Do Coffee Beans Absorb Odors?

A common reason why you are told not to store coffee beans in the fridge is that coffee beans can absorb odors from nearby foods.

Coffee beans absorbing odors can be good or bad depending on your desired function.

If you want to use the coffee beans for your next brew, you don’t want them absorbing any other odors and ruining its flavor profile. It’s because of this airtight containers need to be used.

On the other hand, coffee beans provide a natural way to neutralize undesirable odors and freshen up the room.

Why do coffee beans neutralize smell?

Coffee beans have a powerful and pleasant scent that can fill a room quickly, masking the odor while it neutralizes and absorbs it.

Different elements combined make up a coffee bean. One of those elements is Nitrogen.

Nitrogen can absorb Sulfur – Associated with many bad smells such as farts and rotten eggs, the Sulfur is quickly neutralized by the coffee beans Nitrogen.

This ability to attract and trap unwanted smells makes coffee beans a substitute for baking powder.

How do you use coffee beans as an air freshener?

Fresher smelling air from coffee beans being used as air fresheners

Using coffee beans as an air freshener is as simple as leaving them out in the corner of a room.

Doing this alone will improve the freshness of any room.

But, for better results, the first step is always to remove the source of the odor.

You need to remove the spoiled food in the fridge or fast food in the backseat of the car. Coffee beans can only mask the odor and only for a little while if they are still present.

With the source removed, you can now leave coffee beans on a plate or in a glass, in the room.

As time passes, the scent of coffee will fill the room while the beans attract and traps any undesirable smells in the vicinity.

Common places coffee beans are placed to absorb foul odors:

  • They can be placed upon countertops in kitchens to absorb strong smells of garlic, onion, and even burnt foods.
  • They can be placed in the refrigerator to neutralize the odor of any foods that have spoiled.
  • Placing coffee beans into a mesh bag and hanging it in the car will remove the smell of fast food and odors from any pets.

You can place coffee beans anywhere.

When presented neatly, coffee beans can make a great addition to your home decor. So you won’t have any unsightly air fresheners in the room when guests visit, most of who wouldn’t know the reason for the beans.

Will coffee grounds absorb odors?

Coffee grounds will react the same way as coffee beans, although coffee grounds don’t last as long as whole beans do.

Coffee grounds don’t last as long due to the increased exposure to the elements (air, light, and heat). This exposure allows for a quick cover but isn’t expected to last too long.

To use coffee grounds, place dried grounds into an open container and leave them where needed.

Coffee grounds aren’t as visually appealing as coffee beans. So it’s best to use coffee grounds when you don’t have visitors or are placed in not-so-obvious places.

Places such as

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Pantries

Are perfect places to use coffee grounds, as they are out of sight.

Can smelling coffee beans wake you up?

Fresh smelling coffee

It’s a known fact the smells can trigger memories and feelings.

So having coffee beans left around to absorb odors will eventually result in your house or car smelling a tad like coffee.

Eventually, you will wake up to the smell of coffee. This smell signals your brain that caffeine is on its way. This triggers enough stimulation to wake you up before even having your first cup of coffee.

Just one of the many benefits coffee beans provide.


Similar to baking power, coffee beans will absorb and neutralize odors in the air.

So it is not a good idea to leave coffee beans you want to brew in a non-airtight container. As you might find your coffee to have developed the taste of whatever it was next too.

Unless you want to remove a smell from a room, then leaving a handful of coffee beans or grounds out will ensure the air around is fresh.