Best Way To Store Coffee Beans

Best Way To Store Coffee Beans

Coffee beans in a bag

Are you having troubles keeping your coffee beans fresh and flavorous? Does your coffee not taste as great as it should? It may be that you are not storing your coffee beans properly. Asides picking the right coffee, storing coffee properly is essential if you want to get a delicious cup. In other words, freshness is critical. Also, it is important you know the proper shelf life of coffee beans to help you save time, money, and avoid bad-tasting coffee. If you don't know how to store them correctly, we have provided a guide on how to store coffee beans below. Before we continue, you should know.

What affects the freshness of coffee?

There are some factors that affect the freshness of coffee beans. They include exposure to air, sunlight, moisture, and the type of coffee you purchase.

Exposure to air: The coffee bean is like any other perishable food, it is affected by oxidation. This happens when the organic molecules of coffee breaks down and it loses its flavour due to prolonged exposure to air. If the CO2 is lost, you won't have crema each time you make a cup of coffee. Crema is that coloured stable suspension of oils and carbon dioxide you find on the surface of the drink. This is definitely not what you want after buying a bag of your favourite coffee beans.

Exposure to sunlight: The flavour of your coffee can deplete quickly when exposed to heat. It weakens the aroma, age, and flavour of the beans.

Moisture: It is important to consider where you store your beans to avoid them getting in contact with moisture. For instance, you shouldn't store your coffee beans near your sink, water might get into the beans by accident. Also, don't store it near brewers or stoves.

Purchasing already ground coffee: The oxidation process is quickened when coffee is ground before brewing. Note that ground coffee goes stale faster than whole beans. This is because the greater surface is exposed to air at once.

Buying coffee that is stale: Packaged coffee can lose its freshness before it gets to you. Look out for a tightly sealed bag that can resist moisture. The bag should have a one-way seal to allow carbon dioxide escape after the roasting process. If the bag doesn't have a one-way valve, you should know that the coffee was opened for several days to off-gas before packaging. This means the coffee went stale before it got into the bag. Also, check the label to know the roast date, look out for an expiry date too. It is important that you buy coffee beans from a reputable roaster.

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You now have an idea of know what affects your coffee beans and you are not sure of the steps to take to extend its life?

Where to store coffee

To preserve properly, you should store the beans in a cool, dry, dark place. You can store it in a sealed container. It is a good idea to divide the coffee beans into small portions. Put them into an airtight container. If you prefer storing in specialist canisters or glass jars, that's good too. A specialist canister is specifically designed to keep your coffee away from air for as long as you keep them. Make sure you wash the containers and dry it completely before adding the beans. 

Consider keeping the container inside a cupboard or pantry instead of leaving it in the open. Remember, you shouldn't store coffee beans inside a cupboard near the oven as it is often too warm or a spot on the kitchen counter that gets sunlight. If you want to keep the beans in their original packets, then roll down the bag as much as you can and seal it with a piece of adhesive tape.

Coffee beans stored in a canister

It is important to note that the type of roast affects how you should store the beans. If your beans is lightly roasted, allow it to rest for a few days before storing. For medium and dark roasted beans, it can be stored as soon as it is bought. This is because light roast lets out gases more slowly, you should give it a chance to dissipate before you store.

You might be wondering if you should refrigerate your coffee beans. It is not a good idea. It doesn't make the coffee last longer. It is better not to store inside a fridge or freezer at all. This is because your refrigerator is a moist location for foods and beverages. When coffee is roasted, it can absorb moisture and odour within your fridge. It will have an impact on the pure flavour of your coffee. Imagine taking coffee that tastes like sesame seeds or ginger. Definitely not.

If coffee shouldn't be refrigerated, how long can it be stored?

Coffee connoisseurs around the world are of the idea that the quality and freshness of coffee should not be compromised. Although freshly roasted coffee beans have a long shelf life because they are dry, it can lose its flavour when kept for too long. Thus, the sooner you brew the coffee after it is roasted, the better. An opened bag of coffee should be taken within 2-4 weeks. 

For ground coffee, it is best to consume it within one week. Measure out the accurate quantity of beans before putting them into the grinder. Never store your coffee inside the grinder. Yes, it may be tempting to grind the coffee in big batches to save time for brewing but don't. If your coffee is already brewed, the air dissipates once exposed to oxygen so consume it within 3 hours else, the oils in the fresh brew will start to degrade. 

How to know if your coffee beans or coffee ground is stale

Just like any other beans, coffee beans can go bad. Stale beans are easy to spot, tasting the coffee isn't the only way to know if it has gone bad. One of the first things you will notice is that the beans won't have that glossy appearance, it will look matte and dull. Another thing you will notice about the coffee is that it will lack that flavour, that juiciness, what might be left will be an intense bitterness. Lastly, feel the coffee beans to see if it leaves residues in your hands. If the oil is still present, then it is not stale. 

Also, you can place a handful of the beans in a ziploc bag. Press the remaining air out before sealing it. Allow it to sit overnight, then check in the morning. If the bag is inflated due to the release of carbon dioxide, then the beans is still fresh. If the bag remains flat, then the beans has become stale.

For ground coffee, check if you'll see moulds. Moulds appear when there is moisture in the coffee. If you see this, do discard them. If there are no moulds but the ground is wet, still dispose of it. Don't drink coffee if it has a foul odour or an unusual appearance. You can also know if the coffee ground is expired when brewing with a chemex. Pour hot water, enough to saturate the grounds. If the coffee is fresh, the grounds will fluff up and you will see active bubbling on the surface. If you don't see any fluffing or bubbling, then the coffee is past its prime.

What can you do with old coffee beans?

If you want to test a brewing equipment and you don't want to use your new coffee beans? Old coffee beans can be used for brewing experiments. Also, you can make a cold brew with it, turns out that freshly roasted coffee beans doesn't give the best taste for a cold brew. The extraction process for a cold brew is a lot longer. Since the water is cold, it will steep for 12 to 24 hours. The lack of heat won't allow the grounds dissolve completely. This brings out less bitterness and you will get sweeter brew.

Learn how to make cold brew coffee 

Now that you know the best way to store coffee and how to identify rancid beans, you'll avoid buying large quantities you don't need. Rancid or expired beans are not poisonous but why let your taste buds go through all that? If you are constantly worried about how long your coffee will last, don't buy too much.

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