Nothing beats a good cup of morning coffee to get you going. But sometimes a stale coffee cup can leave a bitter taste in your mouth – in more ways than one.
Whether fresh or ground, it’s never bad knowing how to store coffee beans to maximise their flavour. With little to no effort, you can keep the peak coffee flavour for a very long time, and we can show you how!
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Why Proper Coffee Storage Matters?
It is common knowledge that coffee begins to degrade almost immediately after it is roasted and packaged. So it’s usually best to enjoy the beans right after they are prepared in order to savour the most of the caffeine goodness.
While you can still consume out-of-date or old coffee without suffering many adverse effects, stale coffee is definitely not a thing to enjoy or savour. Over time, oxidation means that the components within the bean will eventually lose their original characteristics.
Bean degradation affects the quality of the coffee substantially, and while it certainly will still taste like coffee, the flavour and aroma is a far cry from that of freshly ground and brewed coffee.
How To Store Coffee Beans?
Keep it air-tight and dark
Just as with many other foods, once exposed to air and light, coffee starts to deteriorate quickly. The beans would start getting oily and somewhat rubbery in texture. Over time, they will become stale, due to the oxidation having reacted and compromised the various elements in coffee.
You’ll know stale coffee when you taste or see one. A layer of oil will appear on the cup, even while it’s still warm. The flavour will taste abnormally bitter and sour without any hints of the normal nuttiness or fruitiness associated with the drink. The aroma also feels off, as it has mostly evaporated or changed by contact with oxygen.
To prevent this, opaque and air-tight containers are the way to go. To make a simple yet effective coffee container, put your coffee grounds or beans into a Ziploc baggie, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Then, place the baggie into an air-tight box and leave it in a cool place.
And as you’ve picked up from coffee-infused air fresheners, coffee absorbs everything in the air, including moisture and other smells. So don’t leave your coffee on your spice rack or cooking cupboard, unless you’re looking to taste some weird curry-nutmeg-pepper-infused Espresso.
Avoid using cheap plastic containers or packaging as well, as the coffee will absorb the plastic odour and be overpowered by it.
Light is also a factor in deteriorating coffee quality. While it’s normal for coffee to taste a bit “burnt” or “ashy”, overexposure to sunlight will magnify the bitterness to the point of tasting nothing but a deeply and lingeringly bitter black liquid.
Buy fresh and use gradually
When going to buy your coffee beans, it’s important to look out for the roast date, and try to buy the grounds that are as close to the roast date as possible. In general, the coffee beans’ peak flavour linger for about a month and should be consumed within that time frame if you want the best coffee taste.
That said, however, we strongly advise you against brewing coffee with the grounds immediately after roasting. Though it might seem counterintuitive, coffee is not at its best right out of the machine. It needs to “breathe” for a while, or more commonly known as “degas”.
This process releases carbon dioxide amongst other gases from the beans. While these gases are by no means harmful to humans, they can still form air bubbles during brewing, preventing the coffee to fully soak in the flavour and brew properly.
Depending on the blend, you might need to wait for up to a week for the degassing to fully finish. Additionally, you can purchase smaller amounts of coffee each time and finish them off before buying another batch.
This helps you manage your grounds easier and more economically. If you buy little, you’d have less to worry about when they go stale.
Coffee is not particularly hard to store, and unless you are the pickiest of coffee connoisseurs, you shouldn’t sweat too much on upkeep. An air-tight box, a nice cool dark place and some love are all you’d need to preserve your coffee for a very long time. Once you know how to store coffee beans properly, your morning has just gotten a lot better!