How to Store Coffee

by Susan Lundman

Ground or whole bean, opened or unopened, all types of coffee stay freshest stored in an air-tight container at room temperature. Dramatic changes to coffee aroma and flavor occur in as little as one day, so storing coffee properly makes a difference, says Paul Songer in BlackBearCoffee.com.

Air-Tight Conditions

Coffee beans or grounds that come in foil packages or cans have less exposure to oxygen, one of the main causes of chemical changes in coffee that cause it to become stale. Keep your coffee safe from oxygen any way you can:

  • Transfer beans or grounds from paper packages into air-tight glass or ceramic jars once you get it home from the store. 
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap over the beans or grinds within a glass jar or metal can to protect the beans on the surface from oxidation.

Storage Times

At room temperature and in air-tight containers, different types of coffee stay fresh for varying times:

  • Freshly ground coffee beans or opened cans of ground coffee stay fresh for up to two weeks.
  • Whole coffee beans stay fresh for three weeks.
  • Unopened coffee grounds stay fresh for up to one year. 

Tips

  • Treat green coffee beans as you would roasted beans, storing them in an air-tight container in a dry location. If stored properly, the beans last for two to four weeks.

Cool Temperatures

Even a short or temporary rise in temperature causes the oxygen and water in the air to affect the taste of coffee beans or grounds, says Songer. Keep those processes at bay by cooling down the coffee:

  • Place your coffee container away from heat sources, such as above or next to the oven or stovetop and near to heating vents in the kitchen.
  • Store unopened coffee in your pantry on the lower shelves where temperatures are cooler.
  • Store coffee in cabinets that are out of direct sunlight, especially during afternoon hours.  

Warnings

  • Avoid storing coffee beans and grounds in the refrigerator or freezer. Any type of coffee stays safe indefinitely in the freezer, but The National Coffee Association USA says that moisture in either the fridge or freezer are second only to air in causing coffee to go stale more quickly than it does at room temperature.

About the Author

Susan Lundman began writing about her passions of cooking, gardening, entertaining and recreation after working for a nonprofit agency, writing grants and researching child development issues. She has written professionally for six years since then. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.