What Causes Stale Coffee?

A delicious cup of coffee is at the heart of a good start to the week. The last thing you want to contend with is a different taste to what you expect when you take that very first sip, especially if you’ve put in much effort to create your own special brew. So is stale coffee a thing? Absolutely. If you’re wondering about how to avoid it altogether, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll talk about whether it can actually make you sick, talk about the main culprit to blame, as well as how to prevent stale coffee in general moving forward.

Can Stale Coffee Make You Sick?

The word “stale” is automatically associated with a bunch of negative connotations, and rightly so. The thought of consuming anything dubbed stale goes against the grain of human survival. So does the same apply for coffee? In a surprise twist, stale or expired coffee can’t actually make you sick, as long as it doesn’t have any visible mould on it. Always check for spoiled additions as well – sometimes the milk will be responsible for the bad taste, not the actual coffee. The only downside to stale coffee is that it might forfeit some of those delectable flavours and aromas you know and love.

The Main Culprit: Oxidation

A bad tasting cup of coffee that hasn’t been hindered by a past-due addition is usually down to a single element: oxidation. Once roasted, coffee is immediately prone to changes based on the environment it is in. Heat and moisture can affect the quality of the brew in as little as a couple of hours with some specialised products. Once coffee beans touch the air, the degradation process starts. For this reason, many budding young baristas like to vacuum seal their brews wherever possible. Specialty coffees tend to be done in smaller batches for this reason, too.

Black coffee in a grey cup, surrounded by a sea of coffee beans

Prevention Tips

Although different environments will have different effects on coffee beans, a general rule to follow is to keep them away from air, moisture, heat and light exposure wherever possible. Wherever airtight containers aren’t available, ziplock bags are the way to go. Assess the conditions within your own kitchen before getting your hands on the specific solutions you need. A little bit of effort when it comes to prevention can go a long way to preserving and maintaining your delicious morning brew. Thankfully, coffee bean maintenance isn’t overly complicated or time consuming to begin with. 

A Fresh Brew Every Time

While coffee beans do take centre stage in terms of a delicious, fresh cuppa every time, the Aquaspresso team likes to take things a step further by considering the machine used to get the most out of every brew. Based on the types of caffeinated hot drinks you like to make, you may want to invest in a machine that will amplify that specific drink. Many automatic machines offer great types of coffee without you having to pay an arm and a leg. Chat to us if you’d like to learn more about preserving your beloved coffee, or if you need help with finding the best machine for your needs.