How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh
Store your coffee well and you can protect its freshness and keep it tasting good for longer.
From the days when Mr. Peet first delighted Berkeley customers with the concept of fresh-roasted coffee, we have kept the faith. True to his legacy, we pride ourselves on still roasting fresh to order on Peets.com, printing the roast date on bags, and brewing fresh every 30 minutes in our coffeebars. But if coffee isn't stored correctly, it will not be at it's best. Think of it like any other food: coffee reacts to oxygen and other elements, growing stale over time. Unlike some foods, you won’t get sick from stale coffee, but you will be deprived of its aromatic peaks and flavors…those things that make it so delicious.
Below are 4 factors coffee is particularly sensitive to and which you want to guard against. This is especially true for ground coffee, because so much more of its surface area is exposed.
How do I keep my coffee fresh?
- Only buy as much as you’re going to drink in the next week or so. If the hidden hoarder in you means you have a longer supply than that, make sure you store it well by following our guidelines below.
- We believe that the freshest coffee is the best tasting coffee—period—and recommend that you drink your coffee within 90 days of the roast date. This doesn't mean you can’t drink older coffee—it's certainly food-safe beyond those 90 days—it's just that the quality of the cup will start to decline. We think that stale coffee is unworthy of your taste buds.
- Some brands might put an "expiration" date on their bags, which doesn't tell you anything about how freshly roasted it is. Peet's goes the extra mile by printing the roast date on every bag so you know you're buying fresh coffee with optimal flavor.
- If you get your Peet's online or from your local grocery store, you'll find our bags have a one-way valve that allows gas to escape but prevents oxygen from getting back in. These bags are desgined to keep your coffee fresh. When opening the bag, only take out as much coffee as you need to brew—beans or ground—then tightly wrap it up again, evacuating as much air as you can. Why? Because as we said before, coffee is particularly sensitive to oxygen. And just so you know, we heat seal our bags, so you don’t have to worry about any glues or chemicals coming in contact with your fresh coffee.
- If you have your own tins, vacuum jars, or airscapes at home to store your coffee in, even better. Just remember the same rule as above: buy smaller quantities more frequently, and keep your coffee as free of oxygen, light, heat, and humidity as you can.
How should I store my coffee?
Coffee keeps best in a cool, dry, and dark place – away from the heat of the stove, away from sunlight, away from strong smelling items. Coffee is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs what’s around it, whether that’s oxygen, moisture, or aromas. Which leads us to this next point….
Don’t keep coffee in the refrigerator.
Like baking powder, an open pack of ground coffee into your fridge will absorb stinky odors. Do not then drink that coffee! Its hygroscopic nature means it takes on all of the smells that surround it. Last night’s leftover pizza in the fridge? You don’t want your Major Dickason’s to taste like that.
And don’t put it in the freezer, either.
If you kept vacuum packed coffee in the freezer and only took it out once, it would indeed keep it fresher than, for example, storing it on the stovetop or in the full blaze of the sun on your kitchen counter. But if you take the bag out of the freezer to get your daily dose, then put the rest back in again, you risk moisture and condensation getting to the beans. And that, as we have already said, is one of the elements that degrades coffee quality.
What about K-Cups?
Ground coffee in K-Cup pods maintains its freshness longer than it does in bags due to the manufacturing process and its packaging. There is virtually no oxygen left in the K-Cup after it's nitrogen flushed, and the rigid K-Cup material protects the coffee, making it less susceptible to oxygen and moisture when handled.
Wrapping it all up, remember these guidelines:
- Buy coffee frequently and in smaller quantities
- Only take out what you’re going to brew right then
- Store it in a sealed, airtight container
- Keep it away from heat, light, and humidity