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Put a Lid on It: How to Store Your Coffee

You may not realize it, but your precious roasted coffee beans have some invisible enemies: moisture, air, light and heat.

 

Introduced prior to brewing, these conditions can all seriously degrade the flavor and freshness of your finished cup of java, and leave it tasting more like dry cardboard than delicious nectar.

 

If you want to make consistently good coffee at home, give careful attention to how your beans are stored.

Roasted coffee should be used as soon as possible once the package is opened. It’s usually considered fresh for about two to four weeks after the roast date, if you’re talking about whole beans. Pre-ground product shortens that time, as increased surface area exposes the coffee to more air, leaching in moisture and odors.


Keeping beans (or grounds) dry and cool in an opaque container on the pantry shelf is your best approach. Invest in a storage jar or canister with a good, airtight seal. Room temperature is fine, as is a dark spot in the cupboard. Just keep your coffee out of the warm, sunny spots in the kitchen.

 

Some folks want to freeze their beans, and this is generally okay, with a few caveats. Whole beans can be safely frozen for up to a month, which is helpful if you like to buy in bulk. Again, use an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag.

 

Just don’t take any coffee out of the freezer until you’re ready to grind and brew. Fluctuations in temperature (from cold to warm and back again) can draw condensation onto the coffee, and create a loss of important oils.

 

Freeze smaller portions in advance, so that you can take out only as much as you need at a time. When ready, pull your coffee out to thaw on a shelf away from heat. Grind and brew within two weeks.

 

You’ll find that a few of these simple adjustments in the kitchen can make a big difference in the flavor of your brewed Kahwa coffee. So get rid of that dusty old tupperware container, and give your beans a happy new home.

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