Where do you keep your coffee beans? In a clipped bag? A grinder hopper? A bowl on your counter? If you’re like me, or just about everyone else, you probably don’t store your coffee as carefully as you should.
It’s pretty easy to forget that coffee beans are the result of a long agricultural process. They weren’t made in a factory. They were grown and cared for on a farm somewhere around the world. Just like anything organic and natural, over time they lose their fresh zing.
If you want your coffee to stay at peak freshness for as long as possible (and who doesn’t?), you may want to reconsider your storage habits. Thankfully, this is not difficult.
To keep your coffee beans fresh, you want your coffee storage to be void of light, extra heat, and oxygen. It’s a pretty easy system, but it makes a big difference.
Keep Your Coffee Away From Sunlight
Did you know that light can cause food to break down at an accelerated rate? Light is a form of energy, only some of which we can see. Ultraviolet light, X-rays, and radio waves are invisible to our naked eye, but they still affect the world around us, including our food and coffee.
Photodegradation is the process of light-induced decaying that breaks down pigments, fats, vitamins, proteins. This destruction results in flavor and nutrient loss, which simply means our coffee becomes less fresh and enjoyable.
The only way to keep photodegradation at bay is to store your coffee in an opaque container. That means no clear plastic and no open bowl. Keep those beans away from light!
Keep Your Coffee Cool
Warm environments cause things to decay more quickly than cold ones, which is why we love our refrigerators and freezers. They keep our foods from spoiling and falling apart quickly and preserve freshness by slowing down physical and chemical changes.
The same is true for coffee: cold beans decay slowly, while warm beans decay quickly. If you store your beans next to the oven or in direct sunlight, they’ll heat up more than they should, which causes them to stale more quickly than they need to.
To avoid this, keep your coffee beans in a cool part of your kitchen, away from heating elements and sunlight. This inevitably brings up a controversial question.
Should I Keep My Coffee In The Fridge Or Freezer?
The quick answer: probably not.
The long answer: coffee beans absorb moisture, flavors, and aromas like a sponge. If you’re not careful, your coffee will take on these things while it sits in the fridge or freezer or when you take them out.
The only way to store your coffee in the fridge or freezer without causing them harm (as far as current science tells us) is to put them in an airtight container and allow them to thaw to room temperature before you open that container.
This means you can successfully prolong your coffee’s fresh qualities by storing small amounts in airtight bags, pulling enough out for a few days at a time, letting them thaw to room temperature before opening that bag, then moving them to a proper storage container.
So yes, it’s possible, but buying smaller amounts of freshly roasted coffee from a roaster is so much easier.
Keep Your Coffee Airtight
We talk a lot about oxygen here at JavaPresse because it’s the #1 coffee killer for most people. Oxygen has a special way of causing things we love to decay and fall apart. Apples brown, iron rusts, and coffee gets stale.
Most of our foods contain enzymes that catalyze when they interact with oxygen, causing rapid strings of chemical reactions that destroy flavor and create strange aromas. Coffee is no different, which is why airtight storage is so important.
Coffee’s natural aromatic oils are also prone to evaporating extra quickly when they come in contact with oxygen, eliminating much of the zing and vivid flavors we love about fresh coffee.
Avoiding oxygen entirely is impossible, but you can delay its effects by storing your coffee in an airtight container and being stingy about how much time it gets with the lid off.
If you can build your coffee storing habits around these three principles, your coffee will retain its fresh qualities for up to three weeks before you start to taste a decline in quality. And the best part is that it’s easy to accomplish: find an airtight and opaque container and keep it in a cool place. Easy!
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