To delight yourself every time you make coffee at home, start with fresh, quality beans and proper storage. Now is as good a time as any to build impeccable coffee habits.
Staleness is the staunchest enemy of great tasting coffee. Stale is the opposite of fresh. And the greatest enemies of coffee freshness are air, moisture, heat and light. Which means you should:
Store Your Coffee Beans in an Airtight Container at Room Temperature
We will talk about why you should buy whole bean coffee instead of ground in another post. While you’re waiting with bated breath for that, get yourself an opaque, airtight container. Put your coffee beans (or grounds) inside it. Store the container on a counter or in a cupboard. And voila, you’re done.
The airtight container covers all the bases:
- It prevents air from getting in and breaking down the freshness of the coffee
- It prevents light from getting in and doing the same thing
- When stored at room temperature, heat will not break down the freshness
You should never store coffee in the refrigerator!
If you store your coffee in the refrigerator, the single best thing you can do is remove it ASAP. Put it on the counter and let it get to room temperature. Now that you’ve done that, you’re ready to move forward. You may need to break the refrigerator storage habit. Refrigeration keeps so many things fresh – coffee is just not one of them.
Reflections of a Coffee Snob
If I were the person above who just took her coffee out of the fridge, I would trash what was left of that bag and start over. I’m that particular about freshness. I’m that person who, if freshly roasted coffee is not available, I go without!
I preach about storing coffee in an airtight container because it’s good advice. It’s been said a million times on other sites that are trying to sell you coffee or coffee equipment.
I don’t follow this advice. I have a wonderful airtight container from Coffee Gator but I don’t use it. I store our coffee beans inside the bag on the counter next to the grinder. We drink quite a bit of coffee at home so a bag doesn’t last very long. A week maybe. It’s easier for me to leave it in the bag.
Our coffee counter at home.
People inevitably ask about storing coffee in the freezer. I always make a face and advise against it. However, there is one instance where I think it’s okay – not ideal, but okay. If you buy enough coffee to last more than two weeks, you can freeze the part you won’t be using for two weeks. In other words, keep enough out for two weeks and freeze the rest. This advice only applies if the coffee is whole bean. If it’s ground, do not let it anywhere near the freezer under any circumstances.