Discover the best methods for storing coffee beans and ground coffee to maintain maximum freshness and flavour. If you can’t buy freshly roasted beans every week, you can still brew a great cup if you know how to store coffee the right way.
This guide helps you answer a few common questions on correct coffee storage tips for home, and how to get the most out of your coffee beans.
Are You Storing Your Coffee Correctly?
There is no one correct way of storing coffee. The most common advice is to keep freshly roasted coffee out of direct sunlight and away from heat, in a cool, dark dry place. Commonly, roasters from third-wave coffee suppliers will sell retail packaged with airtight seal with resealable openings, and include a valve for degassing. Look for this as a minimum when purchasing roasted coffee. If buying for larger quantities, you can always split the bag into smaller bundles using zip lock bags.
This makes you only use what you need, and stops you from unnecessarily exposing roasted beans to the environment when you open the package each day.
Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?
No, you don’t need to. Placing coffee in the fridge creates more problems than it solves. The main risk will be from cross contamination from other foods and other odours as freshly roasted coffee is very absorbent.
Fridges circulate the air in such a way that any exposed or improperly sealed coffee vessels will cause the coffee to pick up any smells or flavours from food very easily. If anything, the freezer would be a safer bet when packaged in small single use portions, and packaged + used correctly. We would recommend avoiding the fridge.
How do you know if coffee beans are stale?
You should be able to detect the difference with the aroma. There will be a slight woody or musty smell, that will be flat and dull. This would be in contrast with fresh coffee, which will have a high intensity aroma and perceived sweetness.
How To Store Coffee Beans?
Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heat, in a cool, dark, dry place. Preferably in an airtight coffee container. The main enemy of fresh coffee is oxidation or exposure to air.
How to Keep Your Beans At Their Peak?
An airtight or vacuum-sealed vessel will be enough to slow down oxidation to a large extent. This will allow you to enjoy your coffee for longer periods of time, especially when you are only drinking a cup or two a day. Coffee also changes in a non-linear way; fresh coffee may take up to two weeks to degas and reach its peak optimum flavour and expression.
How Long Does Coffee Last?
This depends on the types of coffee, and roast style. Coffee is a seasonal fruit, so with all fruits, there are different times of the season when certain coffee from certain regions are more abundant. Coffee ‘out of season’ can have age related flavours, and lose its vibrancy and acidity, even before it reaches its roasted life cycle. As a general rule for roasting - the lighter the roast profile the longer the coffee will last, and vice versa. This is due to the roasting process which impacts the physical nature of the beans cellular structure. Hotter roast degrees result in more changes and fractures resulting in coffee oil seepage, and faster oxidation, and lighter roasts; vice versa.
As a rule of thumb, we inform our customers that our coffee lasts for 5-8 weeks depending on roast degree.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last in The Bag Once Open?
As a rule of thumb, we inform our customers that our coffee lasts for 5-8 weeks depending on roast degree. While there is a resealable opening on our retail bags, if you have an alternative vacuum sealed container to store your coffee, it would be ideal to do so.
Should You Vacuum Seal Coffee Beans?
If you have the option, yes you should! Vacuum sealing prevents oxidation and allows you to enjoy your coffee without ‘staling’ or ‘oxidising’ for a longer period of time.
Do you store coffee grounds differently than coffee beans?
We would highly recommend that you invest in a grinder in order to grind small amounts of coffee as you use it. This is because ground coffee has a much greater surface area, and oxidises faster than whole coffee beans. The more it is exposed to air and oxygen, the more the coffee flavour is degraded.
The best way to store your coffee grounds would be in a airtight container, as this would minimise the exposure of the ground coffee to the air. Alternatively, if you don’t have a grinder or a vacuum canister, try to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can in order to keep your ground coffee from staling faster!
Can You Keep Coffee in The Freezer?
Yes, you can, although we would recommend you store them in small packages or vessels that hold a single serve (or however many cups you’re making on a single sitting). That is because freezing coffee opens the door to problems such as freezer burn, aroma and flavour contamination. You should also grind straight from the freezer, as leaving cold coffee exposed to the environment could result in condensation on the beans- something you’d want to avoid as it will affect your grinder and ultimately the flavour of the brew.
Should you freeze coffee?
You can if you wish, as long as you store them correctly. We would recommend you should only freeze coffee beans for up to a month in an air-tight plastic bag. or vessels that hold a single serve, or however many cups you’re making on a single sitting. Protection with freezer bags on top of your storage packaging will help prevent crystallisation or freezer burn.
How you should freeze your coffee beans?
We would recommend you store them in true airtight small package or vessels that hold a single serve, or however many cups you’re making on a single sitting. A standard freezer temp of -20C will be cold enough to keep the coffee at a suitable storage temp. Double bagging in freezer bags will prevent ice crystals and ice burn from affecting the roasted beans.
How long does coffee keep in the freezer?
Frozen coffee will stay stable for around 3 months. Although flavour and quality may be affected beyond that, there are certain approaches in brewing that can be adjusted in order to get the best out of the coffee.
How Not To Freeze Your Coffee Beans?
Do not leave coffee beans open and in non-airtight packaging prior to freezing. The coffee is very absorbent and will pick up any odours from your freezer and also may form ice crystals from moisture. Both these factors will affect the taste when you brew.
How to Store Whole Bean and Ground Coffee?
You can store them both with the same method, however ground coffee has a tendency to go stale and oxidise much faster. In fact, as soon as you start grinding coffee it starts oxidising due to the increased surface area and exposure to the environment. Vacuum sealed containers would be best, although if that’s not available then a zip lock package in a cool dark place (at a minimum) will be your best solution.
How to Store Coffee Beans?
As basic storage goes, whole beans stored in a closed and clean container stashed in a cool part of your pantry will suit most coffee drinkers. Anything above and beyond this basic level of storage will prolong the ‘shelf life’, and improve the flavour retention of the coffee. Things such as vacuum or air tight containers, will only improve your ability to keep the beans fresher for longer.
Best Coffee Storage Locations
As long as the location you store your coffee has minimal heat and humidity, it will work. Sealed bags and containers should control for any foreign smells or flavours transferring to the coffee beans, much like any food product. There are definitely locations that are better coffee bean storage conditions than others but what the coffee is stored in is more important to consider.
How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh?
As a rule of thumb, we inform our customers that our coffee lasts for 5-8 weeks from roast date, depending on the roast degree. Fresh does not always equal ‘good to use’, as there is an ‘optimal peak’ window which is around 2-5 weeks from roast. You can continue using beyond these timeframes of course, however it may not taste its’ best, begin staling, and quality may fall out of what we would define as ‘fresh’. Coffee from large commercial roasters, or on supermarket shelves would most likely not be ‘fresh’ or ‘fresh roasted’.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
As a rule of thumb, we inform our customers that our coffee lasts for 5-8 weeks from roast date, depending on the roast degree. As a generally rule for roasting- the lighter the roast profile the longer the coffee will last, and vice versa. This is due to the roasting process which impacts the physical nature of the beans porous structure. Hotter roast degrees result in more changes and fractures in the beans; resulting in coffee oil seepage, and faster oxidation. Lighter roasts (Filter style) tend to keep more of the bean structure intact, and retain the integrity of the porous cells. This slows oxidation and retains more more of the enzymatic qualities of the coffees’ flavour profile for longer.
How Should You Store Your Coffee Beans?
As basic storage goes, coffee stored in a closed and clean container stashed in a cool part of your pantry will suit most coffee drinkers. Anything above and beyond this basic level of storage will prolong the ‘shelf life’, and improve the flavour retention of the coffee. Things such as vacuum or air tight containers, will only improve your ability to keep the beans fresher for longer. For a longer term storage solution, you can consider freezing your coffee beans, although we would recommend you store them in small packages or vessels that hold a single serve (or however many cups you’re making on a single sitting).
How to Know if Your Coffee Beans Are Fresh?
Most small to medium coffee roasters will indicate a roast date on their packaging. Try to avoid anything that has a ‘use by’ date, or meaningless batch code, as this ambiguity may indicate that the roaster or packager is purposely trying to obfuscate the actual roast date. Subjectively, you can also generally taste older versus fresher roasts. Very stale roasts are dull and lacking flavour, and may have a woody character. When you open a fresh bag or grind the coffee, there should be no ‘stale aromas’ - it should smell like something you’d want to drink or eat!
What Is the Best Container For Storing Coffee?
Any container with no odours or foreign smells are good. A zip-lock bag prior to popping into a standard container will help prevent oxidation. Most retail bags have small zip locks built in, so at the very worst- you can just keep it in the bag you purchased from, and squeeze as much air out that you can.
Tips on How to Keep Coffee Beans Fresh
Buy directly from a coffee roaster, rather than from the supermarket or third party. Buy smaller volumes more often to keep your freshness up. If you drink coffee at home sign up for a coffee subscription if you want the convenience of refreshing your stock at any time!
Your support really does make a difference and it also ensures that you minimise the time between roasting, quality control and packing for the coffee to get to your home. Most roasters have a great ability to rotate and pivot their stock quickly to keep their retail shelves fresh; due to their smaller scale vs commercial roasters. This means fresh roast dates, and more excitingly; a constant stream of new and different single origins to pick from.