What really is the point in having a below-average cup of coffee that’s not fresh and has lost a lot of its deep and earthy flavours? That’s right, there is no point to it at all.
To have the best cup of coffee possible, you need to make sure you use the freshest beans possible that have been ground just before using them. Unless you like just buying beans as and when you need them, you will probably want to buy more than just a few days’ worth of coffee beans.
That presents you with the problem of how to store them properly. A quick search online shows that there is a lot of debate over this subject. (To be honest, most things related to coffee do seem to spark a lot of heated discussions, differing opinions and outright arguments. Well, coffee aficionados are very passionate about their favourite beverage).
To clear up the confusion, we are going to break the subject right down, so that you know exactly what to do with your coffee beans to lock in that fresh and full-bodied flavour for as long as possible.
Ensure They Are Kept Cool and Airtight
The elements you really need to protect your coffee beans are light, heat and moisture. That is why we would suggest you store them in an airtight, opaque storage container at room temperature. Although you may want to display them so you can marvel at how beautiful they are, it’s important to remember that along with heat and moisture, light can harm the flavour your coffee produces. Therefore, you shouldn’t use transparent containers.
Ideally, keep them in a cool and dark location. That cupboard you have close to the hob and oven is likely to be too warm most of the time, whereas that nice space on the side of the worktop is also not the best place as it will put your coffee beans in direct sunlight and will be too warm during the summer months.
Although many coffee bean packages will suggest you keep the beans in them, they are not really designed for long-term storage. Which is why you should invest in the aforementioned airtight and opaque containers. We know they are not always the most attractive, but you will be glad you did when you can enjoy fresh coffee for longer.
Should You Keep Coffee Beans in the Fridge?
As freshness has an important influence over whether a cup of coffee is a great one, just a reasonable one or a terrible one, you will want to maintain that freshness as long as you can and may feel that storing it in the fridge or freezer is the best way to do that. The problem with that is not just the temperature, as many people disagree on whether coffee should be stored in these cooler parts of the home. The problem is actually the fact that coffee is superbly hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture, as well as flavours and odours from the around it.
You will find that, contrary to whatever the product description suggests, that the many of storage containers allow small volumes of oxygen in, which is why you’ve probably found food stored in your freezer for a long time has suffered from freezer burn.
Therefore, if you do intend on trying to store coffee beans in your fridge, or even your freezer, you should only do so if the container you use is completely airtight.
When you freeze coffee beans, each time you need some, try to take just enough for a week’s worth of coffee and then put the rest back into the freezer without letting condensation forming on the still-frozen coffee.
There is no change to the brewing process when you are using frozen coffee beans.
Always Purchase the Right Amount of Beans
As you are probably aware, coffee beans and indeed the ground form of coffee starts to lose its freshness as soon as it has been roasted. With that in mind, you need to make sure you regularly purchase small batches of coffee that have been freshly roasted. So that you are only ever buying enough for one to two weeks.
Remember what we said about the elements that can have a bad effect on your beans? Any exposure to the air is bad for coffee beans. Even if you have your heart set on keeping them in a more aesthetically pleasing and easier to access container, it is wise to only keep as much as you need for the next few days, perhaps dividing it into smaller portions. You can then put the unused and bigger portion that has still to be divided up into a storage container with an airtight seal.
Although we are talking about coffee beans right now, the point above is particularly important when you are buying coffee that has been pre-ground. This is due to the fact the coffee has increased exposure to the oxygen in the atmosphere. When you buy whole beans, you need to just stick to grinding as much as you need just before brewing and then you completely eliminate the chance of the air contaminating or ruining the flavour.
As you can see, although it may seem like a bit of a throwaway question, the subject of how to store coffee beans properly is one that everyone has an opinion about. People who are passionate about anything will get involved in heated debates and arguments. We are those kinds of people.
However, at Best Coffee Beans, we are fully committed to only giving you the best and most accurate information we can with regards to coffee and everything related to it, including storing beans. In our opinion, as outlined above, it is best to avoid sticking them in the fridge. If you have to, though, make sure you follow the guidelines we have set out for you.
Ideally, though, you should invest in some high-quality opaque containers with an airtight seal.