How Long Do Green (Unroasted) Coffee Beans Last?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on January 30th, 2023

Due to green coffee extract’s reputation as a potent aid in weight loss and hypertension treatment, green coffee beans are currently trending.


It can easily be bought at many organic food stores and coffee shops. If you would like to maximize its benefits and extend the shelf life of your green coffee beans, read ahead as we compile some tips for you.

Green coffee beans background. Texture top view.

Introducing green coffee beans

The coffee beans you are undoubtedly most familiar with are small and brown and emit a strong but pleasant aroma when roasted. Before it is roasted, coffee is in its “green” form. It’s as close to its original condition as possible.

Raw green bean coffee doesn’t look like traditional coffee. Its color is typically amber with a greenish tint. Depending on their origin, they can be either yellow-green or grayish-green.

These are the unroasted, unground, and unbrewed coffee beans, or “seeds,” extracted from coffee cherries. Like normal roasted coffee, the flavor of green coffee can change depending on its origin and preparation.

They have a longer shelf life than roasted beans, making them an ideal way to store your coffee for future use. Green coffee beans can be stored for up to six months when kept in a cool and dry environment, but for optimal freshness, it is best to roast and use the beans within 12 months.

Why is the shelf life of green coffee beans important?

The shelf life of green coffee beans is important because it determines how long these beans can be stored without losing their flavor and aroma. Green coffee beans are known for their strong, earthy flavor, but that flavor can quickly dissipate if the beans are not stored properly.

Knowing the shelf life of green coffee beans can help ensure that you enjoy the full flavor of the beans when you prepare them. Additionally, the shelf life of green coffee beans can be extended if they are stored correctly, which can help save money and ensure that you always have fresh beans on hand.

What is the taste of green coffee?

Many of the characteristics we associate with “coffee flavor” result from roasting. For this reason, it’s possible that a person participating in a blind taste test wouldn’t even realize they were drinking coffee if given green coffee to try.

When prepared correctly, green coffee has a little thicker consistency and a lot more subtle flavor than ordinary coffee. People often say it tastes “grassy” or like green or herbal tea, but it’s not quite the same. Moreover, it has a higher acidity level than regular roasted coffee.

Unroasted green Arabica coffee beans flat surface. Backgrounds. Closeup macro food photo directly from above.

Where can I find green coffee?

It can easily be found in places that produce regular coffee. If you are looking for milder coffees, opt for those produced or grown in Central America.

If you want a slightly fruity and lively taste, go for African beans. African beans taste more acidic or citrusy, especially those from Kenya and Ethiopia. If you enjoy dark roasts, search for green coffees from Brazil and Indonesia, which have more substance and less acidity.

What is the shelf life of green coffee beans?

Green coffee beans have a long shelf life compared to freshly roasted coffee. However, there are several things to remember when storing coffee to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible.

Good storage is the secret to keeping green coffee beans fresh for a long time. Always remember that moisture and heat are the enemies of storage life.

Green coffee beans may have a short shelf life because they quickly acquire flavors and odors from their surroundings, but if properly packaged in many layers or airtight containers, they can be kept for up to a year.

Elements that affect your green coffee’s quality

Green coffee is vulnerable to various things when it’s being transported and stored. However, the three most critical factors for aging flavors are humidity, temperature, and oxygen. Here are some of the several elements or factors that influence its quality.

Temperature

Green coffee is impacted by exposure to severe temperatures. Extreme temperatures affect it and alter how green coffee’s water functions.

This results in condensation, which produces a damp, humid atmosphere within the bag and on the surface. This results in the degradation of coffee’s more delicate flavors and fragrances. Hence, your coffee bean’s aroma and flavor will be diminished if it is very dry.

However, if your coffee beans get damp, mold may grow, rendering the bean unfit for roasting. The flavor of green coffee will deteriorate with time if it is not kept in a fairly cool place.  That is why you store your beans in a light-proof bag in a cool, dry location inside your house.

Humidity

The quality of the bean greatly depends on the relative humidity. It is because green beans absorb moisture. Therefore, if the humidity is unstable, the moisture levels of the raw bean may be changed.

Your coffee may develop mold if the humidity is high. Meanwhile, your coffee may dry out and lose flavor if the humidity is too low. It is worth noting that the acidity, aroma, and flavor profile of the coffee after roasting is influenced by the moisture content of the raw beans.

Pests and insect infestation

Unroasted coffee beans and those not dried at the right levels are attractive to bugs because most require moisture to survive. The traditional burlap and jute sacks are the most vulnerable containers for insect infestations.

Coffee weevils can lessen a coffee bean’s weight by one-third in six months. Insects like psocids can infect coffee beans as well. What’s scary is that pests can enter a warehouse. That is why most goods from developing nations are treated for pests and certified as such before shipping.

Long storage periods

Although time isn’t an issue, over an extended period of oxygen, time, temperature, and humidity will result in beans losing some of their more delicate aromas.  Hence, long periods of storage will cause the beans’ quality and quantity to deteriorate. Even while green coffee is less prone to volatility than roasted coffee, aging is nevertheless a factor in its quality deterioration. It is best storage practice to extend this timeframe.

Sun exposure

The vast majority of farmers use solar drying to preserve the flavor of their coffee. The coffee bean needs to be exposed to bright light in this method. We can reduce the humidity from 50% to 11%.

The bean, however, should no longer be subjected to such intense illumination. Because no unique tools are needed, this approach is very pocket-friendly.  The downside is that the beans’ flavor and the scent will be diminished if left in the sun for too long.

Roasting at different times and temperatures produces different colored coffee beans.
Raw coffee beans. Light roast, medium roast, dark roast.

How to tell if green coffee beans have gone bad

It’s important to be able to tell when green coffee beans have gone bad, as their shelf life is quite short compared to other types of coffee beans. To determine if green coffee beans have gone bad, look for signs of mold, discoloration, or a faint sour smell.

If the beans are still green but feel papery and brittle, they may be too old to use. Another way to tell if green coffee beans have gone bad is by tasting them – if they taste bitter or sour, they’ve likely gone bad. If any of these signs are present, it’s best to discard the beans and purchase new ones.

Using green coffee beans after the shelf life

Using green coffee beans after the shelf life is not recommended, as their flavor and aroma will have greatly decreased. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use your green coffee beans past their shelf life, it’s important to know how to handle them properly.

First, check the beans for any signs of mold or discoloration. If they appear to be okay, you can try roasting them at a lower temperature to help preserve the flavor and aroma. Additionally, be sure to store the beans in an airtight container once they have been roasted. This will help keep them fresh for as long as possible.

Proper ways of storing green coffee beans

As mentioned above, heat, Light, moisture, air, and time all impact the taste and quality of fresh plant items. Unroasted coffee beans should be treated like other fresh plant items when deciding how to store them best. 

One reason coffee beans are often shipped in burlap or jute sacks rather than plastic ones is that these materials are inexpensive and kind to the environment. As a result, several packaging firms are developing containers with many levels of high-barrier polyethylene to maintain a constant temperature and humidity throughout storage. Here are the proper ways of storing green coffee beans.

Best way

Storing green coffee beans properly is key to extending the shelf life of these beans. To do this, you should store them in an airtight container with a de-gassing valve. This valve allows the beans to “breathe” and can help extend their shelf life up to six months. You can use a vacuum-sealed container or coffee bag with a one-way valve for extra protection.

To ensure that your beans stay as fresh and flavorful as possible, store them in moderate-to-low temperature and humidity. Additionally, keep them away from strong odors, as the beans can easily absorb them. With proper storage practices, you can enjoy your green coffee beans for months after purchase.

Never store it in the fridge or freezer

Your coffee beans will deteriorate in the refrigerator because of the condensation. Furthermore, moisture might enter the packing while the beans are frozen, diminishing the coffee’s aroma and flavor. Hence, if you want to keep the flavor and aroma of your coffee beans intact, you should keep them at room temperature.

Keep it in a dark, cool place

Where to store your coffee beans is one of the most important considerations. Coffee beans should be stored in a cool, dark cabinet shielded from heat sources like stoves and the sun. The reason behind this is that the heat and light of the sun could quickly ruin your coffee beans’ flavor. As much as possible, do not store it near windows.

Frequently asked questions

Is it okay to drink green coffee even without roasting it?

The answer is yes. Green coffee can be prepared for consumption without being roasted by either boiling it in water or grinding it into powder and then drinking it. However, the flavor will be distinct from that of regular coffee. It will taste like you are taking on a herbal quality reminiscent of green tea. You can add honey or sugar to make it taste even better.

How can I improve the aroma and flavor of coffee?

The aroma and flavor of green coffee beans are improved through roasting and brewing if they are properly stored after harvesting, picking, and plucking. With this, the beans need attention the moment you harvest them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, green coffee beans can last for up to two years if stored properly. However, the shelf life of green coffee beans does depend on a variety of factors, such as storage conditions, packaging, and the roasting process.

To ensure that you get the most out of your green coffee beans, it is important to store them in an airtight container in a cool and dry area. Additionally, if you are not able to consume the green coffee beans within 6-12 months, it is best to freeze them in a vacuum-sealed or nitrogen flushed container. Lastly, always make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming the beans.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.