Updated: April 29, 2021
Proper coffee storage makes a lot of difference in how your coffee tastes once you go to use it. Here are a few tips for storing coffee beans and ground coffee to keep your coffee tasting as good as possible.
For roasted whole bean coffee storage use an airtight ceramic canister that blocks light. The ceramic canister needs a rubber seal around the lid so air cannot get inside.
Fill the ceramic canister clear to the top with whole bean coffee to keep the air inside down to a minimum. Roasted whole bean coffee will last one to two weeks, when stored this way at room temperature.
Stay away from plastic or metal containers because they can alter the taste of your coffee. If you use a clear glass canister, keep the light away by storing it in a dark cupboard.
The truth about ground coffee is that it will only store for a few days. But you should at least keep air away by using an airtight ceramic canister that blocks light.
This is why grinding your own beans is well worth the effort and it’s also really simple. Trying to keep ground coffee fresh is next to impossible.
You’ll even hear some people suggest freezing whole bean or ground coffee but here is why that is a bad idea. Water molecules not only attach to coffee beans and ground coffee but also to the packaging.
When the water comes into contact with the surface of a coffee bean, ice forms around it. Roasted coffee beans are porous, so when the ice melts, it deteriorates the taste and quality of the coffee.
So what about coffee storage in the refrigerator? Absolutely not. The constant cold mist in the refrigerator attaches to the whole bean or ground coffee and water is coffee’s enemy during coffee storage.
Coffee storage at room temperature works well for coffee that you will use within one to two weeks of purchase if these elements can be eliminated.
If you want to always have good tasting coffee, buy whole bean coffee and grind it just before you make a fresh pot. Buy only the amount of coffee you can use up within one to two weeks.
Can you Freeze Coffee?
So you are finally fed up with that bland black liquid, you once called coffee, brewed from the finest can of generic supermarket grinds. You are finally outraged at the price of a single cup of designer coffee shop coffee. It’s now time to take matters into your own hands!
You invest in the latest technologically advanced coffee maker, including your very own coffee bean grinder. Even the engineers at NASA would envy the bells and whistles on this baby. You splurge on several pounds of the finest fresh roasted Arabica bean coffee the world has to offer.
You pop open the vacuum-sealed bag and release that incredible fresh roasted coffee aroma. Your eyes widen at the site of all those shiny brown beans as you begin to grind your first pound of gourmet coffee. You feel like a mad scientist as you adjust every bell and whistle on your space age coffee maker and you revel in this accomplishment as you finish your first cup of home brewed gourmet coffee. No more long lines and outrageous prices at the neighborhood café for you!
Now it’s time to store all those pounds of unopened packages of fresh roasted coffee beans and the unused portion of the black gold you have just ground. Then you remember what your mother told you; “Freeze the unopened beans & Refrigerate the freshly ground coffee”.
At this point, it would be best if you just returned to the supermarket and purchased a stock of those generic grinds you had grown to loathe. Having the best coffee beans available and using the most advanced coffee brewing equipment will do little to provide you with the best cup of coffee you desire if the beans are not treated correctly.
Looking at the facts, we learn that the natural enemies of fresh roasted coffee are light, heat and moisture. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.
But why not the freezer, It’s cool & dark?
This does make sense, but if it be the case, then why do we not find our supermarket coffee in the frozen food section?
Coffee is Porous. It is exactly this feature that allows us to use oils and syrups to flavor coffee beans for those who enjoy gourmet flavored coffees. For this same reason, coffee can also absorb flavors and moisture from your freezer. The absorbed moisture will deteriorate the natural goodness of your coffee and your expensive gourmet coffee beans will taste like your freezer.
The coffee roasting process causes the beans to release their oils and essences in order to give the coffee its distinct flavor. This is the reason why your beans are shiny. These oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso beans and the reason why these coffees are so distinct in flavor. The process of freezing will break down these oils and destroy the natural coffee flavor.
So unless you don’t mind frozen fish flavored coffee, you should avoid using the freezer to store your gourmet coffee beans at all costs.
There are some exceptions to freezer storing your coffee, but you should proceed with caution! Fresh roasted coffee will remain fresh for approximately 2 weeks. If you have more than you can use in this 2 week period you can, & I shutter to say, freeze your coffee but you should follow these steps:
Apply the Freeze Once Rule. What this means is that once you take the beans out of the freezer, they should never go back in. The constant changes in temperature will wreak havoc on your coffee. The frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean, destroying the coffee oils and allowing absorption of unwanted flavors. When you put it back into the freezer, you are repeating the process and destroying your expensive gourmet coffee.
Keep moisture out! Remember, moisture is coffee’s natural enemy. If you have a five-pound bag of coffee to store, divide it up into weekly portions. Wrap those portions up using sealable freezer bags and plastic wrap. If possible, suck out the excess air from the freezer bag using a straw or a vacuum sealer.
Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. And remember, Do not put it back into the freezer!
Proper coffee storage will keep your coffee tasting the best it can possibly be.