We often get approached by our clients asking us if there is a proper way to store their coffee beans. The short answer is YES there is…
Before we get to the storage part, though, I would be remiss if I did not mention a word about why you should be buying whole bean vs. ground coffee. I can’t stress enough how important this is! It is estimated that ground coffee goes stale between 5 and 15 minutes after it is ground. So basically every single bag of coffee you’ve ever bought that is ground has been stale by the time you’ve brewed it.
I’m going to get more in-depth on this in another post but for now suffice to say that you should either have one of these (recommended) or these (if you don’t have the counter space), and use it every day before you brew your coffee. A good burr grinder is the most expensive thing you need to brew great coffee, but also the most important!
Okay, excuse my digression; back to coffee storage:
When storing your coffee, there are four things you want to protect your coffee from: air, moisture, heat and light.
To protect the beans from these things, you must put your coffee somewhere that is air tight (air), dry (moisture), cool (heat) and dark (light).
In the days following roasting, all sorts of chemical reactions start happening to coffee beans. The most important of these is called “degassing” which is where the carbon dioxide leftover from the roasting process that is trapped inside the bean begins escaping. As the gas escapes, oxygen is allowed in. This can cause staleness and is one of the things we guard against. You can see the one way valve on the outside of our bags, which is made to let the CO2 escape, but not allow the O2 in!
One of the biggest enemies of coffee is air (oxygen), which oxidizes the volatile flavors. This is why it is important to grind the beans immediately before you brew as touched on earlier. Once coffee has been ground, there is more surface area exposed to air resulting in the oils evaporating faster and the flavor disappearing into thin air.
Air is one of the hardest things to guard against, and so are heat, light and moisture. Protecting your beans from heat and light is easy: leave them in a cool, dark place! Light is bad because it heats and stales the coffee by releasing many of the properties that you want in your cup.
Moisture is perhaps the worst thing for the coffee, and the place that most beans encounter it is in the refrigerator. The volatile oils are water soluble, which gives us the flavor in the cup, but damp conditions will taint the oils. Additionally, coffee absorbs other food flavors and scents very easily. In fact, coffee absorbs odors better than even baking soda! I do not think that you want your coffee tasting like that onion or bacon that you put it next to. Therefore, don’t EVER put your coffee in the refrigerator.
If you have to store coffee for any length of time, it is better to put it in the freezer or an airtight container. If you are storing coffee for less than a month, then the airtight container is perfect. However, if it is longer than a month, then it is best to freeze the coffee beans. Make sure that if you are storing it in the freezer that the packaging is airtight and not porous or else the coffee could taste like the inside of your freezer. It is also important that when you are ready to use the beans that you do not thaw them. The beans can go straight from the freezer into the grinder.
Airtight containers such as the AirScape Coffee Storage Jar are great ways to store your coffee beans. We have tested these containers ourselves and love how they preserve the natural flavors in the coffee. The AirScape’s unique valve forces substance-eating air out, while it’s clear lid blocks out harmful ultra-violet light from reaching the beans. Furthermore, the durable stainless steel structure does not allow odor and taste transfer, keeping your coffee beans fresh and flavorful.
Take our word for it these AirScape coffee storage jars are simply amazing and will always keep your coffee beans fresh resulting in a great cup of coffee! Keep this container in a cool, dry place and say goodbye to coffees’ enemies: air, moisture, heat and light!
Matt and Ashley