For the best cup of coffee, how you store coffee is as important as how you brew it. That’s because maximum freshness equals optimal flavor, and the best way to guarantee the freshness and flavor of your coffee is by buying the right beans and storing them the right way. Read on as our coffee experts share the skinny on storing your coffee for a fresh, flavorful cup at home.
- Buy Small, Not Bulk
As a general rule, coffee stays fresh for about two weeks once opened. For this reason, it is better to purchase coffee in smaller quantities or in an amount that is equal to how quickly it will be used. Some coffee packages have a “best if used by” date, but keep in mind that once opened, the grounds will start to lose flavor. Consider it more of a guide for purchasing the package.
- Beans Really Are Best
Whole coffee beans typically stay fresh longer than pre-ground coffee because less surface area is exposed to air. Locally roasted coffee is going to be freshest (and typically most delicious). To get the most satisfying fresh-roasted flavor from your beans, look for coffee beans that were recently roasted and grind them every time you make a pot or single-serve cup of coffee.
- Get the Right Container
Exposure to oxygen, moisture, heat, and light all will reduce coffee’s freshness. To ensure your beans keep their fresh flavor as long as possible, it’s best to take coffee beans out of retail packaging and store them in an airtight, opaque, odor-neutral container kept at room temperature. You might be tempted to display your coffee canister on your counter (perhaps near your coffee maker or grinder), but be sure your chosen spot doesn’t get too much sun. You want to keep your beans in a dark and cool spot to preserve flavor.
- Forget the Freezer
We can’t say it enough— freshness the foundation of a delicious cup of coffee. One of the most common misconceptions about bean storage is that keeping coffee in the freezer will keep your beans fresh longer. But let’s go back to #3— moisture is not the coffee bean’s friend. Storing coffee in the freezer (or fridge)will break down the oils that give the bean flavor and aroma, and because it is porous, it can take on the flavors and aromas of its surroundings.
Storing your coffee (and staring with the best bean to begin with) has a huge impact on getting the best cup of coffee at home. Whether you’re brewing a single cup or a whole pot, you can use these tips for storing your coffee for optimal freshness. For more tips on picking the best beans and getting that perfect cup of coffee at home, check out our 5 Fundamentals for Brewing the Best Coffee at Home.