Freshly roasted coffee isn’t just better, but essential. Coffee lovers are finally waking up to that fact. In terms of storing coffee beans, there is still some work to be done.
Most people don’t realize how important the quality of the beans is – but why would you spend so much money on beans that will rot within a few days?
You Need To Avoid These Three Coffee Flavor Killers
Just 2 days after they are roasted, your nice, fancy gourmet coffee beans begin to fall apart (chemically).
The sugar slowly dissolves into nothingness. Acids produce more bitter compounds. Those vibrant aromas vanish into space… never to return.
Your coffee once tasted complex and flavorful becomes bland and indistinguishable. That’s sad.
This is a natural process that cannot be avoided. It can, however, be slowed.
If you want your coffee to remain fresh and flavorful, avoid these three things.
- Oxygen — Breathing is a good thing, but oxygen has its downsides. Oxidation. The browning of apples, rusting of metals, and coffee going stale all result from it.
- Light — Do you know what photodegradation is? The phenomenon of light-induced decay is real. Although sunlight accelerates decay the most, light waves from regular light bulbs and phone screens can also have an adverse effect.
- Heat — Molecularly, things move faster when they’re hot, so heat accelerates decay. It’s one of the reasons why we store food in the freezer: to slow down chemical reaction times.
These are your coffee beans’ kryptonite. Keep them apart!
Tips for Storing Coffee Beans
There are three simple rules for good coffee storage:
- Coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container
- They should be stored in a dark place
- They should also be stored in a cool place
The majority of people simply keep their beans in their original bags. Although it is the easiest option, it may not always be the best one.
There are lots of bags with reclosable zippers, but many simply fold up without actually creating a seal, which means coffee beans are constantly exposed to oxygen (no matter how tight the fold is).
A vacuum-sealed container is better. A vacuum-sealed container will literally remove oxygen. By opening up the coffee container each day, you aren’t replenishing oxygen (the oxygen is exposed for only a couple of minutes, rather than for a full day).
Ensure the inside of the container is pitch black. You don’t want to expose the beans to light! It’s true that some containers are designed to let in just a tiny amount of light, allowing you to see how much coffee is left.
Cool your coffee in the shade. It’s great for pictures if sunlight streams through your coffee area, but not for coffee. Find a spot where it’s shaded all day to avoid speeding up decay from the added heat.
How Should Coffee Grounds Be Stored?
The rules remain the same! However, you need to be extra cautious.
The small size of coffee particles causes them to decay faster when exposed to oxygen, heat, and light. The particles are also able to lose their natural aromas much faster than whole beans because the gases can escape easily.
Thus, whole beans are the best way to store your coffee.
When left out, ground coffee goes stale in under an hour if you just let it sit.
It takes 2-3 weeks for whole beans.
Differences are large.
To keep your ground coffee as fresh as possible, here’s how to store it:
- Vacuum-seal the container to preserve freshness
- Only open the container for a few seconds at a time
- Use the highest ground whenever possible
- Suck out the air and seal again
You can still make it work, even though it isn’t ideal.