The lifespan of ground coffee is very short. It will stay at its best only for two to three weeks after the date of roasting. So, to keep it flavorful and fresh after opening the bag, you have to store it properly.
In this article, we will discuss some tips on storing ground coffee, causes of coffee rotting, how to make it last longer, and much more. Let’s begin!
What Is The Cause Of Coffee Going Bad?
There are four main elements that make your coffee go stale faster. If you limit the coffee’s exposure to these, it will stay flavorful for longer:
Coffee beans are highly hygroscopic, which means they have a high tendency to absorb moisture from the air. The moisture content of green beans and roasted coffee is generally low. But it is observed that their moisture content increased during storage.
And when the coffee beans absorb moisture, they begin to lose their integrity and flavor.
The UV rays from the sun act as a mutagen, which causes the coffee to age. If exposed to sunlight for long periods, the coffee’s chemical compounds will break down, leading to a loss of aroma and flavor. This is known as photodegradation.
Coffee cannot tolerate temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius or higher. If kept at unsuitable temperatures, the coffee will start to break down quickly, bringing the oils to the surface, which would normally be released during the extraction process.
The natural oils in coffee also help to release CO2 faster, which is needed to make the crema.
When exposed to air, the oxygen will oxidize the coffee and extract its natural oils. This will cause the coffee to lose its flavor, and you will not see the delicious crema when you pull an espresso shot.
Best Storing Tips For Ground Coffee
When the coffee grounds go unused past their best before date, their aroma starts to disappear, and the natural oils in the coffee begin to oxidize, making the coffee rancid.
All foods are bound to go bad, but with proper storage, you can keep the natural oils and carbon dioxide intact for longer. Here are some tips on how to store coffee:
1. Store In Airtight And Opaque Containers
Always keep in mind that light and air are coffee’s biggest enemies. You cannot stop the coffee from turning stale eventually, but you can make the process slower by restricting the ground coffee’s exposure to air and light.
Storing your coffee in an airtight and opaque container will keep the coffee fresh for longer.
2. Keep Coffee At Room Temperature
Constantly taking it in and out of the fridge will expose the coffee to condensation and moisture. This is why we recommend against freezing or refrigerating coffee grounds. Similarly, storing coffee in hot places, like inside the oven, is also bad.
Storing it in too hot or too cold climates will result in a breakdown of flavor and aroma. This is why you should always store coffee at room temperature in your pantry or on the kitchen platform.
3. Buy What You Need
Ground coffee only stays fresh for a few weeks, so to keep your morning cup tasting fresh, buy it in limited amounts. So, depending on your daily coffee consumption, you should buy only as much coffee as you can finish in two to three weeks
What Are The Best Types Of Containers To Store Coffee?
We have already established that, ideally, the container in which you store ground coffee should be airtight and opaque. Here are some options to store coffee beans and ground coffee:
1. Foil Barrier Bags
These are usually the bags your coffee comes in. Most coffee sellers package the whole beans immediately after roasting it in a foil barrier bag with a sealing valve. It allows the CO2 to escape but does not let oxygen enter.
It also protects against light, air, and moisture. It is not temperature-resistant, so keep it at room temperature only. When you have taken out the coffee, simply roll down the packet, squeezing the extra air out, and secure it shut with tin ties.
The problem with this packaging is that when the CO2 escapes from the valve, some of the flavor also leaves. This is why it is important to use the coffee within three to four weeks from the date of roasting.
2. Air Tight Containers
One of the best airtight containers is the Friis coffee vault. It is an opaque, stainless steel container with an airtight seal. It also has a built-in freshness valve that expels the CO2 gases out and prevents oxygen from entering. Keep your fresh beans or ground coffee in there and store it in a dry place.
The CoffeeVac is another good option for storing ground coffee. It has a push-button design and a vacuum closing system. It doesn’t displace the air, but it has a good sealing effect. It is airtight, water-resistant, and opaque.
3. Air Displacement Containers
The Airscape containers have an inner lid and an outer lid. As you press down the lid, the air inside the container is forced out of the two-way valve. When the lid is pressed against the goods inside, simply flip the handle down to close the valve.
4. Vacuum Canisters
The Fellow Atmos is an airtight container with a twist mechanism. You have to twist the lid back and forth until you see a green light, which indicates a vacuum has been created and there is no more air left inside. Vacuum-sealed coffee will stay fresh for 50% longer.
If you store coffee beans inside, they will release CO2 and the green light will disappear in a few days. So it is recommended to check back every few days and create a vacuum in the case of roasted coffee beans.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will debunk myths and answer the most commonly asked questions about storing ground coffee:
1. Should You Use Refrigerated Or Frozen Ground Coffee?
We advise against freezing or refrigerating coffee on a daily basis. However, if you are going away, then you can freeze ground coffee in an airtight container. Once you are back, take out the coffee and keep it at room temperature. It cannot go back into the freezer, once you have taken it out.
2. How Long Does Ground Coffee Stay Fresh?
An unopened bag of pre-ground coffee can last for a few months. The date of roasting and expiration are written on the bag. But once the bag is opened, you should consume the coffee within 2-3 weeks because prolonged exposure to air speeds up oxidation and makes the coffee rancid.