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Long Term Coffee Storage: Keeping It Fresh for a Long Time

How can you keep your coffee fresh? Here’s the ultimate guide for long term coffee storage, to ensure that your brew always tastes fresh and fragrant.

Luc Hubeli
May 17, 2023

Storing coffee is truly an art in itself. Most coffee lovers know that preserving the quality and flavor depends heavily on proper storage. But what is the best method for long term coffee storage? Which factors come into play and how can you ensure that you are keeping your coffee beans fresh, so that your cup will always taste fresh and aromatic? Read on for invaluable tips about storage and preserving the aroma, so you can enjoy a perfectly prepared cup every day.

How Should You Store Coffee - As Whole Beans or Grounds?

As a general rule, whole beans stay fresh longer than grounds. The reason for this is simple: the surface area of the beans is smaller than that of grounds, which means that the beans have less contact with air and therefore oxidize more slowly.

The best flavor is achieved by grinding the beans just before brewing. But naturally not everyone has a grinder to hand.

In order to understand the best method for long term coffee storage and how to keep the beans fresh for as long as possible without losing valuable aroma, you need to know what can cause the loss of aroma or even lead to the beans spoiling.

What Coffee Really Does Not Tolerate at All

Our beloved coffee is a sensitive natural product and can lose its aroma or even become rancid if stored incorrectly. However, before you decide on the storage method, it is important to know the basics of long term coffee storage.

There are some things that coffee beans really and truly hate:

  • Light
  • Heat
  • Humidity
  • Air

Oxygen causes oxidation, which in turn causes a loss of flavor and essential oils, eventually making your coffee taste stale. Heat and humidity speed up the process considerably, as does light. Moisture can even lead to the growth of mold. So, to ensure that your beans or grounds stay fresh for a long time, you should protect them from these four influences. A suitable container plays an important role in the proper long term coffee storage.

Packaging Matters

Choosing the right packaging is crucial for the shelf life of your coffee. The container should protect the liquid gold from its four biggest enemies.  Airtight containers that protect the precious beans against light and moisture are the optimal choice. Ideally, the container should also allow the carbon dioxide, which is produced during the roasting process, to escape. Containers made of aluminum or packaging made of coated cardboard are perfect for long term coffee storage.

Where Should You Store Coffee?

The ideal place to store your beans is in a cool, dark, and dry place. They are best kept in a closed cupboard where they are protected from light, moisture and heat from a stove.

A little tip: always keep the coffee machine clean. Residue in a fully automatic coffee maker or espresso machine can spoil and thus affect the enjoyment of your cup.

Can You Keep Coffee Grounds and Beans in the Fridge?

The myth of coffee in the refrigerator still persists. But experts clearly advise against it. The reason is as follows: inside the refrigerator it’s extremely humid,  which coffee does not like at all. In addition, the delicate bean is known to easily absorb extraneous odors, especially when it is already ground. And  let’s be honest: who wants their brew to taste like cheese or onions. So please, never, ever store your coffee in the refrigerator.Our insider tip: why don’t you turn the tables and place a small open container of grounds into your fridge to eliminate bad odours? It really works like a charm.

If you take the following  6 tips to heart, your precious beans will surely stay fresh for a long time.

6 Tips To Keep Your Coffee Fresh for a Long Time

  1. Keep the beans in an airtight container.
  2. Store in a cool and dry place.
  3. Grind just before brewing.
  4. Protect from light and preferably store in an opaque container.
  5. Keep away from food with strong odors to avoid unwanted contamination.
  6. Buy coffee in small quantities, so you always have fresh beans to hand.


Can Coffee Go Bad?

Unfortunately, yes! If beans or grounds are stored for too long, or exposed to air without protection, they can become rancid and lose their aroma. To avoid this, both beans and grounds should always be stored in an airtight container and protected from moisture and light.

How Long Can Coffee Be Stored?

The shelf life of beans or grounds depends on various factors, such as roasting, the method of storage and the packaging. In general, beans have a shelf life of about six to twelve months after roasting. Grounds lose their flavor more quickly than whole beans, so it is advisable to grind beans just before brewing, to preserve the full flavor.

How Soon After Opening Should Coffee Be Consumed?

Once opened, coffee should be consumed as soon as possible, as it begins to lose flavor as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen. It will keep much longer if vacuum-packed.

Can You Freeze Coffee Beans?

Fortunately, yes. However, there are a few things to bear in mind so that the quality does not suffer as a result of freezing. The freezing itself does not affect the aroma and quality, but improper thawing certainly does. During thawing, condensation and humidity can form, which negatively affects the aroma of the beans.

So freeze small portions, ideally vacuum-packed beforehand, as this avoids condensation.

How Can I Recognize Spoiled Coffee Beans?

There are several signs that the beans or grounds are spoiled. Here are some things to look out for:

  1. Smell: A musty or sour smell may indicate that the product is spoiled.
  2. Taste: If the taste has changed and suddenly tastes strangely bitter or sour, that’s a bad sign.
  3. Appearance: If the grounds look lumpy or damp, this is an indication that they have become damp. Mold, of course, is a definite sign of spoiled coffee.

My coffee tastes sour, is it spoiled?

There are several reasons why your brew might taste sour.  It may be possible that the beans change flavor and taste sour due to improper storage, but there are quite a few other possible reasons. If you are interested, you can read about this in more detail in our article "Why does my coffee taste sour?".

At a Glance

The Bottom Line

Coffee is a delicate natural product that requires careful storage to preserve its full flavor. For ideal long term coffee storage, you need to follow a few basic principles. Protect grounds and beans from light, moisture, air and heat. Choosing the right packaging and following a few simple tips are essential for keeping beans fresh for a long time. At Coffee Annan we roast in the country of origin and guarantee a shorter and well-monitored supply chain by working directly with farmers and roasters. Therefore you can be sure that our products will reach you faster and have been properly stored.

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Luc Hubeli
May 17, 2023