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Should you freeze or just refrigerate your coffee? Store it in jars, paper
or plastic bags? Does it matter if it's whole bean coffee or ground coffee?
These are the questions that plague most coffee buyers.
Well, the answers vary, depending on what form your coffee is in.
Green beans store the best. If they are stored in a cool location, in a tightly
sealed container, they can last over a year. Even after all that time, they
will still produce a flavorful and aromatic cup. The problem with green beans
is that there is a lot more work involved to turn them into a cup of coffee.
You'll have to roast them and then grind them. This is not acceptable to most
coffee drinkers. Green beans can be harder to find too. Quality coffee shops
may sell them, but grocery stores rarely do.
So, the next best way to store your coffee is to store it in roasted whole
bean form. Grinding your own beans is pretty simple, and will be worth the
effort. Roasted whole bean coffee will last 1 to 2 weeks, when stored at room
temperature. You should keep it in an airtight container that blocks the light.
Plastic or some metal containers may contaminate the taste of your coffee,
so try to use ceramic if possible. If you must use clear glass, then store
in a dark cupboard.
One other thing to consider is gas. Freshly roasted beans create a lot of
gas (carbon dioxide). For the first few days, you should open up your coffee
container each day to vent out extra gas. This is why quality roasters package
their beans in valved bags shortly after roasting. These bags have one-way
valves in them to allow CO2 to escape but don't allow oxygen in.
If you can't use up your whole bean coffee in 2 weeks, then consider freezing
it. Coffee stored this way will last about a month, maybe two. Wrap it up in
several layers of plastic wrap, or use an airtight container with as much air
removed as you can manage. Once your beans have been frozen and thawed, do
not refreeze. You don't even have to thaw them out before grinding. Frozen
beans will grind up just fine.
Don't try to compromise by storing in the fridge. That is the worst place
for your coffee. It's just not cold enough to prevent your coffee from going
stale. With all the other foods in your fridge, your coffee is likely to pick
up flavors and odors too. That's just not good.
The last kind of coffee would be ground coffee. This is the most volatile
form, and isn't really good for storage beyond a few days. Again, use an airtight
and lightproof container. Don't bother trying to freeze ground coffee. With
all that extra surface area, it's going to go stale anyway.
The bottom line is that the best coffee is fresh coffee.
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