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Proper Storage of Green Coffee, Roasted Coffee, and Ground Coffee

Proper Storage of Green Coffee, Roasted Coffee, and Ground Coffee

Proper storage of the coffee beans makes a big difference to the final taste of the brewed coffee. But what is best? Freezing or refrigerating the coffee? Putting the coffee in plastic bags, paper bags, or jars? Is it better to store the coffee beans whole, or the coffee grounds after grinding the coffee?

The best results are obtained when storing coffee beans having the least amount of processing done to them. That it, the green (unroasted) coffee beans are better to store than the roasted coffee beans; and the roasted coffee beans are better to store than the ground coffee. And it is always best to store whatever form of coffee is being stored in an airtight, cool environment.

Green coffee beans can last up to one year if stored properly. Even after a year, green coffee beans can be used to produce an aromatic and flavorful cup of coffee. But green coffee beans are hard to find in stores, and are best bought from specialty coffee bean suppliers. Further, there is a lot of work, and some expertise involved in turning green coffee beans into a cup of coffee.

Available in most stores, roasted coffee beans are easy to store. Roasted coffee beans will maintain most of their coffee quality for 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature. It is best to keep the roasted coffee beans in an airtight coffee container. If you choose to store the coffee beans in a glass container, keep it away from the light. A glass container of coffee beans should be kept in a cupboard.

A word of caution: roasted coffee beans create carbon dioxide gas, which can degrade the flavor of the coffee if not allowed to escape. In the first few days after roasting the coffee beans, the coffee container should be opened to vent out the carbon-dioxide gas. There are also "valve bags" that can be used to store the roasted coffee beans. Valve bags will allow the carbon dioxide gas to escape from the bag of coffee without letting oxygen in. However, valve bags for coffee are expensive, and can be hard to find.

If you are not going to use all your roasted coffee beans in two weeks, you should freeze the coffee beans. By freezing the coffee beans, they should last about a month, and maybe even two without a noticeable change in coffee flavor. To freeze the coffee beans, use an airtight coffee container. Frozen coffee beans can be ground while still frozen.

Some specialists don't believe in freezing roasted coffee beans. Since roasting coffee beans makes them less dense, and therefore more porous, some feel that freezing the coffee beans will cause them to absorb more condensed water (ice crystals) than when merely left at a cool temperature. The added water (ice crystals) will dilute the flavor of the coffee.

The refrigerator is the worst place to store coffee. It isn't cold enough to keep the coffee beans from eventually going stale, and the coffee can be subject to absorbing food odors if it is not kept in an airtight coffee container. Further, the flavors in roasted coffee are water-soluble substances (which is why you can successfully brew the coffee in the first place). Any residual moisture from the roasting process will condense at refrigerator temperatures, and will dilute these delicate coffee flavors. This will certainly hurt the quality of the coffee.

Ground coffee is the most volatile form of coffee. Ground coffee can only be stored for several days without losing some of its coffee quality. Again, ground coffee is best stored in an airtight coffee container, and kept away from light. Freezing is not an option for ground coffee; ground coffee will dry out and become stale whether or not it is frozen. It is best to store ground coffee in a cool dark place outside of the refrigerator.

Therefore, you should only buy roasted coffee beans in small amounts - at most, the amount needed for a month. You should grind only the amount of coffee needed for one pot, or at most the amount needed for several days. For the best quality cup of coffee, don't store coffee for long periods.

Again, the best option is to buy and store green coffee beans, but this is advisable only if you can manage roasting the coffee beans to a proper and consistent roast when you are ready to grind and brew your coffee. If you are a true coffee lover, you should think about purchasing a home coffee roaster.

...written by your friends at The Coffee Brewers


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