What is the shelf life of coffee?
Stored correctly, coffee can be kept almost indefinitely. Most roasteries specify a best-before date of one year. You can find out why it's not a good idea to keep coffee for so long in this article.
Anyone who buys specialty coffee appreciates excellent coffee taste. Proper storage is crucial so that high-quality coffee beans retain their aromas for as long as possible. Before that, however, you have to make the right decision when it comes to the question of whether you should buy beans whole or ground.
Buy coffee beans whole
The first and most important tip for storing your coffee beans is clearly that you should buy them whole instead of ground. The smaller the bean particles, the more attack surface we offer to oxygen, which carries away our aromas. So if you buy your coffee as a whole bean and always grind it fresh before you prepare it, you are doing a lot right.
Of course, this also means that you need a suitable coffee grinder. What it has to be able to do depends largely on your preferred method of preparation. You can read more about this in our articles on coffee grinding settings and in our Brew Guides.
Don't store coffee for too short or too long
Your coffee beans will be ready to eat 1-2 weeks (lighter Arabica roasts) or 2-3 weeks after the roast date (darker Arabica-Robusta blends). However, this cannot be generalized. Depending on the variety, coffee bean and level of roasting, there are sometimes differences.
In the meantime, gases still escape, which would cause an irregular taste if consumed directly. We therefore always indicate our roasting date on the bottom of the packaging.
At the same time, you shouldn't keep your coffee for too long. Even in a good, airtight container, the beans gradually lose their aroma and therefore their taste, although much more slowly than exposed directly to air. For filter coffee we recommend consumption within 3-4 weeks of the roasting date, for espresso within three months.
Suitable containers for coffee
A good container for storing coffee beans is airtight and opaque. So there are many containers to consider. In addition to the properties listed, you should also make sure that the vessel you choose is food-safe, meaning that it does not affect the smell or taste of your coffee.
The US company Planetary Design offers a particularly sophisticated (and patented) container, which we also use and sell in our online shop. In addition to the transparent outer lid, the containers called Airscape also have an opaque inner lid with a valve. So we let out as much air as possible inside the container by pressing down the lid. This allows us to better prevent the oxidation of the coffee.
Coffee packaging with aroma valve
Good coffee sales packaging is hermetically sealed, opaque and can be resealed airtight even after we have opened it. The aroma valve on the front or back of the packaging ensures that gases from the coffee beans and air can escape without letting air in.
As long as coffee packaging meets the requirements of being airtight and opaque, it is best suited for storage after purchase as we do not have to transfer the beans. But as everyone's tastes are different, you have to live with the design of the respective roastery. If you prefer your kitchen to be clean and uniform, we recommend another container for storing coffee.
Our coffee packets meet the above requirements and are recyclable thanks to the uniform material. Coffee packaging is often made from several materials that are glued together (e.g. paper, aluminum and plastic). This means that they cannot be recycled and instead have to be burned.
What you should keep in mind when storing coffee
- Always buy your coffee as a whole bean and grind in portions, depending on how much coffee you want to make.
- Do not store your coffee too soon (<1 week) or too long (>3 months) after the roast date.
- Don't want to leave your coffee beans in the sales packaging? Make sure you use an airtight, opaque and food-safe container!
- If coffee packaging meets the criteria mentioned above, you can safely store your beans in them at home until they are empty.
- Don't put your coffee beans in the fridge, but also don't put them in the blazing sun.