Storing Coffee: The Best Ways to Keep Your Beans Fresh
Storing coffee is a topic that is often overlooked, but it is just as important as roasting, grinding, and brewing. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to store coffee beans and why the advice varies depending on storage time and other factors.
Freshly Roasted Coffee
Keeping coffee beans fresh is crucial, especially when you invest in expensive beans. Whether you roast your own beans or buy from a local roaster, freshness is key. While a subscription from your favorite roaster can ensure freshness, not everyone wants a subscription. So, let’s explore how to store coffee beans.
Shelf Life of Roasted Coffee Beans
Unroasted coffee beans have a longer shelf life and can be stored for months in a cool, dry place like the pantry. However, once coffee beans are roasted, their shelf life is about two weeks. Darker roasts expire faster due to the higher degree of cell wall integrity being broken, which allows volatile compounds to dissipate. To prevent your beans from going stale, you need to find ways to store them properly.
Busting Myths: Freezing Coffee
Contrary to popular belief, storing coffee in the freezer is actually the best way to store it long-term. Freezing immobilizes volatile compounds in the beans, preserving the flavors. The myth that freezing is bad for coffee comes from the idea that temperature variances and condensation can affect the beans if they are constantly taken out of the freezer. However, if you only open the bag a few times, freezer storage is perfectly fine.
Airtight Containers for Storing Coffee
To ensure freshness, it is essential to store coffee in an airtight container that prevents oxygen from entering. Vacuum canisters are highly recommended as they remove air from the container, prolonging shelf life. Clear glass or plastic containers should be avoided as they expose the beans to light, which can cause the oils to migrate to the surface.
Storing Coffee Beans in the Freezer
When storing coffee beans in the freezer, it is important to use an airtight container or the original packaging with a one-way valve. Reseal the bag tightly or transfer the beans to a mason jar for optimal storage. By combining freezer and pantry storage, you can enjoy fresh coffee for a longer period. Move beans from the large container in the freezer to a smaller container in the pantry every ten days.
Storing Ground Coffee
Ideally, it is best to avoid buying pre-ground coffee as it has more surface area exposed to air, leading to faster deterioration. However, if you must store ground coffee, use airtight containers at room temperature or slightly lower. Similar to whole beans, have two containers – one for daily use and one for long-term storage. Avoid drastic temperature changes when handling ground coffee.
Long-Term Storage with Green Coffee Beans
For long-term storage, green coffee beans are the best option. Vacuum-pack the beans in plastic bags and store them in the freezer. When ready to use, let the beans warm up before roasting. Green coffee beans can also be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for a few months. However, keep in mind that roasted beans start to change once they are out of the roasting facility.
Storing coffee properly is crucial for maintaining freshness and flavor. Freezing coffee beans is a great long-term storage option, as long as you minimize temperature variances and condensation. Use airtight containers and avoid light exposure to preserve the quality of your beans. Whether you choose to store whole beans or ground coffee, following these guidelines will ensure a delicious cup of coffee every time.
This article firstly appeared at Brew Espresso Coffee, a website dedicated to make popular the art of making espresso beverages.