No one can argue that fresh coffee is the best coffee. The fresher your coffee beans, the tastier your cup of coffee will be.
Do you know how to keep your coffee fresh?
In this article, we’re going to give you all the tips and tricks you need to store your coffee from purchase to sip. We’ll teach you about maintaining whole versus ground coffee, storing coffee beans in mason jars, how to keep brewed coffee fresh, and more.
How Long Can You Store Coffee Beans (Whole)?
The best way to maintain the longevity of the coffee you purchase is to buy whole coffee beans. Coffee beans stay fresh for longer than ground coffee does, so if you like grinding your own coffee beans, you’re in luck!
Right After Roasting
Coffee beans taste the freshest within 30 days of roasting. That’s why local roasters like Eldorado are the preferred buying method for most coffee connoisseurs.
However, it’s okay if you can’t get your beans fresh from a local roastery. You can buy vacuum-sealed bags of beans that will maintain a similar freshness for months after roasting.
If the whole beans are kept in a sealed or airtight container, whole bean coffee can last for 6 to 9 months in the pantry. Once the beans have been opened and exposed to the air, they last up to 6 months. After that 6 month period, the coffee starts to go stale and can lead to a bitter or “old” flavor after brewing.
Try our Nuconcept blend of whole beans. Ethically sourced and roasted to perfection, you will absolutely adore the aroma and flavor after brewing a fresh pot of these whole beans.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Stay Fresh?
If whole beans last longer than grinds, how long does ground coffee stay fresh in the pantry?
Since ground coffee has more surface area than whole beans, it expires faster. The smaller grounds also leave more room for moisture to get in, which can breed mold and bacteria.
Freshly ground coffee really only lasts about 1-2 weeks. If stored properly in an airtight container, you can stretch its lifespan to about a month. This isn’t that much time, which is why we typically recommend buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself at home.
How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh When Storing
How long you can store coffee beans depends on how well they’re protected against “the elements.”
The main reason coffee beans go stale is exposure to air. That’s why most coffee bags and cans are vacuum-sealed — to keep the beans away from air. You also want to avoid high temperatures and moisture, which can allow bacteria to grow in the container. That means you want to store your beans in an opaque (not clear), air-tight container at room temperature.
Airtight Storage Containers
Glass, ceramic, and non-reactive metal containers are the best for coffee beans. You want to look for airtight gaskets as well.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, we recommend investing in an airtight coffee canister. We personally love the Airscape stainless-steel storage container. You push the lid to the level of the contents, which removes any extra air so your beans have minimal exposure to air or moisture. In this kind of air-tight container, your beans can last over 9 months!
Storing Coffee Beans in Mason Jars
Some people like storing coffee beans in mason jars, especially because it looks cool, but some mason jars aren’t airtight enough. Also, a lot of mason jars are clear, so your beans could be subjected to light—which can make the beans expire faster. So we usually don’t recommend storing coffee beans in a mason jar unless it’s dark-colored.
Some mason jars ARE airtight, though, especially if they have a metal clasp that keeps it together. See some of the best mason jars you can buy here.
Can You Keep Coffee in the Fridge or Freezer?
There’s some debate about “frozen” beans. You want to use coffee beans as close to the roasting date as possible. So it’s usually recommended to buy smaller amounts of coffee more frequently, as opposed to bulk buying and throwing them in the freezer.
However, if you’re not going to be using your coffee beans for a while, the freezer can be a good second bet. Freezing will help ensure the coffee isn’t subjected to high temperatures or moisture in the air. However, keep in mind that frozen coffee beans can lose some of their flavors over time.
Note: Even if you’re storing them in the freezer, you want to keep the beans in an air-tight container to avoid condensation on the beans.
The freezer’s okay, but can you keep coffee in the fridge?
We don’t recommend putting coffee in the fridge, because it’ll be too susceptible to moisture and air. Just like how vegetables go bad in the fridge faster than the freezer, so do coffee beans!
Check out Huffpost’s opinion piece about keeping coffee in the freezer to learn more.
How Do I Store Ground Coffee?
Like coffee beans, you want to store ground coffee in cool, dry, air-tight conditions.
You can use an airtight container like the Airscape for coffee grounds as well. If you’ll be using your coffee grounds within a week or two, you can keep them in the coffee can in a cool part of your pantry.
In general, we don’t recommend storing coffee grounds in the freezer or fridge for long periods of time. Since ground coffee attracts moisture more, putting it in the fridge won’t necessarily protect it from going stale.
How Do I Know if My Coffee Has Gone Bad?
“Bad” coffee typically won’t make you sick, like other types of expired food. However, it will taste bad and it can even start to grow mold and bacteria (which can make you feel sick in the long run).
Don’t drink coffee if:
- The beans have a foul odor (distinctly not coffee-ish)
- They have an unusual color or appearance
- You notice mold on any of the beans
- After brewing, the coffee tastes stale or weaker than usual (and you haven’t made any changes to your routine and your coffee machine is clean)
Take note of when you buy and store each container of coffee. This can help ensure you’re using your beans or grounds in a timely fashion. It can also give you an idea of how much coffee you’re drinking, so you can work on buying the right amount of coffee for your consumption and usage.
How to Keep Brewed Coffee Fresh
Can you brew a pot of coffee in the morning to have after you come home from work? Can you prep coffee in advance if you’re having a holiday party?
In most cases, you should not brew coffee in advance. Brewed coffee loses its flavor and aroma after two hours due to oxidation (exposure to air).
You can slightly extend the life of your brewed coffee with these few tips:
- Immediately remove the coffee from the burner or heat source after it’s been brewed. The longer the coffee is hot, the faster it will oxidize.
- Put the cream in your hot coffee! It seems counterintuitive, but cold milk, cream, or a milk alternative can actually keep your brewed coffee hot for longer. Check out the science of it here.
- If you want to keep your coffee hot, put your coffee in an airtight, insulated thermos that’s made. This preserves the heat and flavor without oxidization.
- Want iced coffee? After brewing, pour the coffee into a carafe and put it in the fridge. You’ll have your own iced coffee, and the cold will preserve the flavor and aroma for longer than two hours.
- Take this to the next level with coffee ice cubes. Pour leftover brewed coffee into an ice tray and freeze. You can thaw and heat these up later for a cup of coffee, or you can use coffee ice cubes to create creamy Frappuccino-like drinks at home!
How Do I Store Used Coffee Grounds?
So you’ve brewed your coffee, but now what do you do with the leftover grounds? We’ve written a couple of articles about how to recycle your used coffee grounds, with uses from skincare products to household repurposing to DIY crafts.
If you store your used coffee grounds properly, there are a lot of incredible uses for these natural leftovers. But you have to be careful about how you store the grounds, or they could end up with mold before you can even use them.
Once you’ve used your coffee grounds to brew coffee, you’ll want to remove any leftover moisture. Put the grounds in a paper towel to squeeze out any excess moisture, and then let dry for an hour or two in the sun (if possible). You want the grounds as dry as possible before storing them.
Then, you’ll want to keep the grounds in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. It doesn’t have to be as airtight as your fresh beans or coffee, because you’re not preserving the grounds for consumption—just for use around the home. The goal of the airtight container is to avoid moisture getting in and bacteria or mold growing. For this purpose, a mason jar can work well to store used coffee grounds.
Keep Your Coffee Fresh
Fresh coffee tastes better! That’s why we roast our beans right here in Queens, NY. Roasting at home means you get the freshest beans delivered to your door, so every cup of Eldorado coffee tastes deliciously divine.
Taste the Eldorado difference—in quality, flavor, freshness, and experience. Start browsing our beloved coffee offerings for the cleanest cup you’ve ever tasted. We recommend one of our whole bean bags to retain freshness for even longer!