How to keep coffee grounds fresh

Whether you use a coffee grinder or buy them in the store, learn how to keep coffee grounds fresh for your morning cup

An example of how to store coffee grounds, by storing them in a metal canister
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are a coffee connoisseur or aspiring home barista, then it is important that you know how to keep your coffee grinds fresh. Fresh grounds are the key ingredient for a perfect cup, you'll be able to taste the difference if they aren't quite right.

Due to the oxidation process, coffee grounds will lose their freshness sooner than whole coffee beans. Coffee grounds will lose their freshness approximately after one week, whereas coffee beans may last up to one month. Even the best coffee makers can't rescue grounds if they've gone bad. 

We’ve asked coffee experts and aficionados on the best ways for you to keep coffee grinds fresh, so you can continue to rely on your morning pick-me-up to start the day right.

How to keep coffee grounds fresh 

Perfect your coffee grounds storage to keep your grinds fresh for longer. 

Store coffee grinds in the freezer

One of the easiest ways to keep your coffee grinds fresh is to store them in the freezer. Storing them in a freezer can keep them fresh for up to two years if done so correctly.

This is because coffee grounds are heat sensitive, so cooling your coffee grounds down to the point of freezing will dramatically slow down the degradation process. Once you have ground your coffee beans, either with a coffee grinder or manually, store the grounds in a sealed bag like this from Amazon and place in the freezer.

If you have used this tactic before, try and measure out a week’s worth of coffee in each bag. This will enable you to defrost them at the right time, allowing the ground coffee to return to room temperature before using.

Store in an air-tight container

Three white containers in a row

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After temperature the next factor that will affect the freshness of your coffee grinds is moisture. It's important to note as well, that these containers cannot be traditional clear glass jars as the sunlight will break down the coffee grinds if exposed.

You are more likely to keep your coffee grinds fresh in opaque containers, such are these Stainless Steel Storage Canisters with Clear Airtight Lid Locking Clamp from Wayfair. By containing the coffee grinds in an opaque canister, you are able to devoid the grinds from as much moisture as possible and further extend their shelf life. 

Avoid the refrigerator

As pointed out above, moisture can seriously affect the freshness of coffee grinds, therefore you should avoid storing coffee grounds in the refrigerator. ‘This is because your refrigerator is one of the dampest places in the kitchen,’ says founder of Emergent Brew, Lukas Van Vyve. ‘High levels of humidity will cause the moisture within the coffee grinds to evaporate and turn your coffee stale.’ 

Lukas Van Vyve in front of a stone wall
Lukas Van Vyve

Lukas is the founder of Emergent Brew, a place for at-home baristas to search for everything from recipes to recommendations. He's a passionate and proficient coffee connoisseur so we trust him for tips and tricks. 

Use within a month

Even if you try every tip possible to extend the freshness of your coffee grounds, eventually all coffee grouns will lose their freshness and become stale. 

‘As a general rule of thumb, you should try to use coffee within a month,’ says Cary Wong, the Director of Coffee at Partners. ‘This time should be cut again to a week for coffee grinds.’

For coffee grounds bought from the store, just check the expiration date. The packaging itself will also help keep the coffee grounds fresh while the packaging is left unopened.

Cary Wong
Cary Wong

Cary is responsible for the presentation and service of all Partners' offerings. He serves as the "palate" for Partners Coffee, ensuring standards are met for the coffee program and the presentation of all product lines. With 5 years of specialty coffee experience, he is entrusted with assessing education, training, customer service and coffee quality in collaboration with Partners' Green Coffee Buyer, Cafe Managers, and Business Directors. 

Don’t grind until you are ready

A coffee grinder with coffee beans inside

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Whole coffee beans will retain their freshness for a lot longer than ground coffee. Therefore one method is to wait until you are ready to brew a cup or pot of coffee before grinding. You can store the beans in the grinder for the week leading up to when you plan to grind the coffee. Most grinders and coffee machines store the beans in a dark container which will also help protect it from heat, light and moisture. 


What can you do with stale coffee grounds?

Even if it isn’t the nicest to drink, stale coffee grounds have many other benefits. Coffee contains a number of pest control properties so burning coffee grounds can be used to repel insects and pests. 

Coffee grounds can also be used to help fertilize the soil in the garden. As most soil does not contain all of the essential nutrients needed to plant growth, coffee grounds can help replace those lost nutrients.

Knowing how to keep coffee grounds fresh is a great way to maximize its longevity. Incorporate these tips as part of your overall storage methods to reduce wastage, and utilize any leftover coffee grounds in other areas of your home and garden. 

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.