How to Store Coffee Beans?

The only thing better than the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the house is its mind-awakening power! And, if you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ll know how that first sip of coffee in the morning is the key to starting your day off right. 

While instant coffee is an effective way to get that caffeine fix in super-quick time, there is no beating the depth of flavor that comes from grinding your own coffee beans. However, one thing that sends people heading towards instant coffee is the fear of potentially spoiling their coffee beans through incorrect storage. 

It doesn’t have to be this way though! Below, we’ll show you some methods of how to store coffee beans in a way that is easy, fear-free, and will ensure you’ve got a supply of deliciously intense coffee beans readily available at all times. 

Containers

The first thing you need to know about coffee beans is that they have to be kept in dry, dark, cool conditions. Think about the packet you purchased them in. It is most probably made from aluminum foil, which allows it to keep out light, air, and moisture. 

Once your packet is open, however, you need to find a suitable container that can provide the same sort of storage environment. Your best bet here would be a plastic tub with an airtight lid. If you can find an opaque container this would be even better, since it will act as a filter for sunlight. 

If you can’t find a plastic container, however, there are a few other storage options you can choose from. These include:

  • Glass containers with airtight lids
  • Ceramic containers with airtight lids
  • Freezer bags with airtight zippers

The main aim of the game is to keep as much air out of the coffee beans as possible at all times. 

Remember that you need to keep your coffee beans in a cool place too. You might be tempted to place them in the refrigerator, but this is not a good move as moisture could build up inside the container. This, in turn, will lead to the beans getting damp and spoiling.

A kitchen cabinet that’s not located near any heat-emitting appliances (such as an oven or a kettle) is the ideal temperature location. You’ll also need to make sure it doesn’t get hit by sunlight throughout the day, as this will cause the temperature inside the cabinet to rise. 

Refrigeration

We’ve briefly touched on why coffee beans shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator above but, as well as potentially getting damp, there is another reason why they need to be left out of the cold. 

Coffee beans are ‘hygroscopic’. This means that they take up and retain moisture. This capability also means that they can absorb odors from the surrounding air. So, if you’ve placed a container of coffee beans in a refrigerator that’s also housing a couple of salmon fillets, you might find yourself drinking a fishy coffee the next morning!

Freezing

If you can’t keep coffee beans in the refrigerator, then it stands to reason that storing them in the freezer could be just as troublesome. However, even though it’s highly recommended that you keep coffee beans as far away from moisture as possible, freezing an excess amount is a possibility. 

This is useful to know if you find yourself with a bulk of coffee beans nearing their expiration date, or if you simply only enjoy a cup of espresso every once in a while. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Separate the coffee beans into individual portions using freezer bags, thinking about how many you need to make one cup at a time.
  • Once portioned out, place the freezer bag inside another freezer bag. This double-bagging technique will keep the maximum amount of moisture away from the beans while still allowing them to freeze.
  • Place each double-bagged portion of coffee into the freezer.

Coffee beans should only ever be frozen once though, so don’t be tempted to thaw them out and refreeze them. Keeping them in individual portions as outlined above is the best way to ensure this can’t happen, and also helps to reduce the risk of wastage. 

Thawing coffee beans doesn’t take too long either but, again, do not be tempted to put them in the refrigerator while they defrost. Instead, leave them on your kitchen counter and allow them to defrost at room temperature. 

They can even be brewed straight out of the freezer too, so if you’re in a hurry and need a cup of coffee as quickly as possible, just take a portion out of the freezer and follow your usual coffee-brewing process. 

Quantity

It might seem like an obvious solution, but the best way to ensure you don’t have to freeze your coffee beans is to only purchase the amount you need. This will also ensure that you don’t run out of appropriate storage space. 

As you begin to approach the end of your coffee bean supply, try and purchase the same amount that you did last time. By doing this, you’ll know that you have the correct storage container for them as well as a dedicated, coffee bean storing environment to keep them in.

It’s also very important that you don’t mix your newly purchased coffee beans with your older coffee beans. If you do this, it will be impossible to determine older beans from fresher ones and, ultimately, you’ll be getting a second-rate cup of java!

Summary

Storing coffee beans and keeping them fresh is super easy. All you need to do is keep them in an airtight container, away from sources of moisture and heat. It’s really that simple. You can even freeze them if you’re concerned about them going bad before you’re ready to use them all!

There is, however, one golden rule you must follow. Never, under any circumstances, should you store your coffee beans in the refrigerator. If you do, they’ll absorb moisture and odors, and you’ll be left with a very unpleasant taste in your mouth instead of the smooth, dark flavor that you want.