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      The Art of Coffee Bean Storage:
      Tips For Preserving Quality & Flavour

      Coffee shops are an increasingly popular destination for people looking for a delicious cup of coffee or a specialty drink. However, with busy schedules, an increase in home working, and a squeeze on household budgets, it may not always be possible to visit your favourite coffee shop every day. 

      Fortunately, making barista style drinks at home has never been easier. With a few tools and ingredients, you can recreate your favourite coffee shop drinks right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

      In this guide, we’ll explore a range of coffee shop favourites that you can recreate at home. We’ll also take a look at some of the best equipment to use, and provide tips to help you make delicious drinks yourself.

      Browse Coffee BeansCoffee beans stored in jars

      Factors That Impact Coffee Bean Freshness

      Coffee beans are highly sensitive to air, moisture, heat, and light - the four horsemen of the coffee apocalypse. Exposure to these elements speeds up the degradation process, leading to stale beans and lacklustre coffee.

      Airtight container for coffee

      Air

      Coffee beans are rich in oils, aromatic compounds, and flavours that are susceptible to oxidation when exposed to air. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs when the compounds within the coffee beans react with oxygen, leading to a loss of flavour and aroma. The more the beans are exposed to air, the faster this process happens, leading to stale coffee. This is why an airtight container is a fundamental requirement for coffee storage.

      Moisture

      Moisture

      Moisture is another enemy of coffee beans. When coffee beans come into contact with water or humid air, they can absorb the moisture, which can lead to the growth of mould and bacteria, as well as the dilution of the flavorful oils. Furthermore, moisture can trigger premature extraction of coffee flavours, resulting in a flat and uninspiring brew. Storing your beans in a dry place is hence critical.

      Coffee stored in cool cupboard

      Heat

      Heat speeds up all kinds of chemical reactions, including those that cause coffee to go stale. When coffee beans are exposed to high temperatures, it can lead to the evaporation of the volatile compounds that provide much of coffee's flavour and aroma. That's why it's recommended to keep beans in a cool (but not cold) place and away from any heat-generating appliances.

      Coffee beans exposed to light

      Light

      Both natural and artificial light can degrade coffee beans over time. Light, particularly sunlight, can cause the coffee beans to heat up, which as mentioned before, accelerates the loss of flavour and aroma. Additionally, light can trigger photo-oxidation, a process where light energy catalyses the oxidation process, leading to faster bean degradation. That's why dark, opaque containers are ideal for coffee storage.

      Shot of espresso

      Where To Store Your Coffee Beans

      When it comes to storing your precious coffee beans, selecting the right location is crucial to maintaining their freshness and flavour. Ideally, coffee beans should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.

      A pantry or cupboard that is away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and moisture is an excellent choice. Avoid storing coffee beans near the stove, oven, or other appliances that generate heat. Additionally, it is essential to protect them from exposure to air, as oxygen can quickly degrade their quality.

      Selection of coffee beans stored in jars

      Containers for Coffee Bean Storage

      When it comes to containers, opt for airtight, opaque options. Materials like ceramic, glass, or non-reactive metal work well, provided they're not transparent. Dedicated coffee vaults with a CO2 valve are an excellent investment as they allow the CO2 gases to escape while keeping air out.

      Vacuum-sealed bags can also be an effective option for long-term storage, helping to prolong the freshness of the beans and preserve their delightful flavours, allowing you to serve and enjoy a consistently exceptional cup of coffee.

      Coffee bean storage

      Tips for Bulk Coffee Bean Storage

      If you're a bulk buyer, such as a business that purchases wholesale coffee beans, divide your beans into weekly portions upon purchase. Store each portion in a small, airtight container and open only when needed. This helps to limit exposure to detrimental factors and maintain freshness.

      By storing your coffee beans in a cool, dark, and airtight environment, you can reap the benefits of extended freshness. Proper storage helps maintain the beans' natural oils, aromas, and flavours, resulting in a more satisfying and aromatic cup of coffee. The ability to enjoy your coffee at its best, sip after sip, is one of the key advantages of storing your beans in this manner.

      Row of stored coffee beans

      Where To Avoid Storing Coffee Beans

      There are certain places that should be avoided when storing coffee, as they can negatively impact the quality and flavour of your beans. Warm spots are amongst the most important places to avoid. Exposing coffee beans to heat, whether it's near a radiator, on a sunny countertop, or in a warm kitchen cabinet, accelerates the oxidation process and leads to faster deterioration of flavour.

      Moist areas, such as near sinks or in humid environments, should also be avoided. Coffee beans readily absorb moisture, which can result in mould growth and spoilage.

      Lastly, while it may seem counterintuitive, storing coffee beans in the refrigerator is not recommended. The fluctuating temperatures and exposure to moisture in the fridge can alter the flavour profile of the beans and cause them to absorb odours from other food items.

      How long do coffee beans last?

      How Long Do Coffee Beans Last?

      The lifespan of coffee beans can vary depending on various factors, including their origin, roast level, and storage conditions. In general, coffee beans are at their peak freshness and flavour within a few weeks of the roast date.

      Beyond that, their quality gradually declines. However, when stored properly, coffee beans can retain their freshness for a longer period.

      When stored in optimal conditions, such as airtight containers away from light, heat, moisture, and strong odours, coffee beans can maintain their flavour for up to several months. It's important to note that while the beans may still be safe to consume after this time, their flavours may become dull and less vibrant.

      To fully enjoy the nuances of freshly roasted coffee, it is recommended to use the beans within a month of their roast date.

      By understanding the ideal storage methods and utilising them diligently, you can maximise the lifespan of your coffee beans and savour the delightful flavours for as long as possible.

      Coffee beans in glass jar

      Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?

      If you're looking to extend the shelf life of your coffee beans, freezing can be a viable option. Properly storing coffee beans in the freezer can help maintain their freshness and flavour over an extended period.

      To ensure the best results, it's important to store the beans in an airtight container specifically designed for freezing. By transferring the beans into a freezer-safe, airtight container or using a vacuum-sealed bag, you can protect them from moisture and unwanted odours. The airtight container acts as a barrier against freezer burn and ensures that the beans retain their original flavours.

      When you're ready to use the frozen coffee beans, allow them to thaw completely in the sealed container to avoid condensation. Once thawed, it's recommended to use the beans within a reasonable timeframe to enjoy the best possible flavour.

      While freezing coffee beans can be a practical method for preservation, it's worth noting that the taste may be slightly affected. However, if you have a surplus of coffee beans or want to prolong their freshness, freezing can be a suitable solution.

      Freshly roasted coffee

      How to Tell If Your Coffee Beans Have Gone Bad

      As vigilant as we might be with our coffee storage, there may come a time when you're left wondering whether your coffee beans are past their prime. The good news is that there are several telltale signs that your coffee beans have gone bad or are on their way there. Here's what to look out for:

      The aroma of coffee

      Loss of Aroma

      Fresh coffee beans have a strong, distinct aroma that varies depending on the bean type. If your beans have lost their characteristic smell, or if the aroma has significantly diminished, this is a sure sign that your beans are not as fresh as they used to be. The rich, full-bodied scent of fresh coffee is one of the first things to fade when the beans begin to go stale.

      Coffee beans with good quality appearance

      Visible Changes

      Coffee beans should have a healthy, shiny, and solid appearance. If they appear excessively oily or even dry and shrivelled, this could indicate that they've been exposed to detrimental conditions and are past their prime. Overexposure to air, for instance, can cause the oils to rise to the surface and make the beans look overly oily. Alternatively, heat and moisture can cause the beans to dry out and lose their firmness.

      Enjoying the taste of coffee

      Taste

      Taste is the most significant indicator of the freshness of coffee beans. Freshly brewed coffee should taste vibrant, rich, and full of the specific flavour notes attributed to the bean type. If your coffee tastes flat, bitter, or lacks the nuanced flavours it usually has, your beans may have gone bad. Stale coffee can often take on a cardboard-like or overly bitter taste that's very distinct from the full-bodied flavour of a fresh brew.

      Discard mouldy coffee beans

      Mould

      This is a less common occurrence but one that's possible if your beans have been exposed to moisture. If you notice any signs of mould, such as a fuzzy surface or an off smell, discard the beans immediately. Consuming mouldy beans can lead to food poisoning.

      Recognising these signs will not only ensure that you're always brewing with the freshest beans but also help you identify any potential flaws in your storage method. Remember, fresh beans are key to a superior coffee experience, so keep a close eye on their condition.

      But if the worst happens and your beans do go bad, try not to worry, because there are some great ways you can reuse leftover coffee to make sure they don’t go to waste.

      Coffee beans and equipment

      Safeguarding the Quality of Your Premium Coffee

      A delicious cup of coffee begins with sourcing the best beans. It is important to invest in high-quality coffee beans in order to be able to serve the most flavoursome and enjoyable cup possible.

      At PureGusto, we offer a wide selection of award winning coffees to enable you to provide the best drinking experience in any cafe, restaurant or even office drinks station. We carefully source our beans from leading producers around the world, before gently roasting using our premium convection roasting process for a coffee that’s unbelievably smooth.

      However, the art of coffee doesn't end with choosing the best beans; it extends to preserving their integrity and quality. Storing coffee beans properly is an art that pays dividends in the form of a delicious, full-flavoured cup of coffee. By understanding the coffee beans and their enemies, you can provide an ideal environment to maximise their lifespan and ensure you or your customers always have a perfect brew.

      Browse Coffee Beans

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