How to Store Coffee Beans: What You Need to Know

If you’re a regular customer at your local coffee shop, you could be wasting your money. 

Studies show that the average American spends $1,092 per year buying coffees alone.

If that sounds like you, why not save yourself the cash and start making your own! In this article, we will explore all you need to know about storing coffee with some great tips along the way.

Have we lured you in yet? We thought so! Keep reading to find out more.

Coffee Bean Storage: How to Do It

The best place to store fresh coffee beans is in a dry area away from direct sunlight and moisture. 

That doesn’t mean you can just place a bowl of beans inside any old cupboard. Let’s take a look at the best coffee storage devices.

Coffee Canister

If you regularly drink coffee at home, you probably use a coffee canister to store your beans. Some can be costly, but as long as it is airtight, cool, and kept away from light, that’s all that matters.

Airtight Container

Any airtight container makes an ideal storage space for your coffee beans. The keyword to note is ‘airtight.’ This will ensure that outside elements such as air or moisture will not affect the coffee inside.

Vacuum Sealed Coffee Bags

Depending on the type of beans you purchase, they are sometimes packaged in vacuum-sealed packets. 

Once the beans have been roasted, they are transferred into sealed packs to prevent oxygen from entering. It is only when the seal is broken that the beans are exposed to oxygen.

Elements That Affect Coffee

Air, light, and moisture are 3 critical elements that will affect the taste and consistency of your coffee beans. 

If the coffee is exposed to any of these external factors, it affects the chemical compounds of the beans or grounds, ultimately leading to rancid tasting coffee.

Ground Coffee and Beans: The Shelf Life of Each

Ground coffee is the product of roasted coffee beans when they have been put through a grinder. You can buy coffee in ground form or purchase beans to grind yourself.

Pre-ground coffee has a shelf life of around 3-5 months, whereas whole beans last a lot longer and can be stored for around 6-9 months.

Tips For Maximizing Freshness

To keep your coffee fresh for as long as possible, make sure you follow the important rules below.

Tip #1: Temperature

Store your coffee in a place where the temperature will be consistent. 

For example, storing your container in a cupboard next to your oven or a boiler is inconvenient. Stick to a cupboard, pantry, or kitchen top where the temperature will be roughly the same at all times.

Tip #2: Container

Some sealed bags containing coffee beans have a zip lock, perfect for locking in the smell and flavor. 

Be sure to properly zip the bag before storing it. If the bag does not have a zip lock, you can tape it down or, alternatively, purchase a clip to keep the sides together.

Tip #3: Area

As mentioned previously, keeping coffee in a cool, dry place out of sunlight is the best way to maximize freshness.

Feel free to store it on the kitchen worktop. If out of direct sunlight, then there is no reason why this will affect the coffee inside.

Freezing Coffee

Freezing coffee beans is a good way to save money. 

Although placing them in such an environment goes against everything we have discussed so far, the freezer is a good storage place when you need it but should probably be used as a last resort. 

Keep reading to find out how to do it!

How to Freeze Coffee

Freezing small portions allows you to take out just enough for a day/week’s worth of coffee, so you don’t have to thaw out a whole bag of beans.

You can use zip lock bags, glass jars, or an airtight container. We recommend using zip lock bags as they take time to thaw out the glass jars.

Allowing the beans to thaw out completely is the best way to ensure a good-tasting cup of coffee. If they are still slightly frozen, there is a chance that your freshly brewed drink may taste slightly flavorless.

How to Thaw Coffee Beans and Grounds

To thaw beans or grounds, you will need to place them in an area at room temperature for a couple of hours or until you find that they are no longer frozen.

What Exactly are Coffee Beans?

Technically, coffee beans are not beans but, in fact, seeds. They are the product of coffee cherries that grow in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, to name a few.

There are 2 different types of coffee beans – Robusta and Arabica. 

These are picked from the cherries grown from coffee trees. You may have heard of the term ‘green beans’; this refers to unroasted immature beans. Once they mature, they turn yellow or reddish before being taken to a coffee roastery to be roasted.

Using Stale Beans

If you happen to come across coffee beans that are a bit old, there’s no need to throw them away. Instead, use them to make a cold brew, inside plant pots to deter insects from eating your flowers, or use them in your compost. 

FAQ Section

Looking for more information? Our FAQ section below may be of help.

Can I Store Coffee Beans in the Refrigerator?

You shouldn’t store coffee beans in the refrigerator simply because it is a cold, moist place which is a terrible environment for coffee to be placed in.

How Long Can I Store Coffee Beans in the Freezer?

Whole coffee beans and grounds can be stored for around 2 months in the freezer. Always make sure they are fully defrosted before consuming.

Does Coffee Expire?

It is true to say that coffee does not necessarily expire. Over time, its flavor and smell will become less pungent and pretty tasteless, but it isn’t dangerous to consume. 

Final Thoughts

While it may not seem like such a big deal, knowing how and where to store coffee beans and grounds can make all the difference when you’re enjoying your first cup of the day. 

After reading this, you will have noticed there is quite a lot of science behind these tasty beans which should never be ignored when it comes to finding a good spot to store them. 

Photo of author


Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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