The Importance of Coffee Bean Storage to Maximize Freshness and Flavor
Choosing the right green coffee beans and mastering your coffee roasting machine are the crucial two steps in ensuring your customers get the best coffee. We have talked about these two steps in our previous blog posts, but there is another step that is just as important to maintain the quality of your end product. This step is coffee bean storage, and it is important because one of the keys to a great coffee is the freshness of the coffee beans. Like most fresh food, coffee quality is strongly influenced by the natural elements around it. Therefore, proper storage is paramount to keeping the coffee fresh and maintaining its quality. How can you store coffee beans properly to maximize freshness and flavor?
Factors That Can Affect The Quality Of The Coffee Beans
Regardless of what type of coffee beans, these factors have a significant influence on the coffee beans’ freshness.
When coffee beans are exposed to air, they start to oxidize. Oxidation happens when the air reacts with the aromatics, acids, and oil in the coffee beans and turns them stale. Oxidation also allows the growth of microbes on the coffee surface.
Temperature acts as a catalyst for chemical reactions that might alter the coffee bean’s composition. Storing coffee beans in a warm place like near an oven will trigger this chemical reaction that will change the taste of the beans. Freezing the coffee beans is also not recommended because the coffee beans may absorb the moisture, odor, and taste from the air and also other food items in the freezer.
Like with storing every other food item, moisture has a negative effect. Moisture reacts immediately with the beans and entirely changes the taste within a short period of time.
Direct exposure to light, whether from the sun or from a highly luminous light will turn the coffee beans stale. One of the common mistakes is storing coffee beans in clear glass jars where light can pass through, as this can compromise the taste of the coffee.
Tips on Coffee Beans Storage
Below are some tips for storing your coffee beans properly:
- Avoid stockpiling green coffee beans. Find out how much green coffee beans that you use within a period of time such as two weeks or a month, and buy accordingly. Less green coffee beans in the storage mean less risk of them going bad.
- Keep a meticulous track of your green coffee bean stock, using the First In, First Out principle. This way, you don’t keep old coffee beans unused until they go stale.
- Roast in small batches or according to order, since coffee starts to lose its freshness almost immediately after they are out from the coffee roasting machine. Avoid keeping a large inventory of roasted coffee beans.
- Grind coffee beans also in small batches or only when necessary for brewing. The oxidation process begins right after the coffee beans are grounded, and ground coffee beans oxidize faster compared to whole beans. It is always best to ground the beans immediately before brewing.
- Keep the coffee beans in airtight bags or opaque containers to avoid exposure to air, and store them at a cool room temperature with minimum light. There are different packaging options for green coffee beans depending on the type of beans.
- If you sell roasted or ground coffee, consider using sealed containers or foil bag with a one-way valve which allows degassing without letting the air in. Avoid using ordinary paper bags which are prone to air and moisture.
When stored properly, avoiding all the natural elements, coffee beans can have a stable shelf life and last for quite a long time. How long they can be stored without affecting the quality also depends on the type of coffee. It is imperative for coffee roasters to know the characteristics of the coffee beans that they use, also what is the best way to store them without changing the freshness and flavor.