how to prevent coffee powder from hardening

If you are a coffee lover, there is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and finding that your coffee grounds have become hard. It will ruin the taste of your morning drink, and eventually, your day will go bad.

In this article, we will discuss why coffee grounds become hard. As hard coffee is not perfect for brewing, the taste of the coffee from those grounds will not be delicious and fresh.

We will also discuss how to prevent coffee powder from hardening and keep them soft, fresh, and flavorful, and what are the other ways you can use hardened coffee beans instead of discarding them.

Why coffee become hard | 3 main reasons

You may blame the coffee brand you are using when your ground becomes hard. Sometimes you are right as the quality of some cheap and local brands is not up to mark.

But most of the time, you are making a mistake, as you are not storing the coffee ground properly.

Coffee grounds are vulnerable to heat, air, and moisture. So, you have to keep the coffee ground properly if you want them to last longer without hardening. 

prevent coffee powder from hardening


Moisture is one of the critical factors that reduce the shelf life of coffee and contributes to its hardening. So, if you live in a moist environment or keep the coffee in the refrigerator, your coffee ground is more prone to hardening. Moisture also leads to the growth of bacteria and makes the taste of coffee stale.

When coffee grounds contact with moisture or drops of water, small clumps of coffee are formed, which get hard when the water dries off. The taste of these hardened grounds will not be fresh and bold, and sometimes they will not fit into the scoop of your coffee machine.


Higher temperatures encourage the growth of bacteria and molds. If you live in a hot and humid environment, your coffee ground will stale more quickly. 

So always keep the container of coffee ground in a cold environment away from the heat of the stove in your kitchen and make sure that it never comes in contact with the sunlight.


Oxidation of coffee occurs when it comes in contact with the air, which stales your coffee more quickly. Air also carries away the aromatic compound from the coffee ground, which is responsible for the sweetness and aroma of coffee. So always keep the coffee ground in an airtight container.

Also Read: Best self cleaning coffee maker

how to keep coffee from getting hard?

Protecting the coffee grounds from moisture is most important in preventing them from getting hard. As mentioned above, air and heat are also contributing factors that cause the staling of coffee grounds.

If you take care of the following factors properly, you can keep coffee from getting hard.


I) Airtight container

Whether you buy whole bean coffee or coffee grounds, keep them in some air-tight glass or ceramic container. If you keep the coffee in an open environment, it will slowly lose its flavor and get hardened because of the moisture in the air.

II) Grind beans yourself

Always try to buy whole-bean coffee as the shelf life of whole-bean coffee is much greater than ground coffee.

So, it is recommended to buy a good quality coffee grinder and grind your coffee beans just before brewing a cup of coffee.

Moreover, most coffee machines nowadays come with a built-in grinder, so these types of devices are also a good choice. 

III) Buy less coffee

If you don’t have a grinder and you have to buy ground coffee, it is recommended to buy it in small batches to keep it fresh and flavorful.

It is recommended to buy just enough coffee that you can easily finish in a week or two.

IV) Never put wet utensils in the coffee container

Always clean the airtight container properly before putting the coffee into it and make sure it is scorched.

Never use wet utensils in the container to take out the coffee grounds. As it well increases the moisture content and eventually, it gets hard.

V) Keep the coffee away from heat and light

Heat and light encourage the growth of bacteria which stales your coffee more quickly.

So always keep the container of coffee in some cabinet away from light, or keep it in some opaque container.

Never place the coffee container near the stove of your kitchen or at a place where it can be exposed to sunlight.

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Is hardened coffee bad?

It is sometimes possible for your coffee container to break without you being aware of it. Or in some cases, you accidentally keep it around the stove, or moist places and in others, you forget to close the lid properly.  

So can you drink harened coffee?

There is no harm in drinking hardened coffee, but it will taste and smell stale and have no aroma.

In these scenarios, your coffee grounds become hard and clumpy. So, if you are wondering whether to keep that coffee or throw it away, the answer is “No”, you should not throw it away. There are many other uses for that coffee.

  • As a Fertilizer: Coffee grounds contain many essential minerals necessary for the growth of plants, such as nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also absorb heavy metals that are not good for the soil. So next time, if you are thinking of discarding your hardened coffee grounds, then dump them into your garden; it will be beneficial for your plants.
  • Neutralize the odor: Coffee has the capability of neutralizing foul-smelling gases from the environment. You can use coffee grounds in your shoes, socks or gym bags, or anything smelly. They will be beneficial in removing the smell.
  • Natural cleaning scrub: Coffee grounds are abrasive and have anti-bacterial properties, so you can use them as a natural body cleaning scrub. Add these coffee grounds into coconut oil, and your scrub is ready; you can also use it for sanitizing your hands.
  • Repair furniture Scratches: Hardened coffee grounds can be used to hide the scratches in the wooden furniture. Just make a paste of coffee grounds and water and pour it on the scratched area. Allow it to settle for a few minutes, and then rub it with the cotton rag. Coffee grounds are helpful in dyeing the scratched area with dark brown color.

Also Read: 20 Creative uses of spent coffee grounds


Can we keep coffee powder in fridge?

It’s not recommended to store coffee powder in Fridge. It can lead to moisture accumulation, which can cause loss of flavor and aroma as well as absorbing unwanted odors from other foods in the fridge.
Instead, it’s best to store coffee powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. A kitchen Cabinet is the perfect place.

What is the best container to store ground coffee in?

It is best to store ground coffee in an airtight container that won’t absorb flavor or odor. The container should also have a tight-fitting lid to keep air out, as exposure to air can cause coffee to go stale and lose its flavor.

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Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.