What's the best way to store coffee? Good question! Coffee storage is always a much discussed topic – sometimes quite emotionally. Every coffee lover, naturally, wants to sacrifice as little as possible of their coffee's aroma during storage. In this article, I will explain the ideal way to keep coffee fresh. I will also try to refute common myths about coffee storage. One thing I can already tell you: Coffee beans don't find it amusing when you store them in the fridge or freezer!
What’s the best way to store coffee? Good question! Coffee storage is always a much discussed topic – sometimes quite emotionally. Every coffee lover, naturally, wants to sacrifice as little as possible of their coffee’s aroma during storage. In this article, I will explain the ideal way to keep coffee fresh. I will also try to refute common myths about coffee storage. One thing I can already tell you: Coffee beans don’t find it amusing when you store them in the fridge or freezer!
There Are Many Very Interesting Coffee Storage Theories
- Coffee has a long shelf life.
- Coffee can never go off at all.
- You should store coffee in the fridge or freezer.
- Ground coffee keeps just as long as whole beans.
Of course, that is all nonsense!
Coffee Is a Sensitive Natural Product
Coffee absorbs aromas extremely quickly. Anyone storing their coffee next to the spice rack is doing things very wrong, indeed. Odorous plastic is just as unsuitable as storing coffee next to stinky cheese. In other words, you should always store coffee and espresso as far as possible from everything that gives off a scent, smell or stink.
Because of this, you should not store your coffee in glass or transparent plastic containers that are left out in the open. I use plastic storage boxes but keep them deep in a dark cupboard.
It is important to understand that the finer you grind the coffee, the more evaporation surface it has. This is similar to minced meat, which also has its surface area increased by “grinding,” thus providing a greater target for bacteria. Since the evaporation surface of whole coffee beans is significantly lower than that of ground coffee, it makes sense that whole beans are able to hold their aroma for much longer.
Storing Coffee in the Fridge?
You should never store coffee in the fridge. Refrigerators contain many undesirable odors that coffee can absorb. Who wants to drink coffee or espresso that smells and tastes like Swiss cheese and peppered salami?
The condensation that accumulates due to temperature fluctuation is another big problem. Moisture kills coffee immediately! Please don’t sentence your coffee and espresso to death by putting them in the fridge.
Storing Coffee in the Freezer?
This makes about as much sense as freezing fresh pieces of apple and believing you can preserve that exact same quality fruit for the future. Quality coffee and espresso is simply too good to freeze. Of course, in the case of cheap coffee from the supermarket, it might be that it can’t get any worse.
What to Avoid When Storing Coffee
- Ground coffee
- Any kind of moisture, high humidity or condensation
- Contact with oxygen
- High temperatures
Therefore, My Recommendations are To:
- Buy whole bean coffee.
- Buy freshly roasted coffee.
- Store coffee in the packaging you bought it in.
- Always grind only the amount of coffee you will actually consume.
- Always carefully reseal coffee bags.
- Never store coffee in the fridge.
- Store the coffee in a location with moderate temperatures and low humidity.
If you think that you must transfer your coffee to another container, then please choose only opaque containers that do not give off any odors. My recommendation is to use these containers as a kind of secondary packaging. That means leaving the coffee in its original packaging and then simply placing it within another airtight container.
Remember, always store coffee in a place without any odor. For example, it is never a good idea to store coffee next to the garlic supply.
Shelf Life and Best-Before Dates
This part depends a bit on your understanding of shelf life and quality. Some coffee roasters list an exceptionally long minimum shelf life. Yes, I’m sure you could still drink that coffee even years later without adverse health effects.
Even with the best packaging, coffee begins to lose a portion of its aroma immediately after roasting. It is always a good sign when the roaster specifies the roasting date on the bag. The quicker you consume the coffee or espresso after roasting, the better. So, please, only shop in small quantities and don’t squirrel away four years’ worth of purchases. You should try to use coffee up as quickly as possible and should certainly consume it within eight weeks of roasting.
There are some smaller coffee roasters who write a very short best-before date on their beans and most of them are likely to list the roasting date, too. This combination is definitely a good sign.
I hope I have helped you with some tips and suggestions. Let me know what experiences you have had with coffee storage. How do you store your coffee? Does your coffee have a roasting date listed, and how long does the manufacturer state it will keep?