The Best Ways To Store Coffee Beans
There’s nothing quite like a fresh cup of coffee. The warm, comforting aroma and the rich, familiar taste are the perfect way to start the day. Whether you drink it in the morning or in the afternoon as a pick-me-up, enjoying a cup of coffee is an important part of many peoples’ day. Even thinking about coffee is enough to give you a little energy boost!
With this in mind, let’s think about the best way to store coffee beans so you can always have a fresh cup of coffee!
Best Coffee Bean Containers
The container you use plays a major role in how long your coffee beans stay fresh. This is because one of the most important factors in coffee bean storage is to keep the beans away from air. It’s essential to store coffee beans in an airtight container, and you have several options for the type of container you use.
When it comes to storing coffee beans, the type of container you use is just as important as the storage location. Coffee beans can easily become stale or lose their flavour if they’re not stored properly, which is why choosing the right container is crucial. Here are some examples of containers you can use to store coffee beans and their pros and cons:
Airtight canisters are a popular choice for storing coffee beans because they help to protect the coffee from air and moisture, which can cause it to go stale quickly. Airtight canisters come in various sizes, materials, and styles, making them a versatile option for storing coffee beans. Many people like to use a particular type of glass canister, a canning jar with a metal latch that seals the lid, to store their coffee. These lids have a silicone ring that, when latched down, creates a perfectly airtight seal.
Pros of airtight canisters include:
- Effective at preventing air and moisture from getting in
- Easy to use and clean
Cons of airtight canisters include:
- Glass canisters can let in light, which can degrade the coffee’s quality and cause the oils to go rancid
- May not be as effective at protecting coffee from temperature changes.
Mason jars are another popular choice for storing coffee beans, as they are readily available and affordable. These jars are made of glass and come with airtight lids that seal in freshness. If you use mason jars, make sure that you get the kind with one-piece lids; two-piece lids are designed to seal when placed in a canner and are not airtight.
Pros of mason jars include:
- Very affordable
- Easy to use and clean (the jars themselves are dishwasher safe
- Airtight when properly sealed
Cons of mason jars include:
- Clear glass allows in light, which can cause the oils in your coffee beans to go rancid
- Ineffective at protecting coffee beans from temperature changes
Stainless Steel Canisters
Stainless steel canisters are another popular choice for storing coffee beans. These canisters are durable, stylish, and effective at protecting coffee from air, temperature, and moisture.
Pros of stainless steel canisters include:
- Resistant to temperature changes
- Easy to use and clean
Cons of stainless steel canisters include:
- Not all models are completely airtight.
Vacuum-sealed containers are an effective way to store coffee beans, as they remove air from the container, which helps to prevent the beans from going stale quickly. In fact, tests by Serious Eats showed that vaccum-sealed containers did the best job at preserving the flavor and aroma of coffee.
Pros of vacuum-sealed containers include:
- Best option for protecting coffee from air and moisture
- Often designed with coffee bean storage specifically in mind
Cons of vacuum-sealed containers include:
- One-way valves can be tricky to use
- Not as easy to wash out; these cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Each of these options is effective at protecting coffee beans from air and moisture. Your choice for container should be based on what fits in your budget and how much space you have for storing coffee beans.
Temperature For Storing Coffee Beans
According to the National Coffee Association, the ideal temperature to preserve coffee beans is room temperature. This means that the ideal temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius. Coffee beans can be stored with no ill effects if they are protected from light, moisture, and oxygen.
The most important aspect of temperature protection for coffee beans is to avoid temperature extremes. High temperatures can cause the oils in the beans to break down, resulting in the oils going rancid and the beans losing their flavour, while low temperatures can cause the beans to absorb moisture and odours from the environment.
Should I Store Coffee Beans In The Freezer?
This is an idea hotly debated by coffee enthusiasts. Some say that keeping them in the freezer is the best way to store coffee beans. Others say that you should never do this, and that freezing them will harm the beans. We’ll let you be the judge! Here are some of the major arguments for and against storing coffee beans in the freezer.
|Reasons To Store Coffee Beans In The Freezer||Reasons Not To Store Coffee Beans In The Freezer|
|Storing coffee beans in the freezer can help extend their shelf life because low temperature in the freezer slows down the oxidation process.||Condensation can create problems for your coffee beans. When coffee beans are taken out of the freezer and exposed to warmer temperatures, condensation can form on the beans, which can affect their flavour and aroma.|
|Storing coffee beans in the freezer lets them retain their flavour and aroma for longer because the freezing process helps preserve the oils in the beans.||The low temperature in the freezer can cause the beans to absorb odours and flavours from other foods in the freezer, resulting in a less desirable taste and overall flavour degradation.|
|Storing coffee beans in the freezer can be convenient, as it allows you to buy larger quantities of coffee beans and use them as needed. This can save time and effort in the long run.||Freezers often experience temperature fluctuations as they are opened and closed frequently. These fluctuations can cause the coffee beans to expand and contract, which can lead to a loss of flavour and aroma.|
If you do choose to store your coffee beans in the freezer, use an airtight container. Allow the beans to come to room temperature before grinding (do not put frozen beans in your grinder!), and only freeze them once. Don’t let them thaw and refreeze; this will degrade the oils in the beans.
The main reason you want to make sure you have stored your coffee beans correctly is to prevent them from going stale. This is because when your coffee is stale – when your beans lose their bite, and your grounds aren’t great – that cup of coffee turns from one of life’s little joys to one of life’s little sorrows. While quality certainly matters, bean freshness is one of the biggest keys to a well-brewed cup of coffee. Let’s have a look at why coffee goes stale in the first place.
Why Does Coffee Go Stale?
The coffee bean is a complex little seed packed full of oils, natural sugars, and other organic compounds. All of these are susceptible to a chemical reaction known as oxidation. This occurs when oxygen comes into contact with the organic compounds found in coffee beans – the organic compounds that give the coffee its robust flavour. Oxidation results in changes to the aroma and flavour of the coffee beans, and not for the better.
When coffee beans oxidise, the oils in the beans begin to go rancid, and the natural sugars start to break down. This results in the loss of the beans’ complex flavour and aroma. As the oxidation process continues, the beans begin to develop a stale or even rancid taste. This process can also change the colour of the beans; if your beans look darker or more yellow than they did when you bought them, they have begun to oxidise.
How Long Does It Take For Coffee To Go Stale?
There are several factors that control the speed at which coffee beans oxidise.
- Roast Level: Lighter roasted coffee beans oxidise more quickly due to a higher moisture content.
- Bean Surface Area: More surface area means faster oxidation, so grounds go bad before whole coffee beans do.
- Humidity: Coffee beans kept in moist conditions spoil faster than coffee beans kept dry.
- Temperature: Coffee beans kept in cool conditions stay fresh longer than coffee beans kept in a warm environment.
- Exposure to Oxygen: Coffee beans kept in airtight containers are protected from oxidation longer than coffee beans that are exposed to regular airflow.
The length of time that coffee lasts when stored depends largely on the preparation of the bean as well as the storage conditions. Opened, whole beans will only last a few weeks, even when stored in an airtight container. By contrast, instant coffee (a type of ground coffee) has been described as having a shelf life of 2–20 years when stored in an airtight container.
Should I Store My Coffee Beans Whole?
The best way to store coffee beans is as whole beans rather than as grounds. There are several reasons that this is the case:
- Grinding beans releases the oils and exposes them to oxidation and degradation.
- Grinding beans increases the beans’ surface area, exposing more of the oils and sugars to oxygen.
- Grinding beans makes them more susceptible to moisture.
You should wait until you’re ready to brew the coffee to grind the beans for the perfect brew every time.
At Grounds Café, we know and love coffee – and we know you do, too! Pick up a bag of our freshly roasted coffee beans for the perfect cup of coffee.