How to Store Coffee Beans
If you genuinely care about your favorite coffee, you should know how to store coffee beans properly and what factors matter in terms of storage.
Oftentimes, the things that we like the most cost extra money. So if you’re a coffee-lover, then it’s likely that your favorite bag of beans is not such an affordable choice. Either way, knowing how to store coffee beans is crucial if you want your caffeine-infused beverage to taste delicious at all times.
Maybe you know everything there is to know about coffee, much like us at Coffee Style Today. But do you also know the proper way of storing coffee beans? Should you store them in the freezer or pantry? And what about what to store the coffee in? On that note, how about we share relevant information that you, as a coffee devotee like us, absolutely need to know.
Don’t Forget That Coffee Bean Is A Perishable Food Item
After all, coffee beans fall into the category of natural food, such as freshly prepared bread or ripe fruit. In that case, they have a set shelf life. So what is the average shelf life of coffee beans? Unfortunately, only a month. And even more disappointing news is that, when not stored properly, this 1-month time frame gets cut in half and maybe even more.
So now you understand why it’s so important to store your delicious, rich, aromatic coffee beans the right way…
The Coffee Apocalypse - Factors That Affect the Freshness of Coffee Beans
Coffee Apocalypse is brought about natural elements like moisture, heat, oxygen, and light. When coffee beans come in contact with even any one of these, they inevitably start to lose their original freshness.
Oxygen, no doubt, is the biggest threat. And it affects not only the flavor but also the aroma of your favorite coffee beans.
The next is heat, which accelerates the process of oxidation. With an increase of every 10 degrees Celcius in the temperature, the speed of oxidation doubles. That means, to avoid this, you should keep those beans away from heat and heat sources (for example, stove, microwave, refrigerator, etc).
Moving on to light, what this does is break down, bit by bit, all the delicate aroma and flavor compounds present in coffee. So think twice before you store your coffee beans in a beautiful glass jar.
And the last of the lot is moisture, which, as you may already know, gives rise to mildew and mold.
Coffee Bean Storage - The Average Coffee Drinker
Let’s call this the bargain storage. Plus, it’s quite readily available. When you buy your coffee beans from Amazon or at a supermarket, more often than not, they come in a bag or pouch with a one-way valve. That means your coffee is already stored very conveniently.
This type of packaging is crucial as it preserves the freshness of the flavors and aromas of your freshly roasted beans. Along with preventing oxidation by maintaining the level of carbon dioxide inside the bag. Speaking of which, this one-way valve also allows carbon dioxide to escape during the natural degassing process of the coffee.
Just keep in mind that re-sealing the bag after use requires you to roll it first in order to eliminate as much air as you can. So don’t simply just shut the bag. Roll it first and then wrap a band around the opening. So you don’t allow any oxygen or moisture to enter.
Once wrapped securely, place the coffee bag in a dry and cool setting. Not the refrigerator as it increases the chances of your beans coming into contact with moisture that tends to condense around the coffee grounds when opening the bag. Even the aroma gets affected by all the food items you have in your fridge.
Coffee Bean Storage - The Fanatic Coffee Drinker
Turn to the coffee container for the best storage. But this container should be opaque with an airtight lid. You can find plenty of specialty coffee storage canisters like these both online and offline. So go ahead and grind your favorite coffee beans at home and then store the ground coffee in the same condition for as long as a month.
A coffee canister made using stainless steel, for example, is the best for minimizing oxidation by paving the way for the slow release of carbon dioxide from the coffee beans.
Coffee Bean Storage - Freezer vs. Pantry
Is Keeping Your Coffee Beans Shelved The Right Way To Go?
No doubt, storing coffee, both ground and beans, on your pantry shelf is the best form of storage. Provided you’re using an airtight, opaque container for the job. And that this container and the shelf is away from moisture, heat, and light.
But then why do so many ardent coffee drinkers keep their stash in their freezers? Probably because coffee in the freezer can be stored for a much longer time. And this is very useful in case there was a big discount on coffee and you went berserk!
To Freeze Or Not To Freeze?
You can indeed freeze coffee beans in the freezer for as long as a month. But keep in mind that these whole beans should remain in there throughout the storage period. So if you’re storing a large quantity, then first divide the portion into multiple smaller parts. And then freeze these smaller portions in airtight bags.
When you want to use a single batch, remove it from the freezer and thaw on the shelf. Then you can grind and brew the thawed coffee beans within two weeks.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last When Stored Properly?
It all depends on the form of packaging. Coffee brands employ either a paper bag or a one-way valve foil bag. In the case of the former, it’s just a thin paper lining that is unable to keep the coffee beans fresh for too long. To be more specific, less than a week.
As for the one-way foil bags, these are certainly a better choice. The construction of the bag is such that it allows only the gas to escape but no oxygen, air, moisture, etc. are allowed in. So around two weeks before the coffee begins to taste flat and lose the liveliness.
Most Important Tips to Keep Coffee Beans Fresh for Longer
Understanding the Basics
The basic elements that interfere with the freshness, flavor, and aroma of your coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. So understanding that you should keep the coffee beans away from these naturally-occurring elements is crucial at the time of proper, long-term storage.
And that is why we dedicated a whole section to discussing how such factors affect the freshness of coffee beans.
Storing the Coffee Beans In An Airtight Container
Now that the where part of the process has been covered, let’s move on to what to store your most favorite coffee beans in. Now we know that we’ve already discussed this matter, but the following has certainly not been explained.
The container should have the following characteristics:
- The material of the container should be non-reactive. Otherwise, unwanted flavors seep into your coffee. So choose only glass or ceramic containers, even those made of non-reactive metals are okay.
- Containers with an airtight lid are the best indeed. Oxygen should be kept away at all costs.
- And lastly, the container’s job is to also keep away light, right? In that case, buy an opaque container. But then you may not like the fact that you cannot see your coffee beans. However, that’s okay as long as you know they’re fresh and sealed. But if you’re still adamant, then make sure the container is not in the way of direct sunlight.
Avoid Refrigerating or Freezing the Coffee Beans
Agreed that heat should be avoided, but does that mean storing your fresh coffee beans in the fridge or freezer? It’s important to understand, at this point, that the refrigerator and freezer contain moisture, which increases the chances of condensation invasion. So when you’re storing your coffee in there, what you’re actually doing is spoiling them sooner.
On top of that, the smell of other food items like cheese or maybe onions can seep into your coffee beans and completely destroy the intense aroma. Also keep in mind that thawed coffee isn’t the same as the fresh, original version.
Buying Raw or Green Coffee Beans
Now, how about considering the option of buying unroasted green beans? These you can store for as long as a whole year. And that opens the door to experimenting with different roasting techniques. In this way, you can also control the flavor of your coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Roast Date Matter?
Needless to say, you can expect a better taste, flavor, and aroma the closer your coffee is to its roast date. Once coffee beans are roasted, they need just 1-2 days to allow all the gas in there to escape. But this applies to filter brew coffee only.
As for espresso, the resting period extends to 5 days. Otherwise, it ends up tasting salty because of the excess amount of carbon dioxide still trapped inside.
So for filter brewing, it’s 3-10 days from the roast date. And that of espresso is around 5-12 days.
How Long Are Coffee Beans Good For?
When stored the right way, coffee beans last for an entire month. But in the case of ground coffee, it begins to deteriorate in just 30 minutes. No wonder it’s so highly advisable to freshly grind the beans right before brewing.
Can I Store Ground Coffee In The Freezer?
No doubt that storing ground coffee in the freezer i.e. in a cooler environment slows down oxidation. Even so, coffee grounds are most likely to lose their original, delicious flavors and aromas faster in comparison to whole bean coffee.
And that’s mainly because the former has a larger surface area than the latter. This means a higher risk of coming in contact with moisture inside the freezer.
So now you know what is the best way of storing coffee beans while also keeping them fresh for longer. Just don’t forget that coffee is hygroscopic. In simple words, it means that coffee absorbs flavors and odors from the natural environment. Then there’s air, light, moisture, and heat too that should be kept away.
But as long as you have an opaque, airtight container at your disposal, you have nothing to worry about. And avoid freezer storage unless you’ve bought a large amount of coffee and don’t know what to do with it.