A cup of coffee is a beverage that's enjoyed across the globe, whether you're happy with a simple Americano or you like the complexities of a double shot grande, salted caramel mocha latte.
With any type of coffee bean, the way you store it can impact its flavor. Whether you're a coffee expert or not, everyone wants to keep their coffee at optimal freshness at home so that it can be enjoyed fully from the moment you open the bag to the last spoonful.
From bean to freeze-dried coffee, it all needs to be stored correctly. With Americans alone drinking around 400 million cups of coffee every day, it's important to get it right.
Should ground coffee be refrigerated?
The debate between pantry, refrigerator and freezer when it comes to storing fresh coffee beans is a long fought-out one.
The best way to keep ground coffee or whole beans stored properly is by popping them in the pantry. They should ideally be in an opaque container that's airtight. Make sure that's away from any light, any heat and most importantly, moisture.
When you put your coffee in the freezer, the fluctuating temperatures can end up adding more moisture into the coffee storage container or bag it's in. That means you'll end up tasting a coffee that's completely different to how it first tasted.
Some people might store their coffee in the freezer when they've got a lot of it and want to keep it from going bad. For some, they put it in the refrigerator, however, if you're using it as you would do by putting it back in and out of the freezer, the same thing may end up happening. It's also worth noting that coffee works as a deodorizer so it'll absorb all the aromas in the fridge, making your coffee taste different.
What to do to keep coffee fresh after opening?
If you're trying to keep your coffee fresh for longer, then there are certainly a few tips to try in order to maximize optimal freshness.
1. Store in a cool and dry place
Storing your beans or ground coffee in a cool and dry place is going to avoid it from heat and moisture. Heat and moisture are a big no-no for your coffee until you use them with the intent to brew.
2. Choose the right coffee storage container
The worst place you can store your coffee is in a glass jar. With glass jars, they end up letting a lot of light in and as a result the coffee will end up turning into stale coffee.
>> Read our full review of the best coffee storage canisters
3. Use only what you need and store in small quantities
It's beneficial to only buy what you feel is necessary to purchase for you and whoever is. drinking it. Don't stock up on coffee to last the rest of the year, buy only what you intend to use.
You also want to store it in small portions if you're set on storing coffee in the freezer. By consistently opening and closing a coffee container, it will expose the coffee beans or ground coffee to moisture and that's not what you want happening.
4. Buy unroasted green beans
The reason coffee ends up losing its freshness is due to roasted beans.
Beans that have been roasted will naturally lose their flavor. If you have the skill to roast beans, then you can buy unroasted beans that will keep forever in long-term storage.
Remember though, always tore the coffee in an airtight container.
How long does coffee stay fresh?
How long does coffee stay fresh, regardless of when it's in the original packaging or it's already had exposure to oxygen.
Whilst coffee doesn't technically expire the way other food or drinks do, they do have a 'best by' or 'best before' date. Fresh-roasted coffee beans can last in their original packaging for years without expiring. However, it can lose its freshness.
The reason for this is that coffee beans are put through a degassing process, which released carbon dioxide. It's why most bags of coffee have a small hole for the carbon dioxide to escape and to receive exposure to air.
For a quality cup of ground coffee, the process it goes through means it loses its freshness quicker even when in the coffee packaging. Most ground coffees will end up staying fresh for about a week, so for maximum freshness, you want to use it up within the two weeks of purchase.
What about cold brew coffee? If you love cold brew in your fridge, make sure it's stored in an air-tight container. As a result, this will last in the fridge for a few weeks.
How to know if your coffee beans are fresh?
Since coffee doesn't have an expiry date, how are you to know if your coffee beans are fresh or not? You can identify when coffee was roasted by looking at when the package of coffee was dated. To keep pre-ground coffee or coffee beans as fresh as possible, you want to purchase coffee that's only been ground or stored in its packaging very recently.
Coffee connoisseurs might be able to spot coffee that lost its freshness just by scent and appearance alone, but that's not possible for everyone to decipher.
Store your coffee correctly for the freshest coffee possible
In order to enjoy your favorite coffee, make sure you are keeping beans fresh or ground coffee fresh in a vacuum-sealed, airtight container. You don't want any air exposure, heat or moisture getting into that coffee before you end up using it.
By following these tips, you're going to keep your coffee grounds and delicious coffee beans as fresh as the day they were roasted, for longer!