How to Store Your Coffee

How Long Does Coffee Stay Fresh?

Coffee StorageSo you bought a pound or two (or ten) of your favorite gourmet coffee beans, you opened the bag, smelled that wonderful aroma, and brewed a pot. Now what? What are you going to do with that opened bag of coffee? Coffee is too good (and too valuable) a thing to waste, so let's discuss the right way to store your coffee, and keep that fresh aroma and bold taste around for a while, shall we?

First, you need to understand what "fresh" means. Generally speaking, fresh means that the coffee was roasted within 14 days. Industry gurus say that coffee actually reaches its peak flavor about 7 days after roasting. Interestingly, you should never drink coffee that was been roasted less than 24 hours ago. Coffee needs a little time to degas (release Carbon Dioxide) and allow the full flavor to come to fruition.

Does that mean that coffee is no longer drinkable after 14 days? Not necessarily. If you store the coffee properly, coffee will remain drinkable for much longer than 14 days, albeit not quite at its peak flavor. Bottom line, though, is that once coffee is roasted (i.e., no longer green), it is perishable. Proper coffee storage is just a matter of slowing down the inevitable decomposition of your coffee's intricate flavors.

Proper Coffee Storage Guidelines

Fresh CoffeeThere are some disagreements among coffee connoisseurs (read: coffee junkies) about what ruins coffee faster – oxygen, humidity, temperature, or light. Truth is, they are all correct. Controlling the environment where your roasted coffee is stored is the main goal of proper coffee storage.

  • Store your coffee in a non-porous container (porcelain works well).
  • Make sure the container is airtight. Look for one with a lid and a rubber seal.
  • Make sure the container is opaque. Light breaks down the coffee oils.
  • Store your coffee at room temperature, NOT in the freezer or refrigerator.
  • Purchase whole bean coffee and store it whole. Ground coffee goes bad faster.