Hey, you haven’t heard from me for a while. Well, I guess you might say, “I’m baaaaaaack” at least for now to introduce a special guest post by Remy Bernard – Owner and Editor at missmamiescupakes.com who is a baker, chef and writer. Remy asked to do a guest post on one of my favorite drinks…coffee. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, it’s great information for a loved one who does enjoy a good cup o’ Joe. I think you’ll appreciate what Remy has to say. CB
How to Keep Your Ground Coffee Fresh For as Long As Possible
There are two things in this world that I hold dear to my heart: coffee and getting the most value I can out of anything that I buy. Coffee is good for your health (maybe not decaf, though), a great way to start your day, and has even been shown to be a powerful performance enhancer. That’s why as soon as I ground my precious coffee beans at home or supermarket, I’m immediately thinking about getting it into proper storage as quickly as possible. After all, the moment you grind your coffee beans and expose them to oxygen, you set in motion a cascade of events that will eventually destroy the flavor and ruin even the best coffee.
The good news is that keeping your coffee fresh is easy. Unfortunately, finding the best method to do so can be a bit more complicated. The problem is that although there is no shortage of recommendations on the Internet regarding the best way to store coffee, many of them are completely anecdotal and even contradictory. So I thought it would be good to put the question to rest once and for all. But first, we need to look at why coffee goes stale, and then we can figure out how to prevent it.
Why Does Coffee Go Stale in the First Place?
In the same way that iron forms rust when it’s exposed to air and oxidizes, the solubles in coffee which give it its wonderful flavor also begin to turn when they come in contact with oxygen. As soon as the bean is ground, the flavors begin to oxidize and degrade. This is why many roasters will ship their products in vacuum-sealed baggies that limit contact with oxygen. This means that when looking at keeping your coffee fresh for longer, limiting oxygen and moisture is your number one priority.
Keep Your Beans Airtight and the Temperature Low
In the battle for coffee freshness, your greatest enemies are oxygen, moisture, heat and light. In order to limit all of these, keep your freshly ground or roasted coffee beans in an opaque airtight container at room temperature. Even though you might be tempted to showcase that beautiful coffee in a clear container on your countertop, resist the urge, as exposing the coffee to that kind of light will do much more harm than good. Figure out the darkest, coolest location in your kitchen (not the freezer or fridge) and store them there. Avoid cabinets that might catch heat from the stove or an area of the countertop that gets afternoon sun. It might seem like a pain, but once you find your spot, you’ll be able to rely on it in the future.
Don’t Buy More than You Need
As we discussed earlier, coffee starts to go south almost immediately after grinding. There are two main strategies I implement to deal with this. The first is using a coffee maker that grinds the beans right before brewing. Not only is this extremely convenient, but also solves many of the problems we are talking about today. I personally use the Ninja coffee bar in my home, but any coffee maker that has this auto-grind feature will work. The second strategy is to buy smaller batches of coffee—enough for 1-2 weeks. This seems to be the perfect amount for my 1-2 cups of coffee per day, and I’m done with it before the flavor really starts to change. If you buy in bulk, this makes it difficult to use it all before it goes bad.
Do Not Freeze or Refrigerate Your Coffee
Somewhere along the way people decided that freezing coffee was a good idea. Well, it isn’t. Seriously, don’t do this. Coffee is sort of like bread. If you freeze it, and then thaw it out when you are ready to use it, it never tastes the same or close to as good as when you first bought it. The extra moisture will also push the oils to the surface and make it go stale faster. Additionally, the structure of the coffee bean is porous and will absorb the smells around it. This means that if you have anything with a strong odor in your fridge or freezer like onions or garlic, your coffee will take on that smell as well. I’m pretty sure that no one wants their morning coffee to taste like garlic and onions!
How to Use Stale Coffee
Remember how I said that I like to get the most value I can out of everything I buy? Well, this also means finding uses for things that others might throw away. The good news is that if your coffee has gone stale, it’s perfect for making cold brew coffee with. In fact, most coffee experts will tell you that making cold brew coffee with really expensive and fresh coffee is sort of a waste. This is because the cold water leaves all the acids and bitter taste behind. People are usually surprised to discover this and it’s one of my favorite tips!
I hope you learned something about keeping your coffee fresh and getting the most mileage out of your bean! I’ve tried most everything and after a lot of research the above were the methods that work best for me.
Remy Bernard – Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes