Now we know there are many opinions and old wives' tales about the best storage solution to keep your coffee fresh, so here we are adding our opinion to it! Hopefully to help and not confuse the situation.
The key issue here, is that there are definitely, scientifically proven, conditions that harm the quality of your roasted coffee:
What we at RAW think you should do:
- The best and most simple advice we can share to improve the freshness and quality of your coffee is to purchase small amounts of freshly roasted coffee weekly or regularly. If you know you go through 500gms a week or a kilo a week, that’s what you should order. Small and often! The same as you do for your other perishable fresh grocery items
- Always purchase WHOLE BEANS and grind these at the time you want to drink the coffee, or on demand
- Store this freshly roasted coffee in an air-tight or vacuum-sealed container
- Keep this container in a dark dry cupboard
A couple of the common questions we are asked that are variables to the above storage preferences:
I don’t have a grinder at home so can you please deliver ground coffee?
Yes, we can grind your coffee, BUT and it’s a big BUT, there are very real challenges understanding the exact grind size we should grind your coffee for your home brewing method, particularly if you have an espresso machine like a DeLonghi, Krupps, Breville or Gaggia, for example; as these machines have variable pressure and temperature control, and they just don’t have the same stability as a commercial machine – which means one other variable that has to be considered is the grind size of the coffee. What we would grind at the roastery for our espresso machine is too fine for many of these home espresso machines, so we have done our best to generalize and have SOPs that we follow when we grind your coffee as requested, the more specific you can be when you order the better (ie I have an old Gaggia that has never been serviced and leaks when you grind it too fine…. !) Ground coffee also “changes” over time and what may be perfect the same day it is ground, even when stored correctly, after one week will have changed its molecular composition and many volatile oils are lost.
This grinding generalization, also applies to different home brewing methods as the water temperature you are using, different models, and brands, all require calibration, and sometimes generalizing a grind size 4 for a stove top or a grind size 7 for a French press, will be close, but not perfect – and then you don’t get the most potential out of your coffee. So, the answer is yes, we will do it and deliver you ground coffee, but if you would like to see an immediate noticeable difference in your coffee quality, a grinder is a great investment!
If you purchase your coffee pre-ground, please store it in a vacuum-sealed container and follow the same rationale as above, remembering ground coffee oxidizes very fast, within minutes in fact, and that lovely aroma you smell is all the flavorful aromatics evaporating.
If you have the chance to buy a bulk supply of coffee (for example when on holiday at home and your favorite local roaster has a special deal) what can you do to store bulk coffee?
If you cannot invite all your friends over to consume the coffee within two to three weeks of roasting, you need to look at a storage solution. Storing bulk coffee in the fridge is a definite NO NO as there is too much moisture, too much temperature variance with the door opening and closing, and it is not cold enough to correctly store for a prolonged period. Coffee is highly porous so it will also absorb moisture and other odors from less “savory” food items inside the fridge.
One option would be to store the packaged, air-tight, wrapped coffee in the freezer. It is definitely not going to make the coffee taste better, and there are a lot of variables to manage, but it will prolong the degradation. Aim to keep out any moisture or light. Ideally, if it is a large bag, repack it into smaller say 500gm bags, and then you can remove what you need in small volume, write the date on the bag the coffee was roasted and the date you put it in the freezer. Please remember we are not suggesting this as a good storage method, but rather an emergency so you don’t lose it, it’s a storage option!
What is the best type of storage container to keep my coffee beans fresh?
Ceramic or non-reactive metal containers with an airtight gasket are the best option for storing coffee to keep the maximum freshness. You can also store them in fresh clear glass canisters or clear plastic but only if the containers are kept in a cool, dark place. Try to avoid countertops if in direct sunlight or another heat source.