How to store coffee beans
Every single coffee lover knows that the freezer helps with coffee storage and that there are countless airtight canisters for coffee available. However, knowing how to store coffee beans in the best way possible is not common. Fortunately, all the methods recommended by coffee professionals are very simple. Properly storing coffee beans is not at all difficult if you know what you are doing.
We should mention that experts always recommend buying whole beans instead of ground coffee. This is because whole-bean coffee starts to present a stale flavor in around 2 weeks if in contact with oxygen. Ground coffee does the same thing in just 1 day. Since the surface area of ground coffee is more exposed, oxidation speeds up.
If you want to understand proper coffee beans storage, the most important things to remember are presented below.
The Importance Of Roast Date
Most people drink filter-brewed coffee. If this is your case, you should know that it is always better to be very close to the beans’ roast date. Coffee has to rest for around 2 days after being roasted, just like steak needs to be allowed time to sit. When you look at coffee, there is gas trapped inside. This is why resting for 1 to 2 days is mandatory. The exception to this is espresso. Most cafes let coffee beans rest for around 5 days until espresso is made. If this does not happen, carbon dioxide releasing makes the taste feel saltier than optimal. Alternatively, small bubbles can show up in latte art.
To put it as simple as possible, for French press and filter-brewing, you need to wait 3 to 10 days from the beans’ roast date. With espresso, the waiting time should be 5 to 12 days.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
The most important factor that influences the answer to this question is how coffee beans were packaged. This dictates freshness duration. The worst packaging is the paper bag that has a very thin lining. In this case, you can only enjoy good coffee for around one week. After that, the taste becomes stale.
Compare the paper bag with the one-way valve foil bag that has added pinholes to allow gas to get out but stop air from coming in. This allows the beans to be fully enjoyed for up to two weeks before liveliness starts to be lost.
When you buy coffee in a bag made out of paper, seriously consider a transfer to a plastic, airtight container. Also, make sure that storage is done in a cupboard or a pantry. It needs to be kept at regular room temperature and far away from light sources.
Should You Freeze Coffee Beans?
You should never put coffee inside the fridge. Similarly to bread, when you put coffee beans inside the fridge, condensation happens. Oils are pushed to the surface. This ages coffee really fast.
It is possible to store coffee beans inside the freezer. However, you should never add a bag that is half-opened in there. As the coffee thaws out, it ends up tasting different. It will not be as great as when the coffee beans were bought. Coffee’s cell structure is porous and soft. Aromatics are absorbed so when you have onions or garlic inside the freezer, coffee beans take on a part of the flavour. This would make your morning coffee horrible.
Obviously, there are situations in which you have no option available and your only coffee bean storage option is the freezer. If this is what happens in your case, you have to use a bag that is unopened and sealed. Also, coffee beans have to thaw at regular room temperature to preserve fresh flavours.
Keeping Coffee Beans Cool And Airtight
The main enemies of coffee are light, heat, moisture, and air. When your goal is to preserve the fresh-roasted flavour of beans, they need to be stored in an airtight, opaque container kept at room temperature. Clear canisters have to be avoided at all costs since light quickly compromises the coffee taste.
Coffee beans should be kept in a cool and dark location. Never place them in cabinets close to the oven since temperature would be too high. Do not even put the container in a kitchen counter area that receives afternoon sun.
The best way to make sure that coffee beans stay fresh for as long as possible is to store them in a special container. Many make the mistake of using retail packaging. This is not ideal for any longterm storage. Storage canisters that have airtight seals are mandatory if your goal is to preserve coffee freshness. When you lack the storage canister, close the coffee bag’s top with the use of a rubber band. Then, use a resealable plastic bag to put the original coffee bag inside.
Buy The Appropriate Amount Of Coffee
One of the best things you can do if you want really fresh coffee and you want to use beans is to buy the right amounts. Buying smaller batches is always better. Aim for freshly roasted coffee and just buy as much as you need for 7 to 14 days.
Air exposure is very bad for coffee beans. This is especially the case with pre-ground coffee. Use whole beans for the best coffee and grind just how much you need before you brew.
Throwing Out Stale Coffee Beans
As you can see, it is very easy to end up with coffee beans that are too oxidized and when you use them, coffee can end up tasting stale. This is because the beans become stale as they lose their flavor. Ideally, you buy just as much as you need so you can finish everything in the bag before the flavor starts to disappear. However, this rarely happens.
If you end up with stale coffee beans, you are tempted to throw them away. Do not do this as there are multiple possible uses for stale coffee beans. One that is not known by many is to make cold brew. Because of the brewing process, you do not need really fresh beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Store Coffee Beans In The Fridge?
Never store your coffee beans in the fridge. If you absolutely need to use a cold environment, opt for the freezer. Also, aim to only freeze unopened packs to preserve maximum flavor.
How Long Can You Store Beans?
Coffee can easily last for a long period of time after roasted but this does not mean it will be fresh. Nuances start to be lost around 2 weeks after roasting. This is why it is recommended to only buy how much coffee you normally use for a period of 2 to 3 weeks. When you buy too much, even if it is properly stored, the flavor will be lost and coffee will end up tasting differently.
What Is The Best Way To Store Coffee?
Use a special container that is airtight and that allows gases to go out while stopping air from coming in. Use the original packaging if it includes such features. If not, buy an airtight container that was specifically created to store beans. Place it in your pantry or a cupboard that does not experience temperature fluctuations. Also, avoid contact with air and light at all costs.
Can You Freeze Whole Coffee Beans?
It is possible to freeze whole coffee beans. You can use the advice mentioned above to just that. However, it is always preferred to avoid the freezer and use it only in the event that there is no other way to avoid it because there is too much coffee that needs to be stored. In an ideal scenario, you only buy how much coffee you would drink for a period of time until whole beans lose their freshness.
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