How to store coffee to keep it fresh

19 Mar 2021

Coffee

Still storing your coffee in the fridge? Find out how to keep your coffee tasting great for as long as possible.

The uplifting aroma of coffee drifting through your kitchen might be the ideal way to wake you up in the morning and set you up for the day ahead. But did you know that knowing how to store coffee can have an effect on its flavour and freshness?

How long does coffee stay fresh?

As with many dried ingredients, coffee beans start to lose freshness almost immediately after being roasted. Though it tends to be a slow process, the longer you dip into the same bag of coffee, the more you may notice it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.

Buying the freshest coffee possible will give you more full-bodied aromas, tastes, and textures, making the whole experience more enjoyable. The same goes for cocoa beans, which is why we take such pride in growing, nurturing, and harvesting beans on our stunning Rabot Estate. Whether it’s carefully blended coffee beans or a luxury box of chocolates, we use fresh, high-quality ingredients so you get the best possible flavour. 

Coffee’s shelf life depends on its packaging. Whole coffee beans are the hardiest and stay fresh for up to four weeks once the original packaging has been opened. If you know how to store ground coffee properly, it is generally good for two weeks after opening. 

If you get a bit ambitious and brew too much coffee in the morning, you can cover and store the liquid for about three days in the fridge. Why not use it to create your own refreshing iced coffee or incorporate it into a delicious coffee cake

Ground beans and whole beans

coffee beans on a white background

Air, moisture, heat and light all work together to degrade the vitality of both whole beans and ground coffee.

Retail packaging protects coffee from oxygen, as it can deteriorate the flavour. However, once the original seal is broken, air can sneak in and steal those delicious flavours. Once you’ve opened your pack of coffee, it’s best to store it in an airtight container or use a tight clip to stop any air getting in.

Heat and moisture also play a role in wearing your coffee’s impact down, so it’s best to store the beans somewhere cool and dry. A cupboard or pantry would be ideal, rather than on a shelf above a toaster or steamy kettle.

Whether in a hipster cafe or as wedding table accessories, coffee beans can make attractive decorations. Their organic shapes and rich colourings make them an interesting rustic addition. However, while coffee beans look great in a glass jar or canister, direct light can make them go stale.

Coffee shops often keep their beans on display in large containers above their espresso machines. These clear hoppers aren’t so much of a problem because the cafes get through so much in one day the beans won’t be sitting around for very long. At home, an opaque jar or a closed cupboard door will protect them from that pesky sunshine.

DIY coffee grinding

Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money and cut down on packaging. However, when it comes to coffee freshness, smaller batches of freshly roasted coffee will ensure the most vibrant and robust flavours. It’s best to get enough for one or two weeks at a time. We sell five different blends of whole coffee beans, from the turbo-charged Rocket to the mellow Cashmere. Freshly ground, they’ll deliver a bright and satisfying cup of java whenever you need it. 

As whole beans generally keep for longer than ground coffee, another way to get the best buzz from your morning cuppa is to grind as you go and prepare just the right amount immediately before brewing.

You can use an electric grinder, but there’s also something satisfying about cranking the handle on a manual one. Manual options are usually smaller than electric grinders, ideal for preparing a single cup and saving space. Most grinders use either blades or burrs to crush the coffee beans, and each method has its merits.

moka pot and coffee grinder

Another benefit of grinding fresh coffee in batches is that you can decide how coarse or fine you’d like it. Some brewing systems, like French press cafetieres, give the best results with coarsely ground coffee. In contrast, a fine grind is best suited to espresso machines. Depending on your brewing method of choice, you can experiment to see which texture makes the most delicious cup of coffee. 

If you choose to grind your own coffee, remember to clean your grinder regularly. Coffee beans release oils that can build up and stop the burrs or blades from working properly. Wipe the mechanism down with a soft dry or damp cloth to keep your grinder ship-shape and shiny.

In-home cafe experience

For barista-grade coffee at the touch of a button, our sleek Podster coffee machine uses our eco pods to extract the best out of our beans. However you like your coffee – short and strong or long and delicate – find your perfect mix and the Podster will recreate it perfectly, every time. 

Or, if you’re looking for the more indulgent option of coffee and chocolate, try our Chocolate Latte Sachets. Our Velvetiser will create a luxuriously smooth and effortless mocha in 2.5 minutes. Or, simply heat some milk on the hob and whisk in for a true hug-in-a-mug experience. We believe the blend of decadent chocolate flakes and uplifting coffee provides an unrivalled indulgence.

Should I keep my coffee in the fridge?

Information on coffee packaging can be a bit confusing. Some recommend refrigerating your opened product, while others practically forbid it!

As a general consensus, most coffee roasters and vendors suggest avoiding the fridge. Coffee is absorbent and can soak up moisture, flavours, and smells — not ideal unless you want your latte laced with leftovers.

Does freezing coffee keep it fresh for longer?

Freezing coffee can keep it fresher for longer, especially if you have a big batch you know you’re not going to get through quickly. Whole beans can be frozen for up to two months from the purchase date and still provide a delicious kick. Ground coffee, on the other hand, can only be frozen for a couple of weeks. Any longer and it will start to lose its pizazz. 

When freezing coffee, the key thing to consider is temperature changes — moving beans in and out of the freezer can cause condensation. This moisture can diminish your coffee’s flavour. So if you decide to freeze your coffee, remove just as much as you need and place the rest back in the freezer straight away before any condensation can form.

Another aspect to think about is the kind of container you use. Most storage containers we use at home aren’t entirely airtight and still let oxygen in. Over time, this can cause freezer burn. Try to find tubs that are truly airtight to avoid this.

Does coffee go off?

Best before dates are everywhere. In terms of coffee, they generally give an idea of when the brew will start to lose its quality. Out of date coffee won’t make you sick, but it might not pack the punch you’re hoping for.

The expiration date for an open pack of ground coffee stored in a pantry is 3 to 5 months after opening. However, by this point, it probably won’t taste as great as it did on day one.

Because ground coffee’s appearance doesn’t change as it ages, your nose is your best ally when it comes to checking freshness. If it doesn’t smell very strong, chances are it won’t taste strong either.

However you enjoy your coffee — espresso, macchiato, or creamy latte — sourcing the freshest ingredients and learning how to store coffee in the most effective ways can help make the experience even more delectable.   

Explore our selection of coffee beans and pods today and discover your new coffee ritual.