If you want to enjoy a delicious and aromatic cup of coffee, always use fresh and high-quality beans.
However, that’s not always the case.
There is nothing better than the smell of freshly ground coffee in your home. And while we all agree that freshly grinding the whole coffee beans for each cup is the optimal way to drink coffee – the reality is that we don’t all have the equipment at home to do that. So if you buy your coffee pre-ground, here are some tips that will keep your coffee smelling and tasting its very best.
Roasted whole bean coffee stales quickly. Follow these three simple coffee storage tips for keeping your pre-ground coffee fresh.
Why Does Your Ground Coffee Go Bad?
There are a few methods to best maintain ground coffee to keep that flavor as long as possible.
The three everyday enemies of pre-ground coffee are:
Oxygen and the oxidation process can have a significant impact on the shelf life of ground coffee. Oxidation is the process by which oxygen removes electrons from another molecule. This is commonly connected with metals, but it also plays a function in the life of coffee.
With an unequal quantity of electrons, these molecules become unstable and begin interacting with other molecules surrounding them. These volatile chemicals, known as free radicals, are the underlying cause of browning, aging, rusting, and, in the coffee industry, staling.
This helps to explain why all coffee packaging is vacuum sealed. Coffee is harmed by air and oxygen through a variety of processes. The first is moisture absorption from the air. The second is moisture loss into the air, which is accelerated by rising temperatures.
How to Keep Your Ground Coffee Fresh
1. Use an air tight container.
In order to maximize the freshness of your pre-ground beans you should immediately store the unused ground beans in an air-tight, preferably light-proof container. A plastic container or jar is acceptable, though you should be mindful that the container may not be good for other purposes afterward, as plastic retains residual traces of coffee aromas and oils.
Types of Coffee Containers
Coffee loses freshness fast after vacuum-sealed container is opened. As a result, it’s a good idea to move the coffee to another suitable container as soon as feasible.
- Use an opaque glass, ceramic, or non-reactive metal container with an airtight gasket seal for the best results.
- Keep clear glass or plastic containers in a dark place.
2. Store your pre-ground coffee in a dark, dry place.
Dampness and bright lights deteriorate your pre-ground coffee. So store your air-tight container of ground coffee in a dry pantry or cupboard, one that preferably maintains a standard room temperature.
Do not store your coffee in the fridge or freezer.
This extreme of temperature does not, as some would have you believe, halt the staling process. In fact coffee stored in the fridge or freezer will continue to stale and may also absorb some of the smells of other foodstuffs placed nearby, such as meats and cheeses.
Heat is also a factor in the staling process.
Do not leave your ground coffee near heating ducts or ovens. If you live in a warmer climate choose a temperature regulated part of your house to store your coffee.
Likewise avoid cupboards above your stove or kettle where moisture in the form of steam accumulates. This dampness can create “lumps” in your pre-ground coffee which will ultimately hamper the brewing process.
3. Buy only as much as you need.
Pre-ground coffee is best consumed within seven days of opening the bag. So the final tip is simple.
Purchase your coffee on a regular basis. Large bags of coffee may be appealing for their cost-saving value, but if you are buying more coffee than you will consume in one week you are no longer doing your taste buds any flavor-favors.
Keep in Small Portions
If you must freeze your beans, do it in small amounts and in sealed containers. Constantly opening and shutting a huge container exposes your beans to more elements. Storing them in tiny amounts will keep your unused beans safer.
Can Coffee Beans Be Stored in the Fridge?
We are frequently asked the following two questions:
1) Is it preferable to keep coffee in the fridge?
2) How long does coffee keep in the refrigerator?
This is a contentious issue, and you’re likely to get various responses depending on who you question.
It is always preferable to ingest fresh coffee beans. In fact, keeping coffee in the refrigerator or freezer can destroy it.
Because coffee beans are porous, they may absorb scents quite quickly. Keeping them in the fridge or freezer alongside meat, fish, and other meals might lead them to absorb the scent or flavor of those things.
Your refrigerator’s chilly, moist environment might even cause your coffee beans to mature quicker than they would on a dry shelf.
Condensation occurs as a result of the chilly conditions within your refrigerator, hastening the oxidation process. This can cause the delicious oils in coffee to migrate to the beans’ outer surface. If you must store your coffee in the refrigerator, consume it within two weeks to ensure optimal freshness.
Is it thus preferable to keep them in the freezer?
The freezer does nothing to keep coffee beans fresher for longer. When freezing coffee beans, make sure to keep them in a cool, dry place. If you store them incorrectly, you risk causing freezer burn.
So, what should you do if you come upon an abundance of high-quality coffee beans?
We recommend getting some people over, preparing a couple pots, and drinking it immediately. However, if you want to keep them for yourself, you may freeze them for approximately two weeks.
Simply keep them in a dark, opaque, airtight container, like we mentioned earlier.
How to check the freshness of your coffee beans
Examine the surface area of the beans first. They may be past their prime if they have a shiny sheen or an oily residue.
The second test is smelling them. Whatever sort of bean it is, it should have a strong scent. Beans lose their intoxicating aroma with time. The older they are, the less they smell.
The most interesting technique to assess the freshness of coffee beans is to conduct a mini-scientific experiment. Don’t worry, no beakers or Bunsen burners are required for this exam. You only need a few beans and a Ziploc bag.
Put a few beans in a Ziploc bag, push out the excess air, and seal tightly. Allow it to sit overnight. If the bag has blown up in the morning, you’ve got fresh beans!
How did you find out? Because the bag will expand if the beans continue to emit CO2. And if they’re still emitting CO2, they’re still alive.