Coffee Bean Storage
One of the most important parts of getting the most delicious coffee is using the freshest beans. Coffee beans stay fresh and delicious in their bags for up to six weeks or so, but by storing them properly you can make them last longer than that. So what’s the best method for keeping them fresh?
Keeping your beans in the bag is not really the best way to store them. If you’re going to use them quickly then you might not need a dedicated storage option, but if you won’t finish them within several weeks of their roast date, better storage is needed.
This is because even sealed bags are not airtight. As the bags sit, contact with the air causes the kind of slow deterioration that you’d find in any food. Coffee beans are generally safe to drink for a very long time after they’re roasted, they won’t go “bad” in a few months, but they’ll lose their flavor.
One common misconception is that the valve on the bags is there to help with storage. In fact these valves release the gasses that the beans release for a few days after roasting. They aren’t harmful in any way, but the coffee tastes better after this degassing period. That valve helps facilitate this. It does not help with coffee preservation.
In the Freezer
You can certainly freeze coffee to make it last longer. Just like anything, the freezer will help preserve the freshness of your beans. However, freezer-burned coffee is not good, and you’ll find that the freezing and thawing process does have an impact on coffee bean flavor. There are people who enjoy using this as a way to keep beans relatively fresh for a year or more, but we think there’s a better way.
The very best way to keep your coffee fresh is with a dedicated storage canister. Offerings from Fellow and Planetary Designs are good solutions, and the best way to determine which is for you comes down to the look, size, and shape.
These canisters use mechanisms and gaskets to create a seal that prevents contact between the grounds and the outside air. This kind of storage method can keep your coffee fresher for longer, helping it to last months.
With all of this said, it’s important to note that there is no way to completely halt the decay of coffee flavor in beans, so you should still buy beans you intend to drink sooner rather than later!
Want to see how different storage methods affect flavor? Check out Madison's two-part video series!