Coffee is expensive, especially good coffee. While it may not cost as much as a diamond ring, or put a hole in your wallet equivalent to filling the gas tank of a Hummer, everyone wants to have their coffee beans last as long as possible.
Storing coffee is not as difficult as it may seem, though, there are some caveats. Just what do you do after opening that bag of freshly roasted coffee beans?
A lot of people will turn to plastic bags, glass jars or food storage containers, but in most cases, these will not work very well. Some people will even just use the twist-tie built into the bag, which is one of the worst ways to preserve coffee.
What are the best coffee containers for storage?
When looking for something to store coffee beans in, airtight, preferably opaque, containers are best. Clear containers will allow UV light in, which will spoil the coffee quicker than if it were stored in a black container.
If storing coffee somewhere dark, the color / transparency of the container doesn’t matter much. Common materials used to make coffee containers are food grade plastic, glass, stainless steel, and ceramic.
Though, keep in mind that with plastic, it may be difficult to remove the scent of any beans stored in there previously.
You should always wash out a container and dry it before use each time to ensure your beans/grinds are kept fresh.
When storing coffee you need to avoid
Heat, Light, Air and Moisture
to maximize the lifespan and flavor
There are some products on the market that use a vacuum to suck air out of the container. And while these may seem fantastic, they are actually very bad for the coffee beans if used more than once or twice.
This style of container will pull oils towards the outside of the coffee beans and will give the coffee a rather flat flavor profile. While vacuum packing is used to seal coffee tins and foil packs to make them last longer on store shelves, it isn’t as harmful, as it is only done one time.
Should you keep coffee in the Fridge or freezer?
A popular myth is that coffee will stay fresh longer when kept in the refrigerator. This is something that you should never do at any cost. Coffee, by nature, is rather porous, which means that the scent of the fish or eggs sitting in your fridge could leach into the coffee, even if it is stored in an airtight container.
Every time the container is taken out of the fridge, opened, and placed back in, more moisture will build up inside of the container, causing the coffee to get stale very quickly.
Storing coffee in the Freezer.
Storing coffee in the freezer is another thing people tend to do, and when used the same way as coffee stored in the fridge is, it will go bad even faster. If you use it straight from the freezer the extraction temperatures will be wrong due to the cold grinds.
Though, unopened or large amounts of coffee can be stored in the freezer with almost no issue, as long as you plan to keep it in there for upwards of three months, and never take it out until you need to.
When removing coffee from the freezer, let it come to the room’s temperature before opening it by letting it sit for a few hours. Opening the coffee while it is cold will cause moisture to enter the container, and will make the beans go bad fast.
Always use up coffee quickly, avoid having 2 or 3 varieties on the go at once and don’t keep opening the container and letting in air and moisture. It’s at it’s best 1 to 4 weeks after roasting.
Always store coffee in a cool and dark place in an airtight container. We find that a tin works really well.