Roasting coffee beans at home is hands-down the best way to ensure that your coffee is fresh. Roasted coffee beans have a very short shelf-life, with most experts agreeing that after about two weeks whole bean coffee has begun to go stale. Finding roasted coffee in the store that’s less than two weeks old can be a real challenge, but roasting your own solves that problem. If you roast your own beans, you may wanna know how to store roasted coffee beans to ensure they last as long as possible.
Even home-roasted beans can go stale if they aren’t stored properly. If you’ve taken the time to roast your own beans, you owe it to yourself to store them the right way and maximize their freshness. This is also true for storing store-bought beans- retail packaging is not good for bean storage.
Here are some of the best tips for storing coffee beans after roasting.
How to store roasted coffee beans
1. Don’t store them right away
Coffee beans fresh out of the roaster are still off-gassing for the first 24 hours. This means they’re giving off large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gasses created during the roasting process. They actually don’t need to be stored in an airtight container right away because the carbon dioxide prevents oxygen from reaching them. In fact, storing them in an airtight container right away can create off-flavors by not allowing those gasses to escape.
For the first 24 hours after roasting, leave your storage container either completely open or at least partially open to let those gasses escape.
2. Don’t store them in Your grinder
Most coffee grinders, like this popular one on Amazon, come with a large hopper on top that can hold a lot of coffee. Usually about half a pound. It’s not a good idea to pour half a pound of beans in there, though. Those hoppers aren’t really air-tight, so they won’t keep your coffee fresh. It’ll also make it more difficult for you to measure out the proper amount of coffee if it’s all been dumped into the hopper.
3. Use airtight canisters
After the first 24 hours, the best thing you can do for your coffee is to keep it in something air tight. Minimizing the exposure to oxygen is the only way to keep them fresh, so you need an airtight canister like this one.
Ideally, you want your beans to fill the canister as much as possible. Any space inside the canister will fill with air, so the less space, the better.
4. Use a canister with an adjustable lid
One very good way to avoid the problem of air space inside the canister is to use one with an adjustable lid. As you use your beans, you create more space inside the canister. An adjustable lid with a one-way gas valve solves this problem.
You push the lid down to the level of the beans and as you do, it expels the air inside the canister. Canisters like this are the best way to keep your coffee as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
5. Make sure your container is opaque
As with wine or beer, light can adversely affect your coffee. If you must use a transparent glass or plastic container, keep it in a cabinet where it’s dark. Too much exposure to light will create off-flavors in your coffee.
6. Keep them cool
Heat can also adversely affect your coffee. You don’t want to keep your coffee in the cabinet right next to the stove, move it far from any heat source. The heat will break down the delicate aromatic compounds in the coffee, causing it to go stale much faster.
7. But don’t freeze them!
Coffee is absorbent. It will take on moisture and smells from its environment. Moisture will negatively affect the freshness of your coffee, while smells from other foods in the freezer can be absorbed by it. No one wants a cup of coffee that tastes likes fish sticks.
The jury is out on whether or not storing coffee in the freezer keeps it fresh longer, but if you want to store it there, keep it in an air tight container, and anytime you remove coffee for brewing do it as quickly as possible so condensation doesn’t form.
8. Don’t grind them
It’s tempting to grind all of your coffee at once, or to buy freshly roasted, pre-ground coffee. Doing so eliminates the need to grind it every morning, and you get to your first cup of coffee that much quicker. But ground coffee goes stale much, much faster than whole bean coffee. Even stored in an airtight container, pre-ground coffee is going to lose much of its flavor within a couple of days. You’re much better off keeping it whole and grinding the coffee right before brewing.
9. Don’t buy or roast more than you need
Figure out how much coffee you go through in a week, and then when you buy your freshly roasted beans or roast your own, only get as much coffee as you need for that week. This makes it much easier to store the coffee properly and maintain maximum freshness while you store it. Trying to store a month’s worth of coffee just isn’t going to work; no matter how well you store it, it will go stale before you can finish all of it.
If you want to enjoy your home roasted coffee to the fullest, you need know how to store roasted coffee beans as best you can. The key things to remember when storing coffee beans are that you need to avoid light, air, moisture, and heat.
That means your coffee storage needs to be dark, cool, dry, and airtight. The easiest and most economical way to do this is to store your coffee in opaque, airtight containers, and to only roast or buy as much coffee as you need for the week. Remember, too, that whole bean coffee stays fresh much longer than ground coffee, so you should always store it whole and grind it fresh just before brewing.
As long as you do that, your coffee will stay fresh and you’ll brew up pot after pot of rich, delicious coffee.