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How To Store Coffee Beans

Coffee is a seasonal product, but it is always good to buy coffee in small but frequent batches. While this helps ensure that you are still taking a fresh coffee cup, it also allows you to try varieties of coffee. It is good to try something new and get to know the nuances and differences. But in most cases, this is non-practical. Imagine treating yourself to an Haute bag of coffee beans for less than 20 bucks. The final taste of your brew depends on the crop freshness right from harvesting, the packaging, and, most importantly, the storage.

how-to-store-coffee-beans

As a coffee fanatic, you could be knowing everything there is to know about your perfect cup of joe, but the big question is, do you know how to store coffee beans, keeping them fresh and perky to the last grain? You may have come across different best ways to store whole coffee beans since everyone has their theory and what works best for them. The bottom line is to avoid the four horsemen and enemies of whole coffee bean; air, heat, light, and moisture.

Coffee Bean Packaging

Coffee packaging is a way of marketing coffee products. Your packaging impacts on the quality of your product that reaches our loyal consumers. Coffee packaging should be accorded the attention it commands since it is a key player in the quality of your end product and a communicator of your company values. You spend time looking for exceptional coffee beans, the best coffee grinder, and the right coffee brewing method all aimed at making a perfect cup of coffee. All these efforts could be watered down the drains if you miss out on packaging and storage. There are various ways in which you can package your coffee beans; they include, plastic or metal containers, and pouch packages

Plastic And Metal Containers

Coffee-Bean-Packaging

The awesomeness of coffee is a cruel mistress, fleeting and fickle, but you can achieve it by storing your beans properly. When coffee beans are left uncovered and exposed, they catabolize. The biggest secret to making a great cup of coffee is buying quality whole coffee beans, knowing how to store whole coffee beans and grinding them immediately before you start preparing your brew. Plastic and metal containers are not the best to store your coffee since they react with the coffee, and alter its flavors.

Quick tips to ensure peak freshness of your cup of joe.

  • Always buy whole beans instead of ground coffee, which starts to lose freshness and flavor within an hour of opening it.
  • You can make bulk purchases, but when it comes to coffee, there is more and greatness in small quantities. Just buy enough to use for about a week.
  • The best way to store coffee beans is in airtight canisters and vacuum containers; this keeps away the biggest enemies of your coffee beans.
  • Keep your canister in a cool and dry place. It could be in your kitchen pantry or a cupboard but should be shady.

Packages

When you visit your local grocery or your local retail shop, on the coffee shelves, you will see different types of coffee packaging pouches. They vary in both shapes and sizes, and you will most likely come across five variances of packaging bags as you will see below:

  • Flat Bottom Bag

Flat Bottom Bag

This is the most popular coffee packaging bag in the coffee industry. It is prominent on the shelves since it can stand on its own without any support, giving a maximum impact. It has a square shape at the bottom, making it look almost like a box. Its presence on the shelves hardly goes unnoticed due to the perfect stand up feature, a great marketing possibility. The bag comes with a zipper, different sizes, and a couple of designs. You can roll up the bag to form a brick-shaped package that is tight.

  • Doypack

Doypack-coffee

Doypack comes with a rounded, oval-shaped bottom and a flat top. The stand-up alone packaging pouch is unique and differentiates itself from other typical coffee packaging bags. Its rounded, oval-shaped bottom makes it look like a can and outstanding on the coffee shelves. Regardless of the filling weight in it, the pouch can stand nicely because of the performed foot. This makes its presence loud, and consumers get the impression that the price they are paying matches what they acquire.

  • Quad Seal Bag

Quad-Seal-Bags-coffee

As its name suggests, the packaging bag has a similar style with the side fold bag, with all its four corners sealed. The four corners of the bag are sealed, giving the pouch more of a square look, making it easy to put a zipper lock. The bag has firm side seals and can stand without any support. Its modular look easily grabs attention. With all these high-end features, the package digs deep into your pockets as the most expensive.

  • Pillow Bag

Pillow-coffee- Bag

A pillow bag is the simplest of them all. It is also pocket friendly and the most economical. Just like its name suggests, the bag does not stand on the shelves but lays flat on display like a pillow on your bed. Its cost of production is equally low, and the bag cannot be re-sealed once opened hence used for fractional and single-serve packaging.

  • Bag In Bag (BIB)

bag-In-Bag-coffee

This packaging is common for fractional packs of coffee, packed into bigger packagers for bulky orders or food delivery services. The smaller fractional packs are formed, filled, and sealed, then packed into the bigger outer bags and wrapped.

Factors That Customers Consider In a Coffee Packaging

Consumers value their time, so they look for convenient packages. Here are features that are taking care of the needs of modern consumers.

  • Zippers

Zippers are a popular feature that most consumers look for when buying their coffee bags since they can reuse the product after opening. Zipper lock allows you to use your coffee conveniently without exposing it and prevents staling.

  • Ties and tapes

Although ties and tapes are not as tight as zipper closures, they are common coffee packaging bags. They are common in stand-up coffee packaging bags providing re-closable convenience to the buyer.

  • Clear labelling

The labelling of your packaging bag is an effective marketing strategy that sells the value for the company and should be treated with so much attention.  An elaborate label is what customers want to get detailed information about the product in plain language on one sight.

  • Minimal package design

Make it easy for customers to choose what they want since they are already overwhelmed with visuals and data and are spoilt for choices. Make minimum usage of graphics and designs for your packages.

  • Small package sizes

Consumers still buy in bulk, but most people have become less brand loyal, and they want smaller purchases as 'try me' as they explore their options.

Where To Store Coffee Beans

If you want to get that perfect cup of coffee, it will be inevitable to care for your beans at every stage meticulously. The characteristic aroma and taste of coffee can only be felt if all the steps right from harvesting to proper brewing are strictly adhered to. If any of these steps are omitted or done inappropriately, then the batch will be a disappointment or even end up spoiling. Storing your beans properly is one vital step that is often ignored. As a coffee enthusiast, you should know how to store coffee beans and where to store them. Coffee is affected by how the beans are stored and here are some key ways to keep your beans safe;

  • The best way to store coffee beans is away from moisture to prevent them from catabolizing and preserve the quality. Keeping your beans in a cool and dry place also hinders the growth of molds and prevent possible food poisoning that could otherwise occur.
  • There are not many insects that attack coffee beans, but it is good to keep them away from insects' reach. This serves to ensure that every batch is pure.
  • Coffee beans should be kept free and away from air. The best way of how to store whole coffee beans is by putting them in airtight containers. This ensures the beans are free from contamination and locks in the goodness and freshness of your beans.
  • Keep the coffee away from direct light. Coffee beans should be stored in opaque containers and put away at room temperatures in a cupboard or the kitchen pantry. In case the container passes some light through it to the coffee beans, it should be kept away in a dark place that is dry and holds room temperatures.
  • The freezer is another place where you can store your beans, but the container should not be opened in the freezer. Remember that moisture is not an ally to coffee beans, and if you open the container while still frozen, the beans will attract condensation, which can cause an awful freezer burn aroma.

Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?

can-i-freeze-coffee-beans

Sometimes storing your coffee in the freezer could be the only option at hand, especially after getting so much coffee at a discounted price. After all, cold temperatures slow down molecular activities and effects. But this does not necessarily preserve the flavor and origin characteristics of your coffee. This is because:

  • Your freezer contains other molecules of flavor in it; remember the chicken sale from one week ago?
  • The door of your freezer opens and closes now and then as you get something to cook.
  • In a freezer, there are water molecules that drip and attach to the coffee bag or container.
  • This means that ice will form on the beans or the container, and when it melts, it could get its way to the beans and destroy its quality.

Would you want your coffee tasting like liquid salmon?

To prevent this, minimize the chances of your coffee coming into contact with water. Keep your beans in the original package you bought them in, but put it in a freezer zip lock bag and remove all the air in the storage bag before zipping it. Alternatively, you can put your bag of beans in a plastic bag, suck out all the air and wrap it with a foil.

With careful use, the freezer is a good solution for storing bean purchases made in bulk.

  • Divide your coffee into small portions and freeze them separately in airtight bags or containers.
  • Ensure that your airtight containers or vacuum-sealed freezer bags only hold coffee that can be used in less than one month.
  • You can also label your bags and containers so that you will not forget when they went in. Leave them frozen until you need more coffee and remember to follow the first in first out (FIFO) rule.
  • Each time you take a bag or container of coffee out of the freezer, allow it time to defrost and let it sit until it attains room temperature before you can open it. This helps protect the beans from condensing and also prevent odors that are caused by condensation. Opening the beans at room temperature also prevents the risk of mold and mildew.

The refrigerator is a no go zone for coffee since the temperatures there are not enough to freeze the water found inside the fridge. There is a cold mist that clings on the coffee and the mixed flavor and scent molecules floating around from the foods stored in the fridge. I would, therefore, not recommend coffee storage in the fridge.

Storing Ground Coffee

Most people find it tiring and hectic grinding coffee beans at home. They find it easier to use pre-ground coffee purchased from the supermarket put in pouch packages or vacuum-sealed cans. Most people prefer purchasing ground coffee over whole coffee beans, but there is no universally common method for the best storage of ground coffee. Most people are not even aware that they drink stale and dried out coffee such that they have gotten used to the mundane flavor of poorly stored coffee. Absurdly, some people struggle to store their ground coffee in strange and wrong ways that end up destroying their coffee just in the same way as when no efforts are taken.

storing-ground-coffee

It is not a wonder that the worst enemy of ground coffee is being left open to the air for a considerably long time. This is the main reason why you will find that most manufacturers store their coffee in vacuum-sealed canisters and packages. Ground coffee absorbs moisture from the air; it also losses moisture to the air. Sounds weird, right? The best way to store ground coffee is by a method that prevents the two reactions from occurring. Both high and low temperatures will do equal damages to your coffee. By this you will have to put your coffee in an equilibrium state:

Vacuum storing and freezing.

The safest way to store your ground coffee and keep it fresh is by putting it in a vacuum container and seal it. These resources are readily available from kitchen equipment stores, and they come in two variances; food saver bag and a food saver can.  If you want to freeze your ground coffee, you can use the food saver bag, and the canister can be used to store your ground coffee in a cupboard or the pantry.

For long term coffee storage, it is best to have it in the freezer. First, you may put several packs of ground coffee in the food saver bag while still in their original packages and vacuum seal it. You can also remove your ground coffee from the original packages, transfer it directly into the food saver bag, vacuum seal it, and put it in the freezer. If you are not keeping your coffee for long, then you there is no need to freeze your coffee, can use the food saver can. Remove your coffee from the original package, put it in the canister, vacuum seal it, and store it in the cupboard or kitchen pantry. If the canister is clear such that light can penetrate through, it should be put in a dark place.

In a vacuum environment, frozen ground coffee can stay fresh and maintain its original characteristics for about two years. If it is only in a vacuum container in the pantry, it can last for up to six months of freshness. In a normal canister that is not vacuum sealed, the coffee can last for about a month in the pantry. This shows that vacuum sealing your ground coffee gives a longer life by about five times, and freezing it while under vacuum seal prolongs the freshness for another five times.

It is advisable first to vacuum seal your coffee then freeze it. If frozen without a vacuum seal, moisture found inside the freezer can easily pervade into the coffee grinds and dissolve it and cause a deterioration in the aroma of coffee by mixing it with various freezer odors. When you want to use vacuum-sealed, frozen coffee gets from the bag a scoop enough to use for not more than a week, re-seal it, and put it back in your freezer. On the other hand, let your coffee sit until it cools, and attains room temperature before you can brew it.

Whole Beans Vs. Ground Coffee

Ground-Coffee-Vs-Whole-Bean

Coffee beans grow through a long process right from planting to brewing, but mostly coffee starts to age rapidly after grinding. The distinguishing factor between whole beans and ground coffee is in the freshness, flavor, and aroma. Getting pre-ground coffee saves you from grinding your coffee and ending up doing it wrongly. Using pre-ground coffee robs you the freshness of your homebrew, and it shortens the life span of your coffee before it goes stale.

Whole bean coffee gives the freshest brew possible every time if it is stored appropriately. However, it is hard to tell the difference in the freshness of whole bean coffee from that of pre-ground coffee if you have never tasted a fresh cup of the whole bean that has been ground a few minutes before brewing it. The aroma and flavor of a fresh brew cannot go unnoticed since it is at its best immediately after grinding.

What would you prefer between the convenience of pre-ground coffee or enjoying a great cup of unmatched freshness? Well, the decision lies within you.

Enemies Of Coffee (keeping your coffee fresh)

Enemies-Of-Coffee

Coffee is a very fragile food product that depends so much on how it is stored. The storage conditions determine the flavor, aroma, and freshness of the coffee. When coffee is not stored appropriately, it is affected by:

Air

Air is the greatest enemy of coffee that makes it a necessity to store coffee in airtight containers. If coffee is left in the open or stored in a substandard container, it starts oxidizing and goes bad. Ground coffee is affected more by air than whole beans.

Heat

Store coffee should be in a cool place. Subjecting coffee to heat before brewing lowers its flavor since oils start escaping as well as the water molecules that form part of the coffee.

Light

Coffee should be stored in dark places or opaque containers. Direct light on roasted beans makes them go stale upon exposure.

Moisture

Little humidity makes coffee dry out excessively, while too much humidity makes coffee go bad. Coffee is highly absorbent and leaving it open to moisture, and it will attract the water and grow molds. In a moisturized environment, coffee will absorb the odors and flavors in the atmosphere around it.

Don't Throw Out Your Stale Beans.

In a perfect world, that does not exist, you would buy coffee beans in small batches that are enough to use and finish before they start losing their value. Since that is only theoretical, you can use your stale beans to make a cold brew. You can use fresh coffee for a cold brew, but that is more of a waste since you can use old coffee beans, and the taste will be equally great.

If you bought freshly roasted coffee, put it in an airtight container, and stored them at room temperature, but you did not manage to exhaust them before they went stale, you do not have to feel bad about and toss them down the drains. Here are a few great ideas of how you can make good use of your stale coffee.

  • Take your coffee and put it in a blender, add a substantial amount of vanilla ice cream, a glass of cold milk, a bowl of ice cubes, and a spoonful of vanilla essence. Blend them to make a treat of coffee milkshake that will keep you fresh the entire day.
  • Grind your whole beans and put the ground in an ice cube tray. Put them in the freezer, and later use them as browning agents in gravy.
  • When baking, grind your beans and prepare some coffee, and instead of using water, add the coffee in your vanilla or chocolate cake recipe to get the great mocha flavor.

How Do You Know When Your Coffee Goes Bad?

Ensuring proper food hygiene and safe food practices help lower cases of food poisoning.

With age, coffee looks the same, and it is hard to know when it has gone bad by just looking at it. The best way to tell if your coffee is bad is by smelling it. When coffee is stale, the sweet aroma disappears, and with it, the great taste. Taking stale coffee does not harm, but you will not enjoy the pleasant aroma. It also tends to lose the deep dark color and acquires a lighter brown shade.

Coffee beans deteriorate and start losing their original characteristics immediately after grinding since the oils start evaporating. There are no health dangers pointed to taking spoilt coffee, but learn to keep your food safe and strive to make the most out of your coffee before it goes bad.

FAQs

Can I Store Coffee Beans In The Fridge?

If you purchase your coffee beans wrapped in a paper package, transfer them into an airtight or a vacuum container. Put the container in a shady place away from light, preferably in your cupboard at room temperatures.

Storing your coffee in the fridge could keep your beans fresh away from micro-organisms, but that does not preserve the taste, flavor, and origin characteristics of your beans.

How Long Can My Coffee Beans Last?

The life of your beans is all in the packaging. Your coffee beans will stay for a longer period or deteriorate faster, depending on the coffee bag. The thickness of your craft bag determines the life length of your coffee. The thicker your bag is, the longer your beans will last without going stale.

If you want your coffee beans to last for the longest without going stale, consider removing them from the paper pouch and store them in an opaque, airtight canister and put it away in your kitchen pantry.

Read our last guide about: How Long Do Coffee Beans Last

Does The Roast Date Of My Beans Matter?

If you are making drip coffee, the closer the roasting date is, the greater the brew. But coffee beans should be left to rest for a few days after it is roasted. Roasted beans trap a lot of gas in them, which should be allowed time to escape. Brewing coffee beans immediately after roasting them gives your brew a salty taste due to the carbon dioxide being released from the beans. Small bubbles can also be seen bursting in your cup.

For a French press or drip coffee, it is advisable to let the beans sit for between 3-10 days, while for expresso, the beans can sit for 5-12 days.

Conclusion

While there is no specific way of how to store coffee beans, it is best to find what works well for you from the list of many theories. Your aim should be maintaining the freshness of your coffee, whether ground or whole beans, by keeping them safe from air, moisture, light, and heat.

Whether using a canister or a packaging pouch, ensure that it is airtight to prevent your coffee beans from oxidizing, and store your coffee at room temperatures.

To wrap it up, do not use coffee directly from the freezer while it is still too cold. Coffee that is neither vacuum-sealed nor frozen should not be kept for more than three weeks. Buy enough coffee to use within two to three weeks, and if you must buy more than that then, divide it into portions, vacuum seal, and put it in the freezer.  Coffee to be used in 2-3 weeks should be stored in an airtight container and stored at room temperature in the pantry. The best airtight containers should be made of glass or ceramic. Metal and plastic containers tend to alter the taste and flavor of the coffee. Lastly, store coffee away from light, which makes an opaque canister the best of them all. 

References:

How to store Coffee: Ncausa.org

How To Store Coffee Beans : Bonappetit.

How to Store Roasted Coffee: Perfectdailygrind

Categories Coffee
Danny Hills

My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

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