Here at Bay Coffee, we deal with many different types of customers to whom we sell coffee beans; from people who are just enthusiasts about coffee as a hobby and for their own personal enjoyment, to those running their own cafes who need quality beans every time to keep their own customers happy, to everyone in between, including office managers buying coffee for their workplaces. We love the diversity of dealing with every one of these groups and one question we’re asked A LOT is “How should coffee beans be stored here in Australia?”. We love being asked this question because it’s a super important part of the coffee process. Incorrect storage of coffee can have a detrimental impact on the flavours and taste of the end result. Below are some factors which affect how your brew will taste and tips on how to best store your coffee beans for optimum flavour:
While we Australians love the sunshine on our skin, sunlight or UV light is an enemy of your coffee beans in storage as it will speed up their aging process. We recommend you store your coffee away from sunlight at all costs!
Coffee beans are highly hygroscopic which means they are extremely susceptible to absorbing moisture from the air around them. This is a big issue as many of the delicious flavours in your roasted coffee are released upon interaction with water which means they’ll lose their splendid taste and flavours before they should. We strongly advise you keep your roasted or green coffee beans in an airtight container (preferably a jar or tin rather than a plastic bag) to prevent moisture getting to them.
Excessive heat is also a big no-no if you want to preserve the taste of your coffee beans. Anything over roughly 25 degrees is going to be too warm an environment for coffee bean storage and will speed up the aging process of the beans by bringing the oils to the surface of the beans quicker.
As with moisture, air is also a bad companion for your coffee beans while they’re being stored. Oxygen causes the beans to oxidise (who’d have thought?!), causing them to lose their flavour quicker. Ever notice an oily sheen on beans? This occurs from longer roasting causing internal bean pressure to drive the delicious oils to the surface. While this doesn’t mean the coffee will taste bad, it does mean the oils are more exposed to oxidization, meaning a shorter shelf life for your beans.
How and Where Should I Store My Coffee Beans?
As the above are all elements we wish to avoid, you really want to store your coffee away from light, heat and changing temperatures in an airtight container. Typical storage areas for coffee beans are the lower shelves of pantries and cupboards away from your oven.
Fridges and Freezers
Fridges and freezers are commonly used to store coffee and can work well however keep in mind that fridge stored coffee has the potential to take on other food odours and can ruin your coffee. Condensation from changes in temperature, from taking the coffee in and out, can also reduce the potency of your coffee.
Freezers can be ideal for storing coffee, however if you use whole bean coffee, you may find you will need to bring your coffee down to room temperature before grinding, as the frozen beans will affect extraction. The ideal (but somewhat painful) way for storing whole beans in the freezer, is to portion what you typically use, and freeze each portion individually, pulling out what you intend to use the night before!
If that all sounds too hard, get the freshest coffee possible (check the roast date, not the expiry) and use it within 3 weeks of that roast date. Store in somewhere dark with reasonably stable temperature and enjoy your coffee!
Here at Bay Coffee, we’re a boutique roaster with a shop, wholesale coffee arm and a café all right here in Sydney. Whatever your coffee needs, shoot us an email or give us a call today for a chat with a friendly coffee expert who’ll be able to advise you on the perfect coffee bean for your needs!