Do coffee pods expire?

All coffee pods have a set expiry date. But this is only a requirement imposed on manufacturers to inform the user that this is the deadline for the coffee to remain in optimum condition.

It does not mean that the coffee will be unhealthy after this date. In the worst case, it will lose its taste and aroma, resulting in poor-quality beverages. But if you pay attention to some important characteristics, you may not have to throw away your expired pods and can continue to use them for some additional time.

Is it true that coffee pods can expire?

The shelf life of coffee is influenced by all the chemical compounds it contains. Some are acquired naturally, and others during the processes it undergoes, such as drying, storage, roasting, etc. The taste, acidity, bitterness and aroma of the coffee that will finally end up in a pod will depend on the care with which all these processes are carried out.

Coffee pods were developed with the need to preserve all the properties of coffee to the maximum. Over time, they have evolved considerably in shape and technology, and now some pods are simple and efficient. These pods make sure coffee is kept in optimum conditions.

The pods are made of plastic or aluminium and have an airtight seal that prevents humidity, light and oxygen from entering the coffee.

As we have already said, the expiry date of the pods is only the limit for the coffee to maintain its ideal flavour and aroma. So you can continue to consume them without affecting your health.

Best before the date of 12 months on coffee pods
Best before the date of 12 months on coffee pods

Recognising that a pod has lost its properties can be easy. Look at what it looks and smells like, and compare it to a pod in good condition. If you are still in doubt, you can try making a coffee to test the taste to ensure you can still use the pod or if it is no longer worth keeping.

After how long do coffee pods expire?

Depending on some aspects, such as the characteristics of the coffee, its production process and its packaging system, we can say that coffee pods can be kept in optimal conditions for periods between 12 and 24 months after their production. Each manufacturer defines this expiry date.

Manufacturers must define the product’s expiry date to make it clear to the buyer when it is suitable for consumption while maintaining the expected quality as long as it is stored in the indicated conditions.

More importantly, they seek to clarify that the product is not considered to be marketable after the expiry date.

How do I know if a coffee pod has expired?

It is important to know beforehand the characteristics of a good coffee pod to identify when it has lost its properties.

Experience will give us a wide observation capacity to define if there are perforations in the packaging, if the seal is still intact, or if, when you open the pod, you perceive changes in the aroma and texture of the coffee.

Another key factor in determining whether a pod has lost its properties. This is the swelling of the pods when the coffee inside gives off gases when exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight.

What happens if we drink coffee prepared with an expired pod?

You can rest assured if you are concerned about the health consequences of drinking coffee made with an expired pod. As mentioned above, expired pods are not harmful to your health. The only consequence they bring is the alteration of the taste and aroma in your preparations, affecting their quality.

These alterations in taste and aroma can occur even in pods that have not expired. If they are not stored correctly, the quality of the coffee will also be affected. Therefore, it is important to consider the pods’ expiry date, but this does not determine 100% the good or bad condition of the coffee inside.

The key to prolonging the life of coffee pods

Consider the following tips to help you keep your coffee pods for longer:

  1. Avoid exposing your coffee pods to sharp or wet elements. The aluminium or plastic pod packaging is susceptible to scratches, corrosion and punctures.
  2. Store your pods in a place that is not exposed to direct sunlight, is free of moisture, and is kept at a cool temperature. Remember that these are determining factors in preserving the flavour and aroma qualities of the coffee, as well as prolonging its shelf life.

Remember that the shelf life of your coffee pods will also depend to a large extent on the storage conditions. Temperature, light and humidity can alter the shelf life and quality of the pods.

Proper storage of your coffee pods

A coffee pod that has been stored for three months is not the same as one that has just left the factory. Another important issue is the storage conditions: coffee does not keep the same in a dry warehouse as in humid conditions or extreme temperatures.

For this reason, manufacturers recommend using the coffee pod before a certain period, as they cannot control where it will be stored afterwards.

All of the above is especially relevant in the case of powdered or liquid milk pods (i.e. if you are a Dolce Gusto or Tassimo user). In this case, the properties are not the same as those of coffee, so if you can, it is better to consume them as soon as possible.

To avoid problems, if you buy and keep many coffee pods at home, we recommend you always use first the oldest ones. This way, you will avoid surprises, although you must be very careful or buy in excess to store coffee pods for more than eight months.

Related: How many times can a coffee pod be used?