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Does Coffee Go Bad? How Storing the Beans Can Affect Flavor

Does Coffee Go Bad? How Storing the Beans Can Affect Flavor

Words Lauren Stevens

Coffee beans may not spoil in the traditional sense, but their flavor can fade without proper handling. Here’s how to store your stash to ensure the perfect brew every time

You’ve caught the Marie Kondo bug and are tackling your pantry organization when you stumble upon a bag of coffee beans you received as a housewarming gift…three years ago. If your first thought is, “I wonder if coffee ever goes bad?” you definitely need to continue reading. Because while coffee doesn’t really spoil in the traditional sense, it can go stale and lose its taste fairly easily. Knowing how to store coffee beans can be the difference between a bitter or bland cup and a bold, rich one that appeals to all of your senses. Discover more about the best way to protect your coffee beans.

storing coffee

How to Store Coffee Beans

As they say in real-estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Excessive light exposure and extreme temperatures are the enemy of coffee beans, so look for cool, dark places to store your stash. A traditional kitchen pantry provides an optimal environment for storing beans (although basements and wine cellars work fine, too!) If you are storing the beans in the kitchen itself, avoid using the area above your stove where elevated temperatures can bake your beans and make them taste bitter when brewed.

Facts on Freezing

To freeze or not to freeze, that is the question hotly contested in serious coffee-drinking circles. The consensus: The only time you should entertain the idea of introducing your coffee beans to glacial temperatures is if you’ve purchased them in bulk. Even then, experts do not recommend freezing coffee for longer than a month to avoid affecting the flavor.

On the other hand, contact with room-temperature air starts the decaying process known as oxidation with coffee beans, breaking down sugars and acids in the beans and leaving a bitter taste behind. The solution? Invest in high-quality storage containers designed to protect your beans and be aware that most coffee beans peak in flavor about two to three weeks after roasting, so if you’re a true coffee connoisseur, grind and drink before then!

Container Considerations

To streamline your storage approach, look for stackable, airtight and opaque units such as this coffee POP container. These specially-designed containers are made with UV-blocking technology to protect beans from excessive light exposure. They also include a unique push-button mechanism that produces an airtight, moisture-inhibiting seal in one touch. The storage units offer an elegant solution, and because they are designed to work with other POP containers, they will stack seamlessly on your shelves or countertop, taking up minimal space.

Now that you’ve invested in storing your coffee for optimum flavor, we have a few more tips for maximizing your brew’s rich taste: For instance, it’s always best to grind your beans just before brewing to release and capture the aroma. And, as important as storage is, the machine you choose to use can also make or break your experience. This one evenly disperses water over the grounds, resulting in an infinitely richer coffee taste. But be forewarned: Once you upgrade your home-brew process, it’s impossible to go back.

Looking for ways to get creative with your coffee consumption? Try your hand at a coffee cocktail or a new iced coffee recipe.

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