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From Store to Store: How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh

Grand Kaffe - Keep Coffee Fresh

Whether you buy your coffee from a grocery or department store, or order online, storing it properly once it arrives home has a big effect on the way it tastes when poured in your cup.  That’s because air, light, heat, and moisture are to coffee as kryptonite is to Superman.  So what’s a coffee lover to do?  Here are some tips for storing both whole bean and ground coffee.

Air-Tight and alright

If you’ve ever ordered a glass of wine and found it to be anything but fine, it’s probably because it wasn’t re-sealed properly once opened.  Without a vacuum seal, air finds its way in and wreaks havoc.  The same is true for coffee.  Most high-quality coffees are packaged immediately after roasting in vacuum sealed bags or cans.  That ensures that all of the air has been sucked out before sealing and that none of the goodness inside seeps out.

The second you open it, though, air creeps back in and some of the good stuff finds its way out.  You can actually smell it happening as that wonderful coffee aroma we all love is actually a sign that the chemical compounds used to create it are escaping.  Of course, this doesn’t happen all at once.  Generally, the shelf life for coffee that’s stored properly is a few weeks.  Here’s how it’s done:

  • Whole beans: If you are storing whole beans, select an opaque, air-tight container.  Why opaque?  Because coffee beans are damaged by too much light.  You will also want to keep your container in a cool, dry place away from excess heat or moisture.  Immediately before you’re ready to brew, take out only the beans you need.  Seal the rest back up, grind and brew.
  • Ground coffee: If you purchase your coffee already ground it will arrive vacuum sealed.  Your best bet is to vacuum-seal it right back up once opened.  It sounds complicated, but it’s really not.  Vacuum sealing is quite popular these days for preserving the freshness of all sorts of foods, especially those stored in the freezer.  Vacuum-sealing machines for use at home can be purchased for under $100 and last a long time.  You will also need bags or canisters that are made for vacuum sealing.  You can buy them in grocery or club stores, direct from the manufacturer of your choice and even online.  Once sealed, store it in your pantry at room temperature in a dark, dry place.

Buy in small amounts

While it can be very tempting to save a few bucks by buying in bulk, we caution against doing that.  If you want fresh-tasting coffee, it’s best to buy only what you know you will use within a week or two.  Try purchasing coffee in one-pound bags.   If you simply must buy in bulk, keep reading for ideas on how to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

To freeze or not to freeze

Well, it depends.  You see, where there are freezers and refrigerators, there is moisture along with the odors and tastes of whatever is stored inside.  Coffee that’s refrigerated or frozen absorbs all three, which can dramatically change its taste.

That said, if you purchased just enough for a week or so, skip the freezer and refrigerator.  If you have more than that on hand and decide to freeze it, make sure you select a container or package that is truly airtight.   Not all airtight containers are created equally, so do your homework and choose one that really works.

Freshness you can taste

Not all coffee is manufactured in the same way.  At Grande Kaffe, our coffee is roasted in small batches and then ground and sealed immediately afterward.  In fact, you can place an order today and have your coffee delivered to your door tomorrow.  Our coffee is available in convenient, one-pound bags, with a special collection of five flavors sold in single-serve cups.  Give it a try and experience the kind of freshness you can taste.