Today in our From Farm to Cup blog series, we are going to look at the next step for the beans: best tips for fresh coffee at home. Stale coffee is the worst. Nothing is more disappointing than making some coffee only for it to smell noticeably stale when you open the bag, and simply not fresh. Keeping coffee fresh is extremely important for taste and the strength of coffee. If this describes an area that sounds appealing to learn more about, then here are some tips to store better and have fresher coffee.
- BUY FRESH, WHOLE BEAN COFFEE. Buying whole bean coffee benefits the coffee drinking experience in many ways. Grinding right before a brew allows the coffee to keep fresher longer, and to make a better cup. Pre-ground coffee that is store bought exposes the coffee to excess air (soaks in oxygen) that allows the coffee to stale quickly. Grinding before a brew is an essential step to making coffee taste better.
- CHECK THE ROAST DATE OF THE COFFEE. Before making a purchase, look at the roast date on the packaging of wherever the coffee is bought. Most roasters recommend buying coffee within one to two weeks of the roast date and to finish the bag within a month. Once the coffee bag is opened, it will start this month of freshness to descend. Coffee is the strongest and has the most flavor within the first few weeks from its roast.♦1
- KEEP THE COFFEE IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER. Most bags of coffee are resealable and naturally help keep the coffee airtight. If the bag is not airtight, a vacuum sealed container is the next best method to keep the coffee from being exposed to too much oxygen. Once oxygen reaches the beans, they will start going stale, so make sure to keep them in an airtight container.
- KEEP THE COFFEE IN A DRY, ROOM TEMPERATURE ENVIRONMENT. Keeping the coffee dry and out of humid or cold environments is another key to freshness. Freezing or refrigerating your coffee is a well known practice but actually does not keep your coffee fresh. Freezing or refrigerating your coffee will slow down the process of the coffee going stale, but the coldness will soak out all the oils of the coffee, dry it out, and what is left is tasteless. Likewise, if the coffee is exposed to too much liquid, the coffee will be ruined as well. ♦2
Coffee being kept fresh is very important for making great tasting cups of coffee. To keep it from losing freshness and flavor quickly, following these tips will be helpful. The freshest coffee leads to the best flavor. Next week, the From Farm to Cup blog series will discuss tasting profiles in coffee and why some coffees might be sweet, while others might be bitter. Thank you for joining us in this journey!
◊ Written by Andrew Watson, Manager at Ntaba Mellwood, v60 lover, and Interstellar‘s #1 fan
◊ Picture Creds: @connorlanebishop
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♦1 – Hoffman, James. “The World Atlas of Coffee.” Octopus Books, 10.4.2018.
♦2 – Rao, Scott. “The Coffee Roaster’s Companion.” 2014.