Wasting coffee is a punishable offense.
Preserving the coffee you brought home is an essential step to brewing your perfect cup. There are various conflicting theories on how to keep our precious coffee fresh. Whether it’s Robusta or Arabica, from Central America or East Africa, here are some commonly agreed upon methods discovered by trusted coffee scientists.
Coffee doesn’t play well with others and is very reactive to its environment – light, humidity, and temperature will all negatively affect the taste and shelf life. Simply keeping it away from light, in an air tight container or its original packaging will help sustain the flavor. Trying to move the beans from place to place or bag to bag will strip them of their oils and expose them to more oxygen for more reactions. Get the roasted beans away from moisture, so no under the sink storage or next to the stove that’s always boiling a pot of water. Any water will run straight through those fresh beans! This is the same as making your cup of coffee days before you even want it.
The Freezer Equation
The question to freeze or not freeze your coffee can be tricky. We are used to freezing other foods in order to extend their shelf life and would think the same for coffee. Yes, putting coffee in the freezer would follow some rules of the Isolation Method; but keep in mind that our freezers have a good amount of moisture. Coffee is also a strong deodorizer and will take in any of the flavors or smells emitted by the other foods. Ideally, you should finish your bag within a week but if that’s not reasonable for your house then store the coffee in the freezer and only take out the coffee that you immediately want to brew.
The Whole Bean Theory
There are so many ways to make coffee – French press, pour-over, aeropress, automatic brewer, percolators, chemex, and vacuums. It’s convenient to have pre-ground coffee ready to be thrown into those coffee makers in the morning but you end up sacrificing flavor for the convenience. Breaking that bean early will give the air more surface and time to attack. Manufacturers will only grind beans right before they properly package and send them out. Going to any local coffee shop you’ll notice tall containers of coffee beans next to their machines; the barista is grinding that coffee to order making sure to give drinkers the highest quality of coffee possible. So unless you plan on nitrogen flushing and re-packaging your grounds, it’s best to keep the coffee whole.
Coffee is cultivated from across the world and a lot of hard work goes into getting it to your cup. Take good care of your coffee and spend that little bit of extra time to freshly grind those beans. Save coffee and save yourself another trip to the grocery store.