Americans drink 146 billion cups of coffee per year, with over 64% of American adults consuming this beverage daily. Even with the growth of coffee shops globally, according to a survey conducted by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 79% of Americans tend to drink coffee at home.
To best enjoy a home-brewed cup of coffee, use the freshest coffee available since this is a perishable commodity. Coffee beans begin losing their freshness once they are roasted, resulting in a decrease in the natural aroma and flavor.
And the beneficial oils and nutrients in coffee can start to spoil or turn rancid. This process is called oxidation and decreases the medicinal value of coffee.
How To Keep Coffee Beans At Their Peak
- Store beans in an airtight, opaque, preferably vacuum-sealed container. Choose ceramic, opaque glass or non-reactive metal.
- Avoid light, heat, moisture/steam and air. These four elements will lead to oxidation, which accelerates the aging process. This causes beans to lose their essential oils, affecting the aroma and leaving the coffee stale. Consider storing your beans in an airtight container away from stoves, coffee pots/brewers, sinks and direct sunlight.
- Never store coffee beans in the refrigerator. The beans are likely to absorb odors and moisture from the fridge, which will affect flavor/quality.
- Select a cool, dark place to store coffee beans that’s not subject to temperature changes. An ideal place to store fresh coffee beans is in a dark cupboard, protected from sunlight, steam and heat.
- Coffee begins to lose freshness after roasting. Find small batch producers (like Cardiology Coffee).
- While differing opinions exist as to whether or not coffee should be stored in the freezer, the best rule of thumb is avoid it if possible. Just as storing beans in the refrigerator can compromise bean integrity, the freezer can increase the chance that your coffee absorbs moisture, takes on odors or becomes freezer burnt. This will affect taste and quality. If you absolutely must buy in bulk and store coffee beans in the freezer, invest in an airtight container. To ensure your coffee stays fresh, do not store longer than 2 weeks in the regular freezer. Storing up to 2 months in a deep freeze will keep coffee bean quality longer than a regular freezer, however, it is not highly recommended.
- If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee. Do not return thawed coffee beans back to the freezer.