on the pack.
If your coffee grounds have exceeded their best by date, don’t worry. Well-preserved unopened coffee grounds from your pantry should taste good for 3-5 months past their expiry date. If you’ve stored them in the freezer, they may taste great for up to 2 years after their expiry date.
That’s because coffee grounds only go stale quickly when you leave them open. But the rule of thumb is that you should always look at the appearance of old coffee grounds before you use them.
Fresh grounds have an inviting and rich aroma. They also have a rich black, brown, or light brown color depending on the type of roast.
If your coffee grounds look paler than they should, that’s a sign they are too old and have probably lost most of their flavonoids.
Stale coffee grounds are also dry and have no aroma due to the loss of their oils. Some even have traces of mold on them.
Can You Brew Coffee With Old Coffee Grounds?
But we don’t recommend that you make a habit of using coffee grounds beyond their expiry date.
You can only expect flat, stale-tasting coffee from them or gastrointestinal issues if they contain mold.
The expiry date and roast date on a pack of coffee grounds are there to show you when your grounds are most flavorful. Always use them as a guide to buy and brew the best coffee.
Also, learn how to buy coffee grounds in small quantities and preserve them well to get the most out of them.
The right grounds to use when making coffee are fresh coffee grounds produced from freshly roasted coffee beans. They enable coffee drinkers to identify the individual notes of coffee.
Therefore, always use your coffee grounds within 3 weeks or a month of opening them to get the best value out of them.
You should also store your coffee grounds properly after purchasing them. The best place is in an opaque, airtight container that you keep in a cool, dark place like your pantry.
If you think you’ll go more than 2 weeks without using coffee grounds, you may freeze them. That will extend their expiration time to one month.
What Can You Do With Coffee Grounds That Are Too Old?
You may do all these things but find that a batch of coffee grounds has accidentally gone bad. That may happen because they were produced much earlier than the date on which you bought them.
You should only buy coffee that’s been roasted and packaged 1 or 2 weeks before your purchase date. That will allow you to enjoy the coffee beans for at least 3 weeks after buying them.
If your coffee beans go stale, you could always recycle, upcycle, or downcycle them. It will keep you from seeing your money going into the bin. Here’s how.
How to Upcycle Old Coffee Grounds
Upcycling means using coffee grounds to make something of more value. Here’s how.
- Use Them to Dye Fabric
Have you ever stained a shirt or blouse after spilling coffee on it? That’s the power of coffee’s pigment. You can use that characteristic to dye fabric that you feel will look better in coffee color.
Pour a few scoops of your old coffee grounds into water and stir. Soak the cloth or garment you want to dye in the coffee water for about 3 hours. Remove it, and hang it out to dry.
You now have a coffee-colored fabric or cloth that you can use for any purpose you like.
- Create an Interesting Art Piece
You can also use old coffee grounds to make an art piece using glue. Get a hard canvas and outline the design you want to create. Then apply glue within the borders of the outlined art image and pour coffee grounds over them. You may then hang it somewhere to improve the aesthetics in that space.
Using ground coffee in art gives you a license to be creative. You can add other items such as eggshells and broken glass to it. Your art piece will be more interesting if you use materials of different textures.
How to Recycle Old Coffee Grounds
Recycling refers to the process of turning old coffee grounds into something of about the same value. Here are two ways to recycle old coffee grounds.
- Make Ice Cubes for Coffee Cocktails
If you enjoy drinking coffee, you most likely love everything with a coffee flavor or aroma. Use your old coffee grounds to make ice cubes for cocktails, smoothies, and milkshakes.
You can do this by creating a cold brew concentrate, pouring it into an ice cube box, and freezing it to allow the cubes to form. The coffee ice cubes will be ready after 24 hours, and you can pop a few out whenever you need them.
- Bake Coffee-Flavored Pastries and Cakes
If you enjoy baking, try using your old coffee grounds to make cookies to enjoy with your coffee. Some people also use old coffee to make tiramisu and cake.
Mix a teaspoon or two of the old coffee grounds in the baking batter, and you are assured of aromatic baked treats. It will save you from buying coffee cakes or cookies from the grocery store.
How to Down Cycle Old Coffee Grounds
Down cycling refers to breaking down an old item to ultimately use it up instead of throwing it out. For example, using an old towel as a polish cloth. Here’s how to downcycle old coffee grounds.
- Create a Surface Scrub
Coffee contains anti-pathogenic properties that you can use in the kitchen to eliminate germs. Mix your old coffee grounds with anti-bacterial dishwashing soap and scrub your kitchen countertops and tiles.
Make sure the grind size of the coffee grounds is not coarse to avoid scratching your kitchen surfaces. You may also use old coffee grounds and dishwashing soap to scrub stubborn stains off pots. It will leave them sparkling clean.
- Repel Insects and Slugs From Your Flower Beds
You can also use old coffee grounds to keep away pesky pests such as insects and slugs from your flower beds. The smell of coffee and compounds in it, such as tannin, will discourage pests from making a home in your flower beds. Just avoid using a lot of coffee grounds to keep from over-acidifying your soil.
If you have mosquitoes around your home, burn coffee grounds when sitting outside on your porch to keep them away. Also, sprinkle some coffee grounds into any pools of standing water to discourage mosquitoes from laying their eggs there.
Now you know when coffee grounds expire, how to store them, and what to do when they go stale.
Use these tips to get the most out of your coffee grounds. It will allow you to enjoy coffee when it’s most aromatic, flavorful, and highly – caffeinated.
And if you ever find a stale bag of coffee in your pantry, don’t be afraid to upcycle, recycle, or downcycle them to avoid wastage.
That will save you money and keep you from adding to the coffee grounds in landfills that are contributing to global warming.