One of the most common questions about the durability, and safety, of the Nespresso capsules is: how long do capsules last? Is there any expiration date? Is it safe to drink them afterwards?
Short answer, yes, there’s an expiration date and it’s reported on the package of every Nespresso capsule. Yet you can brew them even a long time after that date.
Coffee is not subject to a dangerous deterioration like most other foods and the capsules especially are airtight, preventing microbes and fungi to grow. The Nespresso capsules can be safely drank even many months after you bought them, even years. There are no health risks involved in drinking a capsule that you may have forgot at the bottom of your drawer for years.
Are Nespresso capsules good after the expiration date?
Different question it’s if you should. Nespresso suggests that the capsules should be drunk at most before 6-9 months from the purchase, for an optimal tasting experience. Every sleeve has printed on the exterior a production date, which is the day when the capsules were closed with the coffee inside, and an expiration date, that acts as a limit for when it’s best to drink the coffee. After this second date, the flavours can start to be lost and the experience won’t be the same as with a fresh bought capsule.
Nespresso suggests to check the status of the capsules by gently pushing the aluminium cover: if there’s some resistance, the coffee is still very good. It should still taste great then. Otherwise, the loss of flavours has started. Nothing to fear for your health but it won’t probably be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
In any case, do drink it, even after years but be aware it could not be as good as in the beginning.
We personally never found a large difference between new and old, or even very old, capsules. Occasionally a few months old capsule produces a coffee that has less crema on it and has a slightly “dull” flavour. But that’s about it, it’s never truly bad.
All our tests are done with capsules still within the expiration date obviously, for the correct tasting experience.
Where capsules should be stored?
Many will advise storing the capsules in the fridge or in the freezer. While this can be a good idea for normal ground coffee, it has no effect on the capsules. They are airtight and nothing from the outside is supposed to get inside anyway, so keeping them refrigerated has no effect on their conservation status.
Freezing them might help a bit, as it would eventually slow down the development of fungi or spores that may inadvertently entered the capsule before it was sealed. But it’s a very remote possibility. Freezing the capsules won’t hurt but be aware that you’ll need to leave them at room temperature long enough for the coffee inside to defrost before you can brew them.
Refrigerating the capsules instead provides no advantage at all as the temperatures aren’t low enough to stop fungi or bacteria to grow anyway. You will only delay their occurrence. An added issue with refrigeration is that the fridge is a very humid environment, which definitely doesn’t sit well with an aluminium pod. Avoid the fridge.