You’ve taken the first step in a great coffee experience, buying quality coffee beans. But what’s next? How do you properly store those beans and maintain that freshness? Here are some tips to making sure your coffee lasts longer.
When it comes to storing coffee there are a lot of ideas that are generally passed around. You freeze them. You zip them. You grind them. The list is endless. Stretching out the life of those beans is critical, especially when you are working hard to make a good cup of java. In addition, storing beans properly can provide you some of those additional flavors that come from maturity (i.e. Our recent Sumatra roast). Here are the DO’s & DO NOT’s of storing your coffee.
FIRST STEP – BUY QUALITY.
This can’t be overstated. You are likely already doing this…if you care enough to read this article. But as a reminder, if you start with a less than stellar bean and an underwhelming roast, no storage technique will turn those charcoal beans into a great product. You need to START with a good bean and then maintain that life.
Quality can be measured by various measures, but focus on Regions (Single-Origin), Process (Organic, Washed, Honey), Roast Date (within last 2 weeks), and packaging (sealed, Co2 valve?).
The DO NOT’s of storing your coffee
Let’s start with the methods/techniques/habits that are not good for the life of your bean. Some of these might be surprising, but all of them go against our agenda at-hand: keeping your bean fresh.
#1 – Do NOT GRIND beans AND STORE
Wait? Then why do roasters / coffee-shops give you the option of buying GROUND coffee?
We don’t get it either, and it’s something we will NOT do at Blue Monarch.
It might seem like an efficient way of managing that morning process. Your coffee is ground and ready for your brew method – it’s a bit easier to store – and it’s ground to your liking. But this is a terrible way to maintain any bit of freshness. In fact, you lose the ‘freshness’ of your bean within 90-seconds of grinding those beans.
Please don’t give into the temptation to make your routine easier. Grinding your beans well ahead of time is the most counter-intuitive step you can take.
#2 – Do NOT store your beans in a clear container
It’s important that your beans are not subjected to light. If you are storing your coffee in clear containers you are going to guarantee that the unused beans will see some light each day. This light is what ages that bean prematurely (and early).
Why is light so bad for your freshness? Remember those zombies from Will Smith movies … they would wilt up and die after seeing sunlight….. imagine that’s what is happening to your beans.
#3 – Do NOT store your beans in a loosely sealed container
“Exposure to air is bad for your beans.” – National Coffee Association (NCA)
Fresh air is great for those moments when you need to step out of the office or hike to a favorite peak. But, your sweet little coffee beans can’t stand fresh air. The moment they taste fresh air they start releasing more of that aroma and precious Co2 that is helping to keep the bean snappy and tasty.
This means that you should consider moving your beans OUT of the roasters bag and into a air-tight container. Even that sliver of an opening within that bag will suck the life out of those beans. It also means that you need to explore a container that is air-tight and Co2 friendly (see below).
#4 – Do NOT freeze your beans
Oh boy, I can already hear the readers slamming their fists on the table. What! Are you kidding me – my grandparents swear by this technique. Yeah…well… I’m sorry.
Two really bad things happen to beans when they are dropped in the freezer. First, the beans absorb odors/tastes from within the freezer. This means that those wonderful frozen veggies will likely impact the future taste of those beans. Second, the insane amount of moisture in the freezer can/will impact the state of the bean.
If you decide to venture into the freezer world. Break your coffee portions into sizes that you’ll drink within a day or two of unthawing. You should also store them double-bagged or in ultra air-tight containers. Before you brew the beans, unthaw them to room temperature and move them to an air-tight container.
P.S. – You better not be considering the Refrigerator. That is strictly not allowed.
#5 – Do NOT store near Heat (Oven/Window/Toaster/Firepit/Volcano)
Heat is only helpful when you are roasting the beans….or brewing the beans. Any other premature heat is just disrespecting your bean. Don’t treat them like that. Bring the heat AT THE RIGHT TIME.
Some of the more popular heat influencers are sunlight and the your oven. Those two sources of heat can severely impact your beans…and suck the flavor right out of the bean. So keep coffee as far from those sources as possible. I’d also keep coffee away from your firepit…and nearby volcanoes. 😉
The Result: How to Store your Coffee (with a Purpose)
With the above DO NOT’S – here are the simple steps to preserving the freshness of your coffee. It’s really this simple.
1st: Buy great coffee.
2nd: If bag is insufficient – immediately move to air-tight container.
3rd: Keep coffee in a cool (room-temp), dry, and dark place.
4th: Grind ONLY the coffee that you’ll be brewing.
5th: Finish the bag of coffee within 3-4 weeks of opening.
Looking for suggestions on air-tight containers? Here are a few we recommend:
(We are Amazon Affiliates and do get 2% if you use the link)
Thank you for reading and taking care of your coffee!