One of the fastest ways to ruin an early morning is to wake up, ready to make a fresh pot of coffee, only to discover that your coffee beans or grounds have gone stale. In order to avoid this, you need to know how to store coffee properly so that it stays fresh for as long as possible.
The best way to keep coffee fresh is to use coffee beans instead of grounds, as the beans help to hold in freshness longer. Whether you choose to buy coffee beans or coffee grounds, you need to store them in an airtight container for longer-lasting freshness.
What if you want to store coffee that you already brewed? Is it even possible? Those are excellent questions. In this article, we will answer those questions, and more about how to store coffee, how to know if it has gone bad, and things to avoid doing to extend your coffee’s shelf life.
Table of Contents
How to Store Coffee Properly
Coffee is best stored in a dark or opaque airtight container as whole beans. You will want to keep your coffee in a cool, dark place where there is a limited amount of moisture. This means that the refrigerator is not an ideal place for storing coffee beans and grounds.
If you are looking for pretty coffee-themed decorations and you want to display your coffee beans in a pretty glass container, that is fine. But it is best that those beans be used for decoration purposes only, because the exposure to light, even when stored in an airtight container can still affect the flavor of the beans.
If you have bought coffee in bulk or you are planning not to use your coffee beans within the standard amount of time for freshness, you can freeze coffee beans. There are two things you need to keep in mind when freezing coffee beans.
First, you need to make sure you have a truly airtight container so that no moisture or air will leak in and cause your beans to spoil or lose their freshness. You may even want to consider using a vacuum sealer to suck out all of the moisture and air to help lock in freshness.
- EFFICIENT FOOD PRESERVATION: Make cooking and meal prep easier while cutting costs. Equip your kitchen with our vacuum sealer for easy freezer organization. Enjoy fresh, ready-to-be-defrosted...
- USER-FRIENDLY OPERATION: Effortless to use, our fully automatic bag sealer and its electric plug-in design simplifies food storage. The control center, conveniently located on the top panel, features...
- DRY & MOIST SEALING MODES: Our vacuum sealing system is designed for versatility, offering two selectable modes to ensure the best food preservation. Choose the 'Dry' mode for solid food items and the...
Second, when you do decide to take your coffee beans out of the freezer, remove just what you need from the bag or container for about a week’s worth of coffee, then quickly reseal it and return it to the freezer. If you are quick, you can avoid the formation of condensation inside the container or bag and keep your beans fresher longer.
How Long Can Coffee be Stored?
If you store coffee in an airtight container in bean form, it will usually stay fresh for up to two weeks.
- Fresher Than Fresh: You pay for prime quality ground and whole beans, so it makes sense to take care of them. This premium stainless steel container looks the bees knees and loves your tea and coffee...
- Protection from flavor-destroyers: Coffee naturally emits harmful co2 which must be vented away. Our zero-BPA canisters have innovative freshness valves to release co2 but lock out oxygen. Airtight,...
- Track Freshness: Log purchase or expiry date with the calendar date wheel, reduce waste and stop trashing precious coffee.
If you prefer to buy ground coffee, you will still need to store it in an airtight container, but the freshness will likely only last about a week.
What about coffee you have already brewed? You can keep brewed coffee in the refrigerator for up to a week. The level of freshness decreases each day and the flavor and smell will not be the same as freshly brewed coffee, but you can keep it in the fridge.
If you decide to freeze your coffee beans, in a proper container, they can remain fresh for up to two years.
Pro Tip for Storing Coffee
If you have already brewed a pot of coffee, but do not intend to finish drinking all of it, do not let it go to waste! Instead, use an ice tray that can be covered and make coffee ice cubes! These are great for making iced coffee.
Just fill a glass with your ice cubes and pour the milk of your choice over the coffee ice. As the ice melts, you will have a delicious cup of iced coffee without wasting coffee!
How to Tell if Coffee has Gone Bad
Coffee is pretty easy to tell if it has gone bad. Use your nose! If it does not smell fresh, it is probably not good to drink. At the very least, it has lost its freshness and will not produce a good cup of coffee.
If you have coffee beans and you want to test their freshness, grind a few of them and smell them. Grinding them before doing the smell test will help to release the aroma of the beans.
Drinking coffee that has lost its freshness will not hurt you, but it will not be as enjoyable as drinking a fresh cup of coffee made with fresh beans.
Coffee Storage Mistakes to Avoid
To ensure the longest-lasting freshness, you can get from your coffee beans, here are a few mistakes you should avoid:
Freezer, Not Fridge
Though you can freeze coffee beans to make them last longer, coffee beans and grounds should not be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator will lead to condensation build-up and cause the coffee to lose its freshness faster.
Don’t Buy Grounds
Coffee beans start to lose their freshness almost as soon as they are ground. This means that when you buy coffee grounds instead of coffee beans, you are already starting off with coffee that is not at its freshest. When possible, buy beans.
Don’t Grind too Early
Yes, it is easier to grind coffee for a few days, so you do not have to deal with the grinder every day, but it is not the best option for freshness. Do not grind your beans until right before you make your coffee, and only grind what you need for that pot or cup of coffee to ensure optimal freshness.
Proper Storage is Key to Fresh Coffee
Coffee is a delicious cup of goodness that will help to wake you up and keep you alert (as long as it is not decaffeinated), but it is much more enjoyable when it is fresh. By choosing to use coffee beans instead of grounds and storing small quantities in good-quality airtight containers, you can ensure your coffee stays fresh longer.
Old coffee is not harmful to drink, but who wants to drink old coffee when you can enjoy a delicious fresh cup every morning?