How Long Does Instant Coffee Last?

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There are times when you need to turn to instant coffee because it’s quick and convenient. If it has been a while since you bought it, and you are not sure if the coffee is still drinkable. We’re here to answer that question: Does instant coffee go bad? And how long does instant coffee last?

Instant coffee does not go bad and comes with a very long shelf life. Most products have an expiration date between 1 and 2 years, not taking into account that it can be much longer. Instant coffee can have a shelf life of about 20 years, even when opened.

First, let’s start by looking at instant coffee and then its shelf life.

What Is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee cup
Image credit: Vitalii Stock, Shutterstock

Instant coffee is a type of coffee that dissolves directly in water, making it very simple and easy to prepare. Boil water with a teaspoon of instant coffee, and it mixes. Instant coffee has come a long way since its beginnings, which were comparable to mud in a cup.

While instant coffee is not as complex as brewed coffee, many brands have a good flavor profile. Instant coffee is also a popular ingredient in baking, so it’s versatile enough to keep in your pantry.

Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?

Yes, instant coffee can spoil. The older it gets, the less tasty and fresh it is. Although instant coffee has a much longer shelf life than regular ground coffee, it can spoil and become moldy if not stored properly.

If it is a single-serve bag, it can last a long time if it stays closed. Before using instant coffee, sitting at the bottom of the cupboard for a long time, check for signs of mold or growth on the top and sides of the container.

How Long Does Instant Coffee Last?

making instant coffee

Before we get into the shelf life of instant coffee, it’s important to know that each brand is different. It’s best to pay attention to the end date and check if your instant coffee is still good.

Most instant coffee brands have an expiration date between 1 and 2 years, not taking into account that it can be much longer. Technically, instant coffee has a long shelf life of about 20 years, even when opened. But, for most brands of instant coffee, it is between 1 and 2 years.

Instant coffee can have a long shelf life, but it must be stored in an airtight container to last that long. If moisture is trapped inside, mold will form on the instant coffee grounds. Similar to honey, the honey itself won’t spoil, but the humidity will cause it to ferment.

How to Store Instant Coffee?

If you follow our instant coffee storage tips, you should have no storage-related problems with your instant coffee:

Airtight Container

Store instant coffee in an airtight container. There are many suitable containers, from canning jars to leftover plastic containers. As long as the jar is moisture-proof and has a seal on the top, it is ideal for storing instant coffee.

Low Humidity

High humidity and water contact are two main reasons instant coffee goes bad. It’s best to check the instant coffee from time to time for signs of mold, then reseal it and put it in a cool, dry place. Checking for mold is important to avoid ingesting mold spores that can make you sick.

Room Temperature and Dark

Keep it out of direct sunlight and at room temperatures, such as in the pantry or cupboard. The freezer and refrigerator are too cold and can alter the strength of the flavor and freshness of the coffee if the container is not entirely sealed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Instant Coffee Get Mold?

Yes, instant coffee can get moldy. If your coffee is moldy, you may see a cotton wool-like layer on your coffee. This mold is caused by the moisture content in your coffee glass.

It is crucial that moisture does not get in, leading to mold or bacteria.

How Long Will Coffee Beans And Coffee Ground Last?

Coffee beans and ground coffee become stale after roasting, but they won’t spoil if stored properly. Fresh coffee beans will keep between 6 and 12 months, but freshly roasted coffee beans will only stay fresh for one month.

After roasting, the aroma and flavor begin to fade. Ground coffee has a shelf life of between 4 to 6 months, and it is advisable to consume it within four weeks of opening to get the best flavor. Stale coffee has a bland taste and less aroma.

How Long Can Brewed Coffee Sit Out?

If you make a cup of coffee from fresh beans, you should drink it as soon as possible to get the best flavor. Coffee can only stand at room temperature for one day. If you store it in the refrigerator, it can last longer.

However, it is not recommended to drink coffee brewed a day before because it will not taste good. Also, keep in mind that coffee with milk does not keep longer than 2 hours at room temperature.


Instant coffee lasts much longer than regular coffee. It has a shelf life of 20 years under ideal conditions. Although it might lose some of its flavors and strength over the years, it will still make a good coffee as long as it is not way beyond its expiry date.

Whether it’s Nescafe, Starbucks, or Folgers, as long as it is kept in an airtight container, instant coffee can last for many years without any problems.


Featured image: Shutterstock