For many people, coffee is one of life’s great pleasures.
It provides a natural mood uplift as well as helping to boost our energy. It also tastes pretty good too!
With the shift to working from home caused by the coronavirus pandemic, lots of us have had to forget about Starbucks and instead turn to making coffee at home. But done properly, this can be a cheap and convenient alternative to the high street coffee stores.
In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to store and grind coffee beans for the best possible lifespan and flavor. With our help, you’ll soon be making the perfect cup of coffee from the comfort of your own home.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?
Roasted coffee beans will easily last a year as long as you keep them whole.
That’s because when kept in this form, the chemistry within the bean isn’t as exposed to heat, air, moisture or light — elements that can all lead to oxidization. And oxidization leads to the destruction of coffee’s wonderful flavor and aroma.
Interesting to know: Freshly roasted coffee beans are typically allowed to age for a few days after they’re roasted. This allows the coffee beans to develop flavor.
When it comes to ground coffee beans, it’s a different story in terms of how long they stay fresh. While most coffee connoisseurs like to brew their coffee immediately after grinding — if that’s not practical for you — then you’ll be fine to keep and use your grinds anytime up to about seven days. After that length of time, you’ll definitely notice a loss of freshness and flavor.
How to tell if your coffee beans or grinds are fresh or stale?
Look for these signs to confirm freshness:
- Glossy appearance — The intense heat involved in roasting coffee beans extracts moisture from the heart of the bean, including drawing out oil-like substances to the surface of the bean. A fresh bean will have a glossy appearance; a stale bean will look dull and dry.
- Oil residue — Following on from the above, another check you can do is to pick up a handful of beans. If they leave an oily residue on your hands, then you can be sure they’re fresh and ready for brewing.
- Intense aroma — The strong coffee aroma that most of us love comes from fresh coffee beans. If beans have little or no aroma, then they’re likely to be old and stale.
How to Store Coffee Beans
Storing coffee beans correctly is essential if you want to retain their freshness, aroma and flavor. As we mentioned in the section above, the greatest enemies of coffee beans are air, moisture, heat and light, which has led to some common ways of storing and protecting coffee beans.
The most popular — but certainly not the best way — to store coffee beans is to keep them in their original airtight packaging and put them in a kitchen cupboard.
However, as pointed out by the National Coffee Association, there are other, superior ways you can store coffee beans to help keep them fresh. These ways are suitable for both roasted whole coffee beans or freshly ground beans:
- Store them in an opaque, airtight container. This should be stored at room temperature.
- Keep them in a dark and dry location. A cupboard near your oven is likely to be too warm.
- Forget the coffee’s retail packaging. It’s not ideal for long-term storage. It’s much better to invest in storage canisters fitted with airtight seals.
Best Containers for Coffee Beans
To pick the perfect storage unit to keep your coffee beans fresh and tasty, the first things to look for are an airtight container that is BPA free. These features will help keep your coffee beans from going stale. We recommend you check out the OXO Good Grips POP Container — which also has a convenient fill line making it easy to store and measure your coffee beans.
Ideally, it’s also good to go for a coffee canister that is made from stainless steel. This is a healthy and hygienic option that also makes cleaning the unit a breeze. Our pick is the Bean Envy Airtight Coffee Canister. This stylish coffee canister offers a generous 22.5oz of storage space and also comes with a stainless steel coffee scoop.
You may also want to choose a coffee canister that has a date tracker. This will enable you to set the purchase or expiry date of your coffee. This will help reduce waste and ensure you’re always drinking the freshest coffee. We like the Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Coffee Grounds and Beans Container. Not only does it have a calendar wheel on top of the unit, but it also features an innovative freshness valve that releases CO2 (which coffee beans emit) but locks out oxygen.
The other thing to consider is that you might want to store a couple of different types of coffee beans. This will allow you to explore the numerous varieties of coffee beans from across the globe. To help with this, we recommend you take a look at the Veken Coffee Canister, 2 Piece Airtight Stainless Steel Coffee Container. This premium coffee canister set contains a 22oz jar and a 16oz jar to meet different needs and to store different beans. Both canisters feature vacuum sealing to help maintain the freshness of your coffee beans, and both containers also include a date tracker and stainless steel measuring scoop.
Best Coffee Bean Grinders
While it’s okay to buy and use pre-packaged ground coffee beans; they’ll never come close to the unique taste and aroma of freshly ground coffee beans.
If you’re serious about crafting and drinking the finest coffee, then grinding your own coffee beans is an absolute must. To coffee enthusiasts — the difference is like night and day!
If you want to grind your own coffee beans, then you need to look for some specific features and functions when you choose to purchase a coffee bean grinder.
It’s a good idea to choose a grinder that has a removable grinding chamber. This will make it quick and easy for you to fill and clean it. Fitting this bill is the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind 4.5 Oz Electric Coffee Grinder. This budget coffee grinder has room for up to 9 tablespoons of beans, enough for 12 cups of coffee. It’s stainless steel blades and quiet operation make this our top pick for entry-level coffee grinders.
The next feature we recommend you look for is a one-touch control. This is a super-handy feature that allows you to simply push down on the cover to begin grinding and release to stop. We like the KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder — which not only has a one-touch control, but also has measurement markings on the inside of the stainless steel bowl. These let you know at a glance the quantity of coffee beans needed to make 4, 8, 10 or 12 cups of coffee. The bowl also lifts out, making it quick and easy to transfer the grinds to your coffee maker.
Another handy function to have in a coffee grinder is a one-touch start timer. This conveniently remembers your last grinding setting, making it effortless to grind perfectly — even if you’ve just fallen out of bed! We’ve tried and tested and being impressed by the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder. This premium coffee grinder has a simple to use one-touch start timer, and thanks to its 15 different grinding settings, you can be sure it’ll grind your beans just the way you like them.
If you’re willing to spend big bucks on making the consummate coffee, then look for a grinder that features a digital timer. Our pick for this is the Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Digital Timer Display. Not only are Baratza an award-winning coffee grinder company, but the Virtuoso+ features a 40-second digital timer (adjustable to a tenth of a second) and an LED backlit grounds bin for the ultimate in accuracy and consistency. It’s also the perfect grinder to go for if you want to explore an extensive range of brew methods, including espresso, AeroPress, Hario V60, Chemex and French Press.
Hand grinding? Then our pick is the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder. This high-quality hand coffee grinder is made in Japan and features a stainless steel body and ceramic conical burrs — enabling you to grind from powder to French Press. Be aware of its tiny size though. It’s just 130mm tall with a diameter of 47mm. It will hold 20 grams of coffee beans — just enough to make two small, but delicious 6-8oz cups of coffee.
Enjoy Your Coffee
Now you know the best and most convenient ways to store and grind your coffee beans.
All that’s left to say is… enjoy your coffee!
Featured photo credit: Mae Mu via unsplash.com
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