How to Store Coffee
There are many misconceptions on the way roasted coffee should be stored and maintained. Just remember, the enemies of roasted coffee are moisture, air, light, and heat. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.
Storing Coffee in the Freezer
Some people store their coffee in the freezer thinking it is going to keep the coffee fresh. The main reason you should not store coffee in the freezer:
- Coffee is porous. Coffee can absorb things in your freezer like the flavor of seafood or the moisture that your freezer produces. This moisture will in turn deteriorate the coffee and even make it taste like, well... like a freezer. When coffee is roasted, the beans release their oils and essences to give the coffee its distinct flavor. You'll notice these oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso. When you break down these oils by freezing, you are removing the flavor.
Storing Coffee in the Refrigerator
The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee.
Vacuum-sealed coffee does not equal fresh coffee. When coffee is roasted, it releases carbon dioxide and continues to release it for days afterward. Fresh-roasted coffee can be packaged in valve-sealed bags to allow the gasses to escape and will taste best about 48 hours after roasting. To be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO2 or it will burst the bag. The vacuum bag will indeed help preserve coffee longer while it ships and maybe sits on a store shelf, but before it shipped it had to sit around for a while before it was "sealed for freshness." Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee.
A quick review for serving the best coffee:
- Buy whole beans directly from a coffee roaster if possible.
- Look for valve-sealed bags, not vacuum-sealed.
- Store your coffee beans in a sealed container in a dark place.
- Grind your beans just before brewing.