Coffee connoisseurs agree that freshness is critical for a quality cup of Joe and that the best tasting cup is one that contains freshly roasted, ground, and brewed coffee. To enjoy the most flavorsome cup of coffee, many people prefer to buy whole coffee beans over ground coffee. While they exert all their energy in selecting the right kind of coffee beans, they forget to properly store those beans, which ultimately results in a stale cup of coffee.
Properly storing your coffee beans is one of the most significant steps for ensuring a fresh cup of coffee every morning, so we urge you to learn some tricks and tips on coffee storage. In this guide, we will explore the how shelf-life of coffee beans impacts their taste and share some tested-out tricks from experts to help you savor the maximum flavor and freshness of coffee beans for as long as possible.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
Coffee beans, unlike other food and beverages, do not expire. However, they do not stay fresh forever either. Since freshness and quality are interlinked in the coffee world, knowing the shelf life of coffee beans can help save time, money, and morning outbursts in the long run. It is advisable to brew your coffee as quickly as possible after it is roasted since whole coffee beans start to lose their aroma and flavors after roasting. Coffee beans go through a degassing process in which they release carbon dioxide gas. After emitting all the carbon dioxide, they begin to absorb oxygen and lose their fresh flavor. Therefore, it is best to use the coffee beans within three to four weeks after opening the bag to enjoy the taste to its fullest.
While you cannot keep coffee beans fresh indefinitely, you will be amazed to see how properly storing them can extend their life drastically and preserve their flavor and aroma for a longer time.
How to Keep Your Coffee Beans Fresh for Longer?
Store your Coffee Beans in a Sealed Container
The container in which you store your coffee beans and where you place that container are the two most crucial factors for keeping your coffee beans fresh for the longest time possible. Since the retail packaging of coffee is generally not ideal for prolonged storage, you will have to invest in storage canisters to preserve the heavenly roasted flavor of your coffee beans. Below are some attributes you need to pay attention to when going container-shopping to choose the perfect container for storing your coffee beans.
Before you put any storage canister in your shopping cart, make sure that it is made of a non-reactive material. This step will ensure that the container does not impart any unwanted flavor to your coffee beans. Some top choices for unreactive materials include ceramic and glass.
Air is one of the deadliest enemies threatening the flavor of your coffee beans, so you also need to make sure the container you choose has an airtight lid. Storing your coffee beans in an airtight container is one of the most effective steps you can take to extend the shelf-life of your coffee. It will ensure that your coffee beans have minimum contact with air and preserve their fresh roasted flavor for as long as possible.
Last but not least, to ensure that your coffee beans are protected from light, look for an opaque container. While roasted coffee beans stored in a clear canister make a lovely sight for the countertop, you will find that the flavor disappears a lot quicker. So, to prevent light from comprising the taste of your precious coffee beans, store them in an opaque, airtight container.
Keep your Coffee Beans in a Cool and Dry Place
Once you have found the perfect storage canister for your coffee beans, it is time to find the correct spot to place that canister. For that purpose, you need to pay attention to these four factors: heat, moisture, air, and light.
If you are thinking about placing your canister on the countertop or near the oven, think again – or else you will end up ruining the flavor of your coffee beans. While it may seem convenient to keep your coffee beans out open in the kitchen but, it is the worst place to store them; especially if there is a window in your kitchen. Heat and sunlight can completely ruin the taste of your coffee beans, so by placing them in an area constantly exposed to both heat and light, you will be cutting down their shelf-life significantly.
Since coffee prefers darkness, it is advisable to find a dark, cool, dry space that is not prone to temperature fluctuations to store your roasted beans. The ideal spot for storing your coffee beans would be a dark cabinet or pantry where they are shielded from sunlight and the heat and steam of a cooker. The darker the surroundings, the longer your coffee will remain fresh and flavorful!
Buy Coffee Beans Only in Small Amounts
Whether it is a cup of the French press in the morning or a shot of espresso after lunch, the most delicious cup of Java is the one made with fresh coffee beans. Many people complain that despite taking all the necessary steps to store their coffee beans correctly, their coffee loses its taste and freshness after a while. This happens because most people make the mistake of hoarding their entire yearly stock of coffee at once.
Since coffee begins to lose its freshness and flavor after roasting, we recommend buying smaller batches of freshly roasted beans that can last your coffee needs for one or two weeks. By buying in smaller quantities frequently, you will be able to enjoy the most flavorful cup of Joe every single time! Moreover, instead of grinding all the coffee beans at once, only grind the amount you need for the day. This step will ensure the optimal freshness of your coffee beans.
Avoid Storing your Coffee Beans in the Freezer or Refrigerator
There is an intense debate among coffee connoisseurs about whether storing coffee beans in the freezer/refrigerator can prove beneficial in prolonging their life. Many people believe that since heat and sunlight should be avoided for preserving the flavor of coffee beans, the ideal place to store them is in the freezer. However, they are wrong!
Since coffee is hygroscopic – i.e., its cell structure is soft and porous – it can absorb moisture, odors, even tastes from the air around it. If you place your coffee beans in the freezer amongst other pungent-smelling foods, such as garlic or onions, your coffee beans might end up taking on some of their flavors. While garlic and onions add great flavor to other foods, you certainly would not want your morning cup of Joe to taste like garlic. To avoid that from happening, keep your precious coffee beans away from the away.
It is advisable to avoid not only freezing your coffee beans but also keeping them in the refrigerators. That is because due to the presence of other food and beverages, fridges are very moist locations. Instead of prolonging the life of your coffee beans, you will only expose them to more condensation and moisture by storing them in the fridge. Your porous coffee beans will absorb the moisture and unwanted aromatics within the fridge, which will end up impacting the integrity of your coffee’s flavor. So, we recommend entirely avoiding the fridge for coffee storage because – instead of extending its life – it will actually spoil its taste and aroma.
Buy Unroasted, Raw Coffee Beans
There is a common misconception that roasted coffee beans retain their flavor forever if stored properly. Not many people know that coffee beans start to lose their freshness as soon as they are roasted. So, even if you choose whole coffee beans over ground coffee, your cup of morning Joe might start tasting a little less flavorful after a while.
For optimal freshness and flavor, you can buy raw, unroasted coffee beans and roast them yourself. Unroasted coffee beans usually retain their flavor and freshness for more than a year. By using raw beans, you will not only be able to enjoy the most flavorful cup of coffee every single day for the whole year but also get the chance to experiment with different roasting techniques.
Additionally, you will have greater control over its flavor so that you can make your coffee exactly the way you like it. However, to savor all these benefits, you will have to take some time out of your schedule and acquire the skill of roasting coffee beans by yourself.
To enjoy optimal freshness, roast enough coffee beans to last you one or two weeks. Since roasted coffee needs to rest before brewing, you cannot use freshly roasted coffee beans to fill your morning carafe. It is advisable to wait ten days from the roast date for the French press and a week or two for brewing espresso.
While coffee beans do not expire, they can lose their freshness ultimately, which, in turn, impacts the quality of the brewed coffee. If you wish to preserve the taste and aroma of your precious magic beans for the longest time possible, you have to store them properly. Keeping them away from sunlight, air, and moisture will ensure that you have a fresh cup of Joe to kickstart your morning every day of the year!