Do you love the taste of freshly roasted coffee beans? If so, it's important to know how to store them properly so that they stay fresh. In this blog post, we will discuss different methods for storing coffee beans and provide tips on how to keep them tasting great. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced coffee lover, this guide is for you!
In this article:
How to store coffee beans to keep your beans fresh
- Understanding peak freshness and the coffee bean lifecycle
- Factors that affect coffee beans' shelf life
- What environmental factors cause coffee beans to lose their flavour?
- Do coffee beans last longer than ground coffee?
- How often you should replace coffee beans
- Signs that it's time to order fresh coffee beans
- Always look for a Roast Date on the bag
- Only grind the amount of coffee you need for each brew
- Order smaller quantities
- Have fun with your coffee
- Don't buy coffee beans with a Best Before or Use By date
- Don't store your beans in your grinder hopper
- Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?
- Can I store coffee beans in the freezer?
- Do coffee beans go bad?
- Should I store coffee beans in the bag?
- Do unroasted coffee beans go bad?
- Should I vacuum seal coffee beans?
How long do coffee beans last after being opened?
The answer to this question depends on how the coffee beans are stored. Once roasted, coffee beans will be at their best for around 4 weeks before they start to deteriorate and lose flavour even when remaining sealed in the bag they came in. Once opened and exposed to things such as air, light, heat and moisture they will deteriorate much quicker so storing them correctly is paramount to getting the longest life out of them.
Understanding peak freshness and the coffee bean lifecycle
Once roasted, coffee beans can be a little temperamental for up to 5 - 7 days as they de-gas after being roasted and expert coffee roasters know applying this rest time is key. After this time your coffee will peak between days 7 - 20 and the flavour will really develop and mature. Over time, the flavours will begin to decline, and you will notice a change in the look and colour of your extraction. This is why it is important to buy freshly roasted beans and store them properly so you get the best flavour for the maximum amount of time.
What environmental factors cause coffee beans to lose their flavour?
There are four main environmental factors that can cause coffee beans to lose their flavour: oxygen, light, heat, and moisture.
- Oxygen: Oxygen is the most important factor in determining how long coffee beans will stay fresh. Coffee beans are a natural product and, as such, they are affected by oxidation. Oxidation causes the coffee beans to lose their flavour and aroma.
- Light: Light also causes coffee beans to lose their flavour. This is because light breaks down the oils in the beans which give them their flavour and aroma.
- Heat: Heat accelerates the rate at which coffee beans lose their flavour. This is why it's important to store coffee beans in a cool, dark place.
- Moisture: Moisture is another factor that can cause coffee beans to lose their flavour. This is because moisture causes the beans to expand and break down, losing their flavour in the process.
Do coffee beans last longer than ground coffee?
Coffee beans can actually last much longer than ground coffee. This is because ground coffee has a larger surface area, which means it loses flavour faster. Coffee beans, on the other hand, have a smaller surface area and so they retain their flavour for longer.
How often you should replace coffee beans
If you are storing coffee beans properly, you should only need to replace them every month or so. However, if you notice that the flavour of your coffee is declining sooner than this, it's a good idea to replace the beans more frequently. Buying whole beans in smaller amounts will ensure you always have fresh coffee on hand.
Signs that it's time to order fresh coffee beans
- Your coffee doesn't taste as good as it used to.
- The flavour of your coffee is flat or bland.
- You can't get the same level of crema on your espresso as you used to and your pour looks thin, watery and pale.
- Your coffee smells stale.
How to store coffee beans for maximum freshness
Now that we've covered how long coffee beans last and what affects their shelf life, let's talk about the best way to store them. The most important thing to remember is that you need to keep them in an airtight container. This will help to keep the beans fresh and prevent them from drying out or absorbing any unwanted flavours. You also want to make sure that the container is dark (opaque) so that the beans are not exposed to light.
Best storage containers for coffee beans
The best storage containers for coffee beans are airtight and dark. Opaque jars, like Mason jars, aluminium tins or similar non-transparent Tupperware are all suitable for storing coffee beans and grounds - just make sure they have tight-fitting lids to minimise the amount of air, light and heat that can enter.
You can also use resealable bags made specifically for coffee beans (we ship all our beans in these types of bags to make your life easy). If you are using a bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible after each use before sealing it.
Best conditions to store coffee beans
As we mentioned earlier, the four main enemies of coffee beans are oxygen, light, heat and moisture. So, the best conditions for storing coffee beans are in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. A cupboard or pantry away from any sources of heat (like an oven) is ideal. It might seem convenient to store your beans/grounds on top of or beside the coffee machine but this is actually one of the worst places you could put them. The heat from the machine will cause the beans to lose their flavour faster.
Once you've taken these steps, your coffee beans should stay fresh for longer. Just keep an eye on them and make sure to replace them more frequently if you notice the flavour starts to decline.
Other tips for keeping your coffee beans fresh
Watch the video below where Erin Sampson, Australian Latte Art Champion and Trainer at Veneziano Coffee Roasters takes us through her dos and don'ts of buying and storing coffee beans at home:
Always look for a Roast Date on the bag
Try to buy beans that have been roasted within the last two weeks. If you can't find a Roast Date, you are pretty much gambling as to the beans' freshness!
Only grind the amount of coffee you need for each brew
Coffee grounds go stale faster than whole beans so it's best to only grind the amount of coffee you need for each brew.
Order smaller quantities
This will help to ensure that you are always drinking fresh coffee. At Veneziano we're roasting our beans every day under the supervision of our National Roasting Champion, at five locations throughout Australia and time shipping to our customers so you receive the beans at peak freshness.
Have fun with your coffee
Coffee is an integral part of modern life for many of us. Consider buying Coffee Bean Microlots or signing up to our Microlot Subscriptions to experience new coffee flavours and ensure you get the perfect amount of fresh, high-quality beans delivered to your door.
Don't buy coffee beans with a Best Before or Use By date
These dates are not an indication of freshness. You'll never know when these beans were roasted and odds are it was a while ago, causing your coffee to taste thin, bitter and lack sweetness and body.
Don't store your beans in your grinder hopper
The hopper is usually made from clear plastic, which means your beans are exposed to light and heat. Not ideal! The lid also isn't airtight so they'll be naturally oxidising the whole time while they're in there. Just fill the hopper with enough beans for a few days or even better, for each grind you perform, and store the rest of your beans safely per our recommendations above.
Other coffee bean storage FAQs
Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?
No, the fridge is too humid for coffee beans. Plus, your fridge is probably full of other (albeit, possibly delicious) food smells which will permeate your coffee beans and affect their flavour.
Can I store coffee beans in the freezer?
The short answer is yes. If you are buying in larger quantities or have a special coffee that you want to keep for a rainy day, storing in the freezer is definitely an option for keeping your beans fresh. Be sure to freeze in an airtight container to protect the beans from moisture and bring the beans back to room temperature before brewing.
Do coffee beans go bad?
Coffee beans do not technically go bad but they will certainly start to lose their flavour and become less enjoyable to drink as they age. For the best possible flavour, we recommend consuming your coffee within 4 weeks of the roast date.
Should I store coffee beans in the bag?
The packaging that we ship your beans in is designed to be sealable and airtight. Just make sure you push out any excess air after each use and store it in a dark place away from light, heat and moisture. If you have a container that's the right size, you can seal the bag and then put it inside the container as well for an extra level of protection.
Do unroasted coffee beans go bad?
Unroasted coffee beans, or green beans, will stay fresher for longer than after they have been roasted but like anything, fresh is best and at Veneziano Coffee Roasters this is part of our philosophy. We ship in green beans as we need them and store them correctly before roasting so you are always receiving the best product. Did you know that green beans develop their flavour only once they are roasted so that is why green beans don't have as short a shelf life as roasted beans.
Should I vacuum seal coffee beans?
If consuming your roasted coffee beans in the recommended time frame then vacuum sealing is not necessary. Vacuum sealing your coffee can help to keep your coffee fresher for longer if you are buying in larger quantities. For that added longevity we suggest vacuum sealing and storing in the freezer so you always have access to fresh coffee.
Ready, steady, coffee
Now that you know how to store your coffee beans properly, you can enjoy fresh, flavourful coffee at home anytime. If we missed any of your questions related to coffee bean storage we'd love to hear from you - drop into one of our five cafe locations and let's discuss it (over a coffee, of course).