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You’ve spent a lot of money on a bag of premium coffee beans that do have individual world flavours. However, if you don’t make sure they are stored correctly, then by this time next week this premium coffee won’t taste as good.
Please don’t use the wrong method or use an unsuitable container to store your coffee beans, as many people do. If you want to retain the freshness of those coffee beans, read on as here are some of the most important insider tips to ensure that your coffee beans stay fresher for longer.
How to discover freshly roasted coffee beans?
It doesn’t make sense to buy and store stale coffee. So here are some tips to ensure you always buy the freshest coffee beans.
In fact, this is not as difficult as you might think. A fresh whole cup of coffee will always have a shine due to the oils that leach from the beans. Unlike other perishable foods, it is good to see oil on the coffee bag. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- The lighter the roast the less shine the beans have. This is caused by long periods of unroasted coffee beans. But despite this, they should still have a dull sheen and should not be completely dry.
- Alternatively, if you are drinking decaffeinated coffee, then it is possible that your beans have undergone a process known as Swiss water decaffeination, which will also remove much of the shine. However, the coffee beans should still be slightly shiny.
Sometimes it is difficult to see the coffee beans before you buy them because they are kept sealed in the packaging.
Freshly roasted coffee always gives off gas, so if there is no valve in the packaging, it means that the beans have stopped gassing before they are packed. In short, they have passed their optimum condition.
Look for a bag of coffee beans with a deflation valve. Also, look at the bag to see if it has expanded slightly like a balloon due to the gas released from the beans so that you can find the freshest coffee beans.
Coffee beans can spoil quickly
Just like any other naturally perishable food such as bread or milk, coffee has a shelf life. While we would like coffee to last for months and still be as fresh as the first day, unfortunately it starts to lose its freshness after about a month.
And, if you don’t store your coffee beans properly, the shelf life is reduced by almost half.
Storing coffee beans isn’t as simple as throwing them in a self-sealing bag. There’s more to look out for. So let’s take a look at four fresh coffee killers, followed by tips on how to make your coffee beans as fresh as possible.
- Oxygen / Oxygen is the biggest threat to the freshness of your coffee, the problem is that it is everywhere. You can’t open a coffee bag package in a completely airtight vacuum; unless you’re a NASA crew member on the International Space Station, but I don’t think so.
So once you break the vacuum-sealed bag of coffee beans, oxygen starts to seep in, thus destroying the freshness and longevity of the coffee.
- Temperature / exposing the entire coffee bean to high temperatures is a recipe for disaster.
For every 10℃ increase in temperature, unpreventable chemical reactions (such as oxidation) occur twice as fast.
By storing coffee in a warm area of the kitchen (for example, above the coffee machine or near the oven), it is certain that the coffee will lose a considerable amount of flavour and that the shelf life of these beans will be reduced by almost half.
- Light / Light is another element to ensure that it is kept as far away from the coffee beans as possible. The ultraviolet light emitted by natural light breaks down the aroma components in the coffee.
Therefore, if you store your coffee in a large glass jar on your kitchen windowsill, it is best to move it to a dark place.
- Humidity / We’ve talked about oxygen, temperature and light, leaving only humidity at the end. This last silent killer of fresh coffee can cause the coffee beans to become mouldy and damp. Likewise, constant fluctuations in hot and cold temperatures can cause moisture to condense within the stored coffee beans. Condensation can lead to the growth of potentially harmful mould spores on the coffee.
So, given that there are so many external hazards that can reduce the freshness and shelf life of coffee beans, how do you ensure that they stay fresh? You don’t need to lock them in an airtight container and bury them six feet underground.
The answer is that you just need to do all you can to ensure that your coffee beans are protected from these four silent killers.
How to store different types of coffee beans?
Knowing what slowly destroys coffee beans, let’s look at the best way to store them – raw, freshly roasted or ground coffee beans.
Storage of roasted coffee beans
Most people are probably confused about storing roasted whole coffee beans.
Now, the National Coffee Association USA recommends that you follow a simple coffee storage strategy – all you need is an airtight, opaque container. If you plan to use up your coffee purchases in a few weeks, you don’t have to spend a lot on coffee storage containers.
You can safely keep the coffee beans in their original packaging. However, I recommend that you use a simple method to ensure they are as fresh as possible.
When you open the coffee bag and are ready to save it for the next brew, don’t just loosely close the bag and leave it on the table. If you intend to keep the beans in their original packaging, I strongly recommend that you roll the bag tightly to expel as much air as possible from the inside of the bag.
Once this is done, wrap the elastic band around the bag to ensure it is tightly closed to help reduce the amount of air that may enter. Then place the coffee bag in a dry, cool place. However, if you are serious about your coffee and storing your coffee beans then they will not rot quickly and I insist on the advice that one should have a good reusable coffee container.
- Storage of ground coffee
Truth be told, many of us are guilty of buying pre-ground coffee powder.
Ideally, all of us would choose to buy whole coffee beans and then grind them before brewing. But I understand that some of us simply don’t have the time to weigh, grind and achieve all those coffee brew rates when you want to get the kids out in the morning. So grinding coffee grounds is handy, but how should you store the ground coffee grounds to ensure they stay fresh.
The problem with ground coffee is that the clock ticks away when you open a new bag and if it’s not stored correctly, the ground coffee inside the bag will go bad within a few hours. Even then, if you’re lucky, you’ll have delicious coffee for a few weeks.
The reason ground coffee powder loses its freshness so quickly is because more of its surface is exposed to air (oxygen). In short, because the coffee beans have been ground, there is no protective outer layer to lock in the coffee quality!
So, this leads me to how to store ground coffee. Firstly, if you have to buy pre-ground coffee powder, I recommend that you buy smaller tubs or sachets. Once opened you should use it up within a week if possible. If you insist on buying large quantities of pre-ground coffee powder, the advice is almost identical to that for using coffee beans.
You need to limit the amount of air (oxygen) that can come into contact with the coffee. The best way to do this is to store the coffee at room temperature in a vacuum-sealed container made of materials that do not give the coffee an undesirable flavour; a glass container is perfect for this!
- How to store raw coffee beans?
If you manage to use some raw, unprocessed coffee beans and plan to roast your own at home, then it is very easy to store them compared to roasted coffee beans. I recommend that you place your raw coffee beans in an everyday kraft paper bag, roll it up tightly and place it in a dry, dark place, such as the back of a kitchen cupboard.
Then place the bag in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge, as when the bag is opened, moisture will condense on the coffee beans and the aroma they give off will seep into the fridge.
Can I freeze my coffee?
Yes, it can be frozen
But I don’t recommend you do so because, the main problem when storing coffee in the fridge is moisture. As coffee is hygroscopic, it likes to absorb moisture and smell from the air around it, like a sponge. If you have ever frozen a loaf of bread, you will know that it does not taste as good as fresh bread, and the same goes for coffee.
However, if you insist on freezing coffee beans, make sure that the original bag is not opened and that it is still sealed. And, once the coffee beans are in the freezer don’t try to open them to take a spoonful or two, please don’t open the bag. Remember the question about moisture? If you thaw them, don’t put the beans back in the fridge, the moisture condensation will make them taste worse.
When you finally decide to take the coffee out of the freezer, make sure that it is thawed back to room temperature before opening the bag. Doing so will help prevent moisture condensation on the coffee beans.
These are some of the tips on storing coffee, Timexing hopes you find them helpful!
Thanks for reading!