When you bring home a bag of coffee beans, you want to keep the beans as fresh as possible until you plan to use them. If you’ve been leaving the beans in their original packaging, you might want to reconsider your coffee storage strategy. Coffee is hygroscopic, meaning it acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture, odors and flavors from the surrounding air. To keep beans fresh, they need to stay away from light, heat, air and water.
To maintain peak freshness, beans should be stored on a shelf in an opaque, airtight container in a cool, dark place (like your pantry or a cabinet). Also make sure the canister is kept away from any heat sources — don’t place it on top of a refrigerator or near the stove.
Beans should be consumed within one to two weeks after roasting. The moment you open the vacuum-sealed packaging, they’ll start to lose freshness. This is why you want to transfer them to an airtight jar that’s made of glass, ceramic or non-reactive metal and comes with a gasket seal.
For the ideal bean storage environment, pick up a canister with a solid seal, such as the Coffee Gator BPA-Free Fresh Seal Coffee Canister. Beans naturally release CO2, so this canister comes with a special flavor-saving release valve that vents CO2 from inside the container. It has a handy built-in freshness tracker that makes it easy to see how long your beans have been stored, too. Just be sure to close the container up quickly to help maintain peak freshness. The opaque design protects beans from light and the vent helps ward off moisture.
Some people choose to freeze their beans, but that’s only best if you don’t plan to use them in the next few weeks. Otherwise, you’re exposing them to dampness and odors from nearby foods. It’s not wise to freeze them for a week and then pull them out for use because the temperature fluctuation will make the coffee taste off. Don’t store coffee beans in the refrigerator for those same reasons
But sometimes you might want to snag a good deal with a bulk buy — and that’s OK to do. If you do need to freeze beans, pour small portions into plastic bags to help ward off freezer burn. Remove as much air as possible and seal them tight. Then pop them in the freezer. Just know that after about a month, the quality will begin to degrade, so keep that in mind when purchasing. Be sure to defrost the beans at room temperature before you use them.
Ground Coffee Versus Whole Beans
When purchasing coffee, look for just-roasted whole beans. When time allows, grind your whole beans right before you brew your coffee every time. This might seem like more work, but your tastebuds will thank you.
Whenever possible, use the canister method to keep your morning cup of joe tasty down to the last drop.