Coffee is a part of everyday life for millions of Americans. The average American coffee-drinker spends about $21 per week on coffee and drinks roughly 3 cups per day. It only makes sense that we would take an interest in how to make our coffee grounds stay fresh and flavorful as long as possible.
Most coffee drinkers seem to know that coffee needs to be kept in a dry, cool, dark place in a sealed container. In fact, many coffee bags will instruct you to do as much. The National Coffee Association confirms that coffee’s greatest enemies are “air, moisture, heat, and light.”
When you think of cool, dark, dry places in your kitchen, does your refrigerator/freezer come to mind? It does for a lot of folks, and for this reason, many coffee connoisseurs believe that coffee belongs in the refrigerator or freezer with other preservable foodstuffs.
Refrigerators Create Humidity
It is true that the inside of a refrigerator that is left closed for a long time can be very dry. Over time, the moisture in the air will condense on the evaporator coils and drain out the bottom of the refrigerator, leaving the internal air quite dry.
However, every time you open a refrigerator, the humid air from the outside rushes in and the moisture condenses on all the cool food items inside the refrigerator. Therefore, a refrigerator that is opened regularly is typically very humid and not an ideal place to keep your coffee at all. When it comes to humidity, refrigerator temperatures are actually your coffee’s biggest enemy.
Damage from Fluctuating Temperatures
If you want to save your coffee beans for up to a month, freezing them in an airtight container can keep them fresh.
Most coffee drinkers are not storing their coffee long-term but, instead, just between daily brews. You should not keep the coffee you use every day in the freezer. Subjecting coffee grounds to constantly fluctuating temperatures by thawing and refreezing can quickly damage the cell structure of the coffee grounds and cause them to lose their natural aromatic oils.
Refrigerators, moreover, are not cold enough to preserve coffee grounds. There truly is no benefit to storing your coffee in the refrigerator. Plus, coffee grounds can act as a deodorizer and absorb the aromas of the other foods in your refrigerator… 😳
So Where Should You Store Coffee?
We hope we’ve dispelled the common myth that coffee is best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. But then, where should coffee be kept?
Most coffee experts recommend simply keeping your grounds in a closed cabinet or pantry. Make sure the grounds are kept out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources like stovetops. And make sure no water can get to your coffee by keeping it away from your sink. Room temperature is fine for storing coffee that you use every day.
The primary consideration for storing coffee is keeping it in a sealed container. The bags that coffee beans or grounds typically come in, with the wire ties on top to hold the bag closed, are pretty much useless after they’re unsealed. It is best to transfer your grounds to a truly airtight, sealable bag, canister, or container to keep out moisture and oxygen (to prevent over-oxidation and loss of flavor). Beyond that, a dry, dark pantry will suffice just fine!