If you’re grinding beans, use them within 10 days for the freshest cup. “Once ground, the beans begin to oxidize and lose flavor,” says Ric Rhinehard, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association.
Storage is integral to maintaining your coffee’s freshness and flavor. It is important to keep it away from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light — in that order — in order to preserve its fresh-roast flavor as long as possible. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, which is too humid and has lurking odors that could seep into your coffee. Coffee beans are decorative and beautiful to look at but you will compromise the taste of your coffee if you store your beans in ornamental, glass canisters on your kitchen countertop. Doing so will cause them to become stale and your coffee will quickly lose its fresh flavor. Store single-serve cups away from heat – as in, not in the cabinet above your stove.
Buy Right: It is wise to purchase coffee in amounts proportionate to how quickly it will be used. Coffee begins to lose its freshness almost immediately after roasting so it is far better to purchase it in smaller quantities. Purchase freshly roasted coffee frequently and buy only what you will use in the next 1 or 2 weeks. And because exposure to air is your coffee’s worst enemy, it is a good idea to divide your coffee supply into several smaller portions, keeping the larger, unused portion in an air-tight container.
Storing Larger Quantities of Coffee: If you’ve purchased a large quantity of coffee that you will not use immediately, small portions, wrapped in airtight bags, can be stored for up to a month in the freezer. Only unopened bags of ground or whole beans can be stored in the freezer. Once you have removed them from the freezer, however, do not return them. Instead, move them to an air-tight container and store in a cool, dry dark spot.