One of the worst and most disappointing things is to get ready to make yourself a delicious pot of coffee in the morning only to find that your coffee has gone off. You will soon realize as stale coffee has a serious lack of flavor and an unpleasant bitterness.
Whether you keep beans to grind when you want to make a pot, or you buy ready ground coffee, it does have a time limit and won’t stay fresh and tasty forever sadly, so here is how to tell if your coffee beans have gone off before you grind them and experience the disappointing taste.
Freshly roasted beans are coated with coffee oil which provides the flavor so appear glossy and shiny. If your beans have become matte and dull they have gone stale and there is no point grinding them as your coffee will be terrible.
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You can also tell if the coffee oil has dried up by how much residue is left on your hands if you grab a handful. If they are dried up there won’t be anything on your hands and you know they are stale. They will also have lost that lovely smell.
When you bought your coffee it should have been packaged in a bag with a valve as this keeps the coffee fresh, allowing it to release gases. If there is no valve in the packaging it is unlikely the coffee was very fresh to start with.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?
Freshly ground coffee will only last for around three to four weeks before it goes stale. The reason is that coffee beans are full of oils that hold all the flavor, tastes, and smells and they are safely inside the bean.
Once the bean is roasted those oils rise to the bean surface and are released. As the beans are ground, the oils and smells are even more exposed to the air around and released, which is why ground coffee goes stale much more quickly than coffee beans.
If you want your fresh coffee to last longer, the key is to buy the beans and then only grind the amount you need to use each time, rather than grinding all of it. It is true that different types of coffee can have different freshness periods but as a rule, ground coffee will always go stale more quickly than beans.
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Freshly roasted beans will stay fresh and last for around three months or so, but again, this can depend on the blend and the type of roast undertaken, but as a rough estimate, it’s three times longer than ground coffee.
The Key to Keeping Coffee Lasting Longer
The key to long-lasting coffee, whether ground or beans, is the way you store it in your home. By using the correct storage methods for your coffee you can help to create the perfect atmosphere for it to stay fresh.
Coffee needs to be stored with minimum exposure to moisture, heat, air, or bright light, so the best place is in an air-tight container in a dark cupboard. Displaying your coffee beans in a jar on the worktop will make them go stale quicker.
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If your coffee was in a covered bag with a seal when you bought it then simply keep it in the bag and reseal it after every use, and then put it into a dark cupboard. If not then use a jar or container instead.
It’s not a good idea to freeze coffee as this can have a negative impact on the oils, therefore affecting the taste and aroma of your coffee. If you want to make it last then store your coffee as beans and only grind a handful to make coffee when you need some.
If you are buying ground coffee then make sure you buy it as freshly ground as possible, preferably from a coffee roaster so you know exactly how fresh that coffee is. Don’t buy coffee in bulk as it won’t keep and this is not a good economy.
You need to buy the best quality, freshest ground coffee and in small batches so that it won’t go off before you get the chance to enjoy the amazing brews that it will produce for you. You could try subscribing to a delivery service with a coffee roaster to guarantee that regular, fresh coffee at your door.
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Ground coffee will only last three to four weeks before going stale so your best option is to buy it fresh and in small batches so it doesn’t get the chance to go off, or else invest in your own roasted coffee beans that last longer, and only grind them as and when you need to make a batch of fresh coffee.