making coffee at home is the invigorating smell of freshly roasted coffee. As a home barista, you also know that it takes high-quality coffee beans to make the best cup of coffee possible. But to get the most out of your newly roasted coffee beans, it’s essential to store them well. That’s why learning how to store your coffee beans will help you improve your home coffee-making and make the resulting brew as delicious as it can be.
Why Proper Coffee Bean Storage MattersFirst off, coffee beans need to rest after roasting so that they can develop their fullest flavor. The exact amount of resting time for coffee beans varies. Some only need a few minutes or hours, while others take several days. Protecting your coffee beans from the elements will ensure that your coffee tastes good when it’s time to grind and brew. Another thing that happens after roasting is the loss of carbon dioxide that builds up in coffee beans during the roasting process. This process is called degassing and is what gives coffee its “bloom.” This is the quality that makes coffee taste great, so it’s not a completely bad thing. However, the longer coffee beans sit around after roasting, the more CO2 they lose. The more CO2 they expel, the more the flavor quality drops off, resulting in weak, lifeless coffee. Most importantly, high-quality coffee beans cost good money. If you appreciate the art and science of home coffee-making methods, you probably don’t mind spending a bit more for the best coffee possible. In that case, it makes sense to store your beans well so that your money doesn’t go to waste along with your coffee. Storing coffee beans well is necessary to protect them from losing their freshness and flavor. According to the National Coffee Association, there are four principal enemies of coffee:
- Air causes oxidation, in which oxygen molecules come into contact with the compounds in the coffee. Oxidation causes a breakdown in the acidity and aroma—the properties that give coffee its great taste. (Oxidation is also the process that creates rust in certain types of metal and turns sliced apples brown.)
- Moisture is a problem because coffee is hygroscopic. In other words, it absorbs odors and flavors it picks up from water in the air. These smells and tastes distort the flavor of your coffee, resulting in an undrinkable mess.
- Heat causes coffee to lose its flavor faster. Roasted coffee beans should, therefore, be kept away from heat until they are ground and ready to be brewed. Which brings us to Enemy Number Four…
- Light speeds up the staling process of coffee beans. Exposure to the UV rays of direct sunlight is particularly harmful. For this reason, coffee needs to be stored in a dark place well away from any light sources.
3 Effective Methods for Storing Coffee BeansSo how can you ensure your coffee beans stay fresh until you’re ready to use them? Here are three of the most effective ways of storing your coffee beans to keep them flavorful and delicious.
- Jars with lids. A jar to be used for storing coffee should have a secure lid so it will be as airtight as possible. Mason jars work exceptionally well, but you can also repurpose empty pasta sauce jars. Make sure you wash them well so that they don’t make your coffee taste like spaghetti and meatballs!
- The bag they came in. In many cases, the bag in which your coffee beans came is a suitable storage method. Keep in mind, though, that bags made of thin paper are ineffective because they don’t protect coffee beans from oxygen. A resealable bag made with high-quality paper and featuring a one-way valve works best.
- There are many specially designed containers and “coffee vaults” made just for storing coffee beans. Look for a canister that has a wide mouth so that scooping your coffee beans will be less of a hassle. Many of these canisters come with scoops to make life simpler.