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How to Store Coffee Beans to Keep Them Fresh: Tips & FAQ


Brewing coffee at home can allow us to have a quick caffeine fix whenever we want. To brew at home, you need to store your coffee beans or coffee grounds.

So what’s the best way to store your coffee? There are some methods that keep our coffee flavorful and fresh and some methods that do the opposite. It all depends on the outside factors that can affect your coffee while being stored.

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How Do Outside Factors Affect Coffee Beans?

It’s important to preserve freshness to get the best flavor possible. 4 factors in the environment can affect the freshness of coffee: direct light, oxygen, moisture, and heat.

Let’s explore the effects they have and how you can prevent them from affecting your coffee.

1. Direct Light

Direct light, especially sunlight, will cause your coffee to go stale because it speeds up the degradation of the beans. To avoid this, keep coffee in a dark place like a cabinet or in a dark-colored container.

2. Oxygen

Letting your coffee beans interact with oxygen will also cause your coffee to go stale. Oxygen starts a process in coffee known as oxidation right after roasting occurs. Most packaging helps prevent this with a specially designed valve that lets carbon dioxide leave while keeping out oxygen. Air-tight containers with rubber seals are the best way to prevent this when you store your coffee.

Coffee beans into a glass pot
Image Credit: SEREE YINDEE, Shutterstock

3. Moisture

Keeping your coffee in a dry place will do wonders for freshness. Humidity will make your coffee beans go bad very quickly.

Ground coffee is even more affected by moisture. If there’s enough moisture, it will make the coffee clump up in addition to making it stale.

4. Heat

Keeping your coffee cool is best, as heat will cause the beans to lose freshness. Since the beans are already roasted, no more heat is necessary until brewing.

Now let’s look at the best methods to use to store your coffee and the ones to avoid.

How to Store Coffee Beans: The Best Method

The best way to store coffee is by keeping it as whole beans in a dark, cool, dry place in an air-tight container.

In general, whole beans will give you the freshest brews. This is because ground coffee reacts with oxygen and loses flavor at a much quicker rate. Grinding your coffee right before brewing is the best way to maintain flavor.

The air-tight container prevents oxygen from spoiling the beans. The best type of airtight containers have rubber seals around the rim and one or more latches. A container with a pop-on or screw-on lid may not keep out enough oxygen.

Where you store your coffee is equally as important as what you store it in. A dry, dark, cool place is best. Try putting it in a cabinet or pantry instead of on the counter to avoid light completely. If you do need it on the counter, try a dark container.

Keep in mind that even if you keep your coffee in a dark storage container, heat can still affect it, so you won’t want to store it over the stove or close to the oven.

NOTE: You can see our rundown of the best coffee storage containers here.

Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

How Long Does Coffee Last in the Fridge?

Putting coffee in the fridge to preserve freshness is fairly common. Unfortunately, it does nothing to keep coffee fresh and can actually make it go bad faster. The myth that the refrigerator keeps coffee fresh most likely stems from the advice to keep it out of the heat.

However, rapid temperature changes make condensation form on the outside of the beans. This lets moisture build up on and inside the beans. Moisture will make your coffee go bad within days. Because of these factors, it’s best to keep your coffee at room temperature or slightly below. Plus, coffee stored in the fridge can absorb the odors and flavors of the food surrounding it.

When Does Coffee Start to Go Bad?

Now you know how to store your coffee, but how long will it stay fresh with the best method?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to have a cup of coffee at its freshness peak. Coffee starts to lose freshness right after roasting. The freshest your coffee will be is right after roasting and for the first few days after. Check the roast date on your coffee bag and consider buying directly from a coffee roaster or even roasting your coffee beans at home.

The Short Answer
Whole bean coffee won’t go stale for about one month. Ground coffee will be stale in a week or two.

Here are some other interesting questions a lot of coffee enthusiasts have:

Featured Image Credit: fotoblend, Pixabay


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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