How should I store whole bean coffee?

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9

I just got a pound of microroasted, local coffee and am curious what the optimal way to store it is (what temperature, humidity, etc)

Kyle Macey

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 1 219

possible duplicate of How should I store ground coffee?

– John Snow – 2015-01-27T21:13:42.833

How is it roasted? – Shog9 – 2015-01-27T20:17:48.370

6Not quite, the answer to the other question (actually, my own answer) is not applicable to whole bean coffee. Also, this question was asked first, so the other would be the duplicate. – Kyle Macey – 2015-01-27T21:15:00.953

I got some good info about this from an answer to a similar question I asked here: http://coffee.stackexchange.com/a/1569/394

– Aviel Gross – 2015-03-05T09:31:21.593

Answers

38

In a cool, dark, dry, place and whenever possible vacuum sealed.

The oils in roasted coffee degrade as they are exposed to air (oxidization) as well as heat. As with just about any foodstuff moisture accelerates the spoiling process as well. You should store your coffee in completely sealed, insulated, opaque containers. If you have the ability, vacuum pump the air out of the container for ultimate shelf-stability. Even without vacuum storage you can preserve beans for a long time by placing them inside a ziplock bag or coffee bag with a 1-way air seal and pushing as much air out as possible and then following the above method of airtight, dark and cool storage. Following these guidelines should help to ensure the freshness and flavor of the beans for as long as possible.

Joshua Aslan Smith

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 1 166

13

I would add to not store it in the refrigerator or freezer. It would fare better at room temperature and dry than cold where it could be exposed to food smells and moisture. You didn't ask, but also drink it as soon as possible if it's ground. Whole beans will keep for awhile but ground coffee will start to go stale very quickly, even if stored properly.

The National Coffee Association article on How to Store Coffee advises this:

It is important not to refrigerate or freeze your daily supply of coffee because contact with moisture will cause it to deteriorate. Instead, store coffee in air-tight glass or ceramic containers and keep it in a convenient, but dark and cool, location. Remember that a cabinet near the oven is often too warm, as is a cabinet on an outside wall of your kitchen if it receives heat from a strong afternoon or summer sun.

The commercial coffee containers that you purchased your coffee in are generally not appropriate for long-term storage. Appropriate coffee storage canisters with an airtight seal are a worthwhile investment.

An update to the NCA article adds:

While there are different views on whether or not coffee should be frozen or refrigerated, the main consideration is that coffee absorbs moisture – and odors, and tastes – from the air around it [...]

If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.

PJNoes

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 1 002

1I've been roasting coffee for five years, and have done lots of experimentation on coffee storage. Whole bean coffee improves for a few days after roasting, then goes downhill for about 7 days. To avoid this, you must freeze the whole bean coffee. – Rick G – 2016-01-29T02:20:29.233

1One of the first things I learned is - do NOT grind your coffee in advance. Everything I have read at various coffee forums states that ground coffee starts losing flavor and aroma within 15 minutes! This is very easy to test, and you can taste the difference easily. You should NEVER buy ground coffee - only buy whole bean coffee, preferably roasted within the last week. – Rick G – 2016-01-29T02:24:11.010

1Note that the source cited says not to freeze your daily supply of coffee, but does not give this advice for beans in general. – Taylor Edmiston – 2017-03-12T04:34:03.033

1Please add more detail to your answer. Also add sources and links to back up your answer – Anthony Pham – 2015-03-04T23:04:49.320

1Thanks for the direction. I appreciate the rigor of these sites. – PJNoes – 2015-03-05T19:52:15.930

8

Room temperature, open-air is fine (for a while)

"Microroasted" implies that you purchased the beans where the roasting was done on premises. That means it was probably roasted recently, within a couple of days. Roasts vary, but generally a bean will remain fresh for a week or two, open-air, room temperature from the time of roasting. One person might take two weeks to use a pound of beans. Just keep it in the closed bag, away from temperature extremes.

No coffee will taste fresh after months, no matter the storage. There are gas-valve tins and bags available online. Coffee beans are quiet dynamic. The chemistry continues long after the roasting heat is removed. The logic behind one-way valves is that fresh-roasted beans continue to release gases that were trapped in the beans. I roast coffee beans and store them in a dark cabinet in a wire basket, exposed to the kitchen air. No bean survives more than 10 days. Most often, the flavor actually improves after a few days.

Michael Whipple

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 81

3

Adding some thinking out of the box to all the great answers, I would say:

You should not store it, instead try buying less quantity, consistent with your rate of consumption, more often. In this way it's quality will be as near with its production quality.

As an argument I will point out that oxidization is an effect that can not be prevented easily and once exposed to the atmosphere the coffee interacts with the environment via the moisture it absorbs and all the smells contained within it. That is why Illy seals its containers with Nitrogen to try and isolate it from the environment, as much as possible, till it is opened.

Ziezi

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 416

2

The big killers of coffee taste in roasted coffee beans are:

  • moisture and airborne aromas
  • oxygen
  • heat

In the roasting process the coffee bean doubles in size and gives off most of its moisture content. After roasting the coffee bean becomes super hygroscopic. (i.e. it wants to absorb all the moistures and airborne aromas in the atmosphere that surround it). Oxygen reacts with the delicate coffee oils and turns them rancid, and heat brings the coffee oils to the surface where the oxygen can easily attack it.

So a completely air-tight container that has not been used to store any other products is a great start. Non porous ceramic or glass is preferred. Make sure light can't penetrate,and it's kept in a cool place away from any heat source. Don't grind it until you plan to use it. While roasted coffee bean quality can be maintained for a few weeks without loss if handled properly, ground coffee can loose significant value within 24 hours. I am no fan of the fridge/freezer option.

Indranil Sinha

Posted 2015-01-27T20:09:32.720

Reputation: 136