The best coffee comes from the best beans, and the best beans come from the best coffee storage. Let's take a look at the proper techniques for protecting your beans against their greatest enemies - air, moisture, heat, and light.
4 Enemies of Roasted Coffee
(NOTE: Whole coffee beans are at the apex of their conditioning and flavor, and they require a steady hand to stay there until they are ready to brew. You must keep your coffee beans at the right temperature and in the right environment.)
Let's take a look 4 Coffee ENEMIES:
Air - Beans need to be kept in an airtight container in order to retain their flavor.
Moisture - Beans tend to absorb moisture from the air, which is bound to dilute the natural taste.
Heat - Room temperature is always best for storing whole coffee beans.
Light - All kinds of light including sunlight take the flavor of your beans as well.
TIP: If you want to keep the full roasted flavor of your beans preserved as long as possible, they should always be in a container that is airtight and opaque in a dark place that is room temperature.
Storing Your Coffee Beans Properly
In most cases, the places that you would normally store your beans are not the optimal locations. For instance, cabinets near stovetops or an oven will get too warm for the best storage. You should also stay away from leaving your coffee on the kitchen counter, because the sun tends to dilute the flavor during the strongest parts of the afternoon.
Retail packaging is usually not optimal, either (especially for long-term storage). As soon as you get your coffee beans home, you may want to consider transferring them into a container like the one described immediately above. Make sure that the seal is airtight, and no, the cheap zip tie that you get on most retail bags is not enough.
Also, resist the urge to use your beans as a conversation piece. They are beautiful when they are sitting there, but the light and air you are probably letting in is ruining the taste.
The Best Short Term Storage Options for Coffee Beans
The Coffee's Original Package (i.e Coffee Bag)
In If you want to keep your beans in the bag they came in, make sure that you reseal it tightly after every serving. Use a plastic clip to keep the opening shut until you need your beans again, and try to push as much air out of the bag as possible before you close it for the day.
Mason jars or any jars with lid
If you know that you are using your beans in the immediate future, you can use short mason jars or sauce jars. If you have nothing else to use, a Gatorade bottle can work. Since you will be using your beans relatively quickly, having a jar with a wide mouth is usually optimal. Make sure that you keep as much sunlight away from the beans as possible - do not put the jar on your windowsill to be an easy target for the sun.
Airtight Coffee Canisters
Most importantly, make sure that you understand the difference between an airtight container and a vacuum container. An airtight container is what you want - storage that does not let air in at all. Vacuum containers may actually speed up the process of your beans becoming stale, because they try to remove the air instead of keeping it out. As the vacuum container tries to remove the air, it also removes aromatics from the coffee beans. You are left with a drier, more tasteless bean than ever.
The Best Long Term Storage Options for Coffee Beans
NOTE: There is very little that you can do to extend the life of your roasted coffee beans. Your goal is to make sure that you keep the full active one or two weeks that you have with optimally flavored beans.
You do this by keeping your big stash of beans in a special location with all of the characteristics mentioned and repeated throughout this text - dark, airtight, cool and dry.
Try to keep your beans in a place that does not fluctuate its environment. Do not put your beans in a pantry that you open and close often (light). Use a dark container to help with that problem as well.
Should You Store Your Coffee Beans In The Freezer? For extremely long storage periods, you can freeze your beans. However, you should only do this once, and keep them in a dark, consistent environment.
"If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time."
It is best to buy your coffee in small portions - perhaps a week at a time. This is especially true if you are investing in rare, exotic beans that cost more. In most cases, coffee will start to lose its fresh taste almost immediately after they are roasted. If you buy your beans in large quantities, you do not have a chance to get to the end of your purchase without losing out on some of the quality.
If you have to make big purchases, or you want to use your beans as a visual aesthetic, you may want to split them into two portions. The smaller portion can be used as the conversation piece and the immediate brewing option. They will begin to lose flavor because of the light and air, but you should be able to finish them before the change becomes too obvious. The rest of your beans can wait for you in an optimal location and coffee canister - dark, airtight, cool and dry.
Grind only the amount of beans that you need for your next brew. Leave the rest in your optimal coffee storage location.
Take the best practices above to heart to keep your coffee pure, fresh and bold. Truly great coffee comes from the subtle parts of the process, including coffee storage. Making sure that you adhere to the right techniques here ensures a better blend and a tastier experience!
Green coffee beans is susceptible to the same things as whole coffee beans, just a little less so. The stability of the atmosphere is the most important aspect of your storage. Ideally, relative humidity in your storage area should be about 60%, and the storage temperature should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humid locations require a bit of extra protection to keep beans dry. Unroasted coffee beans need additional protection against humid air circulation, but if you have an environmentally stable area for storage, you should be fine. Keep an airtight lid on your unroasted beans so that the moisture that is with the beans stays there. Do not let in the moisture from the outside - your beans may take on a flavor of mold if you do!