A rite of passage for any coffee aficionado is to try roasting green coffee beans at home. Green coffee beans are also touted for their health benefits as a weight loss supplement. So before you go out and buy a container of green coffee beans, you’re probably wondering: how long do green coffee beans last?
In this post, we’ll talk about the shelf life and how to best store green coffee beans. We’ll also take a look at what factors influence the freshness and longevity of these coffee beans.
What’s the shelf life of green coffee beans?
If stored properly, green coffee beans can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months. They have a much longer shelf than freshly roasted coffee beans, which only last a few weeks before going stale.
How to keep green coffee beans fresh
The 6 to 12 month shelf life of green coffee beans depends on how well you store them. Once you know what can cause green coffee beans to go bad and prevent those factors, your unroasted coffee beans can last for a very long time.
Keep moisture out
Green coffee beans are very hydrophilic, which means they love moisture. If there’s any ambient moisture around the coffee beans, they will absorb it. An excess of moisture can cause the beans to lose their hardness, and they can also lose their flavor.
Moisture and humidity also gives rise to molds and fungus which can ruin your whole lot of unroasted beans. If there are any signs of mold, throw the beans out. Do not risk ingesting the mold.
As long as the humidity is below 60%, your coffee beans should be fine.
Maintain a stable temperature
After humidity, the next culprit for coffee beans losing flavor or worse, going bad is temperature. If the temperature is too high, you risk the beans drying out. The best temperature to store green coffee beans at is around 60-70 degrees F or 15 to 20 degrees C.
A dry, dark cupboard or pantry is the best place to keep your coffee beans.
Store them in a proper container
Back in the day, coffee beans would be transported using jute bags or burlap sacks. Jute and burlap are terrible materials for maintaining temperature or mositure, so many times, the raw coffee beans would go dry or become too moist.
Ideally, you should store green coffee beans in the same type of container you store roasted beans in. It should be airtight and prevent light from getting in.
You can also try storing in a ziploc bag or similar vacuum packed bags.
There’s also a whole saga about whether you can keep beans in the freezer. Keeping green coffee beans in the freezer increases the risk of freezer burn, and worse, when you take the beans out of the freezer, condensation will rapidly build up due to the lower temperature.
How to buy green coffee beans
As long as your green coffee beans have not been exposed to too much moisture, light, or extreme temperatures, they should be good to go. When you order some beans, though, it’s not always possible to know what happened before they reached you.
There are a few tells and signs that you can look for to see how good (or bad) the beans are before you buy them.
Are the beans too dry?
The first thing to check for in your green coffee beans is if they are too dry. If they are, it could mean they were exposed to too much air or to very high temperatures that dried them out.
This could happen if the beans were left out for too long after being extracted from the coffee cherry, or they were shipped in burlap instead of correctly being packaged in plastic.
Are the beans too soft?
Too soft is the opposite of too dry on the coffee bean scale. If the beans are too soft, it means they were exposed to a lot of moisture. Even if there are no signs of mold, soft beans have probably lost a lot of their flavor.
Don’t always buy the discounted beans
There’s a reason grocery stores put discounts on certain food items: it’s because they’re very close to their expiry date.
The same thing goes for green coffee beans. When it comes to coffee, the fresher is better.
When coffee beans are fresh off the farm and just hit your supplier’s shelves, they’re considered the “new crop.”
Once a second shipment arrives, the “new crop” is relabeled as the “old crop” and is often sold at a discount to clear up shelf space.
While a “past crop” could just be 2 weeks old, there’s no way to know for certain how much time has elapsed between the first and second shipment.
To be safe, always check the beans yourself for signs of excess dryness or moisture.
What are green coffee beans
With all that out of the way, it’s time to talk about what green coffee beans are! Sicne green beans are becoming such a trend, we thought it would be worthwhile to spend some time discussing them.
All coffee beans are initially green!
When the seed(bean) is removed from the coffee cherry and dried, the resulting coffee beans are a pale green color.
The coffee we normally buy is roasted coffee beans. Once they’re roasted, they take on the familiar brown color that we all love.
As you might expect, green coffee comes from everywhere coffee is grown, and the flavors that roasters write on the bags of roasted coffee beans originate from the green coffee beans!
Depending on the region they came from, green coffee beans have very disctinct flavors and aromas. You can usually match the aroma nd taste with that of roasted beans from the same region.
You’ve probably seen ads for green coffee bean extract as a weight loss supplement. Studies have shown a link between consuming green coffee and weight loss, detoxing, and better blood circulation.
Green coffee beans also have higher levels of antioxidants compared to roasted coffee beans.
They also contain chlorogenic acid, which can possibly help boost the immune system and bring glucose levels into check. Chlorogenic acid also helps with high cholesterol.
Roast at home
For coffee lovers, the best part about green coffee is that you can roast it at home exactly the way you want it. Sometimes, you may find that roasters go a little too high or a little too below your sweet spot for how coffee should taste.
By roasting at home, you can roast as many coffee beans as you’d like and to the exact temperature that you like. Changing these variables can help bring out different flavor profiles. For example, dark roasts can have a stronger caramelized flavor, while light roasts tend to be bright and have bold flavors.
Make lots of different beverages
One of the best thing about green coffee beans is their versatility. You can just mix ground coffee with cold water and enjoy it as is. Make sure you know what you’re in for: green coffee has a very different taste from regular coffee. It tastes more like more like green tea!
Longer shelf life
Green coffee beans have a long shelf life of up to a year as long as they’ve not been exposed to direct sunlight or excess moisture or temperature. You can even buy a stash of fresh green coffee beans and keep them in your pantry to roast whenever you want.
Related: Check out our picks for the best coffee beans here
Green beans are incredibly popular nowadays and a lot of coffee roasters and organic stores sell them now. Just make sure you store them correctly and they can stay fresh for a very long time. Use an airtight container like you would for every