Freshly ground coffee can give you that all-important boost in a morning, however, if stored incorrectly it can ruin the start of your day.
There are many factors that can alter the taste of coffee before it reaches the machine. Whether you use an espresso machine, a drip filter, or a café tier, what gives you those intense coffee flavours are the oils contained in the beans. These oils dry up throughout the life of a coffee, however, there are a number of factors that can speed this process up.
Temperature, humidity, even the materials your coffee comes into contact with can have dramatic effects on the brewed taste. With this in mind, here are some barista approved guidelines for effectively storing your coffee.
1. Keep Your Coffee in A Cool Environment
Temperature has a drastic effect on stored coffee. Regardless of whether you are using ground or whole beans, anything above room temperature will dry the coffee out. This leads to less oil and less taste.
Always make sure your coffee is kept in a cool environment. This can be as simple as placing your stock in a storage cupboard away from the building’s heating system.
Direct sunlight can cause similar problems with stored coffee. Using an opaque container can dramatically increase the shelf life of your beans.
Both of these methods will help to keep your coffee fresh and flavoursome.
2. Humidity Can Destroy Coffee
When coffee is roasted, a lot of the natural moisture is removed from the bean. The coffee begins the process as soft and green, and finishes as the dry brown we associate with the beverage.
By removing this locked in moisture, we make the coffee bean porous. This means it will absorb what is in the air around it. If your coffee is stored in a humid environment, the coffee will take on moisture and begin to mold. If the environment is arid, the coffee will lose its moisture too quickly and become brittle.
Keeping your coffee out of damp subterranean areas and dry sunny rooms can benefit the longevity of your stores. As an additional line of defense, try and keep your coffee in an airtight container.
3. Should You Store Coffee in The Fridge?
There are many disagreements on whether keeping your coffee in a fridge can make it last longer. Very little evidence seems to back up the claim that storing coffee in a cold environment increases its shelf life.
However, coffee is what we call a deodorizer. This means that it takes on flavours of its surrounding environment.
With utilizing communal fridges, it is difficult to control what coffee would come into contact with while housed there. By storing your coffee alongside foodstuffs, you could unwittingly be undoing all the hard work of those who roasted the beans for a cultivated flavour.
4. Beans Vs. Ground Coffee
Depending on the equipment being used, your coffee will either be stored as beans or ground powder.
As beans, coffee can be stored effectively for longer. Beans lock in the coffee oil that is so important to flavour. Ground coffee on the hand is more rapidly affected by its environment. It dries out much quicker and loses its oil, giving it a shorter lifespan.
By grinding your coffee as it is needed, you can keep the majority of your coffee stored as beans. Beans will keep their flavour for up to two weeks, while ground coffee will generally last for only one. Investing in a coffee grinder can have a radical effect on how you store it.
5. Don’t Keep Your Coffee for Too Long
This tip sounds like common sense, and it is, but you would be surprised how many businesses do not heed the consumption dates of coffee. Since freeze-dried coffee lasts for years, we can mistakenly believe fresh coffee will store for longer than advertised.
Old coffee will not drastically affect your health, however, it will not be pleasurable to drink.
By ordering small batches and keeping track of sell-by-dates, you can guarantee that your morning coffee is going to be the delicious lift that you need.
From this list, we can see that coffee is much more delicate than it appears. Unlike many other supplies, the relatively short lifespan of coffee can be made even shorter by the environment in which it is stored.
If we ignore these contributing factors, we can end up with a dull, bland, or even burnt tasting coffee in the morning.
Ideally, coffee should be stored in a cupboard out of direct sunlight, in a room above ground level. An opaque, airtight container can be an asset once the coffee is removed from its original container. Make sure you know the expiration date of the coffee that you’re serving. With these simple guidelines, you can get the most from your coffee, in terms of both cost and flavour.--------
Greg is a Marketing Manager at 7 Grams Coffee, an office coffee and machine supplier for 300+ offices around Australia. He enjoys hiking, reading and spreading the word about high-quality coffee.