Instant coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed across the globe. Unlike regular coffee, which is freshly brewed, instant coffee is brewed and air-dried to give you a concentrated powder.
You can add a teaspoon of instant coffee powder to a cup of hot water and instantly enjoy its taste and aroma within seconds.
Instant coffee, as we know, is easier and faster to make, much cheaper, and is as healthy as regular coffee.
You can adjust the strength as per your preference by simply adding more or less powder to your cup. No wonder instant coffee accounts for about 50% of the total consumption in many countries.
Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which helps in fighting several diseases. Instant coffee may contain even higher amounts of antioxidants than other brewed beverages.
Drinking instant coffee has several health benefits such as improved cognition, better heart health, liver health, reduced type 2 diabetes, and even promotes longevity.
How Long Does Instant Coffee Last? Does Instant Coffee Go Bad?
Fortunately, instant coffee has a long shelf life. A busy person can prepare a hot cup of instant coffee in seconds and still enjoy its rich taste as well as gain substantial health benefits. But that doesn’t mean it will never go bad.
Instant coffee usually comes with a best by date and not an expiration date. So, while the product will be at its best quality within the best by date, you can still use it beyond the vouched time period.
You can store and use bottles of instant coffee for up to 20 years. Most coffee packets are sealed with an aluminum layer, which locks out moisture and heat.
There is no chance of contamination by mold or bacteria, and your coffee is safe in the pantry.
Improper storage, however, can spoil instant coffee even before the best before date. Contact with air and moisture will change the flavor and taste, rendering it stale and tasteless.
Ground coffee is packed with compounds that give the distinct aroma and delicious taste, but they are prone to degradation.
Many of the oils and acids can react with oxygen and become degraded or grow rancid. Plus, the substances that impart the strong aroma are highly volatile, and they will escape easily if left opened.
Hence, coffee is always best when you consume it fresh and as close to the manufacture date as possible. That's when the aroma and flavor are at their peak, waking you with its freshness even on a dull winter day.
But of course, how long you can store your coffee depends on the way you store it.
If you have already opened the packet or bottle, seal it properly with an aluminum foil, keeping it away from light, moisture and heat. Sealing it out in a vacuum will extend its shelf life indefinitely.
Proper storage will lock in the aroma and taste to ensure that your precious drink is still safe.
How to Tell if Instant Coffee is Bad?
Indefinite shelf life doesn't mean that your instant coffee will always be good. If it is bad, you have to toss it out.
But how can you know when to do that? Check for the following signs to know when your favorite beverage does not belong to your pantry anymore.
- It smells a bit rotten or moldy. Change in taste indicates that the drink's chemical composition has been altered, and it not the same delicious or healthy drink anymore.
- The taste is stale. You know that your instant coffee belongs to the bin when it looks okay, but it tastes flat. Coffee without its delicious taste and aroma is no longer worth drinking.
- If you've kept your coffee without sealing correctly, it might get clumped or hardened due to moisture.
If you notice the above signs, do not use your instant coffee. For safety and personal health, it is always better to consume your coffee when it is fresh and close to the best before date.
Drinking stale coffee might not hurt your health or be poisonous, but it's always better to avoid foods that are too old.
Instant coffee is a much cheaper alternative to regular coffee. You don't need a coffee maker. It is fast, easy, delicious, and just as beneficial for health as regular coffee. It is incredibly convenient to make when you are on the go or traveling.
Its long shelf life makes it even more valuable. You don’t need to hit the stores as frequently because you still use that old packet in your pantry even if it happens to have gone past the best before date.
Learning the right storage techniques will go a long way in preventing wastage. You can use your instant coffee as long as it is safely preserved, and you can save your money too.