We get asked often "what is the best way to store my coffee?" Here is what we have found through years of research as well as trial and error.
Oxygen is the enemy! Freshly roasted coffee contains carbon dioxide, which it releases slowly over the course of many weeks. As coffee releases carbon dioxide, it absorbs more and more oxygen, causing the beans to slowly stale. This is a common occurrence, not just in coffee but in many food-related products.
What do we do? To combat the speed at which oxygen can stale your coffee, we package our beans freshly roasted. Also, we flush our bags with nitrogen, which is heavier than oxygen. This means that when we seal one of our bags, it contains less than 2% oxygen, giving the coffee the ability to remain fresh for months after roasting.
What should you do? A few tips to ensure your coffee stays fresh as long as possible:
1) Don't open the bag until you are ready to brew. This ensures that the coffee is in its nitrogen flushed environment for as long as possible before being exposed to the high oxygen levels in the normal air. Once you've exposed it to the normal air, you've started the process of oxidation which will lead to eventual staling.
2) Keep your coffee in an airtight container. This will ensure your coffee is exposed to the least amount of oxygen as possible. This is why we ship all of our 1 lb units in resealable bags!
3) Buy whole bean and use a grinder. One of the easiest ways to improve the flavor of your coffee is to grind it right before brewing. Since oxygen is the enemy, by keeping your beans whole until you are ready to brew, you are limiting the surface area that is exposed to oxygen.
4) Freezing. If you do not go through a lot of coffee on a regular basis, one option to consider is freezing your excess coffee beans. Freezing coffee beans has its skeptics, but research shows that freezing the beans decreases oxidation rates by up to 90%. It does however need to be done in a very specific manner in order to achieve optimal results. First, it should be done immediately after opening a bag of fresh whole bean coffee. Second, the coffee should be separated by serving size into multiple, sealable bags (such as sandwich bags), so that you can easily retrieve the amount you need without exposing the rest to more oxygen. Third, you should remove the coffee from the freezer the day before use so it has the opportunity to thaw and warm to room temperature (very important!) before grinding and brewing.
Storing green coffee is quite a bit different than storing roasted coffee. Please follow these guidelines to properly protect your investment:
1) Store at a cool temperature. Green coffee can absorb flavors around it, so it is important to keep it below 72 degrees in order to keep the pores of the beans closed.
2) Freeze it. This is not a common practice with large companies, because the cost is prohibitive. However if you are a home roaster, this is the absolute best way to keep your beans protected and fresh. I would suggest you follow the same procedure as with freezing roasted coffee above to ensure quality and ease.
3) Store in something that provides a barrier to other smells. Once again, since green coffee is capable of absorbing smells and flavors from the environment around it, it is important to protect it by adding a barrier (such as a well-sealed plastic bag). We ship all of our green coffees from origin in Grain Pro bags. When you purchase a full bag of green coffee from us, you will receive it in the same Grain Pro bags we do. If you are purchasing a smaller amount, it will be shipped in an appropriate bag that will provide a barrier against outside flavors until opened.