The first thing to keep in mind when storing your beans or ground coffee is that old enemies of your coffee are air, humidity, heat and light.
The National Coffee Association (NCA) points out that ground coffee loses freshness faster than whole beans because it has more surface area exposed to oxygen. But whole grains also begin to release their flavors and lose freshness after roasting.
It is ideal to buy smaller amounts of freshly roasted coffee more frequently, for a week or two. Ground coffee tastes best if consumed within one to two weeks after roasting and whole grains between three weeks and a month.
If possible, grind the coffee at home, preferably before making the drink. But if you don’t have a grinder, grind the beans at the grocery store, avoiding buying pre-ground coffee as much as possible.
How to properly store coffee?
1. Airtight container
Often the retail store’s coffee packaging is not ideal for long-term storage. Transfer your beans or ground coffee to an opaque container with a tight lid. Avoid transparent jars that allow light to affect the taste of your coffee.
2. Cool and dry place
Store your coffee in a place out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. Avoid leaving it on top or next to the oven, the cabinet or counter are also not an option if they get hot from exposure to sunlight.
If you bought pre-ground coffee and it is an amount that you will not consume in a few days, you can divide it to store it. A larger portion in an airtight container and a smaller amount in another container for daily use that you will refill as necessary. The NCA indicates that This reduces the exposure to air of most of the coffee.
4. Avoid refrigerating the coffee
The refrigerator is not the ideal place for your coffee. Coffee absorbs moisture, odors and flavors from the air around it. There is a lot of humidity in the refrigerator, both whole beans and ground coffee will easily absorb that moisture.
The freezer might not be the best storage place either as the coffee could get burned. Most containers let small amounts of oxygen in, you would have to make sure to use a really airtight container.
The NCA recommends that in case of freezing coffee, you quickly withdraw the amount to consume in a week and return the rest to the freezer before condensation forms on the frozen coffee.
For fresher coffee, The Pruce Eats advises purchasing your coffee at valve sealed packages instead of vacuum sealed. He explains that coffee can be packaged immediately after roasting since the valve allows gases to escape but does not allow air to enter the bag, instead “vacuum sealed coffee must be aged before packaging because coffee releases gas that can make the bag expand or even explode ”.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.