How to store coffee beans?
Is this you? You’ve started making coffee at home starting from roasted coffee beans or ground at a store to your liking. Then, one of the things you’ll be wondering about is how to store coffee beans or freshly ground coffee beans. Here are tips for storage of coffee beans or freshly ground coffee.
One of the signs of your palate sharpening is when you realise that the same coffee beans taste different over a period of time. Once that happens, you maybe tempted to throw away your speciality coffee beans because it may feel like its lost flavour or gone stale. You will be wasting money buying more fresh beans, till you've sorted out your approach to coffee storage.
Coffee beans are affected by heat and moisture which causes them to react and go stale. With this in mind, here is what you need to know about storing coffee.
Coffee Storage Containers & Locations
Coffee is best stored in air tight ceramic, glass or metal or plastic containers that don’t alter the coffee flavour. The gaskets that create the air tight container is a must.
Coffee is best stored in a cool, dry and dark place. This therefore eliminates the fridge and places next to the cooker or parts of your kitchen that are directly exposed to sunlight.
Storage of coffee in the freezer is a contentious issue among experts. If it is in an air tight container in a home freezer, it probably is ok but definitely not otherwise.
Glass & plastic containers only if kept in a cool dark & dry place
Have you looked at coffee beans stored neatly in glass containers all neatly labelled? Choose air tight glass containers only if you are going to keep it in a larder that is dark, cool & dry.
This is because the heat from ovens, cookers and sunlight can affect the coffee beans. The same rule applies to plastic containers. Plastic containers need to be food quality storage containers.
Opaque ceramic or metal containers for counter top display
If you would like to keep your coffee on the counter next to your coffee making equipment, then look at ceramic containers with air tight gaskets.
You need the opaque quality of ceramic to protect the coffee beans from direct light. Metal containers meant for food storage that are air tight are also an option.
Two-jar approach to get the best flavour out of your coffee
If you’ve bought yourself a bag of coffee beans, consider a two-jar approach. A large jar that will takes the full bag which you open only every 3-4 days. Then keep a smaller jar that contains enough for 3-4 days.
This way, coffee jar that isn’t opened as frequently is not exposed to air as often and has a chance of keeping the coffee fresher.
Options For Coffee Storage
Here are some of our favourite options for storing coffee.
How long does coffee last?
Assuming you store your coffee, are you wondering how long coffee last or how long coffee stays fresh?
Speciality Coffee Beans
Green coffee beans if stored properly can last for a year. The process of roasting is what reduces the shelf life of the coffee beans. Freshly roasted coffee beans taste their best a week after roasting when the flavours to peak. You’ll notice some taste difference two weeks from the roast date from when on the coffee beans will begin to degrade.
Roast Date Matters
This means if you buy freshly roasted speciality coffee beans then get them with the freshest roast date. Only buy enough coffee beans to last you for a couple of weeks. It depends on your coffee consumption, but a bag of 250g should last one person for a week if you have a couple of cups a day. Most coffee connoisseurs prefer to buy coffee with a roast date of the week before and buy just enough for a week. This gives the best flavour of coffee from the beans.
Read our article on common coffee bean questions to understand roasting in a bit more detail.
Speciality Ground Coffee
If you don’t have a grinder yet, it should be one of the things you consider investing in. Read this article on how to select a coffee grinder for the home. You can get budget hand grinders that do a great job.
Ground coffee degrades much more quickly than coffee beans. In the ideal world for the best flavoured coffee at home, it’s best to grind coffee everyday just before you make your cuppa. If this feels like too much effort, then buy speciality coffee beans and have it ground for you but expect to have the best flavour for the first week and an okay flavour the week after.
Grocery Store Coffee
Grocery store coffee from our experience has a longer shelf life. If you’ve bought coffee from your favourite grocery store, look for the little valve seal that some of the coffee roasters use. The roasted coffee beans releases gases that are pushed out via this valve seal without letting oxygen come in. These coffees will probably have the best flavour.
If you notice, grocery store coffee beans & powder provide 9-12 months as the timeline as the best before. These are treated and packaged differently to speciality freshly roasted coffee beans. But the flavour doesn’t match speciality coffee beans – they are done in a larger scale and to cater to a wider variety of consumer palates.
Some of the branded coffee beans can provide you with a predictable coffee at home even if they lack the oomph. Since these coffee beans last longer, keeping an emergency bag of grocery store coffee beans means that you never have a coffee crisis in the morning 😉
Hope this addresses the question you had about how long coffee stays fresh for you.
In summary, store coffee beans carefully in a cool, dark and dry place in an air tight container, ideally a ceramic container. Buy only enough for a couple of weeks if you are buying coffee beans or a week if you are buying ground coffee.