PRESERVING FRESHNESS

Coffee bean artwork used as a paragraph separator.

How to store coffee at home

How to store coffee at home

Properly storing your coffee is critical for prolonging its freshness. In this article we will cover some easy steps you can follow at home, so it smells and tastes delicious for longer.

WHY DOES COFFEE GO STALE?

Coffee is a shelf-stable product, which means it will not spoil or rot like other foods. Nevertheless, it will undergo changes over time that will make it go stale.

But, why does this happen? Coffee has different oils, acids, and chemical compounds, collectively known as "solubles". They develop during the roasting process and give coffee its unique flavor and aroma when brewed. Unfortunately, as roasted beans come in contact with air, oxygen starts degrading those solubles by means of oxidation.

Oxidation occurs when the oxygen molecule steals electrons from another substance. Iron, for instance, rusts and deteriorates because of this loss of electrons. That brown avocado in your fridge is succumbing to the same process and will soon taste pretty bad.

OTHER THREATS

Unfortunately, oxygen is not your coffee’s only threat. Here are a few more you need to avoid:

Heat:

On a microscopic level, heat agitates atoms and speeds up all activity, including degradation. Leave a carton of milk in a warm room and you will see how fast it goes bad. Similarly, placing coffee near a heat source accelerates its staling.  

Light:

Since heat is in our list, any source of light must be avoided. Storing your beans near a window, where they will be exposed to warm sunlight is highly unadvised. Plus, the ultraviolet spectrum is damaging to all organic matter.

Humidity:

Roasted coffee beans are porous and become hygroscopic, meaning they easily absorb any surrounding water, including humidity in the air. Since moisture dilutes and displaces all the oils within the bean to the outer layer, they will come in contact with oxygen quicker and evaporate.

STORING COFFEE

We now know you need to protect your coffee from oxygen, heat, light, and humidity. So, where to store them?

As a rule of thumb, in a dark and cool location. Here are a few options:

1) The original packaging:

Good news! The packaging your coffee comes in may already be good enough, as long as it meets a few criteria:

      • Foil inner lining: A foil-lined bag prevents any humidity, odors, gases, or light from coming in through the walls. A paper bag is unable to block these out.
      • One-way valve: Freshly roasted beans release large quantities of CO2. If the bag were completely sealed, the gas buildup would puff it up and it could pop. The valve allows carbon dioxide to exit, and prevents oxygen from entering.
      • Ziploc-top: This allows you to reseal the bag.

The bags we use here at Ixkanul Coffee fit these standards. So, simply follow these easy steps:

      1. Scoop out the amount of coffee you will immediately use.
      2. Reseal the package with the Ziploc-top.
      3. Squeeze the bag until all the oxygen inside exits through the valve.

The beans should remain fresh and delicious for about a month after opening.

2) Third party container:

The container must be opaque and airtight. Ideally, it can create an internal vacuum by pushing out any oxygen and moisture. Fellow Products has one of the leading products with this technology.

Whatever the choice, make sure to wash the container before refilling since coffee beans have oils which will go rancid over time. Any residue left on the walls can contaminate the new beans.

BUY THE RIGHT AMOUNT

The best practical advice we can give you is to buy the right amount. Freshly roasted coffee will taste great for about a month as long as you follow the previously discussed steps. So, if you purchase only a 30-day supply, you will always have amazing morning brews.

FEEZING COFFEE

If you do decide to buy coffee in bulk, a way of preserve it is by freezing it.

Remember how we said heat accelerates molecular activity? Well, cold does the exact opposite.

To illustrate, as water cools down, the atoms start moving slower and slower. When the temperature reaches 0°C they are moving so slow that they can no longer escape the forces of attraction. Bonds form between them which hold them down as solid ice.

Likewise, freezing temperatures will slow down all molecular activity in coffee beans, such as staling.

However, you cannot use just any container. Freezers are so damp that the beans will easily absorb that humidity. Hence, you will need to use vacuum sealed bags. Only by completely removing all the air will you be able to safely freeze coffee. Simply take out what you will use the next morning and vacuum seal the rest again.

CONCLUSION

We know how important those morning brews are, so protecting your freshly roasted beans from oxygen, heat, light and humidity is critical.

By storing your coffee in a cool, dry place, either in the original packaging or an opaque container, you can prolong its delicious flavor and aroma.

Nevertheless, always try to buy the right amount. By purchasing only a month's worth of coffee, you avoid ever having to deal with stale beans.

Finally, although you can freeze any surplus, make sure you use the proper equipment, such as vacuum sealed bags.

We hope this article was informative. If you have any questions, shoot us an e-mail at info@ixkanulcoffee.com. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.

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