Coffee Storage Common Sense
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is: What is the best way to store coffee? Our answer sounds glib, but there is no good way to store coffee so you should just not do it. Coffee is a food and to fully enjoy what it has to offer, you should consume it at its optimal freshness.
On the other hand, to be practical, there will always be a certain amount of coffee that needs to be stored. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to only have on hand enough coffee to last you for two weeks. That is about the longest coffee will stay fresh. This does not mean two weeks from the time you bring the coffee into your house, rather it's two weeks from the day it was roasted. That causes another problem because you don't typically know when your coffee was roasted.
To get around that problem, buy coffee from your local roaster, where they will gladly tell you the day it was roasted. If you don't have a local roaster you can buy your coffee from BetterBeans.com, because we make sure that you receive the coffee within a week of its roasting date. If you are adventurous you can even go to the extreme of roasting your own coffee. Lastly, you shouldn't buy coffee from a supermarket, even if it is a local roaster's brand. If it is not dated (and they never are) you will never know how long it has been sitting on the shelf.
The tough part is over. Now, how do we recommend storing the two-week supply of fresh coffee you now have? The answer is any airtight container. Air is coffee's enemy. Keep it away from air and your battle is won. Almost any container with a sealable lid will do. Anything from an old coffee can with a lid to Tupperware will work. The fancy stainless steel coffee containers with clamping seals are nice and attractive but not necessary, unless you plan to store your coffee in the freezer.
If you only keep a two-week supply of coffee on hand, freezing coffee is not necessary. However, if you find yourself with a few extra pounds that you find yourself forced to store, then a good airtight container is absolutely necessary. Freezers have the tendency to dry out foods. If your coffee container is not sealed the beans will become dehydrated and tasteless. If your coffee container is properly sealed then freezing will add about an extra week to its life. But that's about all you will get out of freezing. Remember, stick to a two-week limit and you will enjoy your coffee a lot more.
Published: January 2001, Last Modified: May 2011