There are a lot of opinions when it comes to how to store coffee beans. Should you keep them in the freezer? Or the fridge? In a container away from the sun? The bottom line being: if you care about your coffee, you should know how to store it.
In this article, we discuss tips for keeping your coffee at its peak and we will answer some frequently asked questions about how to store beans for maximum freshness.
Why it’s important to keep coffee beans fresh
Roasted coffee tends to stay fresh for up to 1 month after the roast date. However, it is generally advised to buy freshly roasted coffee and consume it before that date.
Coffee beans release carbon dioxide. Most of the gas is released after roasting but the beans can give off carbon dioxide for up to two weeks after that. This process is known as “degassing”. Once you grind, the gas will release at a faster rate.
In the initial stages of brewing with manual methods such as pour over or french press, you will notice that air bubbles form at the top of your brew – that is carbon dioxide and the process is called “blooming”.
If your coffee lacks those bubbles, that means the freshness is gone. This will affect the taste.
It is important to keep your beans fresh so that both the aroma and the flavour are present in your brew.
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The enemies of coffee beans
Coffee beans, being a fresh product, have four main enemies. These enemies reduce the life span, affect the taste and aroma and prevent you from enjoying a good cup of coffee. You will notice that proper storage is important to mitigate each of these factors.
Oxygen oxidizes coffee beans and ground coffee alike, causing it to go bad. When grinding your coffee, make sure to use it right away in order to avoid prolonged contact with air.
Exposing your beans to moisture can cause them to go stale. Store your coffee beans in a place or container where moisture can’t seep in.
Coffee beans need to be stored in a cool place or at room temperature, never next to a heat source. If beans are exposed to heat before you grind them, they will lose their flavour.
Once the beans are roasted there are a lot of chemical reactions happening inside including temperature shocks. Exposing them to direct sunlight even after roasting can cause them to go bad.
Tips for keeping your coffee fresh
Buy small amounts regularly
Coffee beans tend to start losing freshness right after roasting. It is best to buy small amounts regularly, aim for every two weeks, in order to keep it at its peak. Make sure the roast date is stated clearly on the bag.
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Store in an airtight container
Usually, coffee packing is not ideal for long term storage. Airtight containers work best.
As mentioned earlier, exposing your coffee beans to air means that they will stay fresh for less amount of time. Storing your ground coffee in an airtight container will prevent moisture from reaching the beans. We suggest dividing your coffee beans into smaller portions if you do not have a large enough container for all of them.
Storing coffee in an air-tight container is even more important when buying pre-ground coffee since the exposure to oxygen becomes greater. Buying whole beans and grinding them right before you start brewing gives you fresh coffee on the spot.
Coffee storage FAQ
What is the best way to store ground coffee?
We always suggest buying whole bean coffee when looking for a quality cup. Whole beans serve as a protection against the four enemies of coffee – once the coffee is ground it oxidizes faster. It is best to grind immediately before preparing your coffee.
We understand that grinding before brewing is not possible for all people. The rules for ground coffee storage follows the same principles as storing whole bean coffee.
Make sure to store it in a container that prevents oxygen and moisture from seeping through and keep the container in a place that doesn’t get direct sunlight.
Should you freeze coffee beans?
Whether or not beans should be stored in the freezer is a hotly contested topic in the coffee world. While some experts see some merit in it, we recommend buying small quantities and keeping them in a cool, dark, dry environment, such as the pantry.
Freshness is one of the most critical aspects when it comes to a cup of coffee. Coffee beans tend to absorb both moisture and odours from their surroundings. If you do decide to store your coffee in the freezer, make sure to do so in an airtight canister.
Should coffee be refrigerated?
There is some evidence that long-term storage of coffee beans in a refrigerated vacuum-sealed bag has excellent results in preserving the quality of the bean.
However, when it comes to keeping your regular supply of coffee in the fridge there is less support. Some say that keeping your coffee in the fridge will create too much moisture inside the package due to temperature fluctuation. These fluctuations can leave your coffee tasting flavourless.
How long can you keep coffee stored?
It is suggested that you consume your coffee as quickly as possible after the roasting date, ideally up to three weeks after that date. This can be achieved by buying small amounts of coffee regularly which in return makes a fresh brew full of flavour.
Quality beans must always be stored the right way in order to extend the shelf life. Usually, you can store your coffee for up to nine months after the roast date but we suggest not going further than six. Take into account that the taste may vary depending on how long the coffee was stored at room temperature.
The flavour will also change according to the type of coffee bean, roast and method used to prepare it.