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Coffee is a drink that must be consumed fresh. And for that, you need to know how to keep coffee beans fresh.
Coffee beans are roasted then ground and brewed for coffee to become one of the most popular drinks in the world.
However, there comes a time when it becomes necessary to store your beans in a place where they can last longer than just leaving them on display.
So you just bought your favorite coffee beans and you’re looking forward to brewing them tomorrow morning. The problem is, they don’t last forever!
They tend to lose their flavor over time which can be disappointing because you know there’s nothing wrong with the beans themselves. So, what can you do?
Coffee beans can go bad a lot faster than one might expect, especially if they are not stored correctly.
Luckily for you, I have some tips on how to keep coffee beans fresh and delicious for longer!
Storing your coffee beans is the foundation for fresh coffee beans. So let’s get to it!
How To Store Coffee Beans – 4 Correct Ways
In this section, I will talk about the things that you can or must do as well as the external factors to keep in mind in roder to keep coffee beans fresh at home.
1. Store In An Airtight Container
The storing of your beans should start even before you purchase them.
Plan before buying your beans.
Always remember to store your beans in a container that is airtight.
Air contains moisture and moisture is what makes coffee go stale. The more air you expose your beans to, the faster they will spoil.
Since whole coffee beans are coated with oils and natural compounds, it is necessary that you buy a container that can block out any kind of air from getting into it.
2. Buy The Right Amount
This second tip is crucial in how to keep coffee beans fresh. Don’t underestimate it.
What I mean by that is that even there are different ways to conserve the freshness of your coffee beans but in the end, you still have to buy the right amount of coffee in order for it to last longer than just a few days.
The best thing to do is only buy the amount of beans that you can consume for up to two weeks. When going to your local grocery or if planning to buy online, always remember to buy the right amount.
Overbuying will cause your beans to go stale even before you finish using them. Don’t be tempted to purchase more than you need.
As I said earlier, planning before buying. This has worked wonders since I decided to apply this strategy to my coffee needs.
Don’t be tempted to purchase more than you need just because you can get a better price or there’s a discount code running on the website you’re buying from.
3. Store In A Cool Dry Place
We already know that air and moisture in the air are not good for storing our beans so let’s cut to the chase: you will need a cool, dry place.
A cold, dry place where there is little to no chance of being exposed to sunlight and moisture.
Storing your beans in these conditions can keep them fresh for up to two weeks or more depending on the type of container or bag you use.
I’ve already talked about the type of container to choose to store your coffee beans in.
Let me emphasize on this: choosing an airtight container is very good, but you also need to choose one that is opaque.
4. Keep Away From Heat And Light
Now that you know what to store your coffee beans in, another important factor to remember is keeping the container away from heat and light.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, light and warmth do not work well with coffee beans. Darkness and cool temperatures are what you should be aiming for when storing your beans.
The main reason is that light and warmth can easily accelerate the process of staling when left for a long time.
Moisture is not good for storing coffee as it can make it go stale quicker than you would like.
Also, keep in mind that there are different kinds of light: UV light, sunlight, and fluorescent lights can all speed up the deterioration of your beans so avoid them as much as possible.
Heat and light are coffee’s worst enemies, so make sure you don’t store your beans near any source of heat or direct sunlight as this can cause them to lose their flavor much faster than usual.
What Makes Coffee Beans Go Stale?
As you may know, green coffee beans have natural compounds that protect them against decay and other threats.
When you roast them, the enzymes in the beans are destroyed, allowing oxygen to get inside the bean.
When oxygen comes in contact with a bean’s natural compounds, they react and start to decompose. This process is known as ‘oxidization’, and it can happen very fast.
Oxygen also reacts with brown coffee beans causing them to darken and lose their flavor caused by a chemical called melanoidins.
Coffee beans go stale since they have a natural chemical that reacts with oxygen in the air.
It is no secret that ground coffee has a shorter shelf life than whole beans. Ground coffee goes stale more quickly because it is not as protected as whole bean coffee.
When whole beans are roasted, they are placed in their protective shells, which are then removed after roasting.
The shell protects the bean from external elements, including oxygen and moisture. It also provides flavor oils for the roast to permeate throughout the bean.
Once those shells are removed, the beans begin to oxidize, the oils begin to dissipate, and flavor diminishes rapidly as a result.
Coffee beans are a natural product and they should be treated with care to preserve their quality.
Bottom line is ground coffee has a very short shelf life, so you should only buy what you need and buy it fresh.
How Long Does Coffee Beans Last?
It depends on the type of container you used to store your coffee beans, temperature and moisture.
The shelf-life of coffee beans is determined by how they are packaged, the variety, amount and quality of the beans, and how they are stored.
In general, coffee beans from a reputable roaster will last around 1-3 months after purchase before opening.
Once opened you should have about 2-4 weeks before your coffee becomes stale.
How To Tell If Coffee Beans Have Gone Stale Or Rancid?
There are many telltale signs to show that your coffee beans have gone stale. These include:
- A musty or moldy smell – when the beans have been exposed to too much moisture.
- Coffee that tastes old, degraded and bitter: At this point, the taste of the coffee is almost nonexistent and it has a stale or rancid smell.
- Coffee that develops mold: When coffee has been contaminated by bacteria, it develops grayish mold on its surface and can be tasted as “moldy” or “rotten” flavors. At this point, your coffee is no longer safe to consume.
- Coffee that is no longer as aromatic as when it was first opened, especially if opened after some time has passed (more than a month).
Bonus Tip For Coffee Freshness
Grind your coffee right before brewing.
The process of grinding breaks open the little green cells of the coffee bean containing its precious oils and aromas. As soon as you grind it, those flavors start to dissipate.
When you brew with ground-up beans, this difference in time is negligible…
Final Thoughts on How To Keep Coffee Beans Fresh
I’ve covered the basics of how to keep whole coffee beans fresh, but I hope this information will help you in choosing the right storage place for your coffee beans.
Keeping your freshly roasted beans fresh is a long and complicated process, but with just one mistake then you might as well throw away everything that you have tried to do to keep them fresh.
In order to keep your beans fresh, heed these tips and follow our guidelines above.
And don’t forget – if possible purchase small amounts of coffee only what you will use within two weeks.
On this note, I hope this article will be useful to you.