Learning the best ways to store coffee beans will keep them fresh and full of flavor. Follow this guide and enjoy amazing coffee at home every time.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to opening a freshly roasted bag of coffee beans is that they should be enjoyed within two to four weeks. This is if you have stored your coffee beans correctly. If left unopened in their sealed bag, coffee beans will stay good for six to nine months.
That said, coffee beans will begin to lose their flavor and start to taste flat after about two weeks, which for a lot of us is longer than we need to finish the bag. But if you take a little longer to get through your coffee, don’t worry. We have some tips on how to keep your beans tasting great for longer, and some ideas on how to reduce unnecessary waste and re-use what is definitely past its best.
How to Store Coffee Beans
Knowing how to store your coffee beans will help keep your beans fresh and full of flavor for longer. Follow these steps for how you can store your coffee beans and enjoy cup after cup of delicious coffee.
- Store your coffee in a sealed container: This is the first and most important step to keeping your coffee beans fresh. Air and moisture are coffee’s biggest enemies, so finding a container that is airtight is ideal.
- Keep your coffee away from light: Darkness is coffee’s friend. Keep your sealed coffee beans in the pantry or a cupboard. Better still, keep them in an opaque container.
- Keep them at room temperature: Keep your coffee beans in a cabinet away from the stove so that they do not get too hot. If they are kept out on your kitchen shelves, make sure they are not in a spot that gets direct sunlight.
- Keep them out of the fridge: There is a rumor going around that coffee should be kept in the fridge for freshness. This is not true. The humidity and different aromas floating around in the fridge are likely to spoil the taste of your coffee. Even if you keep it in a dark and airtight container, the temperature fluctuations that it undergoes every morning when you take it out of the fridge will impact its quality.
Is Freezing an Option?
It is not recommended to store your coffee beans in the fridge, so it is hard to imagine that freezing your coffee beans should be an exception.
Generally, if it can be avoided, it is not recommended to freeze your coffee beans. Freezer burn might ruin the taste of the coffee if you don’t seal it properly, and when thawed, the beans will not taste as good as when you first bought them.
However, if you know you will not finish the whole bag of coffee beans within two to four weeks and do not want to waste any, then you can freeze your coffee beans. You just need to make sure to remove the amount you do not want and store them in an airtight container as soon as possible from opening the bag. Thawing frozen coffee beans should be done at room temperature.
Always clearly label any container that goes into the freezer.
What to Do With Old Coffee Beans
When coffee beans become old, you should absolutely not throw them straight in the trash. Old coffee beans may no longer be used to make coffee that is as tasty as before, but there are so many other uses for coffee beans that will benefit you and the planet.
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans: Although old coffee beans may no longer be good enough to make coffee, they are still edible. Why not make your own chocolate-covered espresso beans and save yourself paying for these pricey treats in the store. Simply melt your favorite fair trade chocolate and mix in the old coffee beans before spooning them onto a reusable non-stick paper, like beeswax or silicone. Place them in the fridge until the chocolate has cooled, and enjoy these delicious coffee snacks with a hot cup of coffee, or grab them for an on-the-go snack.
- Home Decor: Coffee beans make for beautiful little decorations around your home. Fill the bottom of a glass jar with old coffee beans and place a candle inside, and you have a stunning candleholder, free of charge!
- Coffee Compost: For a sustainable, no-waste option you can throw the old beans straight into your compost pile, and they will break down naturally along with the rest of your organic waste. They enrich the compost and your plants and flowers will really love it. Zero-waste-tip: you can also reuse coffee grounds as compost in your garden.
- Coffee Dye: That beautiful deep-brown color of coffee can be turned into a natural, homemade dye, using old coffee beans. Simply brew the old beans and pour the coffee into a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil and throw in the fabric or piece of clothing you want to dye. Stir it to make sure everything is coated in the coffee. Let the fabric soak for at least an hour, or longer depending on how deep brown you want the fabric to go. Put the fabric through a cold-water rinse right away. Now place your fabric in a bath of one-part vinegar and two-part cold water for ten minutes to set the dye. Then voila, you have a naturally dyed new piece of clothing for a fraction of the price of buying new.
- Caffeine Hair Care: Caffeine can stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. So if you are looking to treat your hair naturally, old coffee beans are a good option. All you have to do is grind your old coffee beans and brew them. Once cooled, work the coffee into your roots. This coffee treatment will stimulate your hair, improving your hair’s structure for healthier and softer hair.
Why is it Important to Buy Fair Trade Coffee?
The coffee industry is rife with unethical, irresponsible, and environmentally damaging practices. Buying fair-trade coffee is therefore really important.
Fairtrade coffee is better for the environment, having been produced with responsible water usage, low wastage, and reduced ecological impact. Fairtrade coffee is also certifiably better for the workers in the industry, paying a fair, legal wage, prohibiting child labor, and supporting small-scale farmers. What’s more, fairtrade coffee is not only better for the planet’s health, but for your health as well. Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in fair trade coffee farming and organic farming is strongly encouraged.
So, make sure to keep an eye out for the fairtrade label the next time you are in the store restocking your coffee bean supply.
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