How to Prevent Instant Coffee Powder from Hardening

To prevent hardening of instant coffee powder, it’s critical to store it protected from moisture and heat. Moreover, preventing exposure to air also lowers the chances of hardening of coffee grounds. 

Keep reading to learn more about how to prevent instant coffee powder from hardening. But before we get into details, let’s learn more about why instant coffee powder hardens. 

Why Instant Coffee Powder Hardens

Sometimes, the instant coffee powder may harden if you’re not using the right brand. Low-quality instant coffee powder brands may harden because of poor-grade coffee beans. 

However, in most instances, you’re making a mistake in storing instant coffee powder. Coffee grounds are sensitive to several environmental factors, including moisture, air, and temperature. 

Let’s take a closer look at how these environmental factors affect instant coffee powder. 


High humidity content can harden ground coffee. When moisture gets into the instant coffee powder container, it condenses. As a result, the instant coffee powder clumps. 


The other critical environmental factor that causes the hardening of coffee grounds is air. 

When roasted and ground, coffee grounds release carbon dioxide. The gas reacts with the oxygen in the air, which causes the oxidation of coffee grounds. 

While interacting with air, coffee grounds lose their sweetness and aroma. As a result, the coffee grounds turn stale and harden over time. 


When discussing environmental factors that can harden coffee powder, let’s not forget the role of temperature. 

High temperatures, especially with higher humidity levels, encourage the growth of bacteria. Moreover, warmer air carries water droplets that harden instant coffee powder. 

How to Prevent Instant Coffee Powder from Hardening

Environmental factors like moisture, air, and temperature can quickly harden instant coffee powder. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent the hardening of your coffee grounds. 

Keep Moisture Away 

Exposure to moisture is one of the key reasons that causes the hardening of instant coffee powder. It’s therefore critical to keep your coffee grounds away from moisture. 

Always make sure that you store your instant coffee powder in a dry location. Avoid storing instant coffee powder in the freezer or fridge, as the conditions allow for moisture to creep into the container.  

Remember, exposure to moisture almost always hardens the coffee grounds. So if you want to store your coffee in the fridge or freezer, make sure you do so in an air-tight container. 

Moreover, if you store your coffee in the freezer, and thaw it for use, avoid re-freezing it. Freezing it again will introduce moisture which will harden your instant coffee powder. 

Store in an Air-Tight Container 

The interaction of instant coffee powder with air can quickly oxidize the coffee grounds and harden them. The best way to avoid this problem is to store the instant coffee powder in an air-tight container.

After opening a pack of instant coffee powder, transfer it to an air-tight container.

Many individuals store the instant coffee powder in kitchen canisters that secure tightly. However, they are not always air-tight, and air can still creep inside the container. 

It’s therefore best to choose air-tight containers specifically designed to store coffee. Proper storage of instant coffee powder can help prevent hardening.  

Protect from Heat 

High temperatures, which are often accompanied by higher humidity, can harden instant coffee powder. Moreover, high temperatures allow for mold and bacterial growth.  

If you live in a humid environment, ensure your coffee is stored in an air-tight container. Moreover, keep the lid of your coffee jar closed at all times. 

Furthermore, it’s best to avoid storing your instant coffee powder near heat sources in the kitchen. Avoid placing your coffee jar near the stove or other heat source. 

Instead, storing your instant coffee powder in a cool, dry place, preferably in your kitchen cabinet, is best. 

Grind Coffee Beans Yourself

Many individuals prefer instant coffee powder as it offers convenience. All you have to do is to use coffee grounds to enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage. 

However, the instant coffee powder can harden due to improper storage and environmental factors. One possible solution to this problem is to grind coffee beans. 

It’s a good idea to purchase a pack of good quality coffee beans and a coffee grinder. Coffee beans do not harden over time. 

Moreover, with a handy coffee grinder, you can quickly grind coffee beans when required. 

Coffee beans have a longer shelf life compared to instant coffee powder. Moreover, fresh coffee grounds provide a more authentic coffee flavor. 

Buy Smaller Packs of Instant Coffee Powder or Less Coffee

If grinding coffee beans isn’t an alternative for you, then purchase instant coffee powder in smaller packs. 

Choose an appropriate pack size depending on your coffee powder consumption. Buying instant coffee powder in small batches and storing it adequately helps keep the powder flavorful and fresh. 

Ideally, you should buy the amount of coffee powder that you can finish easily in a week or two. 

You can then wash and refill your coffee container with a fresh pack of instant coffee powder. 

Avoid Placing Wet Utensils in Coffee Containers 

Do you use the same spoon to take out coffee from the container, and to mix it in water? 

Using wet utensils in a coffee container provides access to moisture. And moisture hardens instant coffee powder. 

Always use a clean and dry utensil to scoop out coffee grounds from the container. Moreover, ensure that your coffee container is completely dry before you put coffee into it. 

A moist or wet coffee container or utensil can quickly harden instant coffee powder. 

Store Away from Light 

Direct exposure to light does not harden instant coffee powder. However, it can quickly make the coffee stale. As a result, it negatively impacts the coffee flavor and aroma. 

While you’re preventing instant coffee powder from hardening, it’s best to store it away from light. Dark places in pantry cabinets are often the ideal place to store instant coffee powder. 

Exposure to moisture, heat, and air can quickly harden instant coffee powder. If you want to prevent instant coffee powder from hardening, make sure you store it in an air-tight container. 

Moreover, it’s best to buy smaller packs that you can finish up quickly before they harden. Furthermore, avoid using wet or moist utensils when taking out coffee grounds from the container. 

Can You Use Instant Coffee Powder When Hardened?

The instant coffee powder can quickly harden when exposed to air, moisture, or heat. But does that mean your coffee is bad and not usable? 

Not really. 

You can still use instant coffee powder that’s hardened in multiple ways. You can use it in the kitchen. Moreover, it can have multiple other beauty and household uses. 

Prepare Your Favorite Caffeinated Drink 

It can be used to brew coffee. However, the brewed coffee will taste and smell stale and have no aroma.

Hardened coffee grounds can be used to prepare other drinks besides brewed coffee. Caffeinated drinks that require milder coffee flavor can be prepared using hardened coffee. 

Some of the drinks you can prepare using hardened coffee grounds include 

  • Coffee and ice cream milkshake, 
  • Iced coffee, and 
  • Mocha smoothie.  

Hardened coffee grounds can be used for several other purposes than drinking. 

Prepare a Coffee Bath Scrub 

Use hardened coffee to prepare a great bath scrub. Grind hardened coffee with sugar, cinnamon, and oil, and you’re good to go. 

Use this scrub to give your skin a smooth texture and a glowing appeal. 

Hardened Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer

Coffee grounds are rich in minerals like nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are essential for plant growth. 

Hence, you can use hardened coffee as a fertilizer. Simply use lukewarm water to dissolve hardened coffee. Mix it well. 

Use the solution sparsely in your garden to provide essential nutrients to your plants.  

Instant Coffee Powder to Neutralize Odor 

The hardened coffee powder can help neutralize foul odor. So, you can place your hardened jar of instant coffee with anything smelly. 

Restore Household Furniture 

One of the other uses of hardened coffee grounds is to restore household furniture. Mix some hardened coffee grounds with warm water. 

You can use the solution to restore scratches on wooden furniture. Dap it using a cotton rag and let the solution sit for a while. 

The natural dye will improve the outlook of your scratched household furniture. 


Using instant coffee powder allows you to conveniently brew your favorite caffeinated beverage. However, it can quickly harden if not stored appropriately. 

It’s recommended that you store instant coffee powder properly away from moisture and heat. Moreover, preventing exposure to air also lowers the chances of hardening coffee powder. 

Furthermore, it’s best to buy smaller packs of instant coffee powder, so you can finish them quickly. 

It’s also recommended to avoid using wet or moist utensils in the coffee container. Using wet utensils can allow moisture to creep into the coffee container and harden the coffee powder.  

It’s important to prevent instant coffee powder from hardening. However, if it happens, you can still use instant coffee powder inside and outside your kitchen.  

With other productive ways to use coffee powder that’s hardened, you don’t have to dump it in the trash.

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