- 1 How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
- 2 Pre-ground vs. Whole Coffee Beans
- 3 Meet Your Coffee’s Worst Enemies
- 4 What is the Best Way to Store Coffee Beans?
- 5 What to Do With Stale Beans (Hint: Don’t Throw Them Out!)
- 6 How to Store Coffee Beans Conclusion
Whether you’ve roasted your coffee beans or bought a bag at your local cafe, one thing is certain: you need to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to keep those beans pristine, so you can enjoy the full aromas and flavors for days to come.
We give you the complete lowdown on how to store coffee beans in this article!
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
Coffee is much more than just an indulgent beverage. For coffee aficionados, it’s a science, an art, a life-changing experience that engulfs the senses in euphoria at the start of a groggy morning.
And it all starts with a green coffee bean. It undergoes an incredible chemical transformation through roasting to become the chocolatey, aromatic bean we love.
The thing is, as soon as the raw coffee beans are roasted, they start losing their freshness immediately.
That’s why experts recommend brewing your beans as soon as possible to get the most aromas and flavors.
On average, you have from one to two weeks to enjoy fresh whole beans before they go stale.
Now, if you roast your green coffee beans at home, that’s one thing. But if you love high-quality coffee beans, it can cost a pretty penny.
How can you make your beans last without them going to waste? You can start by learning the dos and don’ts for storing coffee beans properly. Every detail counts to give your beans longer shelf life.
Coffee is seasonal, so it’s recommended to buy it in small batches that will last a week or two weeks.
Not only does this ensure a fresh cup of joe, but you get to experience a wide variety of roasts and experiment with different flavors and textures.
We’ll go over all of the best ways to keep coffee beans fresh later on, but first, let’s look at different types of coffee and their unique preservation needs.
Pre-ground vs. Whole Coffee Beans
Whole coffee beans are the best way to experience the full flavors of any roast. They also stay fresher longer than pre-ground coffee.
The bean shell acts as a natural barrier against oxygen, preserving the aromas and flavors. Once you grind the beans, that barrier is broken, oxidation begins, and the aromas are released.
If you have the passion and time, buy whole coffee beans and grind them right before brewing to fully enjoy the sensory experience.
The best way to store espresso beans depends on how you brew them. If you’re using a filter, then they’ll last from 3-10 days in an airtight container. For a French Press, they’ll stay fresh from 5-10 days.
If you aren’t as crazy about your coffee and just want a fast fix with pre-ground, keep it concealed in an airtight container away from light sources.
Meet Your Coffee’s Worst Enemies
Now you know that coffee loses its freshness rather quickly, and that’s due to the outside factors described below.
We are used to preserving many types of food in the refrigerator, but for coffee, the moist environment hurts preservation.
Moisture causes the beans to spoil quickly, and the beans can absorb the odors and flavors of other foods stored in your fridge.
Oxygen has the same impact on coffee beans as it does on other food items. It will break down the beans quickly, making them stale.
You might wonder how your coffee beans can be exposed to heat inside your kitchen, but actually, it doesn’t take much heat to make them go stale.
The heat produced from the sun streaming through a window can degrade your beans. As well, if you store your beans near the oven or stovetop, the heat generated while you cook can also have detrimental effects.
What is the Best Way to Store Coffee Beans?
Freshly roasted coffee beans are picky when it comes to how they are preserved. If you roast your beans, you’ll want to have a proper container on hand that is air-tight.
If you buy your roasted beans, they might come in a thin paper bag. This type of bag won’t protect your beans, and you’ll need to transfer them to an airtight container.
Some coffee brands and cafes will sell their coffee beans in a one-way valve foil bag with tiny holes in the sides.
This special type of bag lets air out but doesn’t let it into the bag. You don’t need to transfer your beans to another container, as the foil bag will keep your beans fresh for up to two weeks.
The Best Containers For Storing Coffee Beans
Tupperware containers and glass containers are not fully airtight, and transparent containers expose coffee beans to light.
There are airtight coffee canisters designed specifically to preserve coffee beans. Remember to always choose an opaque container that won’t let light filter through.
You can also use vacuum sealer bags, which allow you to seal your beans in a multi-layered plastic bag, then suck out the remaining oxygen through an air valve. These bags tend to be transparent, though, so you’ll want to make sure it’s stored away from any light sources.
The Best Place to Keep Coffee Beans
Since light and heat are bad news, store coffee beans in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Make room in your pantry or a cabinet for your airtight container; just make sure it’s away from your oven or stove. Room temperature is fine for your coffee beans.
Yes, You Can Freeze Your Coffee Beans
If you have a bulk amount of roasted coffee beans and there’s no way you can brew it all in a week, it’s ok to freeze them, and it won’t affect the brewing process.
Remember that you want to avoid moisture and oxygen, so use one of the airtight methods we listed above to protect your beans from freezer burn. Vacuum sealer bags are a wonderful option for the freezer.
When you are ready to refill your coffee supplies, take out as much as you need from the freezer and quickly put it back while it’s still frozen. If the beans begin to thaw out, they’ll be exposed to moisture and spoil.
You might want to consider dividing up your coffee into small batches before freezing it, so it’s easy to grab a batch quickly without guessing how much you need.
What to Do With Stale Beans (Hint: Don’t Throw Them Out!)
Hold it- step away from the trash can! If your coffee beans have just begun to go stale, you may be able to save them by trying these clever revival hacks.
Cinnamon: If you have 1 lb of stale beans or ground coffee, add 1 tsp to the container and mix it evenly. For less, use ⅛ tsp.
Pure Vanilla Extract: Add a spoonful to your coffee beans or grounds and mix it evenly. Add more or less as desired.
Black Walnut Oil/Almond Oil: Add a bottle of black walnut oil and ½ bottle of almond oil to a can of coffee beans. Place the can inside a glass jar and store it for two weeks before brewing.
How to Store Coffee Beans Conclusion
Whole roasted coffee beans are the key to the most aromatic, flavorful brew, but unfortunately, they spoil fast. If you’re dipping your toes into the world of high-quality coffee, then you’ll need to know how to store coffee beans like a pro.
It’s simple, really, just keep them away from oxygen, moisture, heat, and light. The best way to do this is by sealing them in an opaque, airtight container and storing them in a dark, cool place. You can also enjoy them at their freshest by only buying enough coffee beans to last a week.
References & Resources:
- How to Store Coffee, NCA
- Should You Store Coffee in the Fridge, Freezer or Shelf?, Seven Miles
- How to Store Coffee at Home, wikiHow.
- Where Should You Store Coffee? We Finally Settle the Pantry vs. Freezer Debate, Real Simple.
- How to Store Whole Bean and Ground Coffee, The Spruce Eats.