Looking to make the best cup of coffee? Start with quality beans, and store them properly to maximize your coffee's freshness and flavor. Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light.
Keep beans airtight and cool
To preserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor as long as possible, store them in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. Coffee beans are decorative and beautiful, but avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee.
Keep your beans in a convenient, but dark and cool, location. Remember that a cabinet near the oven is often too warm, and so is a spot on the kitchen counter that gets strong afternoon sun.
The commercial coffee containers in which you purchased your coffee are generally not appropriate for long-term storage. Ideal coffee storage canisters with an airtight seal are a worthwhile investment.
Buy the right amount
Coffee begins to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting, so it is far better to purchase it in smaller quantities. Buy freshly roasted coffee frequently, and buy only what you will use in the next one or two weeks. Since exposure to air is your coffee's worst enemy, it’s a good idea to immediately divide your coffee supply into several smaller portions, keeping the larger, unused portion in an air-tight container.
Freezing Your Beans?
Freshness is critical to a quality cup of coffee. Experts agree that coffee should be consumed as quickly as possible after it is roasted, especially once the original packaging seal has been broken. Consumers who purchase whole bean coffee should grind immediately before brewing.
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, since it is hygroscopic. As mentioned above, most home storage containers are not truly airtight, which is why food stored a long time in the freezer can suffer freezer burn. Therefore, if you do refrigerate or freeze your beans, it is critically important to use a truly airtight container.
If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.