There is probably more misinformation going around about the storage of roasted coffee than anything else.
There are some facts about the topic, but there is also a lot of opinion – which is fine, so long as it’s clearly stated as opinion! 🙂
- Fact: Roasted coffee stales rapidly. Correct storage is designed to slow down that process
- Fact: Whole beans stale a lot less rapidly than ground coffee.
- Fact: After roasting, most, if not all, coffee benefits from a ‘resting’ period of 2-7 days before the flavours and character peak.
- Fact: Oxygen is the enemy of roasted coffee when it comes to slowing down staling.
Unlike many roasters, Ministry Grounds uses a 100% compostable coffee bag, that has a unique gas exchange valve system that doesn’t use plastic or metal. These valves allow the CO2 released by the beans post-roast to build to a certain pressure before being vented out of the bag. The valves do not allow outside air into the pouch.
These bags are heat sealed before leaving the roastery.
When you open the bag to begin using the coffee, follow these simple steps to maintain the freshness as long as possible:
When you’ve removed the beans you need, squeeze excess air out of the bag, fold the top down a few times and hold in place with a clip, peg or similar.
Store the bag in a cool, dark place – most pantries are suitable.
Never ever store coffee in the fridge. Full stop. Condensation will quickly spoil the coffee, and it will absorb tastes and odours from other products in the fridge.
If you need to build up a stock of fresh coffee for any reason, we suggest this approach:
- Store the unopened bag in the freezer.
- When you are ready to start using that coffee, remove the bag from the freezer and allow to defrost at room temperature for at least a couple of hours.
- Open, use and store as above.
- Do not refreeze the coffee!
While nowhere near as volatile as roasted beans, green coffee still needs to be stored properly.
There are two approaches to this, and to be honest, there are differing opinions on the value of each.
1. Seal ’em tight.
There’s no question that the green coffees Ministry Grounds receives that are shipped in plastic or foil pouches or bags present as much ‘fresher’ than those that shipped in the jute bags. That’s probably mainly due to better moisture retention.
To emulate that approach in storing green beans at home, you can keep them in the plastic zip-lock bags that Ministry Grounds ships them in. BUT… If you cannot vacuum seal those bags (and we don’t here), you must keep them at a constant temperature and humidity level. If you don’t, you will likely get condensation and mould growing on the beans.
The alternative is:
2. Let ’em breath.
If you can’t tightly control temperature and humidity around your green beans, storing them in an open weave cloth is ideal (such as the calico bags we sometimes have available for that purpose).
Temperature and humidity still play an important part: They should then be stored in a cool place that ideally has fairly constant humidity around 60%. But at least the risk of moulds and condensation is minimised.
Even then, green beans do deteriorate over time, and should be ideally consumed within a year of buying (assuming they are not too old when purchased).
Green bean storage is becoming a topic of much discussion amongst boutique roasters, who are increasingly paying large sums of money to protect their big investments in very high quality single origin beans. So don’t be surprised to see theory and practice in this area morphing as time goes on…