How to Store Coffee to Keep It Fresh

Author: David Kelley

womens hand shown pouring roasted coffee beans onto a wooden table

Opaque and air-tight containers keep your coffee fresh longer.

The taste and aroma of a great cup of coffee can soothe and inspire you like nothing else, and it is for this reason that most of us go to great lengths to brew the perfect cup. While there are times when we all have to settle for an inferior-tasting coffee, there are some things we can do to help make sure our coffee is at its best. Merely buying the most expensive type of beans will not do the trick. You have to know how to properly store your roasted coffee to attain the best it has to offer.

Tips to Best Store Coffee

Here are some proven tips to keep coffee fresh and delicious-tasting so you can best enjoy your wake-up cup in the morning and your creamy after-dinner cappuccinos at night.

Don't Buy Too Much

Like all organic things, there is a sweet spot for coffee as well. It tastes best  after two to five days from roasting and stays that way for around two weeks after that. So you need to plan your purchasing of coffee keeping that time period in mind so that you consume most of it, if not all, within that time.

It is true that most of us do not have the opportunity or the time to go to buy groceries or coffee every time we brew a pot, and we certainly do not want to run out of coffee before we can buy another batch. But, having this knowledge will allow you to put some forethought into planning your coffee supply and to make adjustments to your buying patterns accordingly.

Let Them Stay In Their Bag

If you plan on using the two-week tip to enjoy the optimum flavor of coffee, you will have to buy yours from a specialist (um, like Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters, of course) as most of the stock in most of the grocery stores is already past that limit when it reaches store shelves. Coffee beans from specialists usually come in two different types of packing. A paper bag or a plastic bag. If they are in a paper bag, you need to transfer them to a proper, air-tight container as soon as possible. However, if they are in a plastic bag that has a one-way valve, you are safe to leave them in it.

The valve works by letting CO2 from the fresh roasted beans escape from the bag and the seal of the bag keeps the beans from oxygen. If there is no valve, the bag would eventually expand (or explode) from the out-gassed C02. So you can keep your roasted coffee beans fresh by letting them stay in the bag they came in if the bag provides an air-tight seal and a C02 valve.

Store Coffee in an Air-Tight Container

Studies show that 70 cubic centimeters of air or 14 cubic centimeters of oxygen is enough to make one pound of coffee go stale. The best thing you can do to preserve your coffee beans' quality, smell, and taste is to protect them from oxygen, thus, air as well. To keep coffee fresh, invest in an air-tight container so that you can keep air and oxygen away from your roasted beans.

You can take this a step further by purchasing containers which allow you to pump air out and create a partial vacuum. There are several of this type of storage container on the market with varying mechanisms to remove the air. While it is impossible to remove all of the air, logically, these containers will have less oxygen to adversely affect your roasted beans.  

It's Not Scared of the Dark

We understand that it can be compelling to buy beautiful-looking glass jars when you are looking for air-tight containers to store coffee, but don't buy clear containers if you want your coffee to taste best. Transparent containers allow the light to pass through and reach the beans, impairing their flavor.

Light speeds up the oxidation process and Arabica blends (the most popular type of coffee) are especially affected as they contain more fatty acids. If you have to use a transparent container, keep it inside a dark cupboard. The best thing to keep coffee fresh would be to keep it in an opaque air-tight container and place it in a dark cupboard.

Don't Buy it Ground

Pre-ground coffee beans can be tempting and convenient and they certainly allow you to prepare a drink quicker than having to grind your beans first, but they are similarly quick in getting stale as well. First, there is no way of knowing if the pre-ground coffee beans were fresh when your supplier ground them. (Here at Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters we ship ground coffee the day after roasting so our ground coffee is as fresh as it can be unless you roast then grind it yourself).

Second, even if the roasted coffee beans were fresh when ground, the two-week rule does not apply to ground coffee. The much greater surface area of the ground beans means they are much more susceptible to the detrimental effects of oxidation.

If you have to buy your coffee ground and want to know how to store it, all the tips to store whole roasted coffee beans apply to ground coffee as well. Just know that pre-ground coffee will lose its aroma and flavor much quicker than whole beans, and if you are passionate about the taste of your coffee, buying whole beans is your best option.

 

A pile of green coffee beans scattered on a rattan mat

 Buy green coffee beans to keep coffee fresh for longer.

Buy Green and Roast Your Own Beans

Green coffee beans, provided they are stored correctly, can stay fresh for up to a year. Consider buying them if you prefer the freshness of coffee above other things and cannot consume your roasted whole beans within their two-week limit. However, green coffee is less available, and roasting them is a task.

You can let green coffee beans stay in their own packing if you plan on consuming them within a few months. But if you want to store them for longer, you need to open up the container every now and then and give the beans a shake to allow them to 'breathe'.

The Temperature

Many studies suggest that coffee's flavor and freshness are best preserved when it is frozen. What most people do not know, however, is that the cold in our freezers is not enough to make a significant difference, and the moisture from condensation can impact the coffee beans negatively. So unless you have liquid nitrogen available to freeze your beans, store them at room temperature.

But if you are still tempted to freeze your coffee beans, freeze them right. Put batches of the roasted beans in separate air-tight containers before freezing them, and do not replace the beans in the freezer once you have taken them out. If you buy medium or dark roasted beans, freeze them straight away, but let your lightly roasted beans rest for a week before doing so. Always remember to defrost them completely before grinding them.

To store coffee properly and to keep coffee fresh, you must put in a little effort, but the prize it offers is well worth it. If you are unable to consume your coffee within two weeks of storage, you can use it to brew iced coffee as the staleness of coffee beans does not affect the taste of iced coffee to nearly the extent that it will affect the taste of your hot brew.

 

Be sure to shop Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters' coffees. We offer a selection of single origin coffees, curated blends, and flavored coffees. Roasted daily and delivered fresh.

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