You love fresh coffee, but just how do you store coffee beans so that they are at their best?
This article looks at different ways of storing coffee, and gives you the information you need to decide.
Keeping Coffee Fresh
We all know the importance of keeping coffee fresh, and while it is resistant to mould, coffee can go stale or bad if it’s not kept properly.
It’s not just beans that need careful storing, ground, brewed, cold brew and instant coffee also have to be kept fresh and full of flavour.
There are some things you should keep in mind when storing coffee beans or ground coffee:
Coffee is absorbent – it absorbs moisture and aromas, so you need to store it away from these things.
Coffee does go stale over time – once you have opened a bag of coffee, it will start to lose the aroma and flavour over time, so you should use it as quickly as you can.
Keep it away from light, heat, air, and moisture – you should keep coffee dry, dark, cool, and sealed from air as much as you can.
How Often do You Drink Coffee?
The way that you buy and drink your coffee can affect the way you store it.
Coffee beans or ground coffee?
Coffee beans keep their flavour for longer than ground coffee, so if you want super-fresh coffee, beans are the ones to choose. You can still keep ground coffee fresh, though.
How many times a day do you drink coffee?
If you drink a lot of coffee, light and air affecting your beans or grounds may not be an issue. If you only drink it a few times a week, then you might have to think more carefully about storing it.
How do you like your coffee?
If you like to add milk and/or sugar when you make coffee, it won’t matter so much if storing it in the fridge or freezer leaves it a little less flavourful.
The Best Way to Store Coffee Beans
Keep them in an airtight, opaque container in a cool place. If your coffee beans come in a resealable bag with a one-way valve, keep them in it. The valve lets out the gas coming off the beans, but doesn’t let air in.
The choice of container is up to you, but if you aren’t keen on plastic you could try stainless steel or ceramic containers instead.
Once the beans have been opened, they should be ok for a few weeks if properly stored, but they will start to lose some flavour and aroma.
It’s best to buy your coffee beans in small batches and grind them just before brewing for optimum freshness.
Storing Coffee for Longer Periods
If you’ve bought a large bag of coffee beans, or you live in a humid climate, you will need to look at other storage options.
Keeping Coffee Beans in the Fridge
Doing this may be your best option, but you need to remember that coffee absorbs moisture, aromas and flavours, so it has to be stored in an airtight container.
Temperature changes can also cause condensation – if you take beans out of the fridge and leave them at room temperature while you make some coffee, moisture can condense on the ones on the counter. Take out only as many beans as you need, and put the rest back in the fridge as quickly as possible.
If your beans didn’t come in a resealable bag with a valve, put them in a zip lock bag and get as much air out as possible. Then put them in an opaque, tightly sealed container before putting them in the fridge.
Coffee beans in the fridge can last for up to three months, but the taste won’t be as fresh.
Freezing Coffee Beans
You can freeze coffee beans, but they have to be stored properly to prevent freezer burn. Put them in a zip lock bag, and remove as much air as possible. Then pop them into a freezer safe opaque container.
Freezing coffee beans will reduce some flavour and aroma, so it’s not the best storage solution, but if you have to keep them for a longer period of time it will work.
You can keep frozen coffee beans for up to a year, but most will taste best if used before six months.
How to Store Ground Coffee
You should store ground coffee in a resealable bag with a one-way valve, or in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dark place.
Ground coffee doesn’t hold its flavour for as long as coffee beans, so an open bag of ground coffee stored properly in a pantry should last for around a week before losing flavour and aroma.
You can also store ground coffee in the fridge, just like coffee beans – the same rules apply.
Ground coffee can also be frozen in an airtight, opaque container, where it should last well up to a month.
Storing Brewed Coffee
The best way to keep brewed coffee is in an insulated carafe. Don’t store it in the fridge for heating later, as it won’t taste fresh.
The exception is cold brew coffee, which is steeped using cold or room temperature water. It’s a more concentrated type of coffee, and lasts longer in the fridge. If sealed properly, cold brew can last up to two weeks in the fridge.
If you have leftover brewed coffee, make ice cubes out of it to put in iced coffee. Transfer the ice cubes to a zip lock bag as soon as they are frozen.
Storing Instant Coffee
Instant coffee often comes in a glass or plastic jar, which isn’t great for storage if you aren’t going to be using it up quickly.
Transfer your instant coffee to an airtight, opaque container, and keep it away from heat and steam sources.
You can store it in the fridge, but make sure it’s properly sealed so it doesn’t pick up any taste or aroma.