There appears to be a lot of confusion among coffee drinkers as to how roasted coffee should be stored. Almost everybody heard or read that coffee should be stored in a cool dry place, but what does it actually mean?
Well, roasted coffee loses freshness incredibly fast. Contact with air, high temperature, moisture and exposure to light are all contributing to the loss of flavour and aroma. Good storage is nothing else but limiting these factors as much as possible and this is where key storage principles come into play.
1. The lower the temperature, the slower the loss of freshness.
2. Humidity is a huge problem. Coffee beans are meant to be dry.
3. If humidity issue is addressed, fridge or freezer is good, freezer is better.
Generally, we do not recommend using fridge or freezer to keep the bag of coffee which is constantly being pulled out, opened, closed and put back. Condensation will start building up immediately upon retrieval from the fridge/freezer and that is not good.
If you have just bought enough coffee to last for a week, it is just best to keep it in a tight container or a bag somewhere in the larder, away from sources of light and heat. However, if you have more coffee than you can enjoy in a matter of days, you have to start thinking about how to retain freshness of the coffee that you will be having later on.
If coffee is just put away for a long time, and particularly if it is still in the sealed coffee bag, we recommend putting that bag into a couple of zipped plastic bag (to further increase impermeability) and store it in the freezer. Once retrieved from the freezer, we would leave it on the counter in all its wrappings until the temperatures have equalised before opening the coffee bag. We do not recommend putting the coffee bag back.
With this in mind, if you do not consume your coffee fast or you have ended buying more coffee than you can have in a week, we would recommend splitting your coffee into 7-day portions and keeping them in the freezer (properly wrapped and sealed) until their turn comes up. Once out, store the beans in a sealed jar somewhere in the larder and enjoy them before they get stale.
Another good way of storing coffee, once the sealed coffee pouch was opened or the coffee has been removed from the freezer, is in an old clean and dry wine bottle – we would use a rubber cork and a degassing hand pump set (Waitrose and Sainsbury's carry those sets for about £3.50 or so). Coffee goes in, cork is inserted and all the air is pumped out. The bottle should be stashed away (into the larder) to keep coffee away from the light - this is a great method to keep it fresh.