It wasn’t until quite recently that I discovered I was storing my coffee beans and grounds all wrong. Not to point any fingers, but the cafe where I used to work always kept them in the fridge, and so did pretty much everyone around me who drank coffee. I watched, “learned,” and never questioned it — I simply assumed they were right.
Obviously, I should have done my own research. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say my ignorance resulted in a lifetime of hitherto badly tasting coffee, I do feel that if I had better preserved my beans, my coffees would have all maintained their flavors for a longer span of time.
But, you know, you live and you learn.
Anyway, after doing some digging for relevant information, I came across a few tips for keeping coffee beans and grounds fresh for as long as possible. So if like me, you’ve ever wondered what’s really best for your coffee, now’s your time to find out.
Avoid light, air, moisture, and heat.
These are the 4 archenemies of your coffee beans. The best thing to do is store your coffee in an opaque container, and place that in a cool, dry cabinet away from direct sunlight. You should also keep it away from anything with very strong smells, as the beans will absorb the scent.
Keep them in an airtight container.
Protect your coffee beans from the harsh outside world as best you can. Vacuum-sealed bags are probably the optimal homes for them, but since we can’t all be vacuum-sealing bags every time, airtight containers work just as well.
Not only is the inside of a fridge humid, but the warmer, outside air will enter the refrigerator every time you open it, exposing your coffee beans to fluctuating temperatures. You want the coffee to remain in as consistent a temperature as possible, so the refrigerator is actually an unideal environment for the beans.
If you live in a really humid area and are concerned about leaving your beans out, you could divide them into small batches and freeze them. Only take out what you’ll be using each time, though — refreezing your coffee beans once they’ve been taken out is a big no-no.
Buy 1-2 weeks worth of coffee at a time.
Buying in smaller batches instead of purchasing a giant bag can save you from having to drink stale, flavorless coffee later on.
Buy whole beans.
If you have a grinder at home, it’s best to buy whole beans and grind the necessary amount every time. Ground beans will lose much of its aroma and flavor in just a few hours, so the longer they remain as beans, the better.
It’s definitely worth doing a little bit of research on your own, to see what works best for you at home. But now you know that keeping your coffee beans and grounds fresh is neither difficult nor a hassle, and for as long as you keep it up, your coffee will thank you with fresh, aromatic cups of joe.