How to Store Coffee Beans with These Tips & Tricks

Whether you use your old, trusty coffee maker for your daily morning pick-me-up or a French press or a pour over, you want the delightful notes of each flavor in your favorite coffee beans to jump out at you. Proper storage is key to this experience. Without it, your beans will quickly get stale and present a rather disappointing cup of coffee.

Universal Tips For All Coffee Beans and Grounds

There are certain storage tips that are universal. All coffee, in any form, hates three main things: air, moisture and sunlight. Here’s a list of some general tips that will help you store your coffee better.

Store your green coffee beans, freshly roasted beans or grounds in one of four containers.

  • Valved bags are what you often find at the store. They allow the carbon dioxide, created during the roasting process, escape the bean, while preventing air from coming in and prematurely aging the coffee bean.
  • Airtight containers keep the air from damaging the coffee by preventing any air from coming in or out. If you can find an opaque airtight container, that’s best.
  • Airscape containers force the air out to protect the coffee beans/grounds.
  • Vacuum-sealed containers remove excess air with a built-in piston system.

Storing Fresh Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans stay the freshest longer than any other form of coffee. Unlike roasted coffee beans and grounds, green coffee beans have a long lifespan. With green coffee beans you can pick how much you want to roast and when you want to roast it. This means you have to store it until you want to roast it.

To help green coffee beans stay fresh, keep them in a dark area at room temperature. Make sure that there isn’t too much moisture around that the beans can take up. Coffee beans are porous, so it’s easy for them to become soggy from moisture in the air. This is when the airtight containers, airscape containers and vacuum-sealed containers come in handy.

Storing Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans

Here’s a mini coffee science lesson: When you roast a coffee bean, carbon dioxide is released inside of the bean and needs to escape, otherwise the bean ages rapidly. So, the key to storing roasted coffee well is using a system that expels the carbon dioxide without allowing air in.

The perfect solution to this is often what they use in stores: valved coffee bags. They allow gas to escape from inside the bag, but they don’t allow air in. While airtight containers are good, valved bags are best for freshly roasted coffee beans because they allow the carbon dioxide to escape.

Apart from the container, remember that coffee needs to be away from sunlight, stored at a stable temperature, in a container where they can de-gas themselves. Just remember that your coffee beans oxidize quickly after roasting (around two weeks until they start to lose flavor), so use them as quickly as you can!

Another, more controversial way, to store your roasted coffee beans is in the freezer. While the moisture from thawing the beans can make them soggy, this can be a good storage technique if you buy your coffee beans in bulk. A plus side of freezing your roasted coffee beans: colder beans grind more uniformly!

Displaying Coffee Beans

All of us coffee lovers recognize the aesthetic of roasted coffee beans displayed in a clear, glass jar. While it is beautiful, this is probably the worst way to store coffee beans/grounds if you want them to stay fresh. If you want to store your beans in this way to show them off, choose a small amount that you know you will use quickly. Then, store the rest of your roasted coffee beans/grounds in an opaque, airtight container or valved, foil bag for longer term storage.

Storing Freshly Roasted & Ground Coffee Beans

Remember that coffee, in any form, hates air, moisture and sunlight. If you avoid these three things, your roasted coffee grounds will keep well for around two weeks.

Note that ground coffee oxidizes faster than roasted coffee and, therefore, won’t last as long.

Often, freshly roasted and ground coffee comes in valved bags. These are great to store your grounds in. If you want to buy some of these bags, they are inexpensive. You can reuse them up to around 12 times, depending on how well you take care of them.

You can freeze your grounds. But, since coffee retains many aromas from the air around them, be careful. Your coffee grounds could come out tasting different than you remember. If you decide to freeze them, store them in a sealed bag or airtight container so that aromas won’t affect them.

Never put your freshly roasted grounds in the fridge. There are too many smells in there your grounds to take up.

Finally, don’t store your grounds next to a heat source, like an oven. This causes them to lose flavor. For the best shelf-life, store your grounds near somewhere that is room temperature.

Storing Store-Bought Ground Coffee Beans

If you’re buying coffee from a store, keep in mind that you don’t know how long the coffee beans or grounds have been on the shelves nor how long it took for them to get there. You’re not getting a freshly roasted bean.

Most likely, the flavors peaked awhile ago. This means that storage is slightly less important. The flavor is partially compromised, so investing in an airtight container may not be as important. Instead, store the coffee in the packaging that it came in (away from sunlight, heat, air, etc.) or buy valved foil bags.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how much coffee you can consume in two weeks. If you really want your grounds to taste fresh, storage is vital, but so is how long they’ve been on your shelf. High end storage can’t save coffee beans for forever.

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