You come into the kitchen one morning, groggy and craving your favorite coffee beverage. You grab the bag, brew a batch, and take that first glorious sip. But instead of the usual delicious java taste, the coffee hits your taste buds with bitter, sour notes — bad enough to make you want to spit it out entirely. This tragic development is likely due to improper coffee bean storage.
How do you avoid this horror in the future? We’ve got your back with this handy guide on how to store coffee beans. From pre-ground coffee to whole beans, we’ll show you easy tips on proper coffee storage.
How To Store Coffee Beans
Wondering how to store coffee beans? Here’s the best way to stash your beans without damaging the flavor and quality of your favorite java. We’ll show you how heat, moisture, and other factors affect beans and show you the best ways to preserve the shelf life of your beans.
Look for Airtight Containers
Air can degrade the aroma and flavor of coffee beans by causing oxidation. To avoid this, store coffee beans in an airtight container. You can choose from wood, metal, and plastic containers depending on your preferences. Stainless steel coffee canisters are among the most popular. The main thing is to make sure the lids have an airtight seal.
Not only should they be airtight, they should also be opaque. That’s because UV rays and light can also damage the integrity of your coffee beans. Find an opaque container that doesn’t let light in. That means no clear coffee canisters — even if they do display the beauty of coffee beans nicely.
Keep Them Cool
Like other magical things such as snow leopards and polar bears, coffee beans like to be cool — though not frozen. Store your coffee beans at room temperature whenever possible. Look for a cabinet that is away from heat sources like the oven. Also avoid placing the coffee storage canister or coffee bag on the countertop if it gets hit by direct sunlight. The storage location should also be a dry place so avoid any counters or cabinets that regularly get wet.
There’s some debate on whether freezing coffee is a good or bad thing. Some people think frozen coffee beans aren’t as tasty as fresh ones. Others like the convenience of freezing beans as part of a storage plan. We don’t like to judge, so we’ll leave this one up to you.
If you do choose to freeze beans, make sure to keep them in an airtight coffee canister. Avoid taking the bag of beans in and out of the freezer often to prevent condensation from forming. This can lead to freezer burn, which will damage the taste and flavor profile of the beans.
Store Beans Whole
While pre-ground coffee is popular for ease and accessibility, it doesn’t store well. The grinds are more susceptible to damage from air, moisture, and heat so they degrade more quickly compared to whole beans.This is largely because they have more surface area compared to whole bean coffees. If your coffee beans do go bad, you can use the grinds to make cold brew coffee since the beams don’t need to be as fresh for this coffee drink.
Try to buy whole beans and invest in an affordable coffee grinder. Only grind small batches of the coffee — enough for a day or two to preserve freshness. This way you can still have some convenience without having your coffee go bad.
Buy in Smaller Quantities
Buying in bulk can be great for your budget, but it’s also bad in terms of proper storage. Once you open the original packaging, you need to move the beans into an airtight coffee storage container in a dark, dry place.
Some coffee makers sell their beans in bags with one-way valves. These CO2 valves allow gasses to come out of the bag, but doesn’t allow air back in. These degassing bags keep coffee fresh for one to two weeks and are perfect when buying smaller quantities.
Instead of buying a huge five-pound bag of coffee, look for smaller bags of coffee. It’s a little added hassle, but it also means being able to have fresh coffee with great flavor every time. One way to do this is to buy from local roasters or sign up for a regular coffee subscription service.
How Long Does Coffee Last?
The shelf life of coffee varies depending on the type of roast and how it is stored and cared for. When the beans are done roasting, roasters allow them to rest and release carbon dioxide – which works as a natural preservative. That’s why it’s best to buy beans three days after the roast date (or seven days if you’re buying espresso beans). If you buy beans later, they may have already lost some of their freshness and flavor, reducing the shelf life right from the start.
Storage is also a key component in shelf life. Coffee beans stored in a paper bag or storage container that allows air and light in will only stay fresh for about one week. In the original packaging — assuming it is opaque and vacuum sealed — coffee will last about three weeks. In an airtight container kept in a cool place, you can enjoy the same coffee beans for up to eight weeks without a noticeable change in flavor.
Why Proper Storage Matters
As you can see, proper long term storage means that you can enjoy a great cup of coffee for longer. Heat, moisture, light, and air can all affect the integrity of your coffee beans and coffee grounds. By properly storing your beans, you can save money and waste less. This is good not just for your wallet, but also for the planet. Plus, you never have to drink stale coffee again.
Whether you’re buying specialty coffee for your French press or a classic espresso bean, proper storage means you get better-tasting coffee every time. Each sip is a journey into a world of flavors. Plus, you can relax and enjoy your drink without worrying about wasting money or coffee beans.
The Best Coffee Storage Containers
When it comes to the best coffee bean storage options, it really comes down to style and functionality. Keep in mind, the best options are airtight and opaque. Here are some of the best coffee canisters you can choose from.
Coffee Gator Stainless Steel
The Coffee Gator stainless steel canister is a top pick thanks to its durability and one-way CO2 valve. The airtight coffee container has a fast-seal lid to prevent air degradation and it comes in several colors to match your kitchen decor. It’s also available in three different sizes so you can buy a small one for personal use or a large container if the whole family enjoys java.
Airscape Coffee Canister
Planetary Design offers their Airscape collection, featuring a range of food storage options including glass and stainless steel. While we’d skip the glass options with bamboo lids for your coffee bean storage needs, their ceramic and stainless steel canisters are a great option. They have a built-in, patented lid to secure an airtight seal, are BPA-free, and they come in several matte hues including matte black and white.
Fellow’s Atmos Vacuum Canister
The Atmos Vacuum Canister is incredibly popular, but you’ll notice right away that it’s made of glass. While not the best for long-term storage, this is a good option for people who are willing to grind coffee regularly and use it quickly. The airtight storage features a silicone vacuum seal lid to preserve beans. The sleek design is perfect for displaying coffee — just be sure to store it in a dark cabinet to prevent degradation.
If you really must have glass, other good options are the Coffeevac 1lb storage container and the EVAK storage container. The airtight seal keeps beans fresh, but make sure to only store small amounts and keep it in a cool, dark place. You can also find it on Amazon and from many local baristas.
Delicious Coffee With Every Sip
Coffee lovers put the most thought and effort into choosing the right beans and learning about the different types of coffee beverages. Proper roasted coffee storage is often overlooked. There are many reasons for this. One, we’re just so excited to try that new blend and storage is the last thing on our minds. Or, we simply go through beans on a regular basis and haven’t had to think about proper storage much before. Other times, it’s simply that we are new to coffee drinking and don’t know the ways to care for our beans.
Keep your coffee beans fresh with this handy guide to proper storage. By understanding how to store coffee beans, you can enjoy delicious, fresh coffee every time — even if you don’t have a cup of java every single day.
Want to learn more about how to make the best coffee? Continue browsing our Cup & Bean blog for the freshest coffee scoop and trending news. You’ll find everything from tips on how to make different drinks like lattes to country-specific guides and flavor profiles on different beans.