Few things are more welcome in the morning or after a fine meal than a rich, dark cup of freshly-ground coffee. Grinding your own coffee beans has never been simpler, but purchasing the freshest beans from the best fair trade merchants won't guarantee a quality cup of coffee if the beans are stored incorrectly.
All coffee beans contain pungent oils that give your
coffee its deep aroma, smooth taste and rich mouth feel. Exposure to light, air
and heat all degrade these oils, drying them out and leaving your coffee
tasting weak and stale no matter how strongly it is brewed.
attacks the innate flavors of your coffee beans, giving your coffee an
unpleasantly earthy or moldy taste.
Fortunately, combating these elements is not at all
difficult. Your first step in properly storing coffee is to break a large batch
down into smaller ones. Every time your beans are exposed to light and air,
they dry out a little bit. If you are purchasing coffee beans in bulk amounts
of more than one pound at a time, scoop out enough coffee beans to last you for
one week and place them into a smaller container. This keeps the number of
beans exposed each time you open the container to a minimum. A glass, ceramic
or metal canister with an airtight lid is the simplest option for your smaller
Once you have chosen the right size of airtight glass
storage jar, make sure that it is not made of clear glass. Tinted glass,
ceramics and metals block out the light that dries out coffee beans, affecting
the taste of the resulting brew. But, even tinted glass jars don't block out
all light, so store glass canisters in a pantry or cupboard and store ceramic
or metal canisters out of direct sunlight to keep them from overheating.
Heat also dries out the essential oils inside of coffee
beans, giving your coffee a stale taste. Store the bulk of your coffee beans in
a cool pantry, garage, or basement. If you must store canisters on your kitchen
counter, make sure that they are well away from any direct source of heat. For
example, do not store your coffee beans right next to the coffee maker, toaster
or toaster oven because they all give off heat. Counter space used to hold food
fresh out of the oven or microwave is also too close to heat sources to hold
coffee beans safely. The top of the refrigerator is also generally too warm.
But, just because you should avoid exposing coffee beans to heat does not mean
that you should freeze them.
During the Yuppie decade of the 1980s it became
fashionable to store coffee and coffee beans in the freezer. But, fashion isn't
always smart and in this case the habit probably did more harm than good. When
you take coffee beans out of the freezer and open the container to measure them
out, condensation forms. That means the beans are wet when you put them back in
the freezer. Moisture soaks into the coffee beans, diluting the strong oils,
swelling the beans, and if the wet beans
are left out on the warm counter for long enough, fostering the growth of mold.
The best way to store coffee beans to keep them away from
air, light, heat and moisture is to place small portions in glass, ceramic or
metal canisters and set them in a cool, dry, dark place to ensure they stay at
the peak of their flavor and freshness.
The coffee bean enthusiasts at Espresso Coffee Snobs
strongly recommend building a collection of highest quality glassstorage jars to serve all of your coffee bean storage needs. Check
out the wide range of useful and attractive storage options available from the
friendly experts at Wares of Knutsford for fine storage jars at great prices.
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