Is there anything better than a good cup of coffee in the morning? For that matter in the afternoon or evening, a good cup of coffee can hit the spot. There has always been much debate among coffee drinkers as to whether to purchase whole beans or ground, whether or not gourmet is better than the supermarket brand, or how much cream and sugar should be added. Regardless of the brand or how the coffee is taken, the proper storage of coffee can result in either a delicious full bodied brew, or a cup of something that tastes as if someone changed the oil in their car and poured the resulting dregs in your cup.
Many coffee aficionados swear by whole roasted beans that are freshly ground prior to making a pot of coffee. For some, coffee beans are just not feasible. Perhaps they don’t have a coffee grinder, or, in the rush to get ready each day, pre-ground coffee is simpler and easier. Regardless of the reason, there are ways to ensure that each cup of ground coffee tastes as if it was freshly ground before brewing. The best way to ensure that your ground coffee tastes fresh is to assure that it is stored properly.
Roasted ground coffee can go stale quickly. A good rule of thumb is simply do not buy more than you can drink in a week. Once ground coffee has been opened and the vacuum has been broken, ground coffee is subject to light and odors. The optimum drinking time for opened ground coffee is five to seven days. After opening the ground coffee, it should then be transferred from the bag or can into a light-proof container that is also airtight. The biggest culprits in storing ground coffee are light, air, moisture, and heat. By storing ground coffee in an opaque container that is airtight, you can avoid these coffee flavor offenders.
Another way to avoid these flavor sucking factors is to store your coffee in the freezer in a double wrapped package. Never, and it can’t be said enough, never store your coffee in the refrigerator. Why? Do you put baking soda in your refrigerator to catch odors? If you don’t, have you seen the commercials extolling the virtues of an open container of baking soda in the refrigerator? Coffee acts just like baking soda in the refrigerator. It traps all the moisture and all the odors and flavors of other foods. The best part of waking up is certainly not coffee that tastes of last nights fish or the leftover garlic chicken that has been sitting in the refrigerator. However, coffee can be stored in it’s original packaging and then placed in a plastic freezer bag and then stored in the freezer. Using a drinking straw to suck out the extra air and form a type of vacuum bag is recommended. Be sure you don’t suck any coffee grounds up through that straw though.
Storing ground, well wrapped coffee in the freezer is only a smart option if you have more coffee than you can use in the next week. For coffee that will be used within a week, the best method of storage is, as mentioned above, an opaque, airtight container. A stone or ceramic cannister is a smart investment for coffee storage. It is recommended that you actually invest in a quality cannister. A cheap cannister is not going to be airtight. Since most people keep their cannisters on the counter, you must have an airtight one unless you like your coffee tasting of anything that is cooked on your stovetop.
Storing coffee is not difficult as long as you remember airtight to keep out moisture, heat, and air and opaque to keep out flavors, odors and light. With proper storage, your coffee will taste so fresh that even gourmands won’t know the difference between pre-roasted and freshly ground.