Although most coffee lovers know when to throw away old coffee, many don’t know whether the coffee beans in their kitchen are fresh. Before pouring your cup of java, it’ll help to know what it takes to ensure you’re consuming the best tasting and freshest brew.
To determine whether your coffee is fresh, you need to answer certain questions including whether coffee goes bad and whether coffee expires like other consumables.
Luckily, coffee doesn’t go bad or expire. Drinking old coffee isn’t a health risk. However, wet coffee beans or wet coffee grounds shouldn’t be used. They should be thrown away immediately.
Coffee is packaged and stored while dry, just like most goods that are packaged in their dry state. Thus, there’s no date of expiration to consider when dealing with coffee. Coffee beans have the benefit of being shelf-stable as long as they’re stored properly in their dry form.
Unfortunately, coffee that has been kept beyond its date of expiry deteriorates. Also, failure to store coffee properly makes it lose its freshness and flavor.
Coffee enthusiasts are highly sensitive to the taste, freshness, and quality of their coffee drink. Thus, coffee that tastes sub-par can ruin your coffee drinking experience. In this guide, you’ll learn how to store coffee properly for a long time.
For How Long Can Coffee Maintain Its Quality?
You may be having several unanswered questions such as whether ground coffee and coffee beans have different shelf lives, whether temperature matters during storage and how long coffee can be kept after brewing. To help you answer these questions, let’s discuss how you can maximize the flavor and freshness of coffee by learning more about its storage duration.
- Whole beans
Generally, whole coffee beans last longer than ground coffee and brewed coffee. It helps to store coffee beans in their whole form until you’re ready to brew coffee for maximum freshness. When grinding beans, only grind enough amount for brewing immediately. Use whole coffee beans within 3 to 4 weeks.
- Ground coffee
It’s advisable to grind only what you’ll use within a day for the best-tasting coffee. If you buy pre-ground coffee, consume it within 2 weeks after opening the package.
- Brewed coffee
It’s advisable to drink coffee as soon as you brew it. If you must keep it, consume non-refrigerated coffee in not more than 12 hours. You can also refrigerate it for about 3-4 days after brewing.
- Instant coffee
In case you prefer taking instant coffee, maybe due to lacking enough time to brew fresh coffee, consume it in not more than 2 weeks after opening the package.
Factors That Cause Coffee Beans To Degrade
Coffee is best stored in a cool and dark area. There’re certain things you should avoid if you want to keep your coffee beans fresh. Improper storage of coffee beans makes them lose their unique taste and freshness quickly. Here’re the worst enemies of coffee:
Although coffee beans tend to look attractive when kept in a glass jar, this is not the best storage option. Glass jars allow light to pass through. Roasted beans become stale when exposed to direct light.
Oxygen makes coffee beans stale. Oxygen and coffee beans don’t mix well. Coffee beans degrade within a few days when kept in the open air.
Unless you’re brewing coffee, it’s not advisable to expose coffee beans to heat. If you expose them to heat, they’ll lose their flavor.
Exposing coffee beans to moisture makes them go bad. Roasted beans should be kept in a cool and dry place.
Storing Coffee Beans Properly
Upon learning more about the conditions that make coffee deteriorate, it’ll help to know how you can store it properly to last long and maintain its flavor.
Buy just enough amount of coffee. Avoid buying more coffee beans than what you can consume within 4 weeks. Buying excessive coffee will cause wastage since the freshness only lasts for about 3 to 4 weeks.
Always store coffee in a properly sealed container. The lid should be airtight. Preferably, use an opaque jar or container to store coffee to ensure no light penetrates. Also, store it in a cool and dark cabinet.
Store coffee away from humidity and heat. It’s advisable to store coffee within a cabinet instead of placing it on the countertop. Cabinets are often cooler than countertops.
It Is Okay To Freeze Coffee Beans?
Since coffee dislikes light, air, heat, and moisture, you might assume that freezing it is a great idea. However, freezing coffee beans or ground coffee isn’t recommended.
Essentially, coffee is soft and porous. Thus, it absorbs foreign aromas quite easily. Thus, coffee can absorb any smells within your freezer. Upon thawing the frozen coffee in readiness to brew some coffee, it’ll have a funny taste of any leftovers in the freezer.
For instance, freezing freshly baked bread will absorb freezer smells. Once thawed, the bread won’t taste or smell the same as fresh bread. Although it’s safe to consume it, its freshness can never be the same again. The same case applies to coffee. Although you can safely freeze it, it’ll never taste or smell like fresh coffee. Since you value the freshness of your cup of coffee, avoid freezing it.
So what can you do if you have excess coffee beans than what you can consume while still fresh? If you want to keep them fresh while frozen, ensure you store them in a vacuum-sealed freezer bag or airtight container. Once you’re ready to grind them and brew fresh coffee, thaw them at room temperature.
Although the refrigerator seems like a great place to store excess coffee beans or coffee grounds due to its dark and cold environment, it’s not the best place to store coffee. Refrigerated coffee beans and grounds age faster. Thus, their taste and freshness decrease rapidly. When refrigerated, coffee beans and grounds condensate. Thus, the flavor gets pushed toward the surface.
What’s The Best Way to Keep Coffee Beans Fresh?
The best way to ensure you’re having fresh coffee is to purchase the amount you can use soonest possible. Avoid purchasing excess coffee that you can’t consume within 3 to 4 weeks. That way, you’ll enjoy brewing fresh and flavorful coffee at all times.