Our guide to best preserve the wonderful aroma and flavour of coffee beans at home
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans is simply the most pleasant aroma in the planet. The first whiff of beautiful aroma when opening a new bag of coffee is just amazing!
However, improper coffee bean storage will cause its delicious aroma to disappear and in the end your coffee turns flat, boring and lifeless.
The beautiful aroma is very volatile. Many coffee roasters invest significantly just for coffee beans storage to best preserve the wonderful flavours and aromatics from its origin.
The Coffee Bean Killer!
Air movement and temperature fluctuation. Leaving coffee beans open and exposed to direct sunlight destroy your coffee beans.
Please don't do that to your coffee beans. They will fade away. It's just too sad to see that.
For roasted coffee beans, oxygen is the real killer!
Every coffee roaster takes coffee beans storage very very very seriously. Our hot and humid climate in Malaysia makes green beans storage very challenging and requires significant investment to preserve all the amazing flavours.
Some roasters use vacuum packers, some with nitrogen flush, 24/7 air conditioned room, dehumidifier, and even classical music for the coffee beans, all day long.
However for us home brewers, we don't want to spend money on any of those. Here are a few ways to keep your coffee beans healthy and delicious!
The colourful coffee bags.
The Good and Easiest method : Store together with coffee bag
The easiest way is to keep your coffee beans in their original coffee bag, put it in a container or into a Tupperware, and store it in your kitchen cabinet! Just that simple!
This way it eliminates air movement and blocks direct sunlight. We store our coffees this way and some coffees still taste as good after more than a month past their roast date!
Btw, it's also a plus point to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag, just to ensure there are minimal air/oxygen left in the bag.
Keeping coffee beans in a jar with a lid seems like a good idea. Sadly, it does not work here in Malaysia.
Based on our experiments, it seems that here in Malaysia, where the climate is hot and humid, the speed of deterioration of coffee beans is much faster when they are kept in a jar than in a coffee bag.
The thing about jars is that there are some air movements every time you open and close the lid, and there is no way for you to squeeze out the air. The more frequently you drink your coffee, the more fresh (and humid) air goes into the jar.
Unless you drink your coffee very quickly (1-2 days) or your home brew bar is air conditioned at all times, we think that it’s best to just keep your beans in the coffee bag – at least you don't have to wash your coffee jar!
Fridge and freezer?
Same thing goes to keeping coffee beans in the fridge or in the freezer. Temperature fluctuation is bad for coffee beans.
Especially in Malaysia, when hot, humid air meets ice-cold coffee beans. It is no good. The coffee beans “sweat” real quick. Store your coffee in cool dry place will work just fine!
Unless, you are planning to store really expensive coffees (like Gesha or some extremely rare coffees) for a much later consumption, say months later. Yes! Freezing the coffee beans is definitely a good idea!
Top tip for freezing coffee! Pre weight all the coffees into separate packs or jars and freeze them. There you only take the exact amount that you need in every brew, without exposing all the coffees to warm air.
About one way valve
Most of our coffee roasters use one way valve bags for their coffee beans packaging to let excess CO2 escape from the bag so that it does not explode!
However coffee beans will only release most of the CO2 on the first few days after roasting and the gas emission will gradually slow down.
A top tip would be to tape the holes of the valve once you first open the coffee bag in order to limit air movements through the tiny holes!
Best method of all - Pre-weight coffee beans in separate containers
While you are enjoying a bag of coffee beans over a period of time, new air and oxygen continuously in contact with coffee bean every time you open the bag.
As a result, you'll notice coffee don't really taste as great as the first few cups in the beginning when you start the bag of coffee.
The BEST way is that the moment you open a bag of coffee, immediately pre-weight all coffee beans and separate into individual small airtight containers.*See first photo.
This way, it completely limits oxygen contact to minimal (only when you open the bag until you brew it). This method also prolong the deliciousness for much longer period, even up to 5-6 week!
The best part is, every single cup of coffee tastes exactly the same from the first to last!
It takes a little bit of work to pre weight all the coffees, but it's worth the effort!
Lastly, if you have 2 or more packs of coffee beans, we strongly recommend to start one pack at a time. An unopened pack of coffee beans can last up to 4-5 weeks! It's best to finish one pack and start with another the next. There you get to enjoy real delicious coffee at all time!
How about a vacuum container? They are great, but they are quite expensive too. Why not save the money for more delicious coffees?
Always keep your beans airtight, in a cool dry place, and out of direct sunlight. Also, grind your coffee bean right before brewing, and you’ll get a cup of coffee that’s fresh and delicious!
A coffee documentary about Nicholas, roaster of The Hub.
Documentary of Jian & Kok Thong, cousins & founders of Brew & Bread.