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Storing Coffee and Coffee Beans

The world of coffee has expanded greatly during the last few decades. Twenty years ago, most people simply purchased their coffee in cans from the grocery store shelf. They had a choice of regular or decaf. The first was mediocre, the latter was horrendous. Some coffee connoisseurs purchased beans and ground them at home, but they were largely the exception rather than the norm.

But with the advent of trendy coffee drinks such as mochas, iced coffee and even alcoholic coffee drinks, the popularity of coffee has expanded and more and more individuals have become interested in exploring different kinds of coffee and different options for drinking java at home. Nowadays, many people don’t simply opt for that vacuum-sealed can but instead purchase their own beans for grinding or buy pre-ground flavored or other less common coffees from specialized shops so they can make their own specialty drinks in the comfort of their own kitchen.

The Enemies of Coffee

Because individuals are now buying coffee in larger quantities and in different forms, we’ve become more concerned about how to store that coffee so that it will retain its freshness. There are many different theories available, but most coffee experts agree that there are four things that can ruin good coffee:

o Moisture

o Heat

o Light

o Air

So, a good place to start is to find a cool, dark place in your home to store the coffee. If you’ve purchased pre-ground coffee, an airtight canister is usually a good bet. If it’s going to stay on your counter, it should be placed away from the oven. Preferably, a dry, dark cupboard somewhere in your kitchen is the best bet for storage. You can purchase a standard canister (like the ones used for flour and sugar) or a special coffee canister with a vacuum pump that removes all the air but maintains the flavor and aroma.

Buying whole beans is the best way to ensure that you have fresh coffee when you want it. Coffee beans can be placed in one of these canisters as well. Just be sure it is clean and dry before using it. Remember not to ground the beans until you need them. This way, your coffee will retain its wonderful flavor.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze

Most ground coffee should be used within just a few weeks of purchase for optimum taste. If you plan to have it longer than that, you may want to explore other options for storage.

Nearly all experts agree that putting coffee in the refrigerator is a big no-no! Because coffee is porous it can act similar to baking soda and will probably absorb all those nasty odors in your refrigerator, including seafood, pungent fruits, or anything else nearby. This is especially true of ground coffee. Furthermore, the temperature in your fridge isn’t really low enough to keep the coffee fresh.

So what about the freezer? While most experts agree that freezing isn’t ideal, if you’ve purchased a large quantity of ground coffee or coffee beans and don’t think you’ll consume it all within a few weeks, the freezer becomes a viable option. The aim is still to keep out the moisture and light, so be careful about packaging. If you’re going to put coffee or coffee beans in the freezer follow these steps:

o If possible, keep the coffee or beans it their original packaging.

o Take each package and place it in an airtight Ziploc bag or container.

o Place each bag or container in a dark bag, like a standard lunch bag or brown grocery bag, in order to keep out the light.

o Open the freezer as little as possible and don’t stand there with it open for a long time as you ponder what to remove. It’s bad for your coffee!

Good coffee is truly a treat and enjoying a cup at home is a lot less expensive then indulging in a daily cup at a coffee shop, and with proper care of your ground coffee and beans, the result can be just as good.