How to store coffee to keep it fresh

To enjoy the best possible cup of coffee at home, make sure your coffee is always fresh.

Coffee is perishable. Coffee beans begin to lose their freshness soon after they are roasted. As coffee loses freshness, its natural flavors and aromas are diminished. So, all things being equal, the sooner the beans are used, the better the coffee.

Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light.

Properly stored, coffee beans will stay good for about a month after roasting. Ground coffee will last for one to two weeks after roasting. Why the difference? Ground coffee has much more surface area than coffee beans. That means ground coffee will be more susceptible to the four enemies of fresh coffee: air, moisture, heat, and light.

Keep the air out

Once you’ve opened a package of coffee, don’t leave it in the package. Instead, store it in an air-tight container. Minimize air space in the container as much as possible.

Ordinary kitchen canisters can do an acceptable job if they can be tightly closed and there is little air space along with the coffee.

Avoid moisture

Coffee should be stored in a dry location. Excessive moisture will accelerate the deterioration process. Coffee that has been exposed to too much moisture may develop a sour or “off” taste and aroma.

For this reason, it’s not a good idea to store coffee in the freezer or refrigerator. Condensation may develop when the door is opened and closed. You may not encounter a moisture problem if you store small quantities of coffee in the freezer in air-tight containers. But freezer storage doesn’t extend the shelf life. And once you remove coffee from the freezer, don’t put it back. A freezing-thawing cycle is guaranteed to introduce moisture.

Keep your coffee away from heat until you brew it

Although you don’t want to store your coffee in the freezer or refrigerator, you do want to keep it cool. Too much heat will also accelerate the breakdown of the coffee’s flavor.

If you store coffee in a kitchen cabinet or on the kitchen countertop, be sure it’s not near the stove or the oven. Likewise, avoid sunny locations such as shelves near a window.

The time to add the heat is when you brew the coffee — not before!

Even light roasts prefer the dark

Coffee beans look beautiful in a glass canister. Displaying several different roasts in different shades of color is especially appealing.

Unfortunately, light is also an enemy of fresh coffee. So glass containers are not a good coffee storage option, unless you keep the canisters out of sight in a pantry cabinet or in another space away from the light.

Opaque containers are a much better solution. If you store your coffee in an opaque canister, you can keep it handy on a countertop or in another convenient place without worrying about deterioration from light.

To get the best possible protection against the four enemies of fresh coffee — air, moisture, heat, and light —  try one of the specially designed coffee canisters or “coffee vaults” with an air-tight seal. They keep out air, moisture, and light. If you put them in a place that’s not too close to heat, you’ve got everything covered.

Knowing how to store coffee to keep it fresh is not rocket science. But buying the right amount of coffee and storing it correctly will go a long way towards giving you a great tasting cup of coffee.


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  1. by Viorel 11th May 2020 2:30 pm

    Great information how to keep the coffee fresh.
    Thank you

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