There are many wrong ways to store coffee, and all of them are detrimental to the finished product. Storing coffee incorrectly, either as beans or ground, will result in a mediocre brew. Working within the parameters of the coffee’s shelf life is essential to keeping it fresh. Proper storage ensures freshness, but not if the coffee is already dated.
Avoid purchasing stale beans. A good rule of thumb is to buy beans that are a bit shiny. The natural oil contained in the bean produces the gloss and the length of time at which the bean is roasted determines the degree of glossiness. Light roasts have a dull shine compared to beans roasted for a longer period, and decaffeinated beans are less glossy due to the decaffeination process. Take this into consideration before going to the trouble of storing stale beans.
Moisture, heat, light, and oxygen are the culprits that threaten freshness, but proper storage methods combat deterioration.
In terms of storage, coffee beans are a better option than ground, but for the coffee you grind at home, store it at room temperature in an airtight, glass, or ceramic container. Coffee beans can also be stored in their original container. To ensure freshness, press excess air from the bag and roll it down tightly, securing it with the attached tie. If the tie is insufficient, wrap a rubber band about the bag to keep air out.
How coffee perishes isn’t as obvious as it is with other food products. It doesn’t sour like milk or become excessively moldy like bread, but it will turn stale. Aroma and flavor are compromised when coffee is exposed to oxygen, even when the container is briefly opened for the first time. Making a fresh-tasting brew can be as simple as adding storage methods that combat the elements that degrade the beans.
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