6 Tips on How to Store Coffee to Keep It Fresh

What is best to prevent the coffee you have at home going off? Should it be kept in the original packaging or stored in a sealed vacuum jar? And to be further specific, refrigerator or freezer? These 6 tips will help you understand the problems of storing coffee and how to ensure it stays great.

1. First up, as ever, is roasted coffee

The palatability of coffee is due to the contained oils, which are present in the beans. It is these oils that give the coffee its characteristic first taste. During roasting, these oils are released and begin to rapidly disintegrate.

Coffee should, therefore, be purchased as fresh as possible – to get a perfect cup, it would have been ideally ground a fortnight before at the very maximum. These coffee beans should, consequently, not be stored for much longer than the purchase date. So you should always buy only as much roasted coffee as you are able to consume within the week.

Before you have purchase this coffee in a cafe, shop or roastery, bare in mind that it was roasted for sometime before its arrival in these places. You should, therefore, always check the roasting date on the label. Unfortunately though this will not always be available – ordinary shops usually supply only an expiration date, but in a quality roaster the roasting date will be shown.

2. Do not buy pre-ground coffee

Nothing accelerates the disintegration of the taste of coffee as much as grinding it. So make sure you buy coffee beans and grind them up at home. For coffee grinding you can use a mechanical or electric grinder. If the sake of conveniently pre-ground coffee is important to you, ensure you obey all of the following tips.

3. Prevent the access of air, light and moisture

If you can, buy coffee in airtight bags or with vacuum packaging. This will protect the coffee from air and moisture, which can dramatically prevent a dreaded, „stale“ coffee.

Store your coffee in an opaque jar. Glass jars may look good, but the coffee quality severely suffers when in contact with sunlight.

An opaque and airtight jar for coffee

An opaque and airtight jar for coffee

4. Choose the right size container

The air in a half-empty (although airtight) jar of coffee can cause damage to its taste. So choose a container with a corresponding volume to your coffee that that you wish to store in the vessel. The most common containers hold between 250 and 500 grams.

5. Don’t switch containers

If you buy coffee in proper packaging, there is no reason to transfer it into another container. The packaging should be produced to provide the correct storage of coffee, which is opaque and airtight.

Some coffee roasters send their coffee in a special container with a permeable one-way valve. This enables to the gases, released from the coffee after roasting, to escape. At the same time it stops air entering the packing. In such packaging, coffee can be stored and retain freshness for several months.

The same rules apply to the storage of coffee beans (unless they are unroasted, green coffee beans, which are not so sensitive).

6. Store it in the freezer, not the fridge

A widespread myth – coffee will surely remain fresh if we put it in the fridge. How wrong! It’s actually just the opposite. As written above, humidity and coffee just do not belong together. Each time you open the fridge moisture condenses on the jar, which when in contact with the coffee spoils the taste.

If you are planning to store your coffee for extended periods of time, you can instead use the freezer. Make sure you first pack it into a plastic bag. Never put any leftover, defrosted coffee back into the freezer as it will start to deteriorate. You may be surprised to learn that you do not need to defrost coffee before grinding it.

Summary

Storing coffee is not a complicated process, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Pay special attention to the date of roasting
  2. Grind your coffee at home
  3. Do not expose your coffee to air, light or moisture (ideally with the help of opaque, vacuum jars)
  4. Do not unnecessarily transfer your coffee when it has been purchased in a proper container

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