The Surprising Way to Keep Coffee Beans Fresh
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
So you've got a new bag of freshly roasted coffee beans. Sweet! Now you want to keep that fresh roasted flavor for as l-o-n-g as possible.
You've probably heard many ways to keep your beans performing until the last cup is poured including NOT placing them in the freezer.
And that's true. Coffee is moisture-loving. So, placing them in a freezer or refrigerator allows them to attract all the other food odors stored there. Not good.
So what is the best way to keep coffee beans fresh? Here's our take.
What Oxygen Does to Coffee Beans
How you keep your beans fresh depends on how you buy them. However, each way has one common denominator. Keep oxygen out!
Vacuum sealed coffee beans are best. These bags feature a small valve hole that does exactly that. It keeps in more carbon dioxide. That's important because roasted coffee beans contain up to 2% carbon dioxide.
The moment the roasting process is finished, carbon dioxide gas begins to leak from the beans. And that means beans oxidize resulting in loss of flavor.
Vacuum sealed bags preserve carbon dioxide and keep the enemy of coffee out, oxygen.
Think of the carbon dioxide inside the bag as a blanket that covers the beans, protecting them from oxygen.
Every time you open the vacuum sealed bag to make coffee you aren't losing much of the carbon dioxide.
That's why the vacuum containers are so important. They remove the oxygen from the interior canister.
If your coffee doesn't come vacuum-packed, store your beans in an airtight container away from heat and light.
“If you dump all the beans into a new container — which contains oxygen — you are basically disposing of that valuable C02 blanket, and replacing it with oxygen-containing atmosphere,” Peter Giuliano of Specialty Coffee Association says.
A cool, dark location is best. Choose a cabinet away from the oven or one that doesn't get sunlight. The point is to keep as much oxygen out of the container as possible!
How Long Can You Keep Your Coffee Beans Fresh?
With a vacuum sealed coffee bag, you can keep your beans fresh for up to nine months!
Generally though, roasted coffee beans will stay fresh for up to two weeks if you keep air, heat, light, and moisture away from it.
We all know coffee is cool; just keep it that way when you buy a bag!
How Much Coffee Should I Buy to Keep It Fresh?
Right after coffee beans have been roasted, they begin to lose their flavor. That's why we recommend
buying smaller batches more frequently, say a bag to last 1-2 weeks.
If you're buying pre-ground coffee, definitely opt for a smaller quantity and an airtight container. Because the beans have been ground, they have increased exposure to oxygen, so they will lose their flavor quicker.
For whole beans, grind right before brewing for the freshest flavor possible.
Let's Re-Visit Freezing Your Coffee Beans While We're At It
Coffee beans absorbs moisture, odors, and tastes. So unless you want your expensive bag of Joe to taste like the Chinese leftovers stored in your refrigerator, or your aunt Mary's favorite pot roast, steer clear.
Got a tip for keeping your coffee fresh? We'd love to hear it!
Pick up a bag of fresh roasted coffee beans at the Coffee Cave. We've got many varieties to choose from. Or, grab a cup, if you're on the go. We change out our gourmet coffee every 90 minutes!