Should I refrigerate them? Should I freeze them? Do I leave them at room temperature?
Our answer is like one that our attorney would give. It depends!!!
How long do coffee beans last?
We all need to understand the life of the coffee bean or grind after roasting. For three days after roasting, coffee beans emit carbon dioxide gas at room temperature. Emitting this gas, the bean is actually changing its chemical composition to produce a fine coffee flavor (as long as the bean roasts correctly with respect to roasting temperature and length of time in roasting). We find the optimal flavor of coffee beans to occur at 3 points:
- Immediately after the roast (when the coffee is at its strongest).
- 72 hours after the roast degasses.
- 5-7 days after the roast.
Throughout this life cycle, oxygen will replace the carbon dioxide. This gradual oxidation process destroys the flavor of coffee!
Coffee bean storage
Refrigerating or freezing the bean can slow down this process. Why? Even after the third or fourth day, the coffee bean continues to chemically change its composition internally with air, heat, light, and moisture. For instance, when room temperature water heats up, the molecules accelerate and turn the water into a gas. On the other hand, when room temperature water cools down, the molecules slow down and the water starts to freeze. Refrigerating or freezing can slow down and control the interaction with the elements of heat and light. One can then slow down the flavor degradation of coffee beans by slowing down the internal chemical processes.
Refrigeration or freezing has one stipulation: you must not allow the coffee bean to thaw or change temperatures. This will create moisture on the bean which would create an undesired flavor. In addition, you must store the coffee in a sealed container to avoid having the coffee beans acquire the flavor of other foods. Also, you should never freeze coffee beans as they will ruin after thawing. Also if you try to grind frozen coffee beans, it will definitely damage your grinder. Therefore, the best rules for storage of coffee beans is to purchase only what you need for a 1-2 week period and to store them in an airtight, or even better, a vacuum-tight container at room temperature and free of light. The second optimal storage method is your refrigerator and only remove what you will be using for the day.
Coffee grind storage
Now, our focus moves to coffee grinds. Depending on the roaster, beans are either ground immediately after roasting (least desired) or ground immediately before brewing (most desired). Grinding the coffee bean finer gives you a greater surface area to extract and brew a flavorful cup. However, it gives your coffee a shelf life of fewer than seven minutes. The reason is the surface area of the grinds is one thousand times the surface area of a coffee bean. This allows quicker interaction with the elements of air, heat, light, and moisture. Therefore, you need to seal coffee grinds in an airtight or vacuum-tight container immediately. Although this will slow down the chemical interactions with the different elements, the results will not be the same as with whole coffee beans since the ground coffee has greater surface area.
In a nutshell,
- Roasted coffee peaks within seven (7) days after you roast it.
- Ground coffee peaks within 7 minute after you grind it.
- Brewed coffee is enjoyed within 7 seconds, especially espresso!
We hope this helps!
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