Storing Coffee

There are popular misconceptions on the way roasted coffee should be stored and maintained.

Coffee’s Enemies

  • Light
  • Water
  • Oxygen
  • Heat
  • Flavors from Refridgerator, Freezer, or Container

Room Temperature Storage

Use a ceramic container.  A ceramic container does not let light, water or oxygen in.  A clean, dry ceramic container will not contaminate the taste of the coffee. (Plastic and metal hold onto other flavors)   Keep the container away from heat, like the stove, toaster, window.   Fill your clean, dry ceramic container to the top.  This will keep your coffee beans fresh for one week easy.  Maybe upto two weeks. 

Freezing Coffee – Not as Good as an Iced Mocha

Some people store their coffee in the freezer thinking it is going to keep the coffee fresh. Here are a couple of reasons why storing coffee in your freezer is a bad idea:

  • Coffee is porous. This is a good thing for fans of flavored coffee as the beans absorb the coffee flavoring syrups and oils that are used to make flavored coffee. However, if given the chance, coffee can also absorb other things like the flavor of seafood or the moisture that your freezer produces. This moisture will in turn deteriorate the coffee and even make it taste like, well… like a freezer.
  • When coffee is roasted, the beans release their oils and essences to give the coffee its distinct flavor. You’ll notice these oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso. When you break down these oils by freezing, you are removing the flavor.

Think about it…. if coffee tasted better and fresher from the freezer, then you would buy it in the frozen food section, your local coffee shop might look more like an ice cream parlor, and our power bills would be through roof trying to maintain a meat-locker the size of a warehouse.

When to Freeze Coffee

For short term storage, freezing your coffee will not keep it fresher.  If you need to store your coffee 2-8 weeks, freezing will  inprove the protection from coffee’ s enemies.  Put your unopened vacum sealed bag into the freeze immediately upon receiving it.  Once you pull it out of the freezer, place the beans in a light tight, air tight ceramic container with a good seal.  Keep the container away from heat sources.

Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. Do not put it back into the freezer!

When to Refrigerate Coffee

Never, unless you are conducting a science experiment on how long it takes to ruin perfectly good coffee. The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee.

Buy whole beans and keep them whole as long as you can.

Would you cut a cake into pieces the day before you plan to serve it? Would you buy it pre-sliced? Of course not!  The pieces would quickly  become stale and the frosting would start to dry out. The same goes for coffee. Grinding the coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposes the beans to air,  and makes the coffee go stale a lot faster, no matter how you store it.  This holds especially true for flavored coffees!

For the best tasting coffee, buy your beans whole and store them in a sealed container in a dark place. Grind right before serving.

Vacuum-sealed coffee

Vacuum-sealed coffee does not equal fresh coffee. When coffee is roasted, it releases carbon dioxide and continues to release it for days afterward.  Fresh-roasted coffee can be packaged in valve-sealed bags to allow the gasses to escape and will taste best about 48 hours after roasting. To be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO² or it will burst the bag. The valve lets the excess gasses out and keeps the oxygen and moisture out.  The vacuum bag will indeed help preserve coffee longer while it ships and maybe sits on a store shelf, but before it shipped it had to sit around for a while before it was “sealed for freshness.”  Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee.

Bottom Line

  •  Buy your coffee from a roaster!
  • Coffee Bricks bought at the supermarket are already stale! 
  • Freezing is okay.  Just do it right!   ONLY ONCE!
  • Grind it when you are ready to drink it!
  • Protect your coffee from the enemy at all costs!
  • There is no substitute for fresh!
  • Enjoy!
The Original Coffee Company has a large selection of FRESH ROASTED Gourmet Coffees. We ship the same Day we Roast in 1 lb Valve-Sealed bags!