The Science of Coffee: Storing Your Coffee Beans

The Science of Coffee: Storing Your Coffee Beans

One of my favorite summer weekend activities is visiting local farmer’s markets. The produce comes straight from the source. It’s fresh picked, colorful, and bursting with flavor. However, this fresh produce will decompose over time.

The same elements that affect fresh produce such as exposure to heat, moisture, air, and too much light, have a similar effect on your fresh coffee beans. Just like produce, as coffee beans are exposed to these elements, the flavors begin to dissipate. 

A great start to ensuring a tasty brew is to store appropriately and keep a fresh supply of beans. After roasting, the ideal time to use your beans is about two weeks. Grinding beans to brew is the best way to ensure the freshest product. Pre-ground beans have a much shorter shelf life because they allow for more surface area of the bean to come in contact with the elements such as moisture, oxygen, light, and heat.

When storing your coffee beans, keep in mind the elements that affect the beans. Fluctuations in temperature are damaging to the beans. Warm temperatures and exposure to sunlight may allow for condensation and moisture to develop on the beans. Store the beans in a cool dark place where they won’t be exposed to temperature changes. Keeping the beans from experiencing fluctuations in temperature is an excellent way to extend their flavor and shelf-life.
To reduce contact with oxygen, keep the beans in a sealed container with a one-way valve such as the coffee bag or a container such as an Airscape Coffee Bean Canister.

A great way to enjoy a consistently fresh brew is to learn about what affects your beans, such as these elements and store them properly. Always grinding to brew and keeping a freshly roasted supply of beans on hand is also a great start to ensure the best cup of coffee. A subscription to Coffee by Gillespie will ensure you will always have a freshly roasted supply of beans on hand to start your morning off right. Happy brewing!


Kathy Strauch is a graphic designer, writer, bookworm, printmaker, and coffee lover from Michigan. She is also contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and The Gospel Economist.

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