How to Store Coffee Beans Long Term – An Ultimate Guide

In this blog, we are going to be looking at all things coffee. Something we all know we should replace, but until someone finds me an alternative that fills me with happiness, I’ll stick to my mug of black coffee.

Storing coffee beans with the long term in mind can prove tricky, time does depend on the type of coffee you have.

Although, there are a few tips and tricks you can use that will set you on the right path.

how to store coffee beans long term
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As the surge in coffee continues, more and more people are becoming part-time baristas in the comfort of their own homes, sounds lovely. If you’re someone who is in the market for freshly roasted beans, I’d recommend you stick to smaller purchases. As soon as coffee beans are roasted, they start losing that oh-so-sweet flavor and freshness that we know and are literally obsessed with.

When it comes to what type of bean you should be purchasing, I’d recommend sticking to buying whole coffee beans and grinding them as and when you need a brew. I wouldn’t worry so much about the number of whole coffee beans you purchase as if you store correctly, they can last up to 3 months which is much better than ground coffee beans. Just store your whole coffee beans in an airtight coffee canister and grind only what you need, and I mean ONLY.

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Best Ways to Store Coffee Beans

I’d recommend purchasing a tested airtight coffee canister and storing your coffee in a dry, cool space like an enclosed cupboard. Coffee has an annoying habit of inhaling its surroundings, so if you leave it open to the air, it will oxidize your coffee beans and take away that sweet, sweet taste we all know and love. Trust me, there’s nothing more depressing than a weak tasting coffee.

For your coffee canister, metal and plastic may alter the taste of your coffee, so perhaps stay away, the point of this is to retain and maximize our coffee flavor, so yeah, don’t get one of those. It’s best to stick with a dark glass or ceramic container with an airtight lock, as this will have the least interference with your coffee beans.

Freezing is a method that makes sense, depending on what type of coffee you have and how much you’ve bought. Whole coffee beans last up to 3 months if stored correctly anyway, so I personally wouldn’t freeze them, who has coffee beans around that last 3 months? Not in my household! Ground coffee beans if frozen will survive longer, around an extra month, so if you’ve found a sweet deal on price and stocked up on ground coffee, whack some in the freezer and keep the rest out. This isn’t a hail Mary for invincible coffee, I would still only leave ground coffee in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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How Long Can You Store Coffee Beans?

This has never personally happened to me, a good friend of mine swears by opening his cupboard to find a bad-smelling coffee tin, I didn’t even know coffee went bad!

How Long Can You Store Coffee Beans

That leads to an essential question, how long can you store coffee beans before they become an undrinkable waste of mug space. Freshly roasted beans do vary, however on average you’re looking at a 3-month shelf life. I don’t know about you, but coffee isn’t lasting 3 months in my household, no problems here.

If you have fresh ground coffee, then it’s a different story, though, as this again varies. You’re looking at up to 1 month before they start to go from a refreshing wake up call to an instant test of your gag reflex.

Tip: to ensure a good quality coffee, try to keep your beans stored in a tested airtight coffee canister. You can find some that are specifically designed for coffee beans and help with controlling things like heat, oxygen, etc.

How Long Will Coffee Beans Last in Airtight Container?

Based on my tip above, this is a good follow on question for you to ask, don’t worry, I knew you would and already have the answer for you.

After research, it’s clear to see that coffee doesn’t have a strict expiry date as it’s only affected by the environment the beans are kept in and what form of coffee beans you have. With the rise of the coffee industry, more and more people are using airtight containers to store coffee beans.

Again, the answers are mixed, but from research, it’s clear that using the figures from the above, how long you can store coffee beans section? Using an airtight container would add around 6 weeks to 2 months’ worth of storage of your coffee beans. Now that sounds like a lot less pressure to drink all my coffee as quickly as possible!

Tip: It’s not just about the container that you use but also where you put your coffee beans for storage. I recommend keeping the container sealed and leaving these in a dry, cool cupboard that experiences little to no change in temperature. Most kitchen cupboard will work then!
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Should I Store Coffee Beans in The Freezer?

Another keen debate floating around the coffee industry is whether it is okay to freeze your coffee beans. Will this prolong the flavor and overall greatness of my coffee or leave me with tasteless coffee beans? Those were my questions anyway.

The main issue that arises with freezing coffee beans is that the beans are very good at absorbing moisture, odors, and different tastes from the air that surrounds the coffee beans. If you’re using a tested airtight container, then this shouldn’t be a problem for you, according to the National Coffee Association USA (NCAUSA).

If you are freezing your coffee beans, the NCAUSA recommends that you need to remove the desired amount of beans as quickly as possible and reseal the rest. The coffee beans that you have removed should be consumed in no longer than a week, the quicker, the better.

Having read the information above about freezing coffee beans, I decided to research further, and I stumbled upon a website that conducted a taste test between freshly stored and frozen coffee beans. The results aren’t great for Fresh frozen coffee beans as the tester stated

“The fresh beans brewed up as brown-sugar sweet with a slightly fruity sparkle, while the frozen ones made a vegetal, almost papery-tasting cup with a downright terrible aftertaste. Seriously, get this aftertaste out of my mouth.”

The test was also conducted with pre-ground coffee beans, and here are the results

“The pre-ground samples, however, were a totally different animal. While the room-temperature-stored sample produced a noticeably “meh” cup that lacked sparkle and had a bitter finish, the frozen grounds turned into a cup of buttery, maple syrupy deliciousness—just as good as the fresh whole beans did”

Tip: I guess this is an obvious tip with the above test results, please try to stay away from drinking frozen fresh coffee beans, stick to coffee beans that have already been ground for you.

How to Store Coffee After Roasting?

Ah yes, another storage-related question, are you getting the coffee theme for this blog?

There is a slight caveat with roasting coffee beans. That is, you need to wait around 24 hours after roasting before your beans are properly brewed. You could have a mug before those hours are up, but you’ll be sacrificing flavor, which I personally am not willing to do.

After this 24-hour period, you have up to a week to drink your coffee, although you could leave it longer, again, you’ll be sacrificing on quality, did I mention I’m not willing to do that? You shouldn’t either.

Tip: Try to schedule your coffee bean roast days using the above times so that you always have fresh roasted and rested coffee. By doing this, you’ll be in a proper cycle with your coffee and will always have one ready to go, sounds dreamy.

In the end, the trick to a perfect coffee is to not sacrifice on quality and conduct proper research into the type of coffee bean you’re using, there’s plenty online about coffee, you’ll be an expert in no time.

Further Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee:

How Fast Does Ground Coffee Lose Flavor?

Ground coffee beans lose around 50-60% of their innate aroma within 15 minutes of being grounded, that is a lot of the flavors gone already. As time goes on and more oxygen mixes with your coffee beans, you’re losing more flavor as each day passes.

After about a week of this, you will start to notice a taste difference with ground coffee, and to confirm, I don’t mean a good difference.

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What to do With Stale Coffee Beans?

Here’s a few awesome ideas for you to consider:

  • Cover them in Chocolate (whole bean).

Yes, before you freak out, I did say cover them in Chocolate. Two of our favorite things combined into one sweet little treat. You can find numerous recipes online about how to do this, although I do think it’s as simple as covering your whole coffee beans in Chocolate!

  • Add them to your glass candle holder (whole bean)

I see a lot of this on Pinterest and Instagram as a very popular trend today. Add your left-over whole coffee beans to a candle holder to give your room a relaxing feel and add to the decoration. I won’t tell you how many to put into each holder, I’m sure you could google that. My guess, around halfway up.

  • Get your cleaning gloves on (ground bean)

Apparently, ground beans are mildly abrasive and acidic, who knew! Have any pots or pans with stains that won’t go away with a conventional cleaner? Add your old ground coffee beans to your mix of warm water and soap and get scrubbing. I’m sure you’ll be just as impressed as I was when that old sausage stain finally left my frying pan. Coffee, you’re awesome.

  • Add to your compost pots (ground bean)

No, nothing is going to grow in your garden after doing this, although that would be cool. Old coffee beans have nitrogen in them, which will give your soil a kick start to health and help with growth. In coffee beans, there is also a good amount of phosphorus, potassium, copper, and magnesium             

Should I Store Coffee Beans in The Fridge?

Unlike the freezer, it is highly recommended by all in the know about coffee to keep your coffee beans away from the fridge. This goes for any form of coffee bean, whether ground or whole, even if you’re using one of the canisters I specifically mentioned earlier in the blog.

Apparently, the fridge isn’t cold enough like the freezer to keep your coffee beans fresh and will only have a negative effect on the bean in terms of how long they’ll last and stay fresh, and, I’m sure it’s going to be pretty unpleasant to drink with how bad people are saying it is.

I’ve done so much typing about coffee, I have drool coming down from my mouth, and I’m sure you have experienced the same from reading this blog. On that note, cheers, we’ve all earn an espresso to go.

Ivan is a 24-year old graphic design and computer science student from Serbia who loves driving motorcycle in his free time and is absolutely obsessed with nature, sports and hanging out with friends.

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