Okay, so you know how some believe that roasted coffee beans are just like lettuce or milk, and go bad, right after roasting? Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s a complete and utter myth! We want to shout it from the rooftops 100 times and then write it in bold so you don’t miss it: IT’S A MYTH.
If anything, freshness shouldn’t be the main worry when it comes to roasted coffee beans. It’s more about how you store and age them to help preserve them for longer and allow the flavours to develop. Ground coffee, however, is a whole different story. It loses its freshness and flavour quickly, so watch out for that.
Now that I know I can store my coffee beans for longer, how do I do it properly?
Keep your coffee beans in an air-tight container in a cool, dry spot away from the sun or any kind of heat source. They can also act as a natural deodorant, so be sure to keep them away from any strong-smelling stuff like fish or garlic. You can also choose to leave the beans in the tin-tie bags they come in as long as you follow the above storage tips.
Can I store my coffee beans in the fridge?
No, but also yes!
NO, we do not tolerate keeping your coffee beans in the same fridge where you probably store other items that carry some odours.
YES, if you’re willing to invest to have a designated fridge for your coffee beans, then you’re officially our idol!
How about the freezer?
A lot of us coffee professionals actually keep our beans in the freezer, both roasted and unroasted (not together in the same bag, of course). We usually organize them by portion sizes into designated containers/vacuum seal bags. When we need to use them, we just take them straight out from the freezer to our grinder/roaster to prevent condensation from attaching.
How long can I store coffee beans before they become stale?
If kept properly, coffee beans don’t become stale for quite some time, a good several months at least, so don’t worry if your bag of beans is a bit old. You might not get that hint of blueberry or orange anymore, but it’s still good to drink.
It’s worth noting that the coffee you find at the grocery store or chain coffee shops have usually been roasted a few months ago. Assuming it’s kept in a cool, dry place, it’s usually fine to drink six months after roasting, it just won’t taste as good as it originally did.
For our old beans, we like to use them for other things than brewing our daily fix.
What else can I use my old coffee beans for?
There are many creative ways to use up old beans that have been lying around for more several months.
We like to:
Make coffee ice cream
Brew them and use the coffee in baking or cooking
Grind them up and keep them in the car/restroom/fridge as an air freshener
Grind them up and mix them into our compost for gardening
Use them for practicing our brewing skills
Give them away to "friends" that we don't care so much about.
An extra side note: Another important factor in how we age and store coffee beans is the brewing method. This is because different brewing methods require specific grind sizes, water temperatures, extraction times and flavour profiles, which can affect the storage and ageing of coffee beans differently.
But all that is a topic for another day.