By: Cheyenne Lentz of bakedbrewedbeautiful.com
From the way they smell to how they taste, there’s really nothing quite like a fresh batch of coffee beans. Unfortunately, coffee beans don’t stay fresh forever. They are, in fact, perishable and expire in about one to two weeks once exposed to air. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to extend the life of your precious coffee beans. We’ve come up with a few storage hacks to help you out.
Opt for whole beans instead of pre-ground.
There is a considerable difference in shelf life between ground coffee and whole beans left exposed to oxygen. In general, whole beans begin to degrade 10 to 14 days after roasting whereas pre-ground coffee begins to get stale in as little as 24 hours. This is due to the fact that more of the coffee’s surface area is exposed to the air causing them to get stale. This is all to say that you’re much better off buying whole beans because they won’t stale as quickly as pre-ground coffee.
Buy small amounts of coffee more frequently.
Think of coffee like you would produce: only buy what you need for one to two weeks. Coffee beans are perishable. After about two weeks, roasted coffee exposed to air starts to lose its luster, so if you don’t have airtight, light-blocked coffee storage conditions, it’s ideal to buy smaller batches more frequently. In buying fewer coffee beans at a time, you’ll only make what you drink and you won’t get stuck with a bunch of beans that you can’t finish.
Choose a lighter roast.
Another hack to long-lasting coffee is to purchase (or roast) a light roast coffee. The reason being that light roasted beans last longer than dark roast beans. It has to do with the fact that there is less carbon dioxide created in the roasting process with lighter roasts. This allows lighter roast beans to age more slowly. To determine whether a coffee is a light or dark roast, look for oil on the beans — the dark the roast, the more oil there is on the beans.
Check bag type and / or for roast date.
When purchasing, it is imperative to look first at bag type and then at the roast date. Coffee beans stored in tin-tie bags are exposed to air the entire time they are in the bag and have a maximum shelf life of two weeks. Coffee stored in valve-sealed bags are protected from air and can stay fresh for up to eighteen months. If you are purchasing coffee in tin-tie bags, it is imperative to check when the coffee was roasted.
Use an opaque, airtight container.
Once your beans are home, you want to store them in the right container. Ideally, you should protect your beans from oxygen as well as keep them out of sight to lengthen their lifespan. To do so, use a container that is both airtight and opaque. You also don’t want your storage container to impart any unwanted flavors on your coffee beans. Therefore, the container you use for your beans should be made of a neutral material such as a non-reactive metal, glass, or ceramic. To take it a step further, there are specialist coffee containers or vacuum canisters that are specifically designed to provide coffee the right protective environment. These kinds of storage options may be a bit pricier but they should maximize the shelf life of your beans.
Keep your beans away from air, heat, light, moisture, and odor.
So now you know what to store your beans in, but it’s equally as important to know where to store them. Coffee beans must be protected from air and light, as previously mentioned, as well as from heat, moisture, and odor. These elements can deteriorate your coffee beans quickly. It’s best to store your airtight canister in a closed cabinet or cupboard away from the oven and away from any windows.
Avoid placing your beans in the freezer and fridge.
Finally, resist the urge to put your coffee beans in the fridge or the freezer. Though your intent may be to keep them longer by doing this, this act can actually shorten their lifespan. If you do this, your coffee can be exposed to moisture and condensation. Even worse, your coffee beans could take on flavors from your fridge or freezer if they are placed next to something pungent such as onions or garlic. The proper storage of coffee does require careful attention: hopefully, these hacks will help you maximize the life span of your coffee beans so you are able to enjoy the freshest coffee at all times.