How To Keep Coffee Beans Fresh? 3 Actionable Tips + Bonus Tip

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No matter how serious of a coffee lover or enthusiast you are, implementing at least one of the below tips, will make your coffee beans fresher for longer. There is a simple answer to question how to keep coffee beans fresh.

Just keep it away from its basic enemies, what enemies you ask? Well for roasted coffee beans they are:

  • Air
  • Sunlight
  • Humidity
  • Heat

1) Buy whole coffee beans

  • Not ground coffee. Not coffee Pods. But fresh whole coffee beans. Although I have nothing against coffee Pods since they save so much time. But here we are all about having the freshest coffee for the longest period after buying it.
  • If you buy ground coffee that typically means it has been through Degassing and Grinding (obviously) and this means they have spent significant time exposed to the air and probably humidity as well.
  • Look for packages that have a carbon dioxide (CO2) valve. Having CO2 valve on a package allows packing coffee beans right after roasting them (and cooling them off a bit), so that means most of degassing can be performed while coffee beans are already in a vacuum package:
    • they often come also with zip lock bag – do not trust it, and we suggest not to reuse packages with zip lock (it is easy to leave a tiny bit open, and it’s definitely not as good as decent coffee beans storage container);
  • If you can, buy an amount that will last you no more than 2 weeks. It is tempting to buy big bags and most of the time it will have less cost per x amount of volume, so I understand if you want to skip this step, but then please pay attention to the coffee air ratio on the next tip.

2) Keep coffee beans in proper storage canister

  • Have yourself a coffee canister that is small enough to hold just the needed amount for approximately 2 weeks:
    • anything bigger and you will be opening canister far too often and allow far too much air to get frequently in touch with your precious coffee beans;
  • The canister must be airtight or have vacuum seal, and if the canister is big, then inner lid + vacuum seal is good combo Like this Airscape canister from Planetary Design;
    • otherwise, there could be too much of a Coffee to Air* ratio:
      • if so, refill coffee canister more frequently (this will reduce the ratio);
  • if it is transparent just keep it away from the sun and from other heat sources.

*Coffee to Air ratio is not an official term, but it has its place when talking about coffee storage.

You see, we always use term airtight or vacuum seal and there is a reason for it, we want to reduce air getting in and out of our coffee storage canister. If you have a full canister with coffee beans, then there is little space for air and therefore oxygen to be in touch with coffee, and the opposite is true as well, once your canister is getting empty there is much more air against coffee (in volume).

There is no ideal number for ratio just pay attention to coffee taste when your canister is at the lower end. Does it still feels fresh, if so, perfect, vacuum canister is doing its job, so are you, by doing some basic coffee preserving.

If it does not feel fresh, it could be that your coffee container is not doing its job by keeping air out. Or it could be way too large for the amount of coffee you store.

3) Use a dedicated grinder and grind the coffee beans right before brewing

  • If you own 2 in 1 system you most likely store coffee beans in it, but this is not ideal as they get:
    • easily exposed to air since most storage compartments of those systems does not have anything near to vacuum-sealed qualities;
    • increased exposure to external heat and moisture;
  • Rule of thumb is that you only grind the amount that you will need for your next brew (be it for 1 cup or 12 cups):
    • golden coffee to water ratio is around 1 part coffee to 17.5 parts water (around 57 grams of coffee per 1 liter water), for espresso ratio goes up to around 1 part coffee to 3.5 parts water (around 7-7.5 grams of coffee per espresso shot (slightly less than 30ml));
  • Burr grinder or blade grinder, it is your choice:
    • if you found good blade grinder that delivers decent ground for your preferred brew then this is a perfect combination of price performance, take a look at our top list of blade grinders;
    • if you prefer burr grinder because you heard it is doing a better job, then probably you also heard some debates between flat burr vs conical burr vs block burr:
    • IMPORTANT! Cleaning your grinder is a MUST to get rid of any old coffee residue. Otherwise, you get your super fresh coffee beans into the grinder and they will mix with some old and stale coffee grounds:
      • most blade grinders will be easier to clean, especially ones with the removable grinding cup.

4) BONUS! Use measuring scoop

  • Imagine this, you have purchased most expensive coffee beans, they are in a high-end package with CO2 valve, you then transfer them into the best coffee storage canister you could find, and your state-of-the-art burr grinder waits for you to fill it with coffee beans:
    • by this moment you should already know exactly how much coffee beans you need to grind, and it comes down to 1 of 3 options:
      • measuring by eye, or “gut feeling” – as much we would not like to admit, but it is a highly inaccurate way of getting the right amount of coffee beans;
      • using a kitchen scale (or grinders inbuilt scale) – very accurate, but takes more time, and most likely you will be trying to be a perfectionist here to get it down to exact milligrams (and all the time storage canister will remain open while we take beans out one by one) – increased exposure to air time;
      • using measuring scoop this method is actually a combination of both previous, we use visual approach (measuring of the eye) but we also have technical data (volume of beans), so we only need to scale scoop of beans once to know ho much there will be each time we pick them. Don’t have one yet, we suggest this 2 pack of coffee scoops. In this case, we can get pretty consistent results each time and we only keep storage canister open for so long to get that scoop or 2 out of it, and then we quickly lock the beans back in their airtight home:
        • The only downside is that we need to measure firsthand how much beans hold each of our measuring scoop (to be very precise, needs to be done for each coffee package we buy).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can affect your coffee beans during storage?

During proper storage when whole coffee beans are stored in a vacuum and away from heat and sunlight only human interference affects coffee freshness. The frequent reopening of the coffee container will lead to oxidization and absorption of surrounding moisture.

 

How long do coffee beans stay fresh?

How long do coffee beans last depends on the environment and your storage habits. For example, it would be different from the place where it is always a high humidity against dry areas.

Using an airtight container for storing coffee, and placing it away from heat sources (like oven) and direct sunlight (if the container is not opaque).

 

Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?

How to store coffee beans is completely in your hands. But putting them in the fridge is not the best way to store your coffee.

The temperature difference between packing your coffee and placing it in the fridge (or freezer) could cause condensate buildup, and that could quickly ruin your coffee batch.

However, if you do store your coffee beans in the fridge, try to store only whole beans and in a true vacuum. Ground coffee has a much larger surface for absorbing moisture and it is, therefore, more prone to spoiling quickly.

 

Can you freeze whole coffee beans?

Yes and No. If you plan to freeze in bulk but still consume them on a frequent basis then it is a bad idea. But if you plan on storing coffee beans by freezing them in smaller batches (no more than one month of coffee supply) and in true vacuum-sealed containers or freezer bags, then it could do the work you need.

But remember just whole beans!

 

How to store ground coffee?

The only difference between how to store coffee beans versus ground coffee is that ground coffee has a much larger surface that can get in touch with air and moisture when exposed, and that would speed up the process of going bad.

So if you need to store ground coffee then it is advised to have a smaller size vacuum canister than one used for whole beans.

 

Conclusion

These actionable tips are all you need to drastically change your coffee taste and freshness.

Let’s walk over key takeaway points:

So, how to keep coffee beans fresh?

  • Buy whole bean coffee in package with degassing or carbon dioxide valve;
  • Buy the amount you can consume in around two weeks or less;
  • Store coffee beans in airtight or vacuum container;
  • Avoid storing a low amount of coffee beans in a large canister (too much air will get in touch with coffee);
  • Reduce frequency and time you leave the coffee container open;
  • Grind right before brewing, and grind exact amount needed for your brew (using measuring scoop if needed);
  • Keep your grinder clean from old coffee grounds;

As always, if you have questions on what’s the best way to store coffee beans please leave a comment below. The same applies if you feel we have left out something important.

 

And don’t keep those tips as a secret:
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