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In this article we will share proper methods, tips and tricks, to keeping your coffee as fresh as possible for maximum flavor and enjoyment.
There are certain factors that govern the shelf life of coffee. The first being what state are the beans in. Are the green coffee beans which are unroasted? Are we talking about freshly roasted coffee beans? Or, has the coffee already been ground.
The storage procedures, longest possible shelf life, and best date to use by for maximum flavor are different for all three. Essentially, what we will do is break it down and give you the tips and tricks and need to know information for the proper storage of coffee beans no matter what state they are in.
Storage And Shelf Life Of Unroasted Green Coffee Beans.
What is the shelf life of unroasted green coffee beans? Quite simply put they can last for years if stored properly. As we will see in this article as it develops storage and shelf life of coffee in any state are intertwined. Proper storage can extend usable shelf life. Improper storage can reduce usable shelf life.
The combination of a long shelf life and being relatively store properly without degradation make green coffee beans perfect for those who have seasonal homes, cabins, or survivalist preppers wanting to weigh in a supply of coffee will go bad.
In the unroasted state coffee beans are very stable, have a low moisture content, are nonporous with the top shell and are pretty much bulletproof. The roasting process and the grinding process are the “activating” ingredients in coffee’s start chemical processes rolling. This is one coffee beans become vulnerable flavor degradation, and lose their shelf life Think about green coffee beans as on planted seeds.
With seeds in general, they can remain dormant for quite some time until you place them in the earth, add water and sunlight. Those of the activating ingredients for seeds.
Proper Storage Of Green Coffee Beans:
The ideal storage conditions to maximize the shelf life of green coffee beans take into account a few simple do’s and don’ts.
- Do store away some from sunlight in a dark place such as a cellar or pantry.
- Do store in a cool environment with stable humidity. (Ideally at an ideal temperature of 60°F with about a 60% humidity – or close to it).
- Do allow air to circulate around the beans.
Don’t Do This:
- Don’t store green beans in airtight containers.
- Don’t expose them to temperature and humidity or moisture extremes.
- Don’t store them sunlight.
How Long Until Green Coffee Beans Go Stale?
When, exactly do green coffee beans get stale? Getting an answer to that question is pretty frustrating. It depends who you ask. Virtually everybody agrees that green coffee beans if properly stored, can last “up to a few years (2-5)”.
If you are planning to use the coffee beans within six months to a year the original packaging or burlap sack they came in would be fine. In some of the coffee forms many writers state that they vacuum seal their beans. While it may work for them, this is contrary to the advice given major producers, growers and Coffee Association say about letting them breathe.
The biggest enemies they can significantly reduce the shelf life of green coffee beans are;
- excessive moisture &
- exposure to direct sunlight
Check out this video: Shelf Life and Storage of Green Coffee and Roasted Coffee
What Is The Shelf Life And Proper Storage Of Roasted Coffee Beans?
What is the shelf life of roasted coffee beans? The shelf life of roasted coffee beans depends on a number of factors. The quick answer is the roasted coffee beans should be given a chance to rest for 12 to 24 hours after roasting. This allows the flavors and chemical processes initiated in the roasting process to develop. After that window, roasted coffee beans should be ground and consumed within 7 days.
The seven day period for consumption that we recommend is conservative. You may find literature that says roasted coffee beans can be stored a lot longer. Some say that the roasted beans will stay at their best quality for about 2 to 4 weeks. We discovered evidence to the contrary.
Staying fresh for up to 4 weeks may be true, but we’re going for the best cup of coffee possible. In the literature I will cite later, there is a graph that shows a significant drop off after seven days in terms of the factors that make coffee great – aroma, flavor, and freshness. These qualities deteriorate over time. It really becomes a matter of what you will settle for.
Whenever possible I try to find the most credible sources for information. Ideally, I go to research, scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals or data collected bright professional associations. I found this great article titled “What is the Shelf Life of Roasted Coffee? A Literature Review on Coffee Staling” (2017) funded and published by the Specially Coffee Association. I will recap some of the information they discovered.
Factors That Make Roasted Coffee Beans Goes Stale.
Temperature. Temperature affects the rate at which coffee beans will lose flavor and become stale. Warmer temperatures accelerate the process in which beans goes stale. Keep them cool. The literature is not really done any measure of differences that might’ve resulted from freezing coffee. In other words effects are intuitive at this point rather than measured.
Moisture. Moisture has been consistently demonstrated to accelerate coffee beans getting stale. The coffee beans will pick up the moisture and this accelerates chemical reactions will shorten it shelf life. For goodness sake, don’t get coffee beans wet and store them. There shelf life can be shortened by high humidity also.
Oxygen-exposure to air. A lot of studies pointed to oxygen as being the primary culprit in effecting coffee beans going stale for a number of reasons. It has been found that most of the compounds responsible for the aroma of freshly roasted beans are very susceptible to oxidation and can be lost quickly after roasting.
Is my coffee stale? Taste it and see. The studies on the shelf life of coffee and it going stale, that have included taste testing panels have shown some pretty interesting conclusions. Fresh coffee was almost universally preferred in blind taste tests over coffee that had been stored for two weeks. They also preferred fresh coffee over coffee that is been stored for only one week. The biggest factor in coughing going stale was found in how it was stored and exposed to oxygen. Oxygen was determined to be the biggest factor grading roasted coffee beans.
If oxygen is the culprit what is the solution?
Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Container – Canister with co2 Valve, Scoop and eBook – Large, Silver
If you are purchasing roasted coffee beans store, only buy coffee beans that have the one-way valve installed near the top of the bag. Studies have shown that coffee stored this way contains 0% oxygen (is a great thing) and 40% carbon dioxide (forces the oxygen out of the bag).
Please note that in order for these bags to work they must be stored upright. Another solution is to vacuum seal roasted coffee beans thus removing all the air and oxygen and limiting their exposure. A low-tech solution is storing roast coffee beans and Ziploc bags.
Solutions to oxygen exposure:
- Look for 1 way valve – releases CO2 won’t let oxygen in.
- Vacuum seal the coffee.
- Store in Ziploc valves.
- Specialty coffee storage valve containers.
Check out this video on: Coffee Freshness and Storage
What Is The Shelf Life And Proper Storage Of Ground Coffee Beans?
I’m just going to allow my opinion and prejudice to shine through in this section. I have not had commercially purchased ground coffee in my house in years. So I’m not personally concerned with how long it will last.
I’m not so ignorant as to believe that I have not had ground coffee out in about in restaurants etc. I have developed my own tastes and know what I consider a crappy cup of coffee and a good cup of coffee. Coffee made from free ground coffee beans is almost always crappy coffee.
But, just for the sake of the integrity of this article and to answer some readers questions we will plow on ahead with some answers.
How Long Can You Keep Ground Coffee Fresh?
Well, like most things, the answer is – it depends. A big factor is when you buy the coffee. Purchase it by its “best used before” date? If the coffee is unopened most sources say it will keep 3 to 5 months beyond the ‘best’ date.
Once it is open conventional wisdom says that ground coffee will maintain its flavor profile when opened and stored in a cupboard for 1 to 2 weeks. If you open ground coffee and stored in the freezer you might get four weeks out of it.
We have mentioned previously that the biggest enemy of coffee is oxygen and air. When coffee is ground you increase the surface area of the coffee that is exposed to air in a huge, monumental way. To a lesser degree the type of grind will also affect the shelf life with finer grinds lasting a short amount of time and coarser grinds. This is because of fine grind exposes more surface area than a course grind.
Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you keep your ground coffee as fresh as possible, for as long as possible.
- Do store the coffee in a canister that blocks out light.
- Do store the coffee in a container that is as airtight as possible.(Remember, oxygen is the biggest enemy of coffee).
- Do – try freezing freshly ground coffee to extend its life. (It may work, but the jury is still out.)
- Don’t put coffee area with high heat.
- Don’t store coffee in an open, porous container that moisture can get at.
- Don’t expose the coffee to light.
Can Coffee Go Bad Or Get Spoiled?
Yes, in the sense that it will no longer produce a decent cup of coffee. It doesn’t turn poisonous or anything but it will definitely be lacking in any kind of flavor and aroma. It may be like drinking warm dishwater.
Coffee is known by site food scientists to be a “shelf stable product”. After roasting it will not spoil due to micro or enzyme action. However, the chemical processes which are activated by roasting and still occur are responsible for the coffee going stale and negative flavor that increases over time and affects the quality of the coffee. In other words, it will taste bad.
When coffee “goes bad” or gets really stale there won’t be any noticeable differences between it and fresh coffee. There almost never will be visible mold or discoloration.
The best way to tell if coffee has gone bad is to smell it. Again, it will not smell bad it will just lack all the aromatic characteristics of fresh coffee. If it doesn’t smell I could coffee it probably is.
In order to maintain the most flavor in your coffee beans and to extend the shelf life simply remember the four enemies of coffee. Coffee has four main enemies against freshness:
We hope you enjoyed – “How To Store Roasted, Ground & Green Coffee Beans For Freshness”, and picked up some valuable information, tips and tricks.
Coffee Lover’s Accessories:
Here are some gift ideas to help make your coffee experiences richer. We selected these gifts based on practicality and usefulness any coffee lover would appreciate.
1. Ground Coffee Dispenser. No need to measure every time.Designed to measure one tablespoon at a time, the dispenser can be used to place ground coffee directly into coffee makers or espresso machines. It is constructed to keep ground coffee fresh for maximum flavor, and the included base keeps counter tops clean of ground coffee spills. Holds up to half a pound of ground coffee. Click & Check it out here. Image below.
2. Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale An accurate scale is a must for precision coffee making and coffee bean roasting. This is a top seller. Precision Tare Button calculates the net weight of your ingredients by automatically subtracting the weight of any bowl or container.Runs on 2 AAA batteries (included) that automatically power-off after 2-minutes to preserve battery life. Click & Check it out here. Image below.
3. Grey Iced Coffee Maker – Travel Mug Pour hot coffee in – get iced coffee out. Make chilled iced coffee or tea in as little as 5 minutes, no ice needed and it works with any brewing method, including single cup machines, drip, and pour over methods 4 designer colors to choose from. Click & Check it out here. Image below.
4. Portable Cup Holder With Clamp – Durable, Portable, and Foldable! This is not cheap plastic – it is aluminum with great clamping power. It fits many sizes of cups and appears safe and secure when holding a 32oz filled cup, a mug (up to 3″ in diameter), a thermos, a water bottle, or a soda can. Click & Check it out here. Image below.
Zevro Indispensable Coffee Dispenser, Silver – 1/2 PoundOzeri Pronto Digital Kitchen and Food Scale, Elegant BlackZoku Grey Iced Coffee Maker, Travel Mug – Hot Coffee In – Iced Coffee OutCup Holder Desk Clip Silver – Durable, Portable, and Foldable!