How to Store Coffee Beans and Ground Coffee For Freshness

How do you store coffee beans long term? What’s the best way to store whole beans? Are you wondering how to store ground coffee to keep it fresh? If yes, then we’re here to help you. In this article, we are going to show you how to store coffee beans for freshness.

Coffee is best stored in dry, airtight containers. For this reason, when you buy whole coffee beans or ground coffee, store it away from heat, air, light, and moisture.

Ideally, you shouldn’t buy large amounts of coffee but we will show you how to store coffee beans and ground coffee correctly to keep it fresh for longer, regardless of the amount you buy.

Many coffee lovers complain that their coffee lacks the flavors and freshness that they get in a cup of coffee at the coffee shop but sometimes storing coffee wrongly can make it lose its flavors and freshness. Coffee deteriorates fast when it comes into contact with moisture, oxygen, and harsh temperatures.

Therefore, to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, buy quality coffee beans, and store them properly to keep them fresh for longer.

Keep reading to learn the best way to store coffee.

Do Coffee Beans Go Bad

Coffee beans are like other natural products in that they are perishable. That’s why you need to learn how to store coffee beans the same way you would with freshly baked bread and ripe fruits.

The worst thing about coffee beans is that they have a short shelf life, especially when ground or roasted- last for only a month or two. That’s why it is recommended to buy coffee you can drink in about a month.

How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh?

Coffee beans can stay fresh for about 15 days after roasting but they can still retain their flavors up to one month. However, after one month, coffee will start to lose its flavor and become stale.

A good rule of thumb is to brew with coffee that’s been ground before brewing.

What Is Stale Coffee?

Whole coffee beans lose freshness over time.  And when coffee isn’t stored properly, it becomes stale.

How Long Until Coffee Becomes Stale?

Ideally, this is after the coffee is roasted.

Usually, roasted coffee has a label indicating the date it was roasted. If you don’t see the label, then it means the coffee is stale.

Coffee beans roasted for brewed coffee will taste great between 2 to 10 days after roasting. It can also stay fresh and flavorful until about 30 days after roasting. Now if coffee stays for more than 30 days after roasting, it becomes stale.

Coffee beans roasted for Espresso will taste great between 5 to 14 days after roasting. You can also expect to brew delicious coffee between 5 to 30 days after roasting.

You should always keep roasted coffee for a few days before you brew coffee (to allow degassing to take place). This is because roasting coffee is no different from burning or cooking it. And during the roasting process, coffee is exposed to carbon dioxide which can destroy its taste.

Of course, as you wait for your coffee to degas, you should store it in a cool, dark and airtight container.

Why is Coffee Freshness Important?

The fresh the coffee, the sweet the taste. It’s just that.

If you have to buy roasted coffee beans then make sure they are fresh. And if possible, grind coffee beans at home immediately before brewing.

Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee

Ground coffee will become stale much faster than whole beans. This is the reason why it is advisable to ground coffee immediately before brewing as it maximizes coffee freshness. If you can’t grind coffee beans at home, then you should buy smaller amounts of coffee beans every time you want to brew coffee.

What Affects Coffee Freshness?

Generally, coffee freshness is affected by:

  • Air
  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Heat

Air

After roasting or when coffee beans are ground, they come into contact with air which makes them start to lose their flavors. At this time, the oils in the beans start to evaporate hence reacting with air. This is why it’s advisable to store coffee in a bag or airtight container to keep it fresh for longer.

Light

Sun light is also another enemy of coffee freshness. Although, most of the time you will want to put coffee in a glass container or in an open container, it’s advisable to keep coffee in darkness.

Moisture

The one thing you need to avoid is storing coffee in the refrigerator. The moisture and the flavors from other foods stored in the frig can affect your coffee taste and flavors.

Well, you also need to avoid keeping coffee in the freezer but if you have a lot of coffee beans, you can put them in an airtight freezer bag. Note that you should avoid taking coffee in and out of the freezer frequently.

Heat

Heat destroys the flavor and can make coffee get stale. Store coffee beans and ground coffee away from heat to keep it fresh for longer.

How to Know Bad of Spoiled Coffee

As a rule, and with any food, it’s important to keep yourself safe from foodborne diseases.

Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t change its appearance. For this reason, you may not tell whether it’s gone bad or spoilt. You can tell whether coffee is bad by smelling it. Bad coffee does not produce its sweet aroma. It also lacks sweet taste.

Well, bad coffee not dangerous for your health but why should you drink coffee that tastes bad yet what makes people love coffee is its taste and flavors?

Coffee that’s gone bad lacks its rich color and becomes lighter.

Coffee beans start to lose flavor after grinding since their oils are exposed to the air.

Coffee Container Types

When coffee is ground, it starts to lose its freshness and flavors fast.  For this reason, it’s advisable to store it in an appropriate container.

Storage Containers

The bag you bought coffee with

Most companies sell coffee in special bags with air vents. If you buy coffee from professional roasters, you don’t need to get another storage container for your coffee than the bag you bought coffee with.

You just have to keep the bag sealed properly after storing your coffee. Avoid bags that just fold over.

Opaque containers

Opaque containers are also good storage for your coffee but they must have an air-tight seal. These containers block sunlight from reaching your coffee. Many mason jars are opaque and are ideal for this matter.

Glass containers

Glass containers also make good storage places for coffee but they must have a sealed lid. In fact, glass containers with a rubber gasket are the best option for this matter since they are airtight.

And to keep your coffee away from sunlight, keep these containers away from the stove and in a pantry.

Specialized containers

Some companies make stainless steel sealable containers purposely for storing coffee beans.

The containers have a valve to allow carbon dioxide out. These are perhaps the best-recommended storage containers for coffee since they keep coffee away from moisture, heat, and unfavorable temperature.

With that in mind, let’s get into the meat of this article.

How to Store Coffee Beans or Ground Coffee

1. Store Beans in Airtight Containers

Air is one of the worst enemies of coffee beans and ground coffee.  Exposing your coffee to air can get it stale much quickly.

A good way to store coffee beans and ground coffee is to use a container with a heavy seal.

This will keep coffee from trapping odors. It also prevents insects and mold growth.

Also, make sure the container is dark and airtight and store it a dark place with room temperatures.

2. Store Coffee Beans and Ground Coffee In an Opaque Container

Light is also another enemy of fresh coffee and can get it stale much faster. The best way to store coffee beans is in an opaque container instead of a plastic or clear glass container.

Choose airtight containers made with ceramic, metal or opaque glass and store your coffee.

If you have to use a clear or transparent container, make sure to keep the container away from sunlight particularly on a countertop or any other place where it can’t come into contact with light.

3. Store Your Coffee Away From Moisture

Moisture is also another enemy of fresh coffee and even though it’s not easy to dictate the moisture level in your kitchen cabinets (that’s if you store coffee beans in the kitchen cabinets) a good rule of thumb is to keep it away from moisture.

If everywhere in your kitchen seems moist, keep coffee in a sealed container and when brewing coffee, don’t open the container while in the kitchen but take in a dry place then open it there.

Also, keep your coffee in other areas apart from the refrigerator unless the container is fully sealed. The refrigerator is always moist but if no moist is entering the storage container, the frig can be a good place to store coffee for longer.

4. Avoid Storing Coffee under Unfavorable Temperatures

Coffee stays fresh in areas with constant temperature and humid levels. For this reason, avoid changing the location of your coffee.

5. Freeze Coffee Only When Necessary

We mentioned earlier that moisture and unfavorable temperatures are worst enemies of fresh coffee. When stored in the freezer, coffee will trap odors from other nearby foods. If you have large amounts of coffee, store it in the freezer, but make sure the container is airtight.

6. Buy Smaller Batches of Freshly Roasted Coffee

We stated earlier that coffee starts to lose freshness immediately after roasting. For this reason, you should buy small amounts of coffee frequently- coffee that can last for one or two weeks.

Should You Freeze Your Beans?

A quality cup of coffee is one brewed with fresh coffee. This is why experts advise people to drink make coffee with freshly-roasted beans.

Generally, freezing or storing coffee in the frig is not advisable. Coffee cell structure is permeable and soft and will trap smells and tastes from the air around.

This means if you store coffee with any other foodstuff with a strong smell, you will end up consuming coffee that tastes strange.

Another reason why it’s not advisable to store coffee in the frig is because it shrinks coffee and pushes oils to the surface decreases the coffee shelf life.

If you really have to freeze or store coffee in the refrigerator then make sure you use an airtight container or one that’s sealed completely.

Buy Fresh

No matter how properly you store your coffee beans, it they aren’t fresh, your coffee will always lack the sweet flavors and taste.

Watch out when buying coffee at the grocery store. A good way to tell if you are buying fresh coffee is to check the roast date on the coffee bag. Coffee bags without a roast date mean the coffee is stale.

For dark roasts, make sure coffee is a few days of roast while for lighter roast, it can be 1 to 2 weeks old.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do coffee beans stay fresh after grinding?

Whole coffee beans can stay fresh for around 3 to 4 weeks after grinding especially when stored in an airtight container that allows carbon dioxide out.

Ground coffee beans will start to lose their freshness after grinding since they have much more surface area exposed to air.

How do you store coffee beans long term?

To keep coffee beans fresh for longer, store them in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place.

Ideally, coffee gets stale when exposed to air, heat, and sunlight. For this reason, you should keep your freshly-roasted coffee beans in a dark airtight container at room temperature.

How can you tell if coffee beans are stale?

Fresh beans will have a sweet smell. Also, when you hold a few coffee beans on your hands, you should see some residue left on your hands or inside the bag. If the coffee beans aren’t producing any sweet smell or you are getting a faint smell then the beans are stale.

Can you store ground coffee in a plastic container?

The best material for a coffee storage container is ceramic or glass. The container should also be completely sealed.

Some containers are made with plastic of metal but these materials are reactive can add odd flavors to the coffee.

Final Words

Because you want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, you need to learn how to store coffee beans and ground coffee properly.

Remember that quality coffee, like other natural food products gets stale. This article has shared the right steps you need to store coffee to keep it fresh for longer.

Ideally, you just need to keep coffee away from air, moisture, and light.

If you were wondering what’s the best way to store coffee beans at home, we hope this article helps you.

Happy Brewing!!

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