It’s funny to me how so many people still store their coffee in the freezer. In the age of endless information, you would think that this myth would have been dispelled by now. But...no. Let’s talk a little bit about the coffee bean first, and then we’ll break down some recommendations.
Coffee is hygroscopic. No need to google ‘hygroscopic’, I already did and will save you the time: “absorbing or attracting moisture from the air.” When coffee absorbs water, it speeds up the aging process by displacing the essential oils in the coffee. It also absorbs odors and flavors carried by the water.
Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of roasted coffee. The key to keeping coffee super fresh is to allow the CO2 to leave while preventing oxidation. Oxidation accelerates with more surface area so ground coffee will oxidize much faster than whole beans. How can you prevent air from getting to your beans but allow the CO2 to leave? We’ll get to that.
Lastly, coffee is a food. Leave it out in the sun and it will go stale. Expose it to heat and it will start to break down and lose its flavor.
To summarize, keep coffee away from water, air, heat and light. So, what can you do to keep your coffee fresh?
- Don't store your coffee in the freezer. Your freezer contains moisture and odors that your coffee will absorb. Plus, the freeze/thaw cycles have been proven to introduce moisture.
- Really good roasters have really good packaging. They include a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide to escape without letting oxygen in. If your beans come in one of these bags, that’s all the storage you’ll need. Try to buy smaller bags and keep them sealed until you are ready to use.
- Use an Airscape container that mimics the coffee bags we just mentioned. They keep the oxygen out but let the CO2 escape. A regular airtight container is okay too if that’s all you can get your hands on.
- Don’t leave your coffee on the counter where it will get sun or in a cabinet near the oven.
Posted by Adam Raper on