How To Keep Your Coffee Fresh
There’s nothing better to get you going in the morning than a hot cup of delicious coffee. If you prefer the higher quality roast found at your local coffee shop, you know how hard it can be to preserve the flavor of your coffee over time.
Nothing is worse than reaching for your morning Joe only to find that it’s lost its flavor. So how do you keep your beans from going bad? Do you stick them in the freezer until you need them, or can you keep them on the counter? If you find yourself asking these questions, it’s time to change your approach.
I spent years keeping my coffee out in its original bag, and got disappointed when it didn’t last through the month. I’ve since learned how to keep my coffee tasting great long after I bring it home. Follow these simple steps to keep your coffee fresh, using items you may already have in your kitchen.
What You’ll Need
- Gallon or quart size zip-top bags
- Opaque (not clear) plastic or glass container with an airtight lid
- Freezer or pantry space
- Brown paper bag
- Fresh coffee beans
- Coffee grinder
- Optional: vacuum sealer
If you prefer to use pre-ground coffee, skip the grinding step. Keep in mind that coffee will be fresher if you store the beans rather than the grounds, but if you don’t have access to a grinder, storing the grounds following these steps will keep them fresh.
1. Seal tightly
When storing coffee, air is your enemy! You want to store your coffee beans or grounds as tightly as possible. Place the coffee in a zip top bag and press to remove as much air as possible.
If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to remove all air around your beans, but don’t use a vacuum sealer on ground coffee. This can suck the coffee grounds up along with the air. For an inexpensive vacuum sealer, try this model from Rival.
If you’re in the market for a higher end model you can purchase this one from FoodSaver. It’s not necessary to buy a vacuum sealer just to keep your coffee fresh, but it’s an appliance you can use for a number of foods around the kitchen.
If you want to remove air without a machine, try using a straw to suck out the air, or dip the bag into a bowl of water to push the air out. Once you’ve created a tight seal in your bag of coffee, it’s time to decide whether you’ll store it in the pantry or the freezer.
2. Storing in your pantry
To store coffee in your pantry, you will want to place it into an opaque (not clear) container. While glass can be a great decorative choice for coffee storage, it lets in light and shortens the life of your coffee.
A metal, colored plastic, or even frosted glass container will work better than a clear one. Try to find a container with a tight-fitting lid that creates a seal to keep it airtight.
You can keep a metal or dark plastic container on the counter, but if you choose a container that lets in any light, place it in the pantry or cupboard for storage. For a highly rated metal container, click here. For a high-tech vacuum seal container, try this. Once opened, ground coffee can last 3-5 months in the pantry, and whole beans can last up to 6 months.
3. Storing in your freezer
For longer storage, you can also keep your coffee in the freezer. If you choose the freezer route, place your zip top bag of beans in a brown paper bag, write the date on the outside, and place in the freezer. Once opened, ground coffee will last 3-5 months in the freezer, and whole beans will last up to 2 years.
4. Grind your coffee just before brewing
For the freshest taste possible, try to grind your coffee right before you brew it. You can find a small, inexpensive grinder from Hamilton Beach or a more sophisticated grinder with a higher capacity from Cuisinart. There are even small hand grinders that can come with you on vacation for fresh coffee away from home(link).
If you can’t grind your coffee right before brewing, try to prepare it in small batches instead of all at once. You can keep one or two weeks worth of ground coffee fresh at a time before grinding more. Ground coffee doesn’t stay fresh as long as the beans, so you will want to keep the beans intact for as long as possible.
5. Check your coffee from freshness
All this talk about keeping coffee fresh might have you wondering how you tell when it’s gotten too old. That warm, dark aroma of coffee is all you need to determine whether it is still fresh. Old or stale coffee will lose its smell, and its flavor along with it. If your coffee has lost all of its smell appeals, it’s time to ditch it and buy some new beans.
There you have it! All you need to keep your coffee fresh for up to 2 years is probably already in your kitchen right now. Remember to opt for whole beans and freshly grinding your coffee whenever possible.
If you have to use ground coffee, remember to remove as much air as possible before storing, and you’ll have fresh coffee for months. I was able to enjoy my coffee for a lot longer once I started storing my coffee this way, and I’m so glad I made the switch.
Are you feeling more prepared to keep your coffee fresh now? If you enjoyed this article, please share it with any other coffee lovers you know. Any questions? Leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!