It is important to store coffee properly so that it stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Coffee, in both whole bean and ground forms, deteriorates quickly when exposed to oxygen, light, moisture, and unfavorable temperatures. Coffee can also soak up odors from neighboring pantry items and then these odors will get transferred to your brewed cup of coffee. You can avoid these problems by storing coffee beans or ground coffee in an opaque, airtight container in an area that is not too moist and has a constant temperature.
Method 1 Storing Coffee at Room Temperature
Store your coffee in an airtight container.
One of the biggest enemies of fresh-tasting coffee is oxygen. Exposure to the air causes coffee beans, and especially ground coffee, to go stale very quickly. Invest in an hermetically-sealed container made for storing coffee, or at least use a container with a heavy airtight lid.
- Airtight containers are also ideal for preventing coffee from absorbing neighboring odors and discouraging insect and mold growth.
- Some common airtight containers you can use include canning jars, Tupperware, and Ziplock bags.
Choose an opaque container.
Light causes coffee beans and grounds to go stale quickly. This problem is easily remedied by storing it in an opaque container rather than a clear glass or plastic vessel.
- There are a wide variety of airtight containers made of metal, ceramic, and opaque glass that are great for storing coffee.
- If you insist on storing your coffee in a transparent container, it is best to store the container away from light, for example in a pantry or cabinet.
Keep your coffee in a dry environment.
You may not have a great degree of control over the moisture level in your kitchen pantry or cabinets, but remember that coffee will keep best in a dry environment. Try to avoid storing coffee beans in a damp basement or other area that is very moist.
- If you do need to store coffee in a moist area, keep it really well sealed. Also, move it out of the area before opening the packaging, so the moisture doesn't get to the beans
Keep humidity and temperature conditions constant.
It's important to keep coffee's temperature and humidity levels constant, so don't move it around to different areas of your home that have vastly different conditions. For instance, don't store it in a really warm cupboard and then move it to a cold basement. Coffee will rapidly deteriorate if storage conditions vary constantly.
Method 2 Freezing Coffee
Use the freezer for long-term storage only.
The moisture and temperature conditions in a freezer are not great for preserving coffee's freshness. This is also where coffee is most likely to absorb offensive smells from neighboring food items. However, if you have more coffee than you can use in a month, it's a good idea to freeze what you won't use.
Put coffee in completely airtight containers.
This will minimize the chance of freezer smells and moisture getting to the coffee. In most cases, this will require you to transfer coffee out of its original packaging into a thick plastic bag or other container that will not allow air in.
- You can even vacuum seal extra coffee before putting it in the freezer. This will ensure that the package is airtight and the coffee has minimal exposure to oxygen.
Keep coffee in a deep freeze.
Coffee stays at its best when it is kept at constant temperature and humidity conditions. Because of this, keeping it in a deep freeze that has a constant temperature, versus a refrigerator freezer that is constantly being opened and closed, is better.
- If you don't have a deep freeze, put coffee at the back of your refrigerator freezer, so its temperature stays as constant as possible.
Bring coffee to room temperature before opening its package.
In order to avoid condensation developing on the coffee, once you take it out of the freezer, bring it up to room temperature before opening the airtight package. This will help you avoid exposing your coffee to moisture, another problem when trying to keep the flavor of coffee at its best.
- You may need to plan ahead a bit to do this. For instance, if you take the coffee out of the freezer the night before you want to make it, it should be up to room temperature by the next morning.
Do not refreeze coffee.
Once you have frozen coffee and thawed it out, don't freeze it again. This repeated change in temperature does not have a good effect on the coffee's taste.
- Keep this in mind when packaging coffee up for freezing. Putting it in several smaller packages will allow you to take a small amount out at one time and leave some in the freezer undisturbed.