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How to store coffee beans

How to store coffee beans

May 11, 2022
how to store coffee beans

If you want to enjoy a perfect cup of coffee in your home, you need to ensure that you use fresh coffee beans. And to keep your coffee beans fresh for as long as possible, you also need to know how to store them correctly. 


When coffee beans are stored properly, they can stay fresh for about a year after being roasted. Ground coffee beans will remain fresh for about one month after they’ve been roasted. Unroasted beans can stay fresh for a maximum of two years when they are correctly stored.


Today, it seems like no one can start their day without a cup of coffee. It also seems that people can’t get through the day without at least three or four cups of coffee. It’s no wonder modern life is stressful, but we also appreciate a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. 


Enjoying a perfect cup of coffee means that you’ll need the freshest coffee beans going around. Having fresh coffee beans makes it necessary to store them properly in your home. 

The basics of coffee bean storage 

Before you go shopping for the coffee canisters for your coffee beans, you will need to learn the fundamentals of coffee beans and how to store them. You should also learn how long coffee beans can last and what are the enemies of coffee beans. The four enemies of coffee beans include:

+ Air (Oxygen)

+ Heat

+ Light 

+ Moisture


Air will cause your coffee beans to oxidise, which will lead to them eventually becoming stale. Moisture and heat will only make your coffee beans go stale faster. Exposing your coffee beans to light will also speed up this process. So you will need to keep your coffee beans away from all four of these things. 


It’s also crucial to understand how the life cycle of roasted coffee beans. When a coffee bean has been roasted, it’s full of carbon dioxide. Roasted coffee beans will also produce plenty of carbon dioxide during the first few days after roasting. Later, they will do this more slowly. 

storing coffee beans

If you decide to make coffee while your coffee beans right after they’ve been roasted, you just have a cup full of unpleasant tasting coffee that will leave with a sour taste in your mouth. You will also end up with a bad cup of coffee if you wait too long to make coffee. 


If you wait too long, your coffee beans will turn stale and lead to a flat cup that doesn’t smell good. You might end up even having a yuck cup of coffee. 


You should use your coffee beans within the first couple weeks after they’ve been roasted. You can use coffee beans for up to a year after they have been roasted. The different periods will differ depending on the variety of coffee beans. 


It’s important to remember that once the coffee beans have been roasted, there is a limited amount of time that you can use them to get a decent cup of coffee. But there are still some things that you can do to make your coffee stay fresh for longer. 


How long do coffee beans last? 

Some people will decide to buy instant coffee instead of purchasing raw coffee beans. And why not? Instant coffee has a longer shelf life than coffee beans, and it’s easy to store. With raw coffee beans, you’ll need to ensure that they are protected from extreme temperatures to ensure they stay fresh. But instant coffee isn’t really known for getting the best flavored coffee. 


Coffee beans will generally stay fresh for approximately a year, but if you can get them freshly roasted – one or two weeks after roasting is optimal. You need to keep your coffee beans in an airtight container which will ensure that they keep their flavour and stay fresh. 


When shopping for coffee beans, you should look for beans with the most recent roast date. The roast date should preferably be from one week or two weeks beforehand. Right after you buy your coffee beans, you need to place them in an airtight container or keep them in a seal proof bag.


If you store your coffee beans in a closed container, they could stay fresh for a few months. But you should always check the expiration date and if there are any storage guidelines that you’ll need to follow. 

fresh coffee beans for the best brew

How to Know if Your Beans are Fresh 

So how can you if your coffee beans are fresh? Especially when there is no expiry date on them? Well, there are some tricks that you could try when your coffee beans have been roasted. 


For example, if you purchase some coffee beans that have the date 032119, you might assume that the roast date will be March 21, 2019. 


Just remember, the key to buying roasted coffee beans is to buy coffee beans that were roasted as recently as possible. Doing this means that you’ll get the freshest coffee that will last for longer. 


You can also keep track of the date by keeping your coffee beans in their original packaging. But if you want to keep your coffee beans in your own airtight containers, there are ways that you can check if your coffee beans have gone stale. 


Smell their aroma 

This is a straightforward step. You can simply smell if you’re coffee beans have gone stale. Typically, fresh coffee beans will have a strong fragrant scent that you will be able to smell in the first few seconds after they’ve been ground. 


On the other hand, Stale coffee beans will have a very weak smell to them. In some cases, they won’t have a smell to them at all. Coffee beans without an aroma won’t have any flavour. 

coffee beans storage

Check for surface oil. 

Both stale and freshly roasted coffee will have a gleam of oil on the surface. The oil is the result of lipids and flavour oils that slowly rise to the surface during and shortly after roasting. 


The oils evaporating will typically be a sign that time is running out before they become stale. 


Once all the oils have evaporated, the beans won’t have an aroma left, and as a result of this, no flavour when they’re ground and brewed. Brewing these coffee beans will lead to a cup of dry, bland and even bitter coffee. 

coffee bean storage

Check the coffee grinds.

You can even check for freshness after you’ve ground the coffee beans. You can do this by rubbing the coffee grounds between your fingers. There should be some moisture from the oils. The oils are a sign that your beans are still fresh. Stale coffee grounds will feel dry, grainy, and won’t stick together. 


Proper storage of coffee beans: The do’s and don’ts

You need to store your coffee beans properly to keep them fresh for longer. To store your coffee beans correctly, you need to follow a few do’s and don’ts. 


The Do’s

You should store the whole coffee beans. It’s vital to remember that it’s better to quickly use freshly roasted coffee beans. If you have a lot of coffee that you need to keep fresh, then you shouldn’t store ground coffee. When coffee is ground, it’s easier for it to get exposed to oxygen, making it go stale faster. 


Use an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag. Fresh coffee beans are essential for making a delicious cup of coffee. So it’s important to store your coffee beans in an airtight container or a vacuumed-sealed bag. Both of these will ensure that your coffee beans are exposed to air, light and extreme temperatures that could make your coffee beans stale. 


Consider getting specialised containers. If you are serious about your coffee beans, you should consider investing in specialised storage containers. Storage containers will play an important role in keeping your coffee beans fresh. Vacuum-sealed bags might not be the best for protecting your coffee beans from heat, light or air. This is why specialised storage containers will be the best option for storing coffee beans. 


Don’t freeze your coffee. There is a debate among coffee enthusiasts about whether not to store coffee beans in a fridge. Some coffee drinkers will say that freezing your coffee beans can be a good idea but only when absolutely necessary. However, the National Coffee Association doesn’t recommend freezing coffee beans for a short period of time. It’s best to freeze them for a long period of time, especially if they have been roasted. 


What we think about freezing your coffee – It’s an old wives tale. The freezer actually changes the moisture content of your coffee. People used to freeze coffee, but this was for instant coffee. 


Shade. Keep your beans stored in the shade, out of the sun. The best storage conditions are cool, dry, and dark. If you store your coffee beans in a warm or wet place they will not last as long and you may get moldy coffee beans. Coffee beans that are stored in the dark will last longer.


The Don’ts 

Don’t put coffee directly in the sunlight. One of the things that will make your coffee beans go stale quickly is light. So you need to store your coffee beans in a place where they won’t be exposed to sunlight or heat. 


Don’t have your coffee beans near ovens, stoves, and on countertops. After you’ve roasted your coffee beans, they will need time to cool down. So keeping your roasted coffee beans on a countertop or near your stove and oven won’t help with this. 


In some cases, don’t use a loosely closed bag. When you get coffee for brewing, you might forget to close the bag properly over time. Leaving a bag open even for a short time will let the air sneak in and make your coffee beans go stale a lot faster. So don’t use a loosely closed bag. 

store roasted coffee beans

Is it best to store coffee beans in the fridge? 

It might not be a good idea to refrigerate or freeze your coffee beans in some cases. It’s not a good idea to freeze coffee beans. You risk having your coffee beans become damp and exposed to other food aromas if you do this. 


Instead, it’s recommended that you store your coffee beans in a dense airtight container in a dark space in your home. You should also keep your stove away from heat sources such as your stove or oven. 


Different ways to store coffee beans

There are different methods for storing coffee beans, especially in places where it might not be the best location for storing coffee beans. For example, storing coffee beans in cabinets near stovetops or an oven won’t be the best place for storage. You should also avoid keeping your coffee on the kitchen counter because it will be exposed to sunlight. 

If you are at work, keep your beans in a Tupperware container in your desk draw – again out of the sun.


In most cases, keeping your coffee beans in their original retail packaging might not also be the best. This is why it’s best to transfer your coffee to an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag. Just make sure that the containers and bags are airtight. Don’t use zip ties to keep your coffee beans properly sealed. 


You also shouldn’t use the coffee beans as a conversation piece. They might look good when used as a decorative piece on your coffee table, but sitting in the sun will make them stale a lot faster. 


Best short term storage options for coffee beans 

You can try different methods if you want to keep your coffee beans stored for a short time. 


Use the original packaging. 

If you want to keep your coffee beans in their original packaging, you need to ensure that you keep the packaging tightly sealed. You can use a plastic clip to keep the bag from opening until you need your coffee beans for brewing. Before you reseal the packaging, you should ensure that you’ve pushed out all the air. 

storing coffee beans in bag

Mason jars or any jars with a lid 

If you are going to use your coffee beans soon, you can use any airtight jars with lids such as mason jars. You can even use Gatorade bottles as the last resort. You should use a jar with a wide mouth to store your coffee beans. As mentioned before, keep your coffee bean storage jars away from sunlight. 


Airtight Coffee Canisters vs vacuum containers 

It’s important to understand the difference between an airtight container and a vacuum container and their effect on your coffee beans. An airtight container will be better for storing coffee beans. However, coffee beans in a vacuum container might go stale faster. 

Zip lock bags could be a good solution for work, or if you need a small bag for camping trips.

This is because a vacuum container work by removing the air instead of keeping oxygen out. Along with removing the air, the vacuum container will also remove the aromas from the coffee beans. So you’ll be left with dry and tasteless coffee beans. Tasteless coffee beans will lead to bland and even sour coffee. 

store coffee beans in bag

How to choose the right storage container for your coffee beans 

You need to look for certain things when choosing the right storage container for your coffee beans. 


The first thing you need to look for is that the container is not made from a non-reactive material. A non-reactive material means that your container won’t have any unwanted flavours and aromas added to your coffee beans. You can choose a container made from glass, ceramic or a similar material. 


The second quality you need to look out for when buying a storage container is that it should be airtight. Coffee beans that are exposed to oxygen will go stale a lot faster. So you should ensure that you have an airtight container so your coffee beans will be fresh for longer. 


The third quality you need to look out for is a misty coffee bean storage container. The opaque coffee storage containers will protect your coffee beans from light. Some people like to use coffee beans as a decoration or conversation piece, but keeping them exposed will make your coffee beans stale. 


In some cases, the flavour might go dissipate a lot faster in an opaque coffee container. But the best way to counteract this is to not have the container in the sunlight for a prolonged period of time. So keep them in the dark or shady spot. 


Best long term storage options for coffee beans

It’s important to remember that it isn’t much you can do to prolong the life of your coffee beans once they’ve been roasted. You can only keep your coffee beans fresh and full of flavour for one or maybe two weeks. 


You can do this by keeping a large portion of your coffee beans in a place that has all the qualities needed for optimal coffee bean storage. So it would need to be a place that’s dry, cool, dark and airtight. 


You also want to keep your coffee beans stored in a place that has a stable environment. For example, it should be in a pantry that you won’t open and close often. A dark container will also help keep your coffee beans fresh. 


Coffee FAQ 

You’ve probably asked some questions about coffee beans and how to store them. Other coffee enthusiasts might have asked the same questions as you. Below are answers to some of those questions. 

store coffee beans

Is it necessary to keep ground coffee in the refrigerator? 

Even though using the freezer for storing your coffee beans can be done (but not the best option), only when necessary, it still might not be considered the best idea to use a fridge as the storage method. 


The fridge won’t be cold enough to keep your coffee beans fresh. Coffee beans are also considered a deodoriser, so they will absorb the aromas of the other foods in your fridge. 

Remember a fridge isn’t aways an option, espcially if you are making coffee away from home.


What is the best way to keep coffee fresh? 

If you’re looking to store roasted coffee beans and keep their flavour for as long as possible, you need to store them at room temperature. You also need to store them in a dark, airtight container. 


You should avoid storing them in clear containers that will let in the sunlight and make them go stale a lot faster. So it’s best to keep your beans in a cool and dark place. 


What is the best way to store coffee once it has been opened?

You shouldn’t keep your coffee beans in the same package that has already been opened. Always keep your coffee beans in an airtight container or a properly sealed bag. You can even store your coffee beans in a dark kitchen canister.


A final word on storing coffee beans 

Roasted coffee beans will start losing their flavour, and their freshness will start to deteriorate right after they’re roasted. So it’s important to use freshly roasted coffee beans as quickly as possible. 


But if you don’t drink coffee that often but still want to enjoy fresh coffee at home, then you can still do this if you store your coffee beans properly. You just need to remember that you need to avoid heat, light and air when storing your coffee beans. 


Now that you’ve learned how to store coffee beans at home, you can enjoy a flavourful cup of coffee right in the comfort of your own home. Try some of our freshly roasted beans today!


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