Whats the Best Way to Store Coffee?

I'm curious whats the best way to store coffee? I have heard in the fridge in a tightly closed container which I do and seems to stay very fresh I have heard in the freezer. I have also heard simply in the pantry away from sunlight! I want fresh tasting coffee in the morning and just curious whats truly the best storing method?



ChefOno July 16, 2012

The issue with coffee isn't oxidization, it's volatilization -- losing delicate flavor molecules to the air. For about 24 hours after roasting, the beans expel carbon dioxide under pressure. That's the reason many coffee bags have integrated one-way valves, to let the gas escape so the bag doesn't blow up like a balloon. (Incidentally, if a bag doesn't have the little valve, you can be assured the coffee was already old before it was packaged.) The beans retain the carbon dioxide in a sponge-like matrix which precludes oxidization. Store it like your other spices: airtight jar, cool location, away from light. Both Alton Brown and Harold McGee recommend freezing if you must extend its life.

Coffee is best 4 to 24 hours after roasting. From there, the aroma begins to degrade and the cup quality will show a loss in flavor after a week. Coffee is therefore considered fresh for 7 days (if it is stored properly). But remember, this is directly from the roaster, not your local mass-market coffee store.

lloreen July 15, 2012
It may be best to buy only a week's worth of beans at a time, but running out of coffee is a catastrophe in the morning. I keep a bag of whole beans in a tightly sealed bag in the fridge to ward off tragedy. Better less than ideal coffee than a morning of deprivation....
Chef L. July 15, 2012
Alton Brown did a segment on this just today. He gave the science behind it, but the short version is don't freeze! Air tight container (according to him) is the only option.
chef O. July 15, 2012
Never freeze or refrigerate coffee beans! If you have that much it means you are buying too large a quantity ! Store whole beans in pantry and grind fresh right before using.
beyondcelery July 15, 2012
There's really no reason to freeze whole bean coffee, unless you're going to be storing them for a year or more. ChezBeekeeper is correct that your storing method is mainly to reduce the coffee's interaction with oxygen, or oxidation. Keep it in an airtight container, preferably away from sunlight. Try to use it within 2-4 weeks of the roast date and your coffee will always taste fresh.

We sell a version of these at Caffe Ladro, which is also what I use at home. It works perfectly:

Food52 also just did a bit about coffee and they mention storage:
ChefOno July 15, 2012

I assume we're discussing whole beans?

It is best to purchase only what you will use in one or two week's time. In the pantry is fine.

Freeze them if you have no other choice. Some minor degradation will occur but if you do it right, you might not be able to tell the difference.

Only freeze fresh beans (within a week of roasting). Use an air-tight container such as a canning jar (not a zipper freezer bag). Defrost them in a manner that precludes condensation forming on the beans (in other words, defrost the entire container before opening) and don't refreeze. Whatever you do, don't grind frozen beans or prepare to say goodbye to your grinder.

Coffee is like most food, it's best to roast it yourself. Green beans will keep for over a year.

singing_baker July 15, 2012
I've always put coffee beans in the freezer sealed tight and that seems to work for me.
ChezBeekeeper July 15, 2012
The biggest problem with storing coffee is to reduce oxygen. So, store it tightly sealed. Refrigerate or freeze for best results and longest life. The easiest thing to do is to drink plenty of it and use it before it has time to go stale!
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