Keeping your coffee beans fresh is one of the most important things you can do to improve your cup of joe’s taste. Please notice that I wrote coffee beans, not coffee grounds.
1. Go With Whole Beans
If you want fresher and better tasting coffee, you are going to have to start buying whole beans instead of the pre-ground stuff. If you enjoy inferior cups of coffee…then just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
The reason whole bean trumps pre ground coffee is because the moment you grind your coffee it begins to lose the essential coffee bean oils that give coffee its great flavor. When exposed to air, ground coffee immediately begins to get stale. So if you have a bowl of pre-ground coffee sitting next to your coffee maker throughout the week, you are definitely going to want to make some changes.
2. Store in a Cool Place (NOT the freezer)
It’s a somewhat contentious debate, but I’m pretty sure that the consensus about putting coffee in the freezer is that it’s not a good move. When coffee is exposed to moisture it absorbs it like a sponge. Why? Because the coffee, like a sponge, is porous. It sucks up whatever flavors are in your freezer, and this is the last thing you want.
Furthermore, when exposed to a frozen environment, coffee beans lose their flavorful oils. This is the last thing you want, so please, stop storing your coffee in the freezer.
Instead, keep your coffee in a cool place that isn’t directly exposed to sunlight. Got a cupboard? Perfect? A Pantry? Excellent!
3. Airtight is Right
We’ve already touched on the fact that air and moisture are two of coffee’s worst enemies, so it would make sense that we would want to protect our coffee from these evil elements in any way, shape, and form. Enter: the airtight container.
You’ve seen these things. People are storing all kind of things in them these days, from cereal to, well, coffee.
You may even want to take it a step further and buy a canister that is especially made for keeping your coffee beans away from air. We highly recommend this one.
4. The One Way Valve Bag
Often times you will find pre-ground coffee (and sometimes whole bean) in vacuum-sealed bags. Well, while this may be acceptable for pre-ground coffee, it certainly is not acceptable for whole bean coffee. Here’s why:
- When coffee is first roasted it emits CO2 for several days after the roast
- Yet, it needs to be protected from air (O2)
- Therefore, a one way valve bag that allows CO2 to escape without allowing O2 to enter, is essential to coffee freshness.
So please, please, only buy whole bean coffee bags that come in one way valve bags. Additionally, make sure that there is as little space as possible between the top of the bag on the coffee beans (i.e. little air space). Here is what a one way valve bag looks like:
5. Grind Right Before Brewing
Before I tell you to do what the heading above says, let me say this: get a burr grinder.
See, the thing with cheap blade grinders is that they expose coffee to yet another one of its arch enemies: heat. This is just one of the issues with blade grinders, but in this case it’s the only one you should concern yourself with when it comes to your coffee’s freshness.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s important to repeat that coffee must be ground right before you brew it. As we already learned earlier, as soon as your coffee is ground it is being completely exposed to air. Each second you let it sit, the staler it becomes. So once again, make sure that you are grinding right before you brew.
How Do You Keep Your Coffee Fresh?
Did we leave a major coffee freshness tip out of this article? What’s something you do to keep your coffee fresh? Have you noticed any considerable taste differences with your methods? Please share in the comments below!