Whether you’re a casual coffee drinker or a serious aficionado, knowing how to store your coffee is vital to keeping it tasting as good as possible. So what if you need to store some quality coffee beans for a longer time period? How do you keep them tasting fresh when it’s time to break them out again?
Common methods used to store coffee for a long time are freezing and/or using vacuum-sealed bags. Coffee stored these ways will go stale slower than coffee stored at room temperature in a regular bag.
Let’s look at some tried and tested methods for keeping your coffee beans almost as fresh as the day they were roasted for as long as possible!
In this Article:
- How to Store Coffee For a Long Time
- How Long Does Coffee Last?
- Can I Grind and Brew Frozen Beans?
How to Store Coffee For a Long Time
1. Vacuum Sealing and Freezing
If you have access to a vacuum sealer, it’s a game-changer for coffee storage. By removing air from the coffee container before sealing, you significantly extend the shelf life of your beans. For those who buy coffee in bulk, like 5-pound batches, dividing them into one-pound vacuum-sealed bags before freezing is a great strategy.
This method has been known to preserve roasted coffee for over a month without any noticeable drop in quality or flavor.
Individual Vacuum-Sealed Servings
For those who are always on the go, consider dividing your coffee into 40-gram servings. After grinding, put each serving into a food saver bag and vacuum seal it. This method not only keeps your coffee fresh but also makes it travel-friendly. Some coffee lovers go the extra mile by double sealing the bags to prevent any loss of vacuum. This technique is particularly useful for those who travel frequently and don’t want to compromise on the quality of their daily brew.
2. Freezing in Centrifuge Tubes
One effective method for long-term storage is to freeze your coffee in 50ml centrifuge tubes. This technique is perfect for single servings, allowing you to take out just the right amount for your brew without exposing the rest to air and moisture.
The tubes, which are easily available and affordable, can be filled with beans and stored in a freezer bag. The best part? You can grind the beans straight from the freezer without any loss in quality. This method is not only convenient but also preserves the freshness and flavor of the beans over a more extended period.
Personally, I love the idea of this method because it allows me to reach in, grab a tube or two of freshly ground and frozen beans, toss them in my bag, and take them with me on the go. I can take a Keurig reusable K-cup with me, fill it with ground beans, and use it to brew my coffee at the office or whenever I want it. It’s also great for smaller freezers because you can easily stack the tubes or put them in the door, out of the way.
How Long Does Coffee Last?
When it comes to how long you can store your coffee, a year is typically the benchmark if you do everything right. This means keeping the beans in an airtight seal and storing them in a part of the freezer that doesn’t experience large temperature swings. While some quality loss (about 5% to 10%) is inevitable with freezing, proper storage methods can minimize this effect. If you have a deep freezer, you can even push the storage time longer because it minimizes the temperature fluctuations when you open and close the freezer to keep the coffee consistently frozen.
Whole Bean Coffee
- Once opened, coffee should be used within 2 weeks for optimum flavor.
- Typically lasts about 6 months in a pantry before going stale.
- Can last up to 2 years if stored properly in a freezer.
- Usually remains fresh for 3 to 5 months in a pantry.
- Freezing can extend its shelf life up to 1 year.
- As espresso is often a finer grind, it can lose its flavor quicker than regular coffee.
- Typically lasts 3 to 4 months in a pantry.
- Can be extended up to 1 year if frozen.
- Has a shelf life of up to 20 years when stored in a pantry.
- This longevity is due to its dried and vacuum-sealed packaging.
Coffee Pods (e.g., K-Cups)
- Generally have a shelf life of 8 months to 1 year.
- Can last longer but may lose some flavor or intensity beyond the expiration date.
Green (Unroasted) Coffee Beans
- Can last up to a year in a cool, dry pantry.
- When stored properly in a burlap bag, they can last even longer.
Can I Grind and Brew Frozen Coffee Beans?
You might wonder about grinding and brewing coffee straight from the freezer. Interestingly, colder beans grind more evenly, which can actually enhance your coffee’s flavor. During brewing, the hot water will quickly defrost the grounds, so there’s no need to defrost them beforehand.
However, if you do choose to defrost the beans before using them, you want to avoid any condensation on the beans. This might require leaving the bag open in some climates to let moisture escape or keeping it sealed until it reaches room temperature in others.
Extend Your Coffee’s Shelf Life Without Sacrificing Quality
With these storage methods, you can ensure that your coffee remains almost as aromatic and flavorful as when it was first roasted. So go ahead, and buy that large batch of your favorite beans without worry – you now have the know-how to keep them fresh for months.
This article was written by Sara. You can learn more about Sara on our About the Team page.