Life is full of twists and turns, occasional rough spots and tribulations. We’ve included this page in our website because we believe that there are many simple things we can do every day, like being kind to those we love and drinking good coffee, that can make a positive difference in the overall quality of our lives.
As lovers of good coffee, we are also aware of the proliferation of misinformation on how to brewing and storing coffee. So, in the spirit of good coffee karma we want to give you the most scientifically sound advice we have discovered about how to properly store coffee prior to brewing.
A rule of thumb is to think of storing coffee like you would store fine wine.
Un-roasted (green) coffee beans are relatively inert, and can be safely stored in warehouse conditions encased in burlap for a number of years with no ill effects. Once roasted, however, coffee becomes relatively volatile and quickly begins to break down. The oil in the beans starts to become rancid from exposure to sunlight and air.
Obviously the less surface area of the bean that is exposed to air, the less chance of spoilage, which is why gourmet coffee connoisseurs wait to grind their coffee immediately prior to brewing.
There is a palatable difference in taste between fresh and stale coffee. Store-bought ground roasted coffee, although vacuum packed in cans, is somewhat protected from air and light until you open it. Once opened it quickly gets stale, even if kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Remember the smell of a newly opened can of commercial coffee? And how quickly it disappeared? The shelf life considerably lengthens to around 4 to 6 weeks if coffee is not ground until just before use.
Our preferred method for storing coffee is in opaque glass jars with tight lids kept on the kitchen counter or in a cabinet (away from the stove area.) Keeping coffee in the refrigerator or freezer is often highly touted, but we think it’s better if simply stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Coffee can be kept safely for longer periods in the freezer when a vapor barrier is used, such as in a brown paper bag inserted into a plastic zip-lock type bag.