We've all got a few stray tins and jars in our cupboards, but if you own a coffee machine that takes pods, you've probably got a few rogue pods back there too. Eating and drinking food that’s gone bad can make you sick, and it's something we all want to avoid, but you might not know how time impacts coffee pods or if it's safe to drink.
This guide will help explain whether coffee pods expire and how long you can expect them to last.
Do Coffee Pods Expire? (How Long Do They Last?)
When we talk about food or drink expiring, we often think about mold or bacteria building up, making it unsafe to consume. This degradation doesn't happen to coffee pods, so they don’t expire like other food. This means that even if you drink an old coffee pod, it shouldn't make you sick.
However, that doesn’t mean that coffee pods last forever and that you’ll always want to drink them. You may not have noticed, but most coffee pods have a date printed on the individual pod itself or on the box. This is a best before date, which is different from an expiry date because it only gives you an indication of the freshness of the coffee. The coffee will taste and smell like it should until this date, but after this point, it will start to taste worse because it’s been there too long.
Most coffee pods are good to use for at least 6-8 months after the best before date because of the way they are packaged and sealed. After this point, the coffee could start to taste really bad, and it’s better to throw it away.
Keurig K-cups have a small best before date printed on each individual serving which tells you when the coffee will be freshest. Keurig brand coffee pods won't expire and will generally taste fine for 8-12 months after purchase. Swiss Miss K-Cups are the same, so if you drink them within 12 months, you should be fine.
Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Nespresso coffee pods use an aluminum casing which helps to keep out all contaminants for longer and store the pods in a metal sleeve. They do advise that their pods should be consumed before the end of the best before date, but in reality, it still tastes fine for at least 6 months afterward. They always provide at least a 4-month shelf life on their products, but often it’s over a year.
Tassimo coffee pods don't expire, but it's recommended that you drink them within two years. They also have best before dates, but they are generally only found on the box rather than on the individual pods.
Every brand is slightly different, but generally, coffee pods don't expire; they just become less enjoyable to drink. In all likelihood, you'll be safe if you’ve purchased the coffee pod in the last 12 months, and it’s normally easy to find the best before date, which is worth sticking to.
Do Coffee Pods Go Bad Before Expiration Date?
Coffee pods are hermetically sealed, which means that they are completely airtight, and not even gases can travel in and out of the packaging. This seal keeps out all of the moisture and prevents practically any outside elements from impacting the quality of the coffee inside. Most brands also flush the coffee pod with nitrogen which keeps the contents fresher for longer. Therefore, if your coffee pod is adequately sealed, it shouldn’t go bad before the expiration date.
You do need to be careful how you store coffee pods so that they maintain their quality. They should be kept in a cool, dry place that maintains a steady temperature. If they're kept in direct sunlight, the pod can overheat, which will impact the coffee inside. You also need to keep the coffee pods out of the way because even some slight damage to the packaging can allow air in and cause them to go bad before the expiration date.
If your coffee pod is damaged, then you should throw it away regardless of any printed best before date on the packaging. If it's intact and stored correctly, it won't go bad before the expiration date.
Is It Safe To Use Coffee Pod After The “Best Before Date”?
The airtight seal on coffee pods helps to preserve the contents really effectively. The best before date is not an indicator of when the coffee becomes unsafe to drink; it's just an indicator of the time period where the coffee will have optimum freshness. You can still use coffee pods after this date as long as there’s no damage to the packaging.
Once the best before date has expired, you’ll normally have at least a few months until the coffee becomes too unpleasant to drink. It varies with every brand, but K-cups and Tassimo coffee pods can be safely consumed up to 12 months after the best before date.
Generally, it’s safe to use a coffee pod as long as the best before date was within the last 6-12 months and you've stored it correctly in a cool, dry area. An expired coffee pod shouldn't make you sick, but if you notice any strange smells when making the coffee, you should just throw it out because it's not worth the risk.
Frequently Asked Coffee Pod Questions
How do you keep coffee pods fresh for longer?
Storing coffee pods in a cool, dry, and sheltered place will help ensure they're fresher for longer. Make sure they're away from any direct sunlight, which could alter the temperature or humidity.
Do Nespresso pods expire?
No, but for the best taste and aroma, it's recommended that you use them before the best before date on the packaging. After this point, it will become increasingly less enjoyable to drink.
Should coffee pods be refrigerated?
No, most brands recommend that you don't keep your coffee pods refrigerated because they can absorb the aromas from the fridge, which can impact the taste of the coffee. It also won’t help to prolong the life of the coffee inside the packaging.
Coffee pods are sealed in a way that keeps them fresh for a really long time. All coffee pods have a best before date, which tells you when the coffee may start to taste differently, but it should still be safe to consume for a while after this point. Hopefully this guide has helped explain how coffee pods stay fresh, and you now know which coffee pods you can drink safely.