5 Whiz Tips on How to Store Coffee Beans – Spirit Animal Coffee

HOW TO STORE COFFEE BEANS: 

5 WHIZ TIPS

Gary Urrutia of Cup of Excellence organization
  • BRUNO B

JUL 31, 2022

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Do you love the taste of fresh coffee? So do we. The only problem is that it’s hard to keep that taste consistent if you don’t store your coffee beans properly. 


Many people mistake keeping their beans in the fridge or freezer, destroying the flavor and aroma. 


In this blog post, we will discuss 5 expert tips on how to store coffee beans so that you can enjoy their deliciousness every time. 


But first, some quick basics.

WHAT ARE COFFEE BEANS?

Coffee beans are actually the seeds of coffee cherries. These berries are grown on trees in tropical climates, such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Honduras, of course


Once the cherries are ripe, they are picked and processed to remove the outer shell. The beans are then dried and roasted to create that signature coffee flavor we all know and love.


FACTORS THAT IMPACT COFFEE FRESHNESS

Honduras coffee farmers during harvest

Now that we know what coffee beans are, let’s talk about how to store them, so they stay fresh. 


Six main factors impact coffee beans’ freshness:

  • Light

  • Air

  • Heat

  • Humidity

  • Time

  • Bean type


  • "Sunlight is one of the biggest enemies of coffee beans. A pantry or a cupboard are the best places for your coffee, not the tabletop."


SUNLIGHT

Sunlight is one of the biggest enemies of coffee beans. The UV rays from the sun can cause the beans to become stale and lose their flavor. 


So it’s essential to store your coffee beans in a dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard.


OXYGEN (AIR)

Oxygen is another enemy of fresh coffee beans. The more air that is present, the faster the beans will deteriorate because oxygen causes the beans to lose moisture and become stale. 


Ergo, keep your coffee beans in an airtight container.


HEAT

Heat is another factor that can destroy the flavor of coffee beans. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can cause the beans to become stale and lose their flavor. 


So make sure you’ve placed your precious coffee beans in a cool, dark place is important.

HUMIDITY

Coffee beans are hygroscopic, which means that they absorb moisture from the air. 


Therefore, it’s important to store your beans in a dry place. If the coffee beans are exposed to too much moisture, they will become stale and lose their flavor.


TIME

Time is a factor that impacts coffee freshness. The longer the beans are stored, the more likely they are to become stale and lose their flavor. 


This is why consuming your coffee beans within two weeks of purchase is essential.

GROUND VS. WHOLE COFFEE BEANS

With freshness, whole bean coffee will always be fresher than ground coffee. This is because grinding the beans exposes them to more oxygen, which causes them to deteriorate faster. 


So if you want your coffee to be as fresh as possible, we recommend buying whole beans and grinding them before brewing.


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5 tips on how to maximize the coffee freshness with optimal coffee bean storage

Luis Alvarado, Spirit Animal Coffee's COO and Cup of Excellence National Judge

Now that we know the factors that impact coffee freshness, let’s talk about how to maximize it. 


Here are five simple but proven tips:

1. Keep coffee beans airtight and cool

The best way to keep coffee beans fresh is proper storage: keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will protect them from oxygen, sunlight, and heat, which are all enemies of freshness.

2. Use a vacuum sealer

If you want to take things one step further, you can use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the container. This will further protect the beans from oxidation and keep them fresh for longer.

3. Grind your own beans

As we mentioned before, grinding your beans is the best way to ensure maximum freshness. 


However, if you buy pre-ground coffee, make sure to consume it within two weeks for optimal flavor.

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4. Buy small quantities

Another way to maximize coffee freshness is to buy small quantities at a time. This will ensure that you’re always using fresh beans and not letting them sit around for too long.


Better still, you can decide on getting your coffee shipped regularly.


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5. Invest in a coffee storage container

There are many coffee storage containers on the market, such as airtight canisters and vacuum-sealed bags. Investing in one of these will help you keep your beans fresh for longer.


To Freeze or Not to Freeze Roasted Coffee Beans?

You might be tempted to store your coffee beans in the freezer, but we don’t recommend it. While freezing them might extend their shelf life, it will also cause them to lose their flavor. 


This is because the cold temperatures will change the oils in the beans and make them taste different. 


If you do choose to freeze your beans, we recommend consuming them within two weeks for optimal flavor.

Does Coffee Actually Go Bad?

Coffee technically doesn’t go bad, but it can be affected by a number of factors that make it less than ideal for drinking. Coffee beans are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture from the air. This can cause them to become stale and lose their flavor. Additionally, coffee can be affected by light and oxygen, which can also lead to loss of flavor.


That said, if you take proper care of your beans and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, they should last for several months.


However, once you grind the beans, they will begin to lose their flavor more quickly. So, if you want to enjoy the best possible flavor from your coffee, it’s best to grind the beans right before brewing.


Stale beans can still be used to make coffee, but they won’t taste as good as new beans. If you’re not sure if your beans are still good, give them a sniff—if they smell rancid or off, it’s best to use them in another way (see below).


In short, coffee doesn’t technically go bad, but it can become stale and lose its flavor. If you take proper care of your coffee and grind it just before brewing, you’ll get the best possible flavor from your cup of joe.


Should YOU throw away coffee beans that have gone stale?


No, you don’t need to throw away coffee beans that have gone a bit stale. While they won’t taste as fresh as they did when you first bought them, they will still be perfectly safe to consume. 


If your coffee beans have gone a bit stale, you can use them to make cold brew coffee. This is a type of coffee that is made by mixing ground coffee with cold water and letting it sit for a while. 


The cold brew process takes longer than regular brewing, but the results are worth it. And your joe will still taste delicious.


CONCLUSION

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. As with anything, there is always room for improvement and we would love to hear about your experiences storing coffee beans and maximizing freshness. 


What have you found works best for you? 


How do you make sure your morning cup of joe is as delicious as possible? 


Share with us by writing to hello@spiritanimalcoffee.com. 


And if all this talk of coffee has got you excited for the day, be sure to check out our selection of whole bean coffees – freshly roasted and shipped straight to your door.

Bruno B

CMO @ Spirit Animal Coffee. Current learning project: Spanish.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

ON COFFEE BEAN STORAGE

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What is the best way to store fresh coffee beans?

The best way to store fresh coffee beans is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will protect them from oxygen, sunlight, and heat, which are all enemies of freshness.

Can I freeze my coffee beans?

While freezing your coffee beans might extend their shelf life, it will also cause them to lose their flavor. This is because the cold temperatures will change the oils in the beans and make them taste different. If you do choose to freeze your beans, we recommend consuming them within two weeks for optimal flavor.


Does coffee actually go bad or just lose flavor?

While coffee beans don’t technically go bad, they do lose their flavor over time. This is why it’s important to consume them within two weeks of purchase. After that, the beans will become stale and lose their flavor. So, if you want to enjoy fresh, delicious coffee, make sure to keep an eye on the expiration date. And remember you can use your stale beans to make cold brew.


What should I do with coffee beans that have gone a bit stale?

You don’t need to throw away coffee beans that have gone a bit stale. While they won’t taste as fresh as they did when you first bought them, they will still be perfectly safe to consume.

Should I store coffee beans in the fridge?

We don’t recommend storing coffee beans in the fridge because the cold temperatures will change the oils in the beans and make them taste different. If you do choose to keep them in the refrigerator, we recommend consuming them within two weeks for optimal flavor.

How long do coffee beans stay fresh in the bag?

Typically, coffee beans will stay fresh in a bag for up to two weeks. However, this will vary depending on the type of bag and how it’s stored. If you want your beans to stay fresh for as long as possible, we recommend investing in an airtight container.

How long can you store coffee beans?

You can store coffee beans for up to two weeks in a cool, dark place. After that, the beans will become stale and lose their flavor. So, if you want to enjoy fresh, delicious coffee, make sure to keep an eye on the expiration date.