Coffee Bean Storage Tips

Ok, so now that you’ve gotten your hands on high-quality Java Momma fresh roasted coffee beans, how do you keep them fresh? 

Throughout coffee’s life-cycle, it is going through constant chemical and physical change. That doesn’t end once it’s roasted.

In fact, it speeds up. Not only does the roasting dramatically change the coffee itself…But afterward, it continues to give off gasses and go through physical and chemical changes within the bean.

The “magic time” for the freshness of coffee is actually roughly 4-14 days after roast. Freshness can be extended to a month or more if you store your coffee well.

  • Store coffee beans in a cool, dry place. Coffee should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and direct sunlight, so a cool pantry is the perfect place.
  • Use your coffee beans within 4-6 weeks after the day they have been roasted.  Or within the first 2 weeks if you purchase ground coffee. 
  • Buy small quantities regularly. Purchase what you would use in 2-4 weeks to ensure your beans are fresh and you are producing flavourful coffee.
  • Top up your hopper regularly. If you use a grinder – most hoppers on grinders are not airtight, so keep your beans stored correctly and top up your hopper each day.

Keep reading to find out why these tips are important.

coffee bean storage tips to keep your coffee fresh

The coffee beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light.

Four Key Factors That Age Coffee Beans and why coffee bean storage is important

-MOISTURE – coffee beans, whether roasted or green, are hygroscopic, which means that they will absorb moisture from the air or anything else around them. Most of the flavours and the caffeine in roasted coffee are soluble in water, so exposure to moisture will degrade the quality of your espresso.

-OXYGEN – coffee has a naturally high oil content and air exposure causes the coffee to oxidize which will cause it to lose it’s flavour over time.

-SUNLIGHT – UV light is a mutagen which affects coffee (and other foods) by causing the breakdown of the natural chemical compounds.

-HEAT – Temperatures above approximately 75 degrees F (25 degrees C) will speed up the ageing process of coffee. Heat brings the oils to the surface quicker and escalates the release rate of carbon dioxide. 

Overexposure to any of the above factors will age your beans very quickly, fast-tracking the staling process as CO2 escapes and the bean oils dissipate.

It’s these oils, but also the CO2, that you want to extract from the beans to make beautifully crafted crema-topped espresso.

After approximately 4-6 weeks of being roasted, the naturally occurring oils within the beans will migrate to the surface and the beans will also darken in colour.

While this is OK to a point, exposure to atmosphere in this state will spoil the coffee very quickly. It will also eventually lose large amounts of CO2, which is required to create a crema when you make a coffee.

The crema is the copper coloured emulsification of oils and CO2, which should appear thick and tightly packed on top of an espresso shot. If there is no crema then your beans are definitely too old!

Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?

The short answer is no. It causes the coffee to condensate and pushes oils to the surface.

It actually ages the coffee faster.

The refrigerator is not the place to store coffee – ground or whole bean, even if it’s in an airtight container.

The refrigerator isn’t actually cold enough to keep your coffee fresh, and because coffee works as a natural deodorizer, it will actively absorb all the aromas in your fridge.

This will definitely have a negative impact on the final taste of your cup of coffee. Trust me no one wants a cup of coffee that tastes like last nights leftovers.

In short stop freezing your beans, or even chilling them in the fridge.

How long should coffee beans be stored?

Coffee bean storage can be super simple – If they came in a foil-lined bag with one of those one-way valves on it, good news: You should just store your coffee in there!

The valve’s purpose isn’t actually so you can smell the beans; it’s to let the CO2 out and to block oxygen from entering the bag.

Coffee can stay fresh in one of those sealed, foil-lined, ziploc-top style valve bags (unopened) for about six to nine months. Even lower-quality valved bags will do an okay job for at least three months, longer than the average coffee lover will keep a bag of coffee around anyway. However, once opened it will last up to a month before it goes completely stale.

If your coffee came in another type of package, maybe a paper one or a bulk bag from the supermarket, you’ll want to transfer it to an airtight, opaque canister.

Make sure that canister is kept clean! Coffee has oils in it and oils go rancid. If old oil is left in the canister it can make both the container and the your coffee smell rancid.

Don’t throw out your old beans!

If you do happen to have beans that go past the one month mark don’t throw them out – older beans are actually great for cold brew! So keep your fresh beans for your hot brews and any older straggler beans for your cold brews.

What about storing ground coffee?

Ground coffee oxidizes quite quickly due to the smaller surface area of the grinds.

Your best bet is airtight containers and drink it within 2 weeks. Keep it in an opaque container on a cool dark shelf in your pantry.

If you have bought a lot then airtight containers in the freezer can help extend the life but make sure it comes to room temperature before you brew with it.

What To Look For In A Coffee Canister

If you are in the market for coffee storage containers, what should you look for? The 2 most important things to look for are:

  • Air tightness – Don’t assume that the more complicated the coffee container is, the better it will be for your coffee’s freshness. If you need a college degree to read the instructions then it’s a hard pass, you just need to make sure it’s air tight.
  • Keeping the beans dry – Any coffee container that keeps your beans dry will also protect those precious bean babies from the perils of light and heat too.

Best way to get fresh beans?

With a coffee subscription of course! Just like the Momma Picks monthly coffee subscription.

A select variety of flavored premium coffee hand-picked by Java Momma herself. Get this box of freshly roasted coffee delivered straight to your door!

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