Natalia Lusinski
March 26, 2016 9:40 am
Amanda / Flickr

Coffee: our morning staple and BFF. We know we need to have it, but do we know where we should store it? Freezer? Cabinet? Neither?

According to CNET’s Taylor Martin, who’s a big coffee connoisseur, the cabinet is typically the best thanks to poor coffee quality. “If you buy your coffee off the shelves of a grocery store, the odds that it’s already stale when you purchase it are quite high,” he writes. “Coffee is only considered to be fresh for up to two weeks after its roast date. Some argue it will remain fresh for up to a month off roast. That time frame is severely shortened if it’s preground.”

Who knew, right?

Since we often don’t know when the beans we buy was roasted, chances are it was a while ago, maybe even months. Some brands indicate a “roasted on,” date, but it’s not the norm. “About a month ago, I saw a bag of Counter Culture coffee in a nearby grocery store with a roasted on date of sometime in early August 2015,” Martin revealed. “The most fresh bag of Counter Culture there was already three months old.”

If your coffee might already be stale and losing flavor, there’s no point in freezing it. Not only do freezers’ humidity levels vary, but, if you don’t freeze the coffee in an airtight container, the beans can absorb the flavors of neighboring frozen foods. Ick.

“The cell structure changes, which causes a loss of the oils that give coffee its aroma and flavor,” according to Scott McMartin, who has tried more than 500,000 (!) cups of coffee through his position with Starbucks’ Green Coffee Quality group.

But, Martin says freezing is ok if you can’t drink a pound of fresh coffee within a couple weeks. He suggests setting aside two weeks’ worth in an airtight container and vacuum sealing the rest in the freezer.

In general, if you buy beans you know to be fresh, you can keep them in the bag they give you or put them into a Mason jar, Martin’s storage method of choice. McMartin recommends a clear airtight container. If you don’t have one handy, you can close the bag with a rubber band, then place the bag in a resealable plastic bag.

Whatever container you use, make sure you keep the coffee in a cool area —avoid light and moisture. And, of course, grinding your coffee right before you make it is best, so it may be time to invest in a coffee bean grinder.

BRB, I need to go on a coffee run!

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