How do you store your beans?
Everybody knows fresh coffee is the best. That much is obvious. We want our coffee to have that zip that comes with adequately brewed coffee all the time. But the main question is how to store coffee beans properly.
we hardly pay enough attention to coffee beans storage
Most people forget that the coffee beans bought in that nice coffee bag are the result of a process that starts from farms in some far away country. In other words, like all organic products, coffee beans are perishable. And, thus, you have to know how to store coffee beans properly.
They start losing their freshness immediately they are roasted and bagged. That is why coffee beans that have stayed too long on our shelves taste funny and different. In some cases, they even have an awful, stale taste.
So if you want your coffee to be at its peak regarding freshness for as long as you have them, you must adopt the proper storage habits. Thankfully, this is easy.
Best Conditions for Coffee Beans Storage
Avoid sunlight – light is known to accelerate the breakdown of organic matter like coffee beans through a process known as photodegradation.
Essentially, the fats, pigments, vitamins, and proteins that make up organic products, like coffee, become degraded over time when exposed to bright light.
This results in the coffee beans losing that flavor and taste we love so much. In layman terms, this means the coffee is no longer fresh.
Avoid heat – Temperature plays an important role in how fast foods decay.
Higher temperatures tend to favor the organic reactions that lead to decay. That is why we keep things in the fridge. The cold temperature slows down decay drastically.
Coffee beans too would lose their freshness when exposed to warm temperatures. So cool areas are the best for coffee storage. But not a fridge, never there!
Avoid moisture – Moisture, like light and high temperatures, also encourage the decay of organic products like coffee. So the best place to keep your coffee beans is in a dry environment devoid of water or moisture.
Airtight – Air means oxygen; the presence of oxygen would degrade your coffee faster than even heat and light. Almost all forms of chemical reactions in nature need oxygen.
So an airtight environment that is dark, dry and cool is the best set of conditions for proper coffee storage. This is also stated by the National Coffee Association!
Best locations for storing your coffee beans
Now that you know the best requirements for storing coffee, the locations would be easy to figure out. For instance:
- You must avoid storing your coffee in the fridge or freezer. These two places must be avoided at all cost. In the first place, both have a high moisture content which is not suitable for coffee storage.
Secondly, apart from the fact that coffee absorbs moisture in the fridge or freezer, it is known to also absorb the flavors, aromas, and smell of other organic products inside the fridge/freezer.
So in a packed space like a fridge, the coffee brew would have additional taste or flavor that is the combination of the flavors of the stuff in your fridge. It can be very unpleasant.
However, if you have to use the fridge or freezer, then put the coffee beans in airtight, opaque containers. That would prevent moisture and smells from getting to the coffee.
- Pantries and cabinets are perfect examples of cool, dry, dark places. So these are right places to store your coffee
- Don’t place the coffee beans close to warm spots. Ovens or other appliances that emit heat should be kept as far as possible from your coffee beans.
No matter where you keep your coffee beans, you must adhere to this golden rule: the coffee beans storage vessel must be opaque and airtight.
Coffee Beans Storage containers
The right storage containers could be the single most important factor in keeping your coffee beans fresh over a long period.
Ideally, the container must be airtight, opaque and must be able to keep the beans dry all the time. Fortunately, it is not hard to get containers with all these qualities. And the good part is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to purchase one.
You should avoid coffee storage containers that look very complicated and require that you read a manual before you can use them.
Types of containers ideal for coffee beans storage
- Metal containers that are non-reactive
- Ceramic containers or vessels
- Glass containers
- Clear plastic containers
In all cases, they must have airtight gaskets to keep air and moisture away from your coffee beans.
In the case of glass and clear plastic containers, you must only use them if you have a dark place to keep them. It is important to keep light away from the beans.
One of the secrets of always getting fresh coffee is never to buy too much at a time. Buy a little, finish it within a fortnight at most, and get another batch. That is the secret on how to store coffee beans – store it only for a short while.
This way you reduce the chances of coffee beans spoilage since the storage period is not long.
Some veterans even suggest you buy fresh, unroasted whole bean coffee. These can be stored for longer periods. Then, simply fetch a small amount, roast and grind them before brewing your coffee. Fresh coffee doesn’t get any better than that.
But going down that road can be tedious though.
So in summary, to ensure you get fresh coffee anytime you need it, the steps below are the proper coffee beans storage method:
- Make sure you buy whole bean coffee to make storage for longer periods easier
- Buy your coffee in small batches
- Store in airtight, opaque containers. Ceramic and stainless steel/metal containers are best
- Put the storage containers in cool, dry places. If you are using glass or clear plastic containers, then store them in dark places.