If you are a big fan of fresh coffee you might be tempted to buy a whole load of freshly ground coffee in bulk, thinking it will last – it won’t. Freshly ground coffee only lasts about four weeks before it goes off.
However, coffee beans can stay fresh for around three months so if you really want to enjoy fresh coffee every day the best thing to do is buy coffee beans and then grind them yourself at home with a coffee grinder.
The trick to storing the beans is not to go ahead and grind the whole lot all in one go, as you will just end up with a load of ground coffee that will go bad within a few weeks. You need to store your beans correctly and only grind a small amount at a time when you need them.
The reason beans last longer are because they contain the oil, aroma, and flavor of the coffee inside them. It’s protected and the coffee stays fresh. Once you grind the beans, all of that precious deliciousness is released to the world and your coffee loses it quickly and goes stale.
Stale coffee has no lovely smell and tastes bitter and of nothing, at the same time so that’s the last thing you want to happen to your coffee beans. So it’s best to keep and store your beans well and just grind as you need to, for that very fresh coffee taste every time.
Ideally, you want to buy your beans as close to the roasting date as possible to make sure they are incredibly fresh and that way they will last much longer when stored properly. If you get them this fresh, the advice is to let them rest for around five to ten days before grinding at all.
How to Store Coffee Beans the Right Way
When you buy your coffee beans they might well come in a sealed foil bag with valves in it to let out the natural gas which the beans produce. If they do then you should keep them in there and place the bag inside a dark cupboard to retain the freshness.
If they came in anything else then the best thing to do is put them inside an airtight container which you can store out of the light, in a dark cupboard where they won’t get moist or have any access to the air. They should be stored at room temperature.
Whatever you do, don’t freeze your coffee beans as they will absorb the smells of the food around them and their structure will break down as you thaw them out as well. Also, don’t store them in the fridge as it makes your coffee go stale more quickly.
The perfect way to store coffee beans is to only buy a very fresh, small amount of beans at a time and keep them in a sealed airtight container in the cupboard, and then only grind a small amount as and when you want to make coffee.
Buying coffee beans in bulk is a false economy as they will go stale after three months no matter how you store them and freezing them doesn’t work as they will lose the flavor. So for the real way to store coffee beans, buy small amounts that are very fresh.
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If your beans do happen to go stale, there is one way that some people still use them and that’s to make cold brew coffee so you could try that but remember, they do tend to have a bitter taste when they are really stale.
Top tips for storing coffee beans:
- Only buy the freshest coffee beans you can find
- Don’t buy ready ground coffee as it goes bad more quickly
- Don’t bulk buy coffee beans
- Go for good quality beans in small amounts
- Don’t grind all the beans when you get them
- Never freeze coffee beans
- Don’t store coffee beans in the fridge
- Store in an airtight sealed container
- Keep coffee beans in darkroom temperature cupboards
- Stale beans have little flavor and make bitter coffee
- Coffee beans last longer than freshly ground coffee does
As you can see, storing coffee beans correctly is pretty simple but if you were hoping to buy sacksful and keep them for years unfortunately this approach simply won’t work as coffee beans are like any other fresh food and they have a shelf life of just a few months.
Storing fresh coffee beans in jars in cupboards is really the only way to keep them fresh until you need to grind some to make your morning drink. Just remember that coffee beans will always last about three times as long as ground coffee, so only grind when you need to.