Fresh coffee is best and knowing how to preserve the flavours of your coffee will make every cup worth it.
Just like everything else in your kitchen, your coffee has a set lifespan. You’ve got a limited amount of time to experience the peak flavours and tasting notes of your favourite blend or single, so knowing how to store your coffee at home makes a world of difference.
Coffee is like most perishable food items in the way that oxidation is working against great flavour. With every passing moment, your roasted coffee beans are being exposed to more oxygen and degrading in quality over time. When we grind coffee, we open more surface area of the beans up to oxidation and speed this process up considerably, releasing all the gasses and oils inside that have been created during roasting.
It’s these gasses and oils that account for the amazing aromas we get with a batch of freshly roasted or freshly ground coffee beans. If you compare freshly ground coffee to beans that were ground a few hours ago, the difference will be stark. Your coffee has travelled a long way to get to this point, so you may as well treat it right. This means avoiding grinding your stored coffee until you're ready to brew.
When it comes to maintaining freshness and flavour, whole beans retain their flavour profile far longer than ground coffee (up to 3-4 weeks) if stored correctly in an airtight container. As more time passes and the CO2 gasses naturally release, you will notice a loss of aroma and a dulling of the flavours when brewing.
Ground coffee has more surface area exposed which increases the rate of oxidation, degrading our delicious flavours. You’ve got less life on ground coffee, about one to two weeks. With this in mind, there are a few things we can do to keep the coffee at its best for longer.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that we can get coffee fresh from our roasteries, into the hands of our avid coffee drinkers tasting delicious. If you didn’t already know, there is A new home for your coffee than just sitting pretty on the shelf. Our Putting an end to landfill are lined with an innovative coating that keeps oxygen out of the bags and away from your coffee as efficient as metal foil or plastic. The longer the oxygen is kept away, the more flavour will be retained in the coffee you just bought. Our roasteries heat seal our 250g retail bags to ensure nothing gets in to taint the flavour of the coffee. These bags are also equipped with a one-way valve that allows excess carbon dioxide to escape the bag.
This is all well and good until you open those bags to get stuck into your favourite brew, from there you’ll need something extra to hold on to that flavour for as long as possible.
Once you’ve opened a heat-sealed bag, an airtight container is what’s needed to preserve the flavour experience. Airtight containers are the most effective means of replicating our heat-sealing method at home, slowing the oxidation taking place.
What you also need to keep in mind is that coffee is porous. This means that it’s not only oxygen that’s being sucked in, affecting flavour. Your coffee will pull in flavour from anything that’s around it, like onions in the pantry or heat on the kitchen bench - you don’t want these things mixing with coffee. Airtight containers do the best job of just keeping coffee by itself, insulated from anything that may give you a negative experience in the cup.
The best way to store your coffee is in your airtight container in the pantry, away from anything too pungent.
Keeping your coffee in a cool, dry space in the pantry will preserve the freshness of your coffee by letting it age steadily. Too much exposure to light and heat will make your coffee sweat out oils which not only impact the lifespan of the bag you’ve just bought, but also what it tastes like in the cup once it’s ground and brewed.
Since coffee is hygroscopic (let’s not use that word again), any foreign smells, aromas, heat, sunlight or moisture will work their way into your coffee and compromise the flavour in the cup. It doesn’t matter how carefully you try to brew, if your coffee hasn’t been stored properly, it won’t bring out the best flavour.
Leave your coffee with coffee, away from other things.
Storing coffee in the fridge is not your friend! While the cold is good for preserving food, cold environments will dry your coffee out; removing the oils and gasses which give you delicious flavour will actually get you stale coffee quicker. The same goes for the freezer to an extent. Storing coffee in the freezer is only suitable if you vacuum seal your coffee first and remove all the oxygen from the bag before you freeze it. While this method is interesting, it’s only suitable for long term storage as things will get complicated when you’re looking to make a delicious morning brew every day.
Buying pre-ground coffee is not bad, but there is a reason why people think it is. We always recommend buying little and often, making sure you’re only getting enough to last a week or two and constantly topping up with a fresh roast. Our coffee is roasted, ground, packed and dispatched the same day to ensure your coffee makes it to your door fresh. As soon as you break that bag seal though, your coffee gets hit with oxygen, moisture, CO2 depletion and potential contamination, all of which affect flavour and freshness. This is particularly noticeable with the increased surface area that comes with ground coffee.
These factors can all be reduced with proper storage but if you’re a real stickler for getting the best flavour out of your brews, the safest bet is to invest in a grinder for home and stick to whole beans.
At the end of the day, the best way to keep your coffee fresh for as long as possible is to buy little amounts of fresh coffee, often and to have your airtight container ready to store your coffee in once you’ve opened the bag.