December 11, 2023

Do wholesale coffee capsules expire?

Roasted coffee is volatile. This means that it changes over time. Over a long enough timeframe, it will lose its more vibrant and subtle flavor notes, resulting in a stale, flat cup profile. This is why maintaining freshness is so important.

However, this problem only gets worse when coffee is ground. When you grind coffee, its surface area increases exponentially, exposing more of the grounds to oxygen. The finer it is ground, the more severe this issue becomes. 

When preparing wholesale coffee capsules, we grind the beans to an extremely fine size. This makes it essential to avoid exposure to oxygen. It’s also why we nitrogen flush each capsule, then carefully seal them immediately after filling. 

But this leaves plenty of questions. Does coffee ever spoil, or does it just lose its freshness? How long do you have before wholesale coffee capsules expire? Finally – how do you keep your capsules as fresh as possible for as long as possible? Read on to find out.

Bags of unroasted green coffee at the Metropolis facility.

What do we mean by “expire”?

Before we look at how long it takes for coffee to expire, it’s important to clarify what it means. Expiration can technically refer to both freshness and food safety.

For example, as some perishable food products degrade, they become breeding grounds for potentially harmful bacteria and fungi. After a certain date, the food becomes unsafe to consume.

However, unlike fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables, coffee is a shelf-stable dry good. This means that it doesn’t necessarily go bad, as long as it is stored in the right conditions.

Ultimately, “expired” coffee is unlikely to make you sick. There are exceptions: if it gets wet, mold and harmful bacteria can form. This can cause the coffee to smell and taste rancid. If you think coffee has been exposed to moisture, you should dispose of it. 

However, coffee does lose its flavor over time, resulting in a stale, flat cup profile. This is generally what people mean when they talk about coffee’s shelf life: how long it will remain fresh.

A tank of nitrogen gas used for flushing wholesale coffee capsules.

What affects the shelf life of wholesale coffee capsules?

Several factors affect the shelf life of coffee, and consequently wholesale coffee capsules. Light, heat, and moisture are all important to consider. However, the most important factor is exposure to oxygen. 

Oxygen is what causes coffee to turn stale, replacing the volatile flavor and aroma compounds in roasted coffee. Over enough time, this makes it taste flat and unremarkable. 

This makes it imperative to minimize the amount of oxygen in each capsule. For optimal freshness, oxygen levels in wholesale coffee capsules should be below 1% during production. Once packed, they also need to be hermetically sealed to prevent any more oxygen from entering.

The best solution is nitrogen flushing. This is the process of filling capsules with nitrogen gas. Nitrogen is denser than oxygen, and as such, it sinks to the bottom of the capsule, flushing oxygen out. Research shows that this doubles the average shelf life of a coffee capsule.

At Metropolis, we use a state-of-the-art Italian filling line to grind, fill, and seal our wholesale coffee capsules. Once this is complete, we nitrogen flush them. The end product is a nearly airtight commercially compostable coffee capsule.

In fact, we test the strength of our oxygen barrier frequently during manufacture. The strength and quality of our oxygen barrier is one of the factors that sets us apart from our competitors!

Three boxes of single-serve coffee from Metropolis.

Metropolis Coffee wholesale espresso capsules

At Metropolis, we have a range of four capsule blends. We offer these on both a retail and a wholesale basis: 

All of these wholesale coffee capsules are compatible with Nespresso original line machines. This means they can be easily brewed at the touch of a button. 

This is one of the reasons wholesale coffee capsules are so popular with hospitality businesses: they require no skill or training to use. In addition, they allow you to outsource all the complexities of producing espresso capsules.

Alongside this, our wholesale coffee capsules are also certified by the BPI and CMA. This means you can dispose of them at any commercial composting facility in the US. 

Co-packing and private label 

For businesses who want a bespoke wholesale coffee capsule, we also offer private label and co-packing options. 

For private label customers, we work to create a signature blend according to your specifications. Once we’ve created this blend, we then grind and dose the coffee, before sealing, flushing, and packing the capsules. Once that’s done, we ship them to you, ready to offer under your branding.

However, if you already have a coffee in mind, that’s no problem either. With our co-packing service, you simply send us your beans, and we handle the rest. 

Our private label and co-packing partners benefit from our decades of experience in the specialty coffee industry. That means we can minimize development times and start production quickly. It also allows us to offer our customers low minimum order quantities (MOQs).

Interested in learning more? Check out our wholesale co-packing and private-label espresso capsule solutions today.

Certified compostable facilities may not exist in your area. To find a composter near you, visit or on all packaging and marketing materials.

Metropolis Coffee is not affiliated with, endorsed, or sponsored by Nespresso. Nespresso is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé.

Metropolis Coffee

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