People are passionate about their coffee. And although freeze-dried and instant coffees still represent a huge portion of the overall coffee market, there is another segment that is purchasing coffee bean grinders, French presses, and coffee/espresso machines that cost hundreds of dollars.
For that second segment of the coffee-drinking demographic, it’s important for them to understand how to properly store their coffee so that they are able to brew the best tasting coffee possible.
Eliciting the full, complex flavours from the coffee beans and grinds requires that you first store them properly prior to preparation. Let’s take a look at some of the myths that have been perpetuated around the storage of coffee.
Freezing Your Coffee Beans
Extreme temperatures rob coffee beans of their essential oils. It’s those oils that give your coffee that rich, bold quality. In addition to the oil depletion, coffee beans are porous and the freezing process is bound to introduce moisture to the bean. So, the rule of thumb is to store your coffee beans in a cool, dark place and avoid freezing altogether.
You Can Store Your Beans Anywhere on the Counter-top
Another enemy to the coffee bean is light. Light will also sap the bean of its essential oils and the oils are what gets released in the brewing process providing all that flavour.
Additionally, there are places near the stove or above the dishwasher where the temperature is going to get too warm and result in breaking down those oils even further. If you are going to store your coffee beans on the counter, make sure that it’s not where light or heat can penetrate.
Coffee Has to be Stored in an Airtight Container
As with most organic materials, coffee beans give off CO2. You want to provide a way for these gases to escape, otherwise, they could speed the deterioration process and impact the coffee bean flavour profile. This is the reason you see bags of coffee with valves for releasing the co2 gases given off by the beans.
You can use an airtight container to store your coffee beans, but be sure to open it at least once a day to allow the gases to escape.
You Can Grind Your Coffee Beans Well in Advance
This scenario is similar to fresh ground pepper in that both peppercorns and coffee beans produce oils once they are ground. Over time, these oils dissipate or lose their strength.
For the same reason, fresh cracked pepper is much more flavorful and robust, fresh ground coffee beans are going to be at their highest flavour profile as the oils are released upon grinding. If you want all that flavour, grind the beans as needed just before brewing.
Don’t let the myths surrounding how to store coffee beans deter you from brewing a delicious cup of your favourite roast. Storing your beans properly and using fresh ground coffee will enhance that flavour.
Coffee Grinds Should be Kept in the Fridge
Although the refrigerator temperature is not as extreme as the freezer, it is still sufficient enough to help rob coffee of its essential oils. Additionally, coffee is likely to absorb smells and flavours from the other items in the fridge. Storing grinds or beans in the fridge is not a good idea.
For best results, store your coffee beans and grinds in a cool, dry place. If you want to prevent moisture from affecting the beans, avoid storing them in plastic bags or containers. Instead, use an airtight ceramic or glass container that’s away from light and heat sources.
Here are some tips for proper coffee storage.
- Wait until the last minute to grind your beans
- Store your coffee beans in a cool, dry, dark place to preserve their flavour
- Never store coffee beans or grinds in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Keep beans and grinds away from heat sources.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the most common myths about storing coffee, you can be confident in your ability to store your beans and grinds properly. Doing so will help preserve their flavour and keep them tasting fresh cup after cup.