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Coffee Storage Tips and Techniques

You've purchased your brand new, state-of-the-art coffee maker, along with your favorite dark roast or light breakfast coffee blend. But now you're left with one important question - how do you store this fantastic coffee to ensure it lasts?

There are many different ideas out there regarding the proper coffee storage techniques. But which ones are the best, and which ones are nonsense? To make it easy, we've dug through all the information available and stripped out the nonsense, in the process packaging together the very best coffee storage techniques.

Before going through the coffee tips and tricks, however, it's important to note that the type of storage you'll want to use will depend on the type of coffee you have. There are so many different types of coffee makers available right now, and with them, a wide variety of coffees. Depending on the type of coffee you prefer, your storage techniques and best practices will vary. Proper coffee storage also depends on the form of your coffee. There is one basic truth to any type of coffee storage, however: If you want fresh coffee, only buy and store what you can use quickly. 

Green Coffee Beans

green fresh coffee beansThe best way to store coffee for a long period of time is in green bean form. Store these beans in a cool location, preferable in a tightly sealed container. While plastic storage containers may work fine, vacuum-sealed beans will last even longer. Storing this form of coffee can be done for as long as a year.

Unfortunately, very few people actually look to store green coffee beans. This is because there is a long and time-consuming process involved in turning your beans into a quality cup of coffee. Before even thinking about using your coffee machine, you have to first roast the beans. They then have to be grinded using a coffee grinder. Only then are they ready for your coffee maker. Additionally, green beans can be much more difficult to find as most grocery stores don't carry coffee in that form. 

Roasted Coffee Beans

If green bean coffee isn't worth the hassle, then you might instead be looking to store coffee in roasted whole bean form. Grinding your own coffee beans has become a fairly common process around the world, thanks to the advent of inexpensive coffee grinders. Most coffee aficionados will also say that grinding your own beans for your coffee maker or French press coffee maker is well worth the process.

Roasted whole beans don't last as long, however. These coffee beans can last for up to two weeks if properly stored at room temperature. Keep them in an airtight container, and try to keep them out of any sort of light. The best type of containers for storing these coffee beans are either ceramic or glass ones, if available, since plastic and even metal containers have been known to contaminate the taste of the coffee once brewed. In the case of clear glass, however, be sure to keep the container in a dark location to avoid spoiling through contact with light.

One important consideration for storing whole coffee beans is the gas they emit. It is important to vent the storage container regularly, especially for the first few days that the beans are stored. You can also use a valve bag, which has a one-way valve in it precisely for venting the gas without letting oxygen in.

If you want to store your roasted coffee beans longer than two weeks, you'll need to store them in the freezer. While frozen, these beans should last for one to two months. Be sure to wrap the coffee carefully and again use an airtight container if possible. This will help protect the beans from freezer burn. Feel free to grind frozen beans, as they should grind up and still be perfect for use in any sort of coffee maker. If you do thaw them, however, don't bother trying to re-freeze the coffee - it's practically worthless.

Don't bother trying to store your coffee beans in the refrigerator. The air in your fridge is just not cold enough to properly store the coffee. Additionally, the different foods and other items in your fridge will most likely mix in with the coffee and contaminate the taste.

Ground Coffee

This is the final stage of coffee, right before pulling out one of your favorite coffee makers. This is the simplest form for making coffee, but it's also the most difficult form to store. This is because ground coffee is the most volatile form of coffee.

Use an airtight container, and again try to keep the ground coffee away from any exposure to light. Using this method, ground coffee will only store for about one week before starting to go stale. Some people will try to refrigerate or freeze their ground coffee - but most of the time this will not help much. Due to the extra surface area, ground coffee will still go stale quickly.

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