We all love getting our hands on some excellent specialty coffee. I myself recently came across a light roast with citrus notes on a trip to southern India. Obviously, I had to get some back with me. But now the question arises, how do I store it? All of us know, freshly ground coffee can lose its flavor and intensity over time. As a matter of fact, after a couple of weeks, the overall aroma and taste of the coffee will start degrading.
Now, this process can be slowed down if not eliminated.
First things first, precisely what leads to the degradation of coffee? Which factors contribute to coffee going "bad"?
Here are some non-negotiable factors that'll certainly ruin stored coffee:
- Oxygen: yes, the gas that gives us life can make the consumables go bad. Actually, any food that comes across the free flow of oxygen will go bad over time, as bacterial growth will flourish. So to tackle this, a tight seal on storage is important.
- Light: what brightens the world, whether it be the sun, or a lamp, breaks down cell structures due to a process called photodegradation. So your containers must not be transparent and should be stored in a dark place.
- Heat: the hotter it is, the worse for coffee. The molecules move and break apart, and hence bacteria grow potentially faster. Hence, cold environments work best for storage.
- Humidity: something that most of us don't prefer, is also a curse for coffee. Humid environments can change the moisture levels in the beans, which can destroy the overall flavor and delicate notes. Evidently, dry environments are best for coffee.
So, a place near your oven or stove may not work, and neither would a place that gets direct sunlight.
Considering all the factors above, the one foolproof place to store your coffee is in the freezer.
Of course, there are more ways to store your coffee, you can check them out here.
The pros and cons of storing your coffee in the freezer.
A lot of people are opposed to storing coffee in the freezer for a few reasons. Here are some of them:
- Humidity: freezers and refrigerators, in general, have a lot of humidity which can prove to be bad for coffee. Roasted coffee has low moisture and can absorb moisture from the surroundings, which is quite likely when stored in the freezer.
- Flavor alteration: Since a lot of foods are stored in the fridge, the odor will be floating around. This odor may have the scent of garlic or many other things, which can be absorbed by the coffee and change their flavor profile.
- Packaging: You may think that the issues above can be resolved by storing your coffee in an air-tight package. But consider this, as soon as you take the container out of the freezer, condensation may form on the coffee. And this brings humidity.
Let's go over reasons why storing coffee in the freezer is actually a great idea:
- Protect the flavors: freezing the coffee beans can preserve their flavor and freshness for a long time, given they're sealed and not taken out every now and then.
- Store them properly: store the coffee in tiny batches, only take out what you need. Allow them to thaw so condensation doesn't appear—this way, your coffee is preserved for a long time.
Anyway, I hope this helped and gave you enough details on how to store your coffee properly. I suggest buying only as much you need to avoid letting it become stale.