Storing Roasted Coffee

You’ve finally purchased a bag of your favorite whole bean gourmet coffee, so you can brew it at home. It’s right there in your kitchen. Now what are you going to do with it?

Storing roasted coffee correctly will keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Since coffee does not like air, light, heat or moisture, the best place to store coffee is an air tight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

This sounds like the refrigerator is the perfect place. This is not true. Coffee is porous, which is a good thing when making flavored coffee as it will absorb the oils and flavorings used in the process. How ever coffee will also absorb refrigerator odors.

For the same reason, freezing coffee is not a good idea. The porous beans will absorb freezer odors and the moisture that your freezer produces. This moisture can further deteriorate the coffee and make it taste like whatever is in your freezer. Also coffee beans release oils when roasted. When you break down these oils by freezing, you lose flavor.

As a general rule, coffee will stay fresh for about two weeks, so it is best to buy in amounts that you can use within that time frame. If you buy bulk coffee, divide it into weekly portions, place in an air tight freezer bag and plastic wrap. You may even want to consider getting as much air out of the bag as possible, using a straw. Remove the weekly portions when needed and place in an air tight container in a cool, dry, dark place, such as your pantry. Storing in a cabinet near the stove may be too warm. Once the coffee has been removed from the freezer it should never go back in, as the moisture in the coffee is absorbed and re-freezing will deteriorate the product even more.

Buy whole beans whenever you can and grind them right before using them. Grinding coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposing them to the air. It quickly looses flavor no matter how well you store it.

Roasted coffee beans do best in a valve-sealed bag, as carbon dioxide is released when coffee is roasted. The valve-sealed bag allows the carbon dioxide released during roasting to escape without allowing air to get into the bag. This allows the coffee can be shipped quickly after roasting Vacuum-sealed bags would explode with the release of the carbon dioxide. Therefore shipping is delayed until the carbon dioxide is released. Vacuum-sealed bags work well for pre-ground coffee.

For serving the best gourmet coffee:

  • Use fresh roasted whole beans
  • Store coffee beans in a cool, dry, dark place
  • Grind coffee beans as you use them
  • Look for a valve-sealed container, not vacuum-sealed.


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