Does Coffee Lose Caffeine Over Time?

Does Coffee Lose Caffeine Over Time?

Have you ever tried grinding more coffee grounds than you can use? This can sometimes happen especially if you miscalculated the number of coffee beans you placed on the coffee grinder. As a result, you are left with an oversupply of coffee grounds. You end up wondering if it won’t go stale over time and if it is still safe to consume.

Does coffee lose caffeine over time?

Yes, the coffee lose caffeine over time and once you grind the coffee beans they start to oxidize and go stale, according to some coffee experts. The same goes for ground coffee or instant coffee because they have very limited lifespan. The best thing that you can do is to buy whole coffee beans and to grind only what you need for each brewing session. Once you grind the coffee beans you should use and brew them immediately since just a matter of leaving it for 20 minutes already affects its quality and taste. 

Inversely, some coffee authorities do not agree that coffee lose caffeine over time or when it becomes old.  They state that coffee’s flavor starts to degrade just hours after being exposed to the air but they believe that caffeine is a more stable chemical. Caffeine stays potent than any components of coffee and it will last for months before it loses its potency. These coffee proponents also note that the only time there is a difference is when caffeine is removed from coffee beans to make decaffeinated coffee. 

To put it simply, if you made a cup of coffee and left it on the dining table for a few hours, the same amount of caffeine would still be in the coffee. The caffeine will still provide a boost of energy, keep your brain focused and keep you awake and alert. 

How long do coffee beans last?

Coffee beans will last for months if they are dried and stored properly. It may even last for years way beyond the expiration date printed on its packages. However, be aware that various factors can affect the shelf life of coffee. These factors include how you prepare, how you store it and the best before date. 

If you consume the coffee after its expiration date you won’t likely become ill but there are considerable differences in its taste and freshness.

Storage of coffee beans should be a concern and how you keep them if not in use is as essential as grinding them fresh. Coffee beans should be stored in a cool and dry place that is away from direct sunlight. They should also be kept in an airtight container to seal the freshness. It does not have to be in a freezer or fridge as long as it is in a dry and cool area away from the sun and a kitchen pantry or cabinet will do. 

Is it safe to reuse old coffee grounds?

It is safe to reuse old coffee grounds so long as it does not have any clear signs of spoilage such as the presence of molds. However, although you can reuse them the flavor won’t be the same and it may even have a bad taste. If you stored them in a warm area of your home they will most likely have molds and bacteria and you should not reuse them anymore. 

How can you lengthen the shelf life of ground coffee?

As mentioned earlier, you can lengthen the shelf life of ground coffee by keeping it in an airtight and opaque container. Make sure to leave the container open only if you need it to be since coffee that is left exposed to air for a long time expires more quickly. Store unused coffee in a dark and cool place just as it is with whole beans. 

Is there a way to preserve coffee beans for a longer time?

There is no clear-cut way to preserve coffee beans for a longer time.  What you can do is to avoid buying bulk bags of beans. Try to buy them in small batches since it will be easier to keep them fresh. You can also keep the beans fresh by putting them in an airtight storage area to slow down oxidation. 


Coffee is best enjoyed when it is freshly brewed and piping hot. However, you may be wondering if the caffeine kick is still present if you only got to drink it after a few hours. Some coffee experts affirm that coffee lose caffeine over time because of oxidation while some others believe that caffeine remains intact and potent because it is a stable chemical.  They do note that coffee’s flavor starts to degrade just hours after being exposed to air.

Image: / PavelKant