How to Store Coffee: Pantry, Fridge or Freezer? Your Guide to Coffee Storage
If you drink a lot of coffee, you have probably seen just about every method there is for storing these precious beans: from the freezer to the pantry, we’re here to tell you exactly what the best option is to make sure your coffee stays as fresh as possible.
WHAT IS DEGASSING?
Have you ever noticed the small holes in coffee bags and wondered why it was there? It allows for the degassing of the coffee to occur! Coffee is a shelf-stable product, but it loses its freshness and starts going stale.
As soon as green coffee is roasted, the beans start going through a process where they release carbon dioxide. The small hole in coffee bags allows the CO2 to escape the bag without oxygen coming in contact with the precious beans. Once roasted coffee starts losing its trapped CO2, oxygen is absorbed by the beans, and it starts losing the compounds that create flavor nuances and freshness.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY COFFEE IS STILL GOOD?
The simplest way to check if your coffee is still fresh is to test if your beans are still releasing carbon dioxide. Simply place a few beans in a plastic bag, press it down to remove all oxygen and seal it tightly. Let the bag sit on your counter overnight, and if the bag has puffed up in the morning, it means your coffee is still going through the degassing process and therefore still fresh!
If your sealed bag hasn’t puffed up, you may want to restock on coffee beans, as your brew may taste a little bit stale.
The most important thing in storing your coffee is ensuring that it is not exposed to air, heat, moisture, or light. These four things contribute to the degassing process which we want to avoid as much as possible.
Pre-ground coffee is especially vulnerable to going stale because of the increased exposure to oxygen. Therefore, we recommend using an airtight, opaque container to store your coffee, especially if you are storing it in the long term.
Try avoiding clear jars and sunny spots in your kitchens as light can alter the quality of your coffee.
When you expose your beans to air you speed up the degassing process, so a good alternative is to divide your coffee into several smaller portions you can use every day whilst your bigger supply can remain in a dark and cool location without needing to be opened too much.
Make sure not to store your coffee near the oven or any appliances that get too hot during the day. This will ensure that your coffee stays as fresh as possible.
Coffee absorbs moisture, odors, and tastes from the air around it, so you want to make sure as little oxygen as possible comes in contact with it. You also want to make sure you are storing near things that won’t alter the aroma of your beans.
HOW LONG DOES GROUND COFFEE STAY GOOD?
Ground coffee goes through the degassing process much quicker than whole beans because of the increased exposure to oxygen. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, it will start losing its freshness after a week, so we recommend buying small batches every few weeks to ensure you get the best quality coffee.
If your mornings are hectic and you don’t have the time to grind your coffee every morning, the best option would be to grind your beans the night before and store them in an opaque, airtight container away from light until the next morning.
CAN I KEEP MY COFFEE IN THE FREEZER?
The short answer is yes, you can keep your coffee in the freezer, but it is not the recommended storage method. Coffee is very sensitive to changes, so if you don’t have a truly airtight container, your coffee could suffer from freezer burn and go to waste.
Make sure to never refreeze thawed coffee and only remove as much as you need for a few days at a time, so you don’t open it too often. You can freeze coffee you won’t use for at least two weeks, but make sure your container lets no air in at all and keep it away from smelly foods in your freezer.
CAN I KEEP MY COFFEE IN THE REFRIGERATOR?
Is it safe to store coffee in the fridge? If so, how long will it stay fresh? This is a highly debated topic, and the answer is straightforward: it is obviously always better to use your coffee beans while they are still fresh and storing them in the refrigerator could ruin their flavor. This is because coffee is highly porous and will probably absorb the odors in your fridge, which will alter the taste and quality of your brew.
The temperature in your refrigerator is constantly changing depending on how often you open the door and how stocked it is, and coffee is very susceptible to moisture, cold and temperature changes (the exact conditions found in your fridge!). This could cause condensation in your coffee and draw the flavorful oils out. If you have a lot of coffee to store and you don’t have space on your shelves anymore, freezing your coffee is a better option than storing it in your refrigerator. Just make sure to use it within two weeks to avoid freezer burn!
WHERE SHOULD I STORE COFFEE?
The pantry is the preferred location for storing coffee. Keep the coffee in an opaque, airtight container in a dark, cool place like a cabinet or pantry away from the stove and other heat sources. Only keep small batches out at a time. It may be convenient to keep your coffee next to your coffee maker, but if the latter is positioned near a source of light or heat (such as your oven, kettle, toaster, appliances, etc.) it will hurt the quality of your coffee.
WHAT SHOULD I STORE COFFEE IN?
The most important thing to remember in choosing what container to store your coffee in is that coffee doesn’t like light. Whilst storing coffee in glass jars may look pretty in your kitchen, you should avoid any see-through containers unless you’re planning on keeping them in a cupboard away from sunlight. An opaque container is your best bet, and you should also make sure that it is completely airtight because exposure to oxygen will significantly affect the taste of your brew.
CAN I STORE COFFEE IN A MASON JAR?
Storing your coffee in glass containers such as mason jars has its pros and its cons. On the plus side, mason jars offer a completely airtight seal thanks to their ingenious lids with rings. You can be sure that your coffee won’t come in contact with oxygen.
They also look nice sitting in your kitchen, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, and come in a variety of sizes. On the other hand, mason jars are made of glass which means they expose the contents to a lot of light. If your coffee is directly exposed to sunlight, it will start to go stale much quicker.
If you’re going to use mason jars to store your coffee, you’re going to want to put the jars away in a dark cupboard or a pantry. All in all, storing your coffee in mason jars or other glass containers is totally feasible - just make sure you resist the temptation to leave them out on your counter or near your coffee machine and always screw the lid on tight!
If you want your coffee to stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible, here are the main points:
- Use an airtight and opaque container – it’s best to avoid mason jars and other glass containers.
- Store coffee in a dry, cool place, like your pantry or toward the back of your shelves.
- Avoid exposure to sunlight and heat sources (such as your oven, microwave, etc.)
- Grind your coffee just before using it.
- Try to avoid storing your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer, as it doesn’t preserve the coffee the way you think it might would.
- Store a small amount of beans in an opaque container for daily use, and only open the main bag as needed to replenish your stock.
- Buy your coffee in small batches!
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