If you are serious about your coffee, instant brews probably wouldn’t appease you anymore. Once you taste the fresh coffee that comes from freshly ground coffee and espresso beans, there is no going back.
Unfortunately, these fresh coffee beans don’t thrive that well under regular storing conditions.
If you’ve been noticing that your coffee grounds are losing their freshness and going bad too soon, you may want to learn about the proper ways to store them.
How Long Do Coffee Grounds Stay Fresh?
As compared to instant coffee, coffee grounds and whole beans lose their freshness quicker. Similarly, whole beans last comparatively longer than ground beans.
As a rule of thumb, coffee grounds start staling after about a week to 10 days after opening the package. Whereas ground beans might last up to a month before you start noticing any difference.
The reason behind this is the oxidation process that the coffee undergoes. Since ground coffee is broken down into small particles, it loses its freshness much quicker than whole beans.
Soon after the green coffee beans are initially harvested, the coffee roasters heat the beans until they are brown and roasted. Once this roasting process is over, the timer begins.
Keeping the coffee fresh for a longer period of time is next to impossible after roasting.
As soon as the carbon dioxide starts leaving the beans, it makes way for oxygen to enter. This results in the ground coffee losing its trademark taste and strong punch.
Nevertheless, high-quality coffee brands take some precautions to slow down this process as much as possible.
Some producers add a small some-way valve on the coffee bags. This valve allows the carbon dioxide to be released without letting any oxygen inside. This slightly increases the shelf life of the ground coffee.
However, there isn’t much that the producers can do to significantly prolong the shelf life. This is why it is important to learn how to store your coffee grounds, so they taste fresher for longer.
The Proper Ways to Store Coffee Grounds
Most people would prefer coffee made from freshly ground beans every morning. It is stronger, healthier, and just tastes better overall.
Unfortunately, going through the process of grinding beans every morning doesn’t seem as enticing as having a freshly brewed cup of coffee served in front of you.
While ground coffee beans are the next best option, storing them is another hassle.
People have a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to storing coffee grounds. You might wonder whether the pantry is the best place to keep the coffee fresh or if it is better to freeze it.
If you want to ensure that your coffee grounds stay fresh for as long as possible, store them in one of the following ways.
Store It In Your Pantry
If you’re confused about whether you should store your ground coffee in the pantry or the refrigerator, always go for the former.
The best way to store any kind of coffee is in a pantry, but it is especially important for ground coffee. This way, it helps retain the freshness for a longer time.
Choose an opaque and airtight container to store the ground coffee. Make sure to keep it away from direct heat or sunlight.
If you don’t have an airtight container suitable for this purpose, seal the coffee bag by tying a rubber band or clip at the top. Then place the coffee bag in a resealable plastic bag.
Keep It Away From Moisture
This is the most crucial thing you need to pay attention to while storing ground coffee – keep it as dry as possible.
Make sure that you don’t store your coffee grounds in a place where they might be exposed to moisture. This is also why you should not be freezing the coffee grounds that are in daily use.
When you freeze your everyday coffee, the fluctuating temperatures can create pockets of moisture in the packet. This will leave your coffee tasting like cardboard.
It also causes the cell structure of the coffee grounds to change. As a result, the coffee loses the oils that give it its distinct flavor and aroma.
That being said, there are times when it is okay to freeze your coffee. This will be discussed later on.
Avoid Refrigerating It
You may feel tempted to shove your bag of ground coffee into the refrigerator. After all, it is the best place to keep it away from heat and light.
However, it isn’t the ideal place to protect the flavorful coffee from moisture. The refrigerator would arguably be the dampest place in your house.
The humid atmosphere of the refrigerator further causes the moisture to evaporate from the coffee grounds. This will leave you with stale and bitter-tasting coffee.
Therefore, no matter what you do, do not store the coffee ground in the refrigerator. Or else, it will go faster than you’d expect.
When Can You Freeze Ground Coffee
As discussed earlier, there are exceptions to the ‘never freeze your ground coffee rule.’ You might even notice some coffee enthusiasts take out a jar of ground coffee from their freezer.
So when is it okay to do so?
The reason it is recommended that you shouldn’t freeze ground coffee is that the consistent fluctuation in temperature can cause it to deter in quality.
However, if you have a large bag of coffee grounds or coffee beans that you’ve ground yourself, you can freeze them to extend their shelf life. It is crucial that you do this the right way.
Before freezing the coffee, remove a small amount of the coffee grounds. Ideally, this should be your one week’s supply of coffee. Store these in an airtight container and keep it in the pantry.
Next, store the rest of the ground coffee in a large airtight container before placing it in the freezer. This way, you won’t have to defrost the coffee every morning.
Another thing you can do is divide all the ground coffee into small airtight containers worth one week’s supply. Place these in the freezer, and remove one container at a time as needed.
Ideally, you should purchase small packs of ground coffee so that they don’t go bad over time.
However, sometimes, the larger bags come at a significantly better price. When that happens, you can use this trick to keep it fresh for months to come.
You might still notice some difference between frozen coffee grounds and fresh coffee grounds. But the difference would be much less noticeable than when you make coffee with stale coffee grounds.
More Tips to Maintain the Freshness of Ground Coffee
While proper storage significantly increases the shelf life of coffee grounds, there are a few more things you can do to get more out of your bag of coffee grounds.
Here are a few other ways you can make sure you never have to drink a cup of stale coffee.
Use it Within a Month
While it is recommended to consume ground coffee within a week of opening the package, it wouldn’t instantly go bad on the 8th day.
This means that you can still consume the coffee and notice little to no difference well past the first week. However, you shouldn’t let it go for more than a month, or you’d end up with bad coffee.
If you feel that your bag of coffee grounds would last longer than a month, divide it and freeze it using the method mentioned above.
Be Aware of the Roast and Expiry Dates
Even if your bag of ground coffee is unopened, it will start going bad after a certain period. To make sure you’re up to date with your coffee, read the dates on the package.
This includes the roast dates and the expiry dates. The expiration date should be treated as just that – the expiration.
Yes, there are foods and packages that can be used well past their expiry date. Sadly, ground coffee isn’t one of them.
This is why you should try your best to consume all of it before it expires.
However, it also helps to check the roast date – especially when you’re still deciding between packages. The more recent the roast, the better the coffee would taste.
Wait to Grind the Beans
If you grind your own coffee beans, don’t do it in large batches. Instead, wait until it is time to consume them.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to wake up every morning and grind the beans. Instead, you could grind them in smaller batches.
Similar to the freezing method, only grind coffee beans that make up a week of your coffee supply. Then, do another batch the next weekend.
This way, you’ll always have a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning.
A freshly brewed cup of coffee is something everyone deserves in the morning. So if you want to make sure that you don’t wake up to below-average coffee every morning, make sure to follow the above tips.
And don’t be afraid to stock up on ground coffee if you get it at the right price. Just make sure to store it properly.
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