If you want to have a sublime coffee experience, then it all begins with high-quality beans stored in a manner that retains their freshness and flavor.
Air, moisture, heat, and light are your enemies in your quest to maintain the peak flavors of your coffee beans. To fend off these elements, house your coffee in an opaque container with an airtight seal, and keep it at room temperature.
While coffee beans can look decorative, storing them in transparent jars exposes them to harmful light, thereby diminishing their quality.
Select a dark, cool cupboard away from heat sources like the oven or areas that get a hefty dose of afternoon sunlight. The original retail packaging is generally not equipped for extended freshness, so consider transferring your beans to specialized airtight containers.
Since coffee starts losing its freshness almost instantly upon roasting, you should aim to purchase smaller quantities more frequently – ideally, only as much as you’ll consume within a week or two.
If you’re keen on having your coffee within arm’s reach in a decorative or accessible container, consider portioning your stock. Keep a smaller quantity for daily use, while sealing the remaining larger quantity in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.
This is particularly vital for pre-ground coffee, which has a larger surface area and is therefore even more susceptible to oxidation.
If you’re purchasing whole beans, only grind what you’ll use immediately prior to brewing.
To Freeze or Not to Freeze
Freshness is an indispensable component of a high-quality cup of coffee. Once the original packaging is unsealed, the clock starts ticking on coffee’s peak drinkability.
While experts are divided on the merits of freezing coffee, all agree that coffee is hygroscopic – it absorbs moisture, odors, and flavors from its surroundings. Most domestic storage solutions are not completely airtight, running the risk of freezer burn over time. So if you opt to freeze your beans, make sure to store them in a truly impermeable container.
If you decide to tap into your frozen supply, only take out the amount you’ll need for up to a week, sealing and returning the rest quickly to prevent condensation from forming on the frozen beans.
Remember, freezing doesn’t alter the fundamental brewing guidelines. So whether your beans are fresh from the roastery or fresh from the freezer, the road to a delightful cup of coffee remains the same.