how long do coffee beans last and how can you keep them fresh

How to store coffee beans at home?

Coffee is an art form. If you’ve invested in the tools, the craft, and a bag of beans that you love, you’ll want to enjoy them as much as you possibly can. But if they aren’t stored correctly, your beans will start to lose their subtle aromatic qualities in mere days — which can make for a disappointing drinking experience.

So, what’s the best way to store coffee beans?

At Beans Coffee Club, all of our coffees are roasted to order by our partners and sent directly to customers for ultimate freshness. We ship our coffee in handy resealable bags which are great for short-term storage, but if you take a few weeks to get through a bag we recommend storing your beans elsewhere.

In this article, we’ll tell you how and where you should keep your beans so that you can enjoy them for longer. Let’s get started.

Which packaging should you use?

Keep your beans close, but keep their enemies closer. To store your coffee well, you need to understand what causes it to go stale. These are the main culprits:

  • Oxygen is the arch nemesis of a fresh bean. Oxidation causes compounds in your coffee to react with the air and quickly degrades their aroma and taste.
  • Moisture can cause mould to grow on your beans, which will make them unsafe and unpleasant to use.
  • Direct sunlight and heat will react with the compounds in your beans, prompting them to lose colour, flavour, and that trademark oiliness.

So, what’s the best way to package your beans at home?

Put simply, it’s to reduce your coffee’s air and light exposure with an airtight, opaque container (i.e., not see-through). Food storage bags are fine, but to get the best from your beans, we recommend a sturdy resealable container with a one-way valve to release any built-up gas.

Where should you store coffee beans?

Once you’ve secured your beans in an appropriate container, where should you keep it? Well, if your coffee-drinking habits are anything like ours, preferably at arm’s reach. But realistically, you’ll want your container kept in a cool, dry place — away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

This rules out many common household sites that some of us are mistakenly using to home our coffee. You should keep your box of beans well away from window sills, ovens, microwaves, and radiators if you can.

Should you store coffee beans in the fridge?

The short answer is no. Putting your coffee beans in the fridge can actually speed up how quickly they go stale, as when you remove them from the fridge they warm up a little, then quickly cool down again when you put them back. This can cause condensation to form and add moisture to your beans.

Plus, coffee beans are porous and can absorb all kinds of odours lurking on your chilled section shelves — nobody wants a cheesy brew.

Can you store coffee beans in the freezer?

If you’re going away for a while, you’ll probably have the same thought process about coffee that you’ve had for any perishable good — can I freeze it?

The truth is, this is an ongoing debate. Coffee connoisseurs have argued for years over whether coffee degrades in the freezer. Basically, while it might not taste as sumptuous and sublime as a fresh brew, we think that freezer-thawed coffee is a perfectly viable alternative if you need to store your beans for longer.

If you do freeze your beans, you’ll want to make sure once more that you’re using an airtight, sealed container. We also recommend that you thoroughly defrost your beans and bring them back to room temperature before grinding. This way, the flavour of your coffee shouldn’t be too affected by the freezing process.

When should you store coffee beans?

You should move your coffee beans to an appropriate container as soon as they arrive.

Good storage practices are especially important if you use pre-ground coffee, because coffee in this form has more exposure to the elements than when it’s in bean form. For maximum freshness, we always recommend purchasing whole beans and grinding only as much as you need at the time.

How long can you store coffee beans?

Different coffee beans each have a different shelf life, depending on how they’ve been grown, harvested and roasted. On average, fresh beans will last just 1-2 weeks if not stored correctly.

However, with proper airtight storage conditions, you can keep your beans tasting fresh for up to a month. Sure, you can enjoy them for longer after this window too, but they might not taste as good.

While beans can lose their finer aromatic qualities, they don’t tend to spoil so quickly. To tell if your beans have gone bad, check for any mould, visual changes, or unpleasant smells.

Now you know how to store coffee beans at home, you can enjoy fresh coffee for longer.

If you’re looking to get stuck into a new brew, then why not try out our handy coffee-matching quiz? Tell us all about how you enjoy your coffee and we’ll deliver your next favourite beans straight to your door.

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