How to Keep Coffee Fresh: Grinding & Storing Methods
Coffee is a common drink for our caffeine needs. Keeping it fresh and knowing how to store it is essential.
Everything’s better when your coffee is fresh, but some are much better when they are aged. Coffee has its own drinking benefits for our health. There are many types of coffees with their own unique ways to store them. But when it comes to grinding it is quite similar.
Let’s go through some tips about how to maintain coffee’s freshness by ensuring the correct way of grinding – which is the right way to process beans.
Enemies of Fresh Coffee and How To Combat Them
Before we know how to keep coffee fresh, we have to know about the enemies that ruin its freshness. These include heat, light, oxygen, and moisture.
Therefore, coffee containers should be non-absorbent. For example, ceramic and metal elements are great containers. The containers must also be air-tight. Many of today’s plastic bags can absorb volatile and aromatic compounds. Coffee bags have one-way pressure-activated valves to prevent any abnormal levels of CO2 from freshly roasted coffee.
Keep away your coffee containers from light, heat, and changing temperatures. A cool temperature of 15 to 25 degrees is the best temperature for your coffee to stay at.
If you are looking for the best coffee grinders of 2021, then here’s the options.
Tips That Ensure Your Coffee Lasts Longer
People who drink coffee daily have to get a shot of caffeine when they’re in the mood. If you want to prolong the life of your beans, then follow these tips.
- Store in a Cool, Dry Place
If you are willing to enjoy the freshest coffee, then you should store the coffee beans in a cool and dry place. As mentioned earlier, any exposure to heat, moisture, or air is not ideal.
- Avoid Storing in Glass Jars
Glass easily allows light in which makes them bad to store in coffee. So, avoid storing coffee beans in glass jars.
- Keep in Small Portions
If you intend to freeze coffee beans, then do so in small batches in airtight containers. Small batches will protect the unused beans for an extended period of time.
- Avoid Storing Near a Window
Since moisture, light, air, and heat can ruin coffee beans, storing it near a window will make them lose their flavor and freshness.
- Use Non-Reactive Containers
Some individuals like to keep the coffee in its original bag while others prefer to use their own containers. If you prefer to use other containers then you should select non-reactive material. Opaque glass, ceramic, and non-reactive metals such as tin and stainless steel are the best materials of containers for coffee.
- Purchase Unroasted Beans
Roasted beans start to lose their freshness after being roasted, which is why buying unroasted beans is a good idea. If you know how to roast coffee beans, then you can store the unroasted coffee beans forever. Buy unroasted beans from your nearby grocery store when you are out shopping.
Does Grind Size Matter?
The size of the coffee grind will determine how much coffee is extracted throughout the brewing process and ultimately the flavors of the coffee. Hot water flows through the ground coffee to let out the flavors. Oxidation is a part of the grinding process and releases the oils and aromatics of the beans throughout the grinding.
If the grind is too coarse, then you will not get a good amount of flavor from the coffee. That coffee cup is usually more sour and acidic, which is not ideal for most coffee fans. This type of extraction of coffee is known as “under extraction”, because the water can not extract all the coffee’s strong flavor.
There is also a thing called “over-extraction” which is too fine of a grind. Over extraction can lead to an overpowering and bitter coffee flavor. So, the brewing method of coffee is important to determine how your coffee will taste.
How to Achieve the Perfect Grind
There are two main variants of grinders: blade and burr. Burr grinders are the preferred way to grind coffee. A blade grinder usually looks similar to a blender. Its blades spin fast to chop the coffee beans. But just like a blender, this blade grinder can also leave inconsistent results. With inconsistent results, some of the beans will be over-extracted and some beans will be under-extracted. Additionally, the blades can create heat and friction which can burn your coffee.
As for the burr grinder, its cutting discs are known as “burrs” which can cut coffee quickly and produce less heat. With the burr grinder, your coffee bean’s integrity will remain intact and be ground consistently so that you can get a good brew from the beans.
Consistent grinds will make you a great cup of coffee, but inconsistent ones will result in different rates of extraction and, of course, an inconsistent taste throughout.
Automatic & Manual Grinders
Grinders are nowadays either automatic or manual. Manual grinders cost less but require more work. They do lead to a good consistent blend though.
Coffee grinding with manual grinders can become tiring, however. If you have to grind coffee daily, then consider getting an automatic grinder. Handheld, portable automatic grinders are the most preferred grinders to get consistent grinds on a daily basis. The portable models also let its users get a good coffee grind outdoors.
After selecting your preferable grinder type, you have to figure out the best grind settings to get your desired consistency. Extracting the perfect coffee flavor will depend on the type of coffee and the coffee maker that you use.
You should also know how the brewing process actually works. Warm water flows within the ground coffee beans to extract their flavors. With a coarser and larger grind, the coffee will have less water touching it, resulting in weaker quality coffee.
Finer grinds let water flow very close to the coffee beans which creates a quick and powerful extraction. This is the reason why cold brew coffee requires an extra coarse grind, whereas espresso only needs a fine grind. It is important find a high quality grind and brew coffee maker.
Cold brew coffee has to be brewed for about 24 hours with cold water, and espresso only needs 30 to 40 seconds of brewing with hot water. It mainly depends on coffee bean size, with bigger beans requiring more time to brew in the grinder. Also, finer grinds utilize hot water to extract consistent coffee quickly.
Correctly Storing Pre-Ground Coffee
You do not have to grind your coffee every time to enjoy its rich, fresh, and distinct flavor. Some tricks to keep the oils and aromatics sealed inside the container are easy to do and listed below.
- Ground coffee is freshest for 2 to 3 weeks after opening it. After that period of time, some of its nuance and flavors will evaporate slowly.
- After opening your ground coffee, the best place to store it in its original container or bag. If you do transfer to a new container, make sure to keep away from sunlight to stop the beans from aging.
- Occasionally you have to de-gas your beans to let the carbon dioxide escape from containers. Some good containers have a release valve to let out CO2 easily.
- Keep your coffee in a room with a stable temperature. As mentioned before, exposure to sunlight, heat or extreme cold will spoil your coffee flavors. For the best outcome, try storing coffee containers in a dark pantry or cupboard. Just do not store coffee in the freezer or fridge.
Selecting the Right Coffee
Correctly grinding your coffee and properly storing it can result in a delicious and flavorful coffee. Investing in high-quality coffee is guaranteed to taste fresh. Select the coffee which is carefully made by expert roasters.
Coffees are known to lose their flavor and freshness over time. The taste of aged coffee is not appealing to some coffee lovers. But coffee drinkers know that coffee has an ideal shelf life of only a few weeks even though it can last for a long time. Fresh coffee is the only coffee worth drinking.
Now that you know how to keep coffee beans fresh, you will be able to enjoy good quality coffee for an extended period of time. Just make sure to preserve your beans properly as they are the most crucial part of making a flavorful cup of coffee.