Buying the Best Coffee Beans: Storage and Freshness (Part 2)

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As promised, here’s the follow-up to our previous post on storing the best coffee beans money can buy for longer:

Do Coffee Beans Expire If Unopened?

More often than not, the best coffee beans in the world are shipped in packages designed to maximize their lifespan. This is particularly true with fresh roasted coffee beans, which need to be carefully packaged to preserve their freshness.

Even so, all types of coffee beans sold commercially will feature some kind of expiration date on their packaging. Or at least, a ‘best before’ date, indicating when they should be used by for maximum enjoyment.

But this does not necessarily mean that once this expiration date has been exceeded, the coffee beans in the bag are no good. If they were shipped in suitably protective packaging which was subsequently stored in ideal conditions, they may remain in good condition for a longer period of time.

Nevertheless, any coffee beans you suspect have gone bad should be thrown out. It’s never worth taking risks with moldy coffee beans, even if they were once the best coffee beans in the world!

Do Roasted Coffee Beans Last Longer Than Ground Coffee?

Yes, and this is exactly why it is a good idea to only ever grind the exact amount of coffee you need when brewing at home.

The speed at which coffee loses its freshness and quality is accelerated massively by the grinding process. Coffee grounds have an exponentially larger surface area than beans, meaning more exposure to the surrounding air, and a more rapid deterioration process.

When stored in ideal conditions, an unopened and perfectly sealed bag of the best coffee beans money can buy will stay fresh for as long as 3 months. By contrast, a bag of ground coffee of equally high quality will have a shorter lifespan.

If your goal is to replicate the coffee served in your favorite shop, you need to grind your beans as close to the brewing process as possible. You could even try your hand at roasting your own beans at home, which can make for an even fresher experience than buying pre-roasted beans.

How Should You Store Fresh Ground Coffee?

The same basic precautions should be taken when storing coffee grounds as with coffee beans. Ground coffee quality can be jeopardized by the same four risk factors as coffee beans (light, heat, oxygen, and moisture), which should therefore be kept out of the equation.

If you are looking to preserve the freshness of ground coffee for as long as possible, the best way to do so is to keep it in its original packaging. Where this isn’t an option (which is probably the case in most instances), a high-quality resealable bag, airtight container, or vacuum-sealed bag will do the trick.

Can You Store Coffee in the Fridge?

Last up, storing the best coffee beans in the world (or specialty coffee grounds) in the fridge is rarely a good idea. The reason is that the inside of a refrigerator is a naturally high-humidity environment, where rapid temperature changes and exposure to bright light are the norm.

This, therefore, means that irrespective of the receptacle you use to store your coffee in your fridge, its lifespan and quality could be adversely affected.

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