The Coffee Debate: The Best Place to Store Coffee
by M.C. Millman
There is nothing a coffee connoisseur desires more than to maximize the shelf life and freshness of coffee beans for that perfect cup of joe.
While the refrigerator may be a logical storage spot for that fresh, aromatic new bag of coffee, it is time to rethink that idea.
The best option for fresh coffee with the ultimate flavor profile is to grind the beans daily. That kind of rise and grind is unrealistic for most people who are short on time in the morning rush.
The next best option is to use optimally stored coffee grounds to maintain freshness and flavor. Keep in mind, ground coffee tastes best if used within two weeks - with proper storage.
The refrigerator storage idea has been floating around for quite some time, but the evidence does not support this. Refrigerators produce moisture, and roasted coffee beans act like a sponge, soaking up that excess moisture produced in the refrigerator. Additionally, when the coffee grounds are removed from the fridge, temperature fluctuations cause a build-up of condensation, impacting the coffee grounds and diminishing their flavor.
The best container for ground coffee storage should be airtight/vacuum-sealed and opaque. Even slight exposure to sunlight or oxygen will reduce the shelf life and flavor of the coffee. So fill those decorative glass containers with something else - just not your coffee beans - and be sure the spot you choose is not near heat sources like the oven, microwave, or kettle.
There is also a debate as to whether or not coffee should be stored in the freezer. If done correctly, most people agree that the freezer can be a great long-term coffee storage spot. For coffee, 'long-term' shouldn't exceed one or two months.
For starters, coffee beans or grounds for daily use should not be stored in the freezer because the fluctuating temperatures create moisture, especially when condensation forms on the coffee. Instead, divide the coffee into smaller portions and place it in airtight bags, removing the excess air. Once the small bag of coffee is removed from the freezer, store it at room temperature away from light and heat until it is finished.
So, what this all boils down to is that if you don't have room in your freezer, the ideal storage place for coffee is a dark, cool, and dry one - like the back of a cupboard.