7 Tips for Better Coffee: Storing Coffee Beans & Grinds

Making your own coffee at home can save lots of money, given what places like Starbucks charge for a single cup. But if you don’t store your beans properly, you can end up with either coffee that doesn’t taste good or throwing away the beans because they’ve become stale.

Alton Brown, host of a few popular shows on the Food Network, showcased the coffee bean in his Good Eats program. He spent a few minutes explaining how to keep your beans fresh and suggests a few tips that go against conventional wisdom:

    1. Whole beans can remain fresh for 2-3 months in bags they’re packaged in (thanks to an Italian engineer who invented the bag with a special one-way valve). Just make sure the bag is sealed and that it has this special one-way valve.
    2. Whole beans are not always fresh beans. If they are given some air, some light, and some time, “even the most noble beans will be rendered flavorless.”
    3. If you buy a bag of beans in a sealed bag, it’s “an acceptable storage device”. But once you cut it open, you need to store it immediately in an air-tight container (just using the twist ties that come with the bag won’t create an air-tight seal).
    4. If you buy beans and put them in a non-air tight bag, you’ll need to store them in an air-tight container as soon as you get home (so again, just using the twist ties that come with the bag won’t create an air-tight seal).
    5. “Freezing or refrigerating coffee may be popular with coffee fans, but not with coffee beans….each time you fetch them from the chill, moisture condenses on the surface of the bean, which only makes them degrade faster.”

Web searches (sponosred): Discount Coffee

  1. Store your air-tight container at room temperature (as long as it’s not near an oven).
  2. And here’s a tip about water: Use a basic carbon-based water filter to remove any “offending flavors” when brewing your own coffee.

To view the Good Eats segment, click on the video below. Alton Brown’s bit about storing coffee beans begins around the 8 minute mark:

(Good Eats S2E7P1: True Brew)

We also came across a few other tips (separate from the Food Network). Here’s one from PerfectCoffees.com’s Coffee Storage Tips article:

Ground coffee will only store for a few days before going stale once you open it. But at least keep the air out by using an airtight ceramic canister with a rubber seal and one that blocks light.

That is the reason why grinding your own beans is well worth the effort and it’s also really easy. Keeping ground coffee fresh is almost impossible.

And an interesting tip from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone’s article, titled “Coffee Storage and Cooking Tips” (About.com):

Spice up coffee with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice added to the ground coffee. Citrus zest will also add zing to boring coffee.

Got any tips of your own for storing coffee beans — or any other coffee home brewing tips? Share them with the Tip Hero community by posting a comment below. And thanks for being a Tip Hero!

Homepage photo credit: D’Arcy Norman