Another frequent question that I get from our costumers is how to keep the coffee fresh for longer time. Good question! I sell freshly roasted coffee, so freshness is kind of an obsession because it makes a word of difference. You know what I am talking about if you have tried and compared both freshly roasted coffee and packed coffee that has been standing for weeks in a shelf before you purchase it.
You have noticed that the smell of coffee decreases with time and so does the flavour, the crema in the espresso too.
So, how to store your coffee to keep it fresh? Well, coffee should be kept away from oxygen, moisture, foreign odours, heat and light.
It may sound complicated but it is not, let me explain.
Oxygen and moisture: Roasted coffee is a dehydrated product and immediately after roasting coffee it will start ageing. Contact with oxygen is one of the factors that contribute to shorten the life of coffee. It is responsible from the typical stale flavour of old coffee. Every time that you open your coffee bag your coffee comes into contact with oxygen and moisture. Thus to reduce the amount of times that your coffee is in contact with oxygen I suggest that you keep in a container the amount of coffee that you will consume in a short period of time, one or two weeks. If you buy coffee in a bigger amount then you better first split the coffee into smaller containers.
Due to a higher exposed surface ground coffee can absorb a considerably higher amount of moisture compared to beans. So, water-tide storage is even more critical if you purchase ground coffee. And please, don’t store coffee in the fridge and never freeze ground coffee!
If you store your coffee in the fridge, when you open the container moisture will come in, then you put back the container in the fridge and that moisture will condense into water droplets… dripping in your coffee… not good.
If really necessary you could freeze beans (not ground coffee). You may need to adjust your grinder to a finer ground when you unfreeze your beans. And if you do freeze the beans then you can only defreeze them once and use them.
Heat: Increases in temperature (starting from about 10C) will speed up the release of CO2 and volatile compounds (which include the nice coffee smell that we love).
Light: Light also plays an important role in ageing of coffee, it has a catalytic role in many chemical reactions.
You may have noticed oil droplets appearing in your coffee, especially in dark-roasted coffee. It starts during roasting and goes as the coffee releases gas because CO2 tends to push oil outwards. The problem here is that the oil on the surface of your coffee will also speed up ageing.
So our advice to keep your coffee fresh for a longer but not indefinitely time is to keep it a grease-proof, air-tight container. Consider glass, ceramic, metal or a polymer as used in the Engrano bags. Place the container in a cool, dry and dark place to ensure the full flavour and freshness of your coffee. That’s it!
But even in this optimal conditions please don’t store coffee for long periods of time, the best you can do with your coffee is to drink it and then get some more freshly roasted beans and every morning enjoy the magic of full aroma and flavour in your coffee!