One of the main questions we receive from our clients and followers is: what is the best way to store roasted coffee?
Let’s start with the basic and simple notion that coffee is a product of nature. Therefore, it’s life cycle is not infinite and like for any other food product: the sooner we consume it, the better!
When talking about storage, we can first of all state what coffee does NOT like: air, humidity, heat and light. Also, one very important difference to take into consideration is between: ground and whole beans!
How long will ground coffee stay fresh?
Unfortunately, the first 30 minutes after grinding coffee, it already loses 50% of its aroma. This is why we usually recommend to buy the coffee in whole beans and use a manual (for domestic use) or an on-demand grinder (for larger consumption).
One of the main reasons why the aroma is lost after grinding and the coffee starts to deteriorate quicker is very simple: when you grind the coffee, more surface of the coffee matter is exposed to C02 and therefore oxygenates more quickly. Keeping the coffee in whole beans therefore keeps the aroma for longer as the beans themselves are the best vessel for protecting the quality. Coffee in whole beans has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months.
Ground coffee usually stays fresh from about 5 days up to to 2 weeks after opening the package. The difference in quality is made by the packaging and storage. As we’ve said before, coffee doesn’t like air, humidity, heat and light.
The myth about keeping coffee in the fridge
There is definitely one myth that we have to dispel: coffee should NOT be stored in the fridge. The reason is quite simple: since coffee does not like humidity, by placing and removing the coffee from the fridge, a condensation effect takes place (think about those drops of water that form on food or Tupperware when you remove it from the fridge!) and the coffee will then have a completely different aroma and taste. Same thing is true for the freezer.
Why do coffee bags have a valve?
As we’ve said before, on one side coffee doesn’t like is air. On the other, the carbon dioxide which roasted coffee release after roasting has to find a way out (otherwise your bag would most probably blow up and eventually also explode), but air should not enter. This is why the valve is one of the most important elements in coffee packaging.
What can sometimes happen during transportation is that, given the air pressure at different altitudes, the entire carbon dioxide / air is released from the coffee bag giving it a sort of “vacuum-effect”.
This anyhow does NOT have any impact on the quality of the coffee. On the contrary, we could almost say that it preserves the coffee even more since, at this point, air can definitely not enter the coffee bag.
So what is the best way to store coffee?
Here is a summary of do’s and don’ts which we recommend when storing coffee:
- Store in a dry, cool place at a temperature between 15° and 25° C and a humidity of ˃50%
- Choose coffee packaged in materials that keep the light away and that have a valve
- When buying, try to choose whole beans to grounded coffee and use a manual or on demand grinder
- Use a metal tin for storage (check out our Limited Edition 100% Arabica metal tin)
- Use a glass or transparent packaging / glass container
- Store coffee in the refrigerator or freezer
- Keep the coffee packaging open for too long