Is there generally an expiration date on coffee?

We looked at every type of pre-brewed coffee we could find: canned whole beans, canned ground, vacuum-packed coffee (beans and ground), instant caffeinated, instant decaf, instant "international" coffee tins, canned espresso, and instant individual "bags" of regular coffee and decaf (similar to tea bags). All of them had "Best When Used By" or "Best Before" dates, as opposed to any sort of "expiration" dates.
 
Our assumption--that coffee beans and ground coffee lose their flavor over time, but do not become a health risk---is backed up by (among others) the Folgers website, which states, "Coffee used beyond its expiration date is safe to drink, but some of the flavor may be lost."
 
Source(s):
Folgers: "Shelf life of Whole Bean Coffee"
Supermarket research
Organize Your Life “Expiration Dates”

 

 
 

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