Coffee…a beverage so treasured that most people cannot survive a typical Monday morning without it. It is not just a morning drink though. Good coffee may be what distinguishes a dull conversation from a lively one and a boring date from a memorable one. It is therefore very important to have fresh coffee beans at your disposal at any time.
To achieve this, it is crucial to know how to store the beans properly. Poorly preserved coffee is easy to spot due to its stale taste and smell. Although there is a lot of conflict on what’s the best way to store coffee beans among coffee lovers and experts, some methods have been agreed upon across the board.
Coffee starts to lose its freshness as soon as it is roasted, and even faster after it has been ground. This is owed to the increased surface area when coffee is crushed to powder. Some say that ground coffee is best used up within the first five days while roasted beans can last for up to one month.
However, other experts suggest that aged coffee tastes better than freshly roasted coffee. This dispute is probably because of different palates and preferences in the taste of coffee.
That said, how you preserve your coffee will entirely depend on how you would like the taste of your favorite beverage.
The most basic things to consider when storing coffee beans are those that can alter their flavor or aroma.
To avoid this, it is best to buy the exact amount of coffee that you plan on using. If this is not possible there are a number of ways to keep your coffee beans fresh.
Depending on how much of a coffee snob you are, the following methods are suitable to preserve coffee beans.
Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?
This is very optional. Freezing may preserve the freshness of coffee beans if done properly. It can be done on both green and roasted coffee.
- 1First, place the coffee beans in a freezer bag (or vacuum bag).
- 2Suck out all the air from it using a straw then seal the bag.
- 3Place it in an opaque grocery sack (to keep the beans from light).
- 4Seal the grocer sack as an extra precaution.
- 5Place the sack in the freezer. This will ensure that the beans remain fresh and catch no humidity or odors from the freezer.
Note: It is important to point out that some coffee experts suggest that coffee never really tastes the same after being frozen.
Under no circumstances should you refrigerate your coffee beans. The fridge is not cold enough to preserve your coffee beans. Also, the beans might become moist and may dehumidify and deodorize the fridge (since coffee is hygroscopic). This may not turn out so well for the other products in the fridge or for your coffee beans.
Should You Store Your Coffee at Room Temperature?
This is the most convenient way to keep your coffee beans fresh for as long as possible. It is key to note that the beans should still be kept from high temperature, dampness, air and direct sunlight.
Storage at room temperature can be achieved using airtight containers, of which there are many types. These include a variety of materials and fancy designs.
The best coffee containers are ceramic or opaque glass, but non-reactive metal jars may also be used. The canisters should be airtight, which can be achieved using vacuum seals or one-way valves. Also, foil-lined bags with air valves are also appropriate.
From the perspective of coffee baristas, the valve-fitted containers or bags are best. They allow degassing (a process which coffee emits carbon dioxide after being roasted) while at the same time keeping the oxygen out.
They can also keep the coffee beans fresh for up to 6 months (or 3 months for those of lower quality).
Their downside is that they are somewhat pricey and you can only use the bag once, but it all depends on how much you love your coffee. Vacuum seals may cause the bag or canister to swell or probably even burst, and you wouldn’t want that.
Here's How to Store Your Coffee Beans at Room Temperature
- 1Choose the container accordingly. A good coffee canister should be air impermeable, opaque and non-corrosive. For jars, ceramic ones are most preferred. Aluminum foil-lined bags fitted with one way air valves are also appropriate and come highly recommended by coffee experts.
- 2Fill it to the brim leaving no air inside.
- 3Seal the can or bag and place in a dry place. It should be away from excessive heat and direct sunlight as this may damage your coffee beans. The pantry, shelves that are away from light and heat and shielded counter-tops are all appropriate areas to store the sealed coffee.
- 4Use the coffee as soon as possible.
This said, it is crucial to appreciate the fact that coffee is a seasonal crop, hence the need for preservation. This ensures that a steady supply of coffee is available even when it is not the coffee season.
However, it is also a perishable commodity. Just like any other agricultural product, coffee is prone to expiration for it has a short shelf life. Thus, it is imperative to take precautions when handling coffee.
For instance, buy only the amount of coffee you can consume within a week or so. This will ensure that there is no need to store excess coffee.
Also, if possible, buy green coffee beans. They last longer than roasted beans. With the right equipment, you can roast and grind your own coffee.
By all standards, long-lasting fresh coffee is hard to achieve, especially if the original sealing has been broken. Coffee bean preservation may be difficult, hectic and time-consuming but it is certainly not impossible.
It takes dedication and a whole lot of effort to keep roasted coffee beans fresh, but it is all worth it.
We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below, if you have any tips to add on what's the best way to store coffee beans 🙂